Motorcycle On Board?

I’m a young engineer and I’m thinking about certifying a new product for the Cirrus SR-20 and SR-22. At this point, I’m doing market research and I’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions, concerns or ideas. Your input can help me create a better product for the Cirrus community.

My company is working to provide pilots with ground transportation solutions. We believe that modern airplanes, like Cirrus, should be as convenient as our cars. We’d like to travel door-to-door without hassle or delay. It shouldn’t require a taxi to get a sandwich or a rental car to visit grandma. We need ground transportation wherever we land and it isn’t available at many small airports.

Motorcycle and RV-10 Motorcycle In Pod Motorcycle

In 2007, we began designing belly pods that allow pilots to carry a street-legal motorcycle. After landing, it takes 3-5 minutes to remove the motorcycle, unfold the handlebars and ride away. I’ve had one on my RV-10 for about a year and it has fundamentally changed the way that I use my airplane. I’ve started to use my airplane more and I’m amazed at how easily I can reach every-day destinations.

The pods may be attached or removed from the airplane in 60 seconds without tools. A built-in winch system raises the pod to/from the belly where it is secured with pins. While attached the pod will reduce cruise speed by about 5% but I remove it whenever it isn’t needed. I also use my pod to carry bulky cargo and it keeps the weight near the center of gravity. It’s long enough to fit bicycles, 2x4s, skis and surf boards!

We convert 250cc motorcycles to fit inside our pods and an electric motorcycle from Zero Motorcycles may soon be available. Some of the custom features include smaller wheels, folding handlebars, non-spill plumbing and carbon fiber body. The street-legal motorcycles carry two adults, exceed 85mph and keep up with highway traffic.

The pods are constructed from composite materials, just like the Cirrus airframe. STC’d pods will probably cost between $10,000 and $12,000 and converted motorcycles will be available for $8,000 to $10,000.

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions? Does the pricing sound reasonable? What do you think Cirrus owners will like or dislike? I greatly appreciate your feedback and I look forward to meeting some of you at the upcoming Cirrus Migration.


David Shelton, MotoPOD LLC

Hi David,

I actually think links to your website have been posted here a couple times before from interested people who ran across it. Very interesting idea! It’s not a viable solution for me personally since I almost always travel with my 2 small kids, but I see how it could be useful to many. The big question I had, when I first saw it, was weight. As you may know, many Cirruses, especially the newer ones, suffer from a lack of useful load (at least according to some people - as with everything, there’s a range of opinions here).

I’m just curious how much the pod + motorcycle + winch + attachment hardware would all weigh.


Are you saying the pod alone will cost $10,000-$12000? And then the motorcycle another $8000-$10,000? So it would cost between $18,000 and $22,000 to have transportation when I get on the ground. Those motorcycles cannot carry your luggage can they? Sounds like rental cars are a better deal!


I think the attraction is not that the motorcycle pod saves money over a rental car, but rather that it allows you to have ground transportation where it would otherwise be unavailable. Small and/or private strips, for example - the strips on the outer banks come to mind. Or even regular airports when you arrive after hours. One of the issues we face when planning weekend trips is that if we plan to go somewhere after work on a Friday, you usually need to plan at a class-D or larger airport if you expect to have an FBO open past 6pm or so.

I agree the $18k to $22k puts the price above what I personally would want to spend, but then again I’m flying an old 6 pack with no plans to upgrade. For those who buy new planes every year or so, or spend upwards of 75-100k on new avionics systems, etc. one could make the argument that the $20k motorcycle provides more additional capability, at lower cost! [;)]

You missed the point Brian.

What you do is;

Buy the pod

Buy the motorcycle

Throw away the motorcycle.

put your dog in the pod.

That way, you arrive fresh, and the cabin doesn’t smell from dog.


Not practical! I would love to see you go to an outer banks airport late on a Friday evening and get out of the plane and get you, your wife, and two kids on the motorcycle to drive to the hotel/motel wher you are staying. Oh, and did I say you had to carry luggage too?

if this system were given to you for free it would still not work for you![:#]


You have just officially been kicked out of the dog lover’s society!

Well, rats to you too.

Which is why in my very first reply in this thread, I said:

I was just trying to point out that I don’t think the motorcycle concept is to save money versus a rental car, but rather to allow SOME people (those without kids, and maybe dogs [:)]) to get around on the ground after landing at locations and/or times where ground transportation is otherwise unavailable.


