One of the long term projects I've been working on is having a run of aluminum gas tanks created. This, other than cams, seems to be one of the last areas of modification for the bikes, not very commonly done. I am to the point of having a prototype completed and ready for replication over and over again. They would be individually hand made, pressure tested and sealed, ready for paint and installation. The production of the tanks is extraordinarily expensive, hence the costs.
They would come in raw aluminum (non-painted) and be a very close approximation of the stock tank in terms of dimensions, capacity, fitment (stock mounting points) and fit both SP1 and SP2. They would use stock fuel pumps and accept stock gas caps or aftermarket versions. Essentially, be a direct replacement to the existing tank, minus some very minor cosmetic differences.
The only two caveats to them are: First, they would not
work with stock airboxes. But I think many of the people interested in them would not be running them anyway. Second, the defined lines of some of the relief areas on the tank would not be as pronounced. Parts that need to be recessed and defined would still be there (for the front of the seat, the tail "ears" where they touch the tank and several other small areas like the pivot point and mount at the triple).
I know there are several manufacturers out there who specialize in lightweight tanks, but from what I have seen, they all have very long lead times and are very expensive.
Other options like fiber-based tanks (with bladders) can also serve the same purpose, but I just like the longevity afforded by metal.
My goal for the project was to lose weight at the highest point of the bike. The stock tank weighs ~12.5 lbs without pump, cap or liquid. The goal for the replacement aluminum tank would be ~5 lbs (a savings of ~7lbs or almost 60%). I also wanted to offer the replacement tank as a unique, sort of "final" modification for owners of the bikes who have already pushed modding to the limit.
So ultimately, my question (see poll) is whether there is actually a market for this and would people be willing to buy them. I can probably answer my own question by just having a bunch of them made and finding out whether they sell or not and at what price. I just thought another avenue would be to ask fellow riders what their opinions were. I'm hoping to get honest feedback and thoughts on the project, which is why I posted and didn't just roll the dice on production already. I know there are lots of very experienced owners on SZ who can help.
This isn't really a group-buy type of thread. As like most entrepreneurial endeavors, I will just front the money and hold the inventory. I'm certainly not looking for any type of commitment, but I'm just wondering what others feelings are on having a relatively expensive modification available for their bikes.
Thanks for reading and your opinions!