Vital MX Summer Tour: Powered By Honda

The Honda EU3000i Handi has been reliably powering the mobile lifestyle of the Vital MX rig as we've been traveling all summer long, covering the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Click image for a larger version.

I'd really like to say that when I planned my summer tour that I had everything completely researched ahead of time and all dialed in, but...well, that'd be stretching the truth by a bunch. The trailer was a last-minute acquisition, and being an 18-footer where space is at a premium, there was no room for an built-in generator. But what the heck. Just wing it, right?

Covering the races the way we do, the opportunities to plug into electricity at the tracks are few and far between. Even while traveling between events, power, whether it's for something as simple as powering a laptop, is a necessary commodity. You can only spend so much time working in a Starbucks. And for luxuries like air conditioning, a microwave, or TV? You need a good source of external power.

Luckily High Point was the first race this season where I had the trailer, and the weather was fairly cool. No need for air conditioning. But I was parked next to a trailer that had a huge (and very noisy) generator that was jackhammering away through the night, right next to my open window. I quickly discovered just how much noise can be an issue with some generators.

In case you're curious, here's the interior of our happy home. The Honda has been powering everything from laptops to cell phones, air conditioners, TV, lights, TV, stereo, camcorders, get the idea. There's plenty to power.

The next event at Budds Creek? I wasn't as lucky. It was so hot and muggy that it was pretty much impossible to work inside the trailer. Luckily, I was able to borrow a spare Honda generator for the weekend from the guys at Toyota.

That's when I started doing my homework. How much power did I need? How big a generator? Where to carry and store it? How heavy would it be? Fortunately, Honda had some good answers, in the form of their EU3000i Handi, the lightest 3000-watt inverter generator they’ve ever made. That's enough power to run the air conditioner, which is probably the biggest power hog of all—well, next to the microwave—and all the other electrical items in the trailer. And between battery chargers, laptop, stereo, TV, and lights, that can be a bunch.

The Honda EU3000i Handi uses a 167cc four-stroke engine, and a very compact design. Most of the time it just lives in the bed of the Vital MX Toyota Tacoma. Yep, we used a V6 to tow around the country...but that's another story. The Handi has built-in wheels, and a folding handle that makes it very easy to move around, and offset handles that ease lifting to and from the bed of the truck. Speaking of lifting, it's only 78 pounds dry, which is a fair bit lighter than Honda's other 3000 watt generator, the EU3000iSA, which uses a larger 196cc engine, and has a larger capacity fuel tank.

Controls are dead simple, and you've got plenty of power options. Yes, you can recharge car batteries (with an optional DC Charging Cord). The 120 Volt 30 amp plug has been powering us all summer. The parallel port? You can use them to connect two like models of Honda's EU1000, EU2000, & EU3000 models, and multiply the power output.

Speaking of fuel, the Hondas have an Eco-Throttle switch on the front that allows the engine to automatically adjust the speed of the engine to produce only the power needed for you're using at the time, rather than just running at a constant speed. If the air conditioning kicks on? You'll hear the engine throttle up. But otherwise, it's just happily puttering away. According to Honda, traditional generators have to run at 3600 RPM to produce 60 hertz electricity, but thanks to the Eco-Throttle and efficient design, the Hondas can run at much lower RPMs while still maintaining the power necessary. That means less noise, better fuel consumption, and lower emissions.

In practical use? We'd guess that it gets between four and nearly eight hours of run time from the 1.5 gallon tank on the EU3000i Handi. We've run it at races, and at Camp WM (Wal Mart parking lots...a frequent home to plenty of privateer racers and the occasional moto journalist), and the low hum of the engine running has become a familiar (and not obnoxious) soundtrack to the summer. It always starts easily, and has worked pretty much flawlessly all summer. If it does start sputtering? It's either time to refill the fuel tank, or you accidentally nudged the vent on the gas cap to the off position.

After reliably powering the Vital MX trailer all summer long, we'd give this one an enthusiastic thumbs up. That's definitely a torture test, with heat, humidity, and constant running. All we've had to do is keep it fueled, and the oil fresh (changes are fast and easy). It even has a three year residential and commercial warranty. MSRP? $2,429.95, though we've seen it for less in some dealers, and online.

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