Build a Tank-Mounted Pet-Carrier or Bag

Print
User Rating: / 24
PoorBest 
Written by Randy Fox   
Sunday, 05 October 2008

Introduction

Road Star, Tank Pet Carrier, mount

After years of resisting my wife's desire to get a dog, I finally gave in and we got one -- a little female... That was three years ago.

Admittedly, I now carry more pictures of my dog than of my children or grandchildren. She has enriched my life beyond measure. But since then, I've noticed that the wife and I do much less riding together. I guess that means she prefers the dog's company to my own. Can't say I blame her.

Actually, the truth is, the idea of leaving the dog home, while we go have fun, just seemed wrong somehow. We just wanted to be together -- all three of us.

In an effort to include our pup on our rides I looked into many solutions. See Appendix - Other Options at the end of this article, for a description of other options I discovered.

The best solution, at least for us, was a tank-mounted system:

  • My pet would be within my view. That way I could keep an eye on her without distracting my concentration.
  • I would be free to focus on the road... even if she caught a glimpse of a squirrel or garbage-truck (her sworn enemies).
  • She would be tucked safely behind the windshield, and in a carrier; no Doggles (doggie goggles) required.
  • She would have enough room to adjust her position for comfort.
  • The carrier could be easily altered for warmer or cooler weather.
  • The passenger seat is left free for the wife.
  • The carrier could be quickly installed and removed, as needed.
  • We would be able to use the carrier as a tank-bag for trips where we needed extra storage, and are without the dog.

 

Unfortunately, however, I could find no existing supplier for such a product. I would have to build one myself.

Note: Try as I might, even after a severals months of search, I could not find a local upholsterer, outdoor gear manufacturer, luggage manufacturer, or pet related supplier interested in developing this idea.

In the end, I decided to purchase a ready made, soft-sided, meshed, airline approved pet carrier. This allowed me to focus my efforts on the challenges unique to my application:

  • The carrier must be held securely in place. I did this using nylon strapping and hardware I got online.
  • The carrier should sit roughly level on the tank. This turned out to be the most complicated part. I first tried using some simple padding on the tank, but my dog was nervous about her steep angle, and it wasn't very secure. Then I built an upholstered, foam, pillow-wedge to go between the tank and carrier. This looked promising... Then she moved to one side, which compressed the pillow, and the straps came loose. In the end, I built a fiberglass and plywood wedge, shaped perfectly to the tank's contours, and exactly matching the footprint of the carrier.
  • My motorcycle's custom paint job must be totally protected from any harm from the carrier/mount. This was accomplished by using padded upholstery material (sold by Home Depot as vinyl shelf liner) to cover my custom wedge. This material has a clinging quality that helps keep the carrier 'stuck' firmly in place, and even looks like black leather.
  • The speedometer must be clearly visible. I accomplished this using the speedo display on my GPS unit.

 

I have not written this article as step by step instructions for every detail. Every dog, every rider size, and every rider's preference is different. So I thought it best to share the procedures and the dimensions I used. That way, you can change sizing, materials, and techniques to fit your needs.

 

Important Disclaimer: You assume all responsibility for all risks with respect to carrying your pet on your bike. I make no claims of safety for anything written or shown herein. What I feel works for me may not work for you.



 
...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... -->



The Road Star Clinic is a collaborative community of riders who archive and publish user contributed technical data about Yamaha Road Star motorcycles.

We also sponsor the creation and support of other community websites similar to our own. Inquiries about availability of a website for your community can be submitted to us via any "Contact Us" option on the Clinic.

Copyright 2003-2007 Road Star Clinic and its respective authors. Road Star Clinic is sponsored by the folks at MLSHomeQuest.com.