MSR Bottle Rack Installation
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Got Gas?
... or coolant or oil?

I was going to fabricate some MSR bottle holders (racks). As it turns out, Touratech had some “reasonably priced” racks I thought would work.


 

This is the back of my motorcycle with the panniers on the back prior to the installation of the new racks… (you can click any picture below to enlarge it...)

This is the after…

The first order of business was to locate the racks on the pannier. The following pictures are after the installation was completed, but it helps to illustrate my mounting-location decision.

See the latching mechanism?

I wanted to ensure I could open the pannier without having to jack around with the bottles. I mounted the racks as low as possible so my fingers could still work the latch…

On to the details.

Once I made the selection on the mounting location, I marked each of the 6 holes with a Sharpie and used a punch and a ball peen hammer to ensure accurate drilling of the holes.

Touratech sent nylon lock nuts, washers and bolts, but they do not send rubber washers. Since I was going to mount the racks on my panniers, which obviously required me to drill through them, I picked up some small rubber washers and O-rings. In the end, I did not use the O-rings; the rubber washers were more than adequate.

I then placed the little bolt through a washer, then the bolt through the rack, then a rubber washer to go between the back of the rack and the pannier. This should prevent any water egress into the pannier…

Next was the balancing act of getting all 6 bolts, flat washers and rubber washers to stay in place while I put the bolts through the holes in the panniers…

Once through, I put a flat washer on each of the bolts on the inside and secured the rack to the pannier with the 6 locking nuts provided (note how the bolts do not protrude past the nuts… very nice)…

Touratech sends you these little rubber bumpers, yet they do not provide instruction on where to place them.  I’m clueless, because the directions were in German. Guess who doesn’t speak German (the directions may be on the Touratech Web site in English, but I figured out my plan)…

I placed the bumpers in such a way that the MSR bottles would not come into contact with the bolt heads…

The first thing I noticed when I mounted the bottles was that the straps provided were entirely too long. A pair of scissors and a lighter to stop the cut end from fraying, and all was well…

Here are a few different angles of the final installation…

And a close up…

Here’s another nice feature—you do not have to unbuckle the strap to remove a bottle when needed. You can simply loosen the strap by pressing the thumb-release mechanism and pull the bottle straight up. Once finished filling your motorcycle, you can slide the bottle back in and pull the straps tight again…

Each bottle holds 33 ounces of fuel. 33 X 4 = 132 ounces, which is just over a gallon… or another 60 miles of range. Nice.

Now, there has been some comment on the location of the bottles and getting rear ended. I thought about mounting the racks on top of the panniers, but that’s where I mount my tent and sleeping pad. I thought about in the front of the panniers, but I would be kicking them all the time. I am not going to be carrying them all the time, just when taking long journeys to places where finding fuel may be an issue… (I can adjust my awareness of morons trying to rear-end me accordingly). After a lot of thinking, I decided they were designed to carry fuel. The bottles seem extremely strong. If I get hit hard enough to damage them, I think I am going to have more to worry about than a little gas on the ground.

So that’s it. Much cheaper than the alternative Touratech 39L Tank Kit.

Time to refuel...

... 'night.

Update: Jun. 17, 2006

After some more thinking and planning, I have decided to switch things up a bit.  I am going to move the fuel bottles to the front of the panniers and put oil, coolant and water in the back.

Basically, I am going to move the rack on the right side to the front of the right pannier.  In its place I am going to put the Touratech 2-Liter Can with Spout and the accompanying Stainless Steel Holder for 2-Liter Can.  This can will hold oil. 

On the left side (rear) I'm going to put two of the 0.5-liter bottles on the rack that's already there. These bottles will hold drinking water (though I guess I could put any old bottle back there to hold coolant... or one of each... whatever).

I also will install one more Two Bottle Holder on the front left pannier for the other two fuel bottles.

My thought is that this setup will be safer with the fuel up front... and I'll be able to carry water, coolant, and oil when I head down to Mexico this year... and Prudhoe Bay on the Alaskan North Slope in 2007!

Parts are on order, so stay tuned...

Update: Jun. 26, 2006

As mentioned above, I decided to put the gas in the front of the panniers and put oil, coolant and water in the back.  Looks like this now...

Here's a few close-ups...

With this setup, I can carry an assortment of fluids.  I have the ability to carry 6 bottles in addition to the 2 liter can.  I can carry 6 fuel bottles, or 4 fuel bottles with a bottle of coolant and a bottle of water... there are lots of possibilities...

And obviously I can chose to leave off all off the various bottles and ride with just the panniers.

At the end of the day, I think this is a safer setup. 

Anyway, that's that.

Mexico is only 4 months away...

 

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