Mounting an E-ZPass on your motorcycle

E-ZPass transponder on a motorcycle

Reads reliably at toll booths, removes in a second and costs almost nothing: I think this is the best way to mount an E-ZPass transponder on a motorcycle.

In an earlier post, I wrote about mounting an E-ZPass transponder on my Kawasaki Versys because of the regular trips I’m making from my home in Ohio to Philadelphia for my work. Having now spent way too much time experimenting, and even more time thinking about it, I think I have found the best way, among the many available options, to mount an E-ZPass on my motorcycle. For maximum convenience, the best possible effectiveness and lowest cost, I mounted the transponder using magnets. Read on for the details.

If you look back at my earlier post, you’ll see I initially mounted the transponder on my windshield, the way the E-ZPass folks at the Pennsylvania Turnpike suggested, except that I turned it 90 degrees so it would fit better. (See that post also for other tips, such as shopping around when you get your E-ZPass.) That didn’t work well, as almost none of the toll booths read it. Scanning motorcycle forums, I saw that some said the orientation of the transponder shouldn’t matter (which is what the Pennsylvania Turnpike helpline person also said) while others said they had the same problem when it was turned sideways. Either way, there wasn’t much room on my windshield to attach it pointing upward so I decided to continue experimenting.

Some people just put the transponder in their pockets and don’t worry about whether it reads or not, because if it doesn’t read, the toll authority will charge you based on the photo taken of your license plate and there’s no penalty. But there are some toll booths with gates that only open if your E-ZPass is detected and, as a general principle, I simply like stuff to work the way it’s supposed to. So I looked at the other options.

Cortech Micro Tank Bag.

Cortech Micro Tank Bag.

There are several mounts that attach to your handlebar to hold the E-ZPass, but I didn’t want to pay $30 and have hardware bolted to my bike that I only really needed a few days per month. I considered buying this tiny Cortech magnetic tank bag and putting the transponder in the pocket made for a smartphone. But then I thought, “Why do I need the tank bag? All I really need are the magnets.”

It wasn’t an entirely original idea. Others have done the same thing. In the end, I think it’s the best solution.

On my most recent trip across Pennsylvania, I tested the concept by taping a magnet temporarily to the E-ZPass and putting it on my tank, which had it pointing directly upward at the overhead readers at the toll booths, an angle not possible on my windshield. The same toll booths that didn’t read it on the previous trip were able to read it just fine this time.

The single magnet I already had was strong enough to hold the E-ZPass in place, but I wanted more security. At the local big box store, $2.39 bought a package of two magnets identical to the one I already had. I thought about using all three, but that seemed like overkill when I tested it. The two were plenty strong enough to hold the light, plastic E-ZPass in place.

E-ZPass transponder

Gluing the magnets in place on the back of the E-ZPass unit.

As shown in the photo above, I used super glue to attach the two magnets to the back of the transponder, leaving the motorcycle tag visible. Then, to protect the tank from scratches from the magnets, I glued pieces of soft rubber foam cut from an old bath tub mat that was being discarded. Another good option is the shelf liner material my wife uses in the kitchen cabinets that hold our glassware, but I didn’t have any extra of that. I’ve seen other riders who use tank bags place a sheet of shelf liner between the tank and tank bag for extra protection against scratches. The photo below shows the soft material glued to the magnets.

E-ZPass transponder

Soft rubber material puts protection between the magnets and the gas tank.

The end result is an inexpensive, very convenient way to mount an E-ZPass on a motorcycle. When I stop, I can instantly remove the E-ZPass and tuck it in my locking saddlebag or a jacket pocket so I don’t have to worry about it being stolen. I don’t have an unneeded mounting system in place when I’m not using it.

E-ZPass transponder

The end result: secure, convenient and effective.

I know some people are so careful about protecting the paint on their motorcycles that they will choose not to go this route. I understand, though I think my protective material will prevent scratches. (I’ll report back if otherwise.) In my case, however, my Versys is a workhorse. I put lots of miles it and ride it in all kinds of weather, so scuffs and scratches and worse are inevitable anyway.

Paying tolls was always one of my least favorite things on a motorcycle, beyond the cost, because of the difficulty of handling money with gloves on. I still don’t enjoy paying tolls, but this E-ZPass solution at least makes it easier.

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2 Responses to “Mounting an E-ZPass on your motorcycle”

  1. Roger says:

    That looks like a good idea but does it get in your way on the tank?

  2. Lance Oliver Lance Oliver says:

    The upright riding position of the Versys means that the E-ZPass is not in the way, even when positioned as shown in the photo. On a sportbike, it would be a different matter. In any case, the advantage of the magnets is that it can be moved to a different position if it does get in the way, even while riding. Unless you have a plastic gas tank.