I think the only people that would consider something like this are:

  1. People who fly alone. How many people can fit on that motorcycle?

  2. A cirrus is already “weight carrying challenged” without adding any extra weight.

  3. What does the pod weigh?

  4. What does the pod plus motorcycle weigh? Would that thing even get off the ground?

  5. If you are landing in such an out of the way place where are you going to get gas for the motorcycle?

Ironically, you of all people, forgot the most important question.

What are the legal liabilities and legal implications associated with such a venture.

I don’t understand how you missed that one.


I believe other Cirrus owners share your concern, which is why we’re tracking weight very carefully. The combined weight of the pod (45 lb) and motorcycle (220 lb) is 265 pounds. With a useful load of 1,175 pounds, the SR-22 can haul two adults (340 lb), 60 gallons of fuel (360 lb), motorcycle and pod (265 lb), 60 pounds of luggage… with 150 pounds to spare! It should be possible to utilize a motorcycle with any Cirrus model but weight will be tight on more “loaded” models. Perhaps we should offer a lighter motorcycle?

The motorcycle is a great solution for most pilots, who rarely carry more than one passenger. The average occupancy of automobiles is about 1.3 and I would imagine it is similar for airplanes. Since you usually fly with your kids, it may not be a great solution for you… at least until they grow up!



I wear a backpack for short trips and attach saddle bags when I need to haul more luggage.

Rental cars are less expensive… but owning an airplane probably isn’t the cheapest way to travel in the first place. [;)] Our prices are in the same ballpark as common Cirrus options (Perspective $15k, Oxygen $10k, Airconditioning $15k). Does anyone know which options are most commonly purchased?

We’re trying to keep our price small compared to the price of the airplane. When buying a new airplane, ground transportation can be added for around 5% more. You can be assured ground transportation at every airport (only 1/3 have rental cars) with no planning or reservations. You can hit the roads right away (21.5 min avg. rental car time) and don’t have to worry about business hours or policies. You won’t have to return the vehicle by a certain time or top off the tank on your way back. You won’t be hassled with paperwork or payment. You can drive into town on a whim, even if only for a sandwich, and enjoy the wonderful places that you fly to. In my case, I’ve found that I fly my airplane more and enjoy cross-country flying more than ever before. Motorcycles aren’t for everyone, but I’d probably cry if I had to give up my new-found mobility.

Great point Dennis. I suspect that product liability insurance will be cost prohibitive. Are you a lawyer by any chance?

We have had enough legal problems to think about on this forum. I deliberately DID NOT want to think about it.


You asked for feedback so thought you would want honest feedback. The fact that the average car carries more than one person (1.3 and your stats) is what makes this of limited utility. You cannot carry more than one person in the plane or the motorcycle with this contraption. Many of my trips require departing with full feul, not 60 gallons.

Your system cost MORE than all the Cirrus options you mentioned and you get less utility than any of those options.

So if you want this to fly it needs to be half the price and less of a weight penalty.


Perhaps for you (and me too BTW), but I think there are people out there that want the feature - its a lifestyle thing. Get there, haul out our motorbike and off you go. Its not for everyone - that is for sure and certainly any of the loaded turbo models with limited useful load anything that adds any weight is a concern. FWIW, if I wanted to do it (I don’t) I could put my wife on board, full fuel, the Pod and bike and have about 53 lbs for bags. Since I have an older plane, that’s possible. In a newer Turbo like yours, well if its possible - its marginal. In a plane with limited useful load, its probably only a one person option with full fuel. And marginal with 2 even with fuel at the tabs.

The question is can they sell enough to offset the development costs? I personally don’t think that is likely in our fleet. But as someone who likes motorcycles, I think its kind of a cool idea, even if at this point in my life I am not really interested in putting it in my plane.


Glad you are here filling us in on your idea. I think your numbers above work - except (big except too) most Cirrus do not have a 1175 useful load. The early ones did (mine is around there). Newer ones have come in much heavier because owners are loading them up with options like AC, Turbos, Perspective, avionics options, etc… that were not available on the earlier planes.

The heaviest planes I have heard of have less than 900 lbs useful and I would guess that its more common than not that SR22’s come in somewhere in the 975 to 1075 useful load range. You might want to do a survey, with a 100 pounds less useful load that changes your numbers a lot. A lighter bike is probably necessary for this to work in many SR22’s.

BTW, I have seen your RV installation at OSH, its is well done and quite intriguing. I have never considered it might come to a Cirrus and I wish you well. Good luck.

Methinks he’s a lawyer by design.

What about the gasoline; how is it transported? Which motorcycle are you recommending?