In late July of this year (2018) I was riding in the eastern San Diego County mountains when I encountered an unexpected problem on a sharp left hand blind curve. As I approached the curve I observed what appeared to be loose decomposed granite on the road surface. I attempted to “thread the needle” by staying in the right hand car track, but as I reached the apex at near maximum lean angle I lost the front end in some loose stuff I hadn’t seen and went down, sliding into a shallow drainage ditch. I slid 102 feet in the dirt ditch on my left side holding on tightly to the handlebars so the bike wouldn’t flip over (thank God for hand guards). In a later article I will tell the whole story of my injuries and the damage to my motorcycle and riding gear.
For now I want to report on one item – the IMS 4.9 gallon plastic fuel cell, which performed amazingly well in very difficult circumstances. Ever since Matt Guzzetta finished designing and began producing the Don Vesco “skinny/fat” tank back in the early 1970’s, I’ve been a believer in plastic fuel cells for dirt bikes. In 1974 I purchased a new XL-250 Honda single 4 stroke and after stripping off some extra weight and installing a Vesco plastic tank I entered the Tecate 500 and trophied. From that time on I’ve never had a metal tank on any motorcycle that I used off-road except for the KLR650A, but that’s another story.
In 2002 I purchased my first DR650SE and have since logged more than 250,000 miles on and off road on several different year models. At present I operate a 2018 model set up for the street and a 2011 set up for off-road.
Both of my DR650SE’s are equipped with translucent 4.9 gallon IMS fuel cells which fit great and tell you at a glance when fuel needs to be replenished. One of the many things that Stephen Murray, IMS’s expert, told me is that the material the tanks are made of is very tough, which turned out to be true. As I reported above, when I lost my front end I slid into a ditch and followed it for 102 feet. Because the tank bulges a bit up front, the knees which were behind the bulge were somewhat protected. Despite the numerous heavy scratches on the lower left lobe of the tank, no cracks or leakage occurred. If I wasn’t such a compulsive I would just sand out the scratches and go riding; but alas, new is prettier.
By the way the extra fuel range over stock is great. My 195 mile round trip from my home in La Mesa to Ensenada, Baja is easily done on one tank with some fuel left over. Viva IMS!!!!