Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Maximizing efficiency

I don't know if it's the resource conservation, the challenge of surviving inconvenience, or the chance to be different, but it feels good to travel on a motorcycle. I don't mean commuting on a motorcycle, but traveling on one.


We recently outfitted the red SV650 with SW-Motech Quick Lock Sideracks. The aim here was to outfit a motorcycle for weekend travel to family and friends (which we do quite often). We figured that, if we used the motorcycle for enough of these weekend trips, then we could recoup the cost of the sideracks! More on that later - but the opportunity to inject some more excitement into our weekend travel is always worth $229.


We had two Pelican 1550s that were previously acting as top cases for the red SV and the blue SV. So we sacrificed these non-matching cases to mount to the SW-Motech sideracks (saved some serious $$$ that way). After a week of test rides to work, which proved very successful, we decided to put the setup to work on a voyage to Eastern PA.

Our touring machine, 30E

I am most impressed with SW-Motech's product. First of all, the sideracks are easily-removable. So when you don't want your luggage on, it's minimal effort to take it off. This is great when you use the luggage for long trips too, because you can carry your luggage into your bedroom like you would any other bag you packed.

Second, the rack system is solid. We liberally packed (stuffed?) our 1550s with clothes, footwear, and just about everything we'd take with us were we driving in a car. So our cases were quite heavy (I'll weigh them next time). But they mounted just fine and the system of brackets hung onto our cases through all kinds of bumps, leans, and quick stops.

Third? "Nothing. There is no third thing." (Monty Python fans?)


After our weekend trip, we got an accurate calculation of the SV's gas mileage when traveling long-distance. Let's take the average miles-per-gallon for our red SV650 at the time of this writing, 55.34 mpg. Lets compare that to the average miles-per-gallon of the MR2 (since that's what we'd be otherwise traveling in), 30.46 mpg. Now let's see - I remember paying $2.49 per gallon when filling-up on our trip out to Eastern PA - and that was a good price!

$2.49/30.46 = $0.081 (cost per mile driven in the MR2)
$2.49/55.34 = $0.045 (cost per mile driven in the SV650)

So how many miles would we have to drive on the SV to save enough money to pay for the sideracks? Well, the sideracks cost $229 plus shipping - so lets say $250. The savings per mile when driving the SV is $0.081 - $0.045 = $0.036. So...

$250/$0.036 = 6,944 miles

That's not bad! If we were diligent enough in choosing the SV over the MR2, we'd make our money back within a year. Will we be that diligent? We'll see...

I highly recommend this product - I've used it transport oil change supplies for our MR2, to commute to work, for a 9-hour round-tripper, and we plan to hit the Raleigh area with it this coming weekend. Maybe this time I'll get pictures with us actually on the bike!

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