Best Motorcycle for Alaska?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Alaskatundraman, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Alaskatundraman

    Alaskatundraman n00b

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    Hey Guys, just thought I would create a fun thread on Alaska Rider's! So, if you have ridden in Alaska, what do you, think is the best motorcycle in Alaska? I currently ride a 1995 Honda Magna. I would post a pic of my Baby, not sure how to post a pic of her.

    I am looking at either the S10 or the Versys1000 or 650. Thoughts?
    #1
  2. anotherguy

    anotherguy unsympathetic

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    An FJR Yamaha. They'll melt anything from your path and keep you warm. :rofl
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    What's your budget and what kind of riding do you want to do?
    #3
  4. alzyck

    alzyck Been here awhile

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    What's wrong with the bike you have?
    #4
  5. Roam

    Roam If you want to

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    Are you interested in just riding to Alaska or riding in Alaska. If you're interested in riding to Alaska your Magna will be fine though a big beast might be more fun on the dirt stretches. I rode the Alcan and Cassiar in 99 on my VFR and while I wished I had a more dirt road capable bike it did fine and of course it was great on the pavement. I would love to do it again on a Tiger 800. Unless you're riding two up I would prefer and 800 or 650 to liter bike. All of your choices would work well. If you plan on hitting more challenging stuff in Alaska, the bigger the bike the harder it is generally speaking.
    #5
  6. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    I agree. Often the bike you've been riding IS the "best one"
    #6
  7. ADVBMR

    ADVBMR Polygamotorcyclist

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    Depends on the places you want to go and type of riding you plan to do. Most bikes here are GSs and KLRs. If you're riding around Bareflanks (town and trails), a good thumper will do ya. Check into KLR, DR, DRZ, 650GS (G or F model) - these bikes will also get you down the road on the highway. The Yamaha WR250R is a light trail bike that has FI so it can do more highway than other bikes that size. In the bigger bikes, there are three classes of GSs out there (1100, 1150, 1200), and Triumph makes some great bikes, particularly the XC. The Tenere is relatively new but fits the niche. I don't know enough about KTMs to comment, other than some folks really love them.

    Because there are a lot of them around, you can find an affordable GS here. A black 1100 showed up recently on the for sale thread in the Alaska forum. You also need to think about repair and maintenance. AkTracks operates a little shop out of his home for tires and some maintenance, you might want to pay him a visit. Also, you have a full beemer dealer there.
    #7
  8. IRideASlowBike

    IRideASlowBike Banned

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    Why do you need a new bike for Alaska?
    #8
  9. canoli

    canoli human

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    ..Perhaps a chat with Mr. Bigwheel is in order :deal :lol3

    LINK

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/IAVQuqbQWWc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


    Canoli
    #9
  10. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    The ideal bike would probably be a BMW GS, or if you are on a budget, a KLR650. The last (and only) time I have been to Alaska, all the way to Prudhoe Bay, was in 1981. I went with 2 other guys in a 2/4 ton Ford cargo van, with modified suspension and all terrain tires. Everything in Alaska costs 10 times as much as it does anywhere else in the U.S., so we had the van overloaded with food and other necessities. We also had 2 spare tires, and a kerosene heater. We slept in the van, because we could not afford accommodations. The trip there and back from Phoenix, AZ took almost 2 months. While some of it wasn't that bad, some sections of the Dalton and Dempster highways were deep thick mud, and some were solid ice. There are bear on these roads, one reason for the windowless cargo van.

    However, things have apparently changed. I recently watched a video of a guy who rode a Ninja 250 to Prudhoe Bay and back. I would not try it, but then I probably wouldn't try it on any kind of motorcycle at my age (53) and in my condition. You can't carry much on a motorcycle, and a motorcycles charging system rarely puts out enough power to use an electric suit. The biggest danger, besides bear, and being stranded in the middle of nowhere, is freezing to death.

    I may be going overboard with some of this, as my only experience in Alaska was 3 decades ago. I'm sure the roads are better, but the weather will still be the same, and then there are the bears....
    #10
  11. Roam

    Roam If you want to

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    There were still plenty of bears and moose in 99. The temps were in the low 40s when I rode from Fairbanks to anchorage. Made me second guess the purchase of a perforated jacket on the first day of the trip. I bought a windbreaker and sweatshirt as I was riding up the alcan.
    #11
  12. skysailor

    skysailor Rat Rider

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    A sailor buddy of mine got this advice when he was shopping for a boat to sail to the Caribbean. Sail what you own, and do it today. He's still somewhere off Bimini......I'm still shovelling snow.....
    Lyle
    #12
  13. RForestR

    RForestR In the Woods

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    Go with what you know...you'll know when to press the bike, and when not to.
    #13
  14. dukedinner

    dukedinner Been here awhile

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    I agree. Trying to pick an "Alaska" bike or something northern will drive you nuts. I ride a KLR, but that is what I have and like. Don't forget (check out the old picture threads), the original AdvRider bikes were Harleys and they took them to some pretty amazing places well before there were forums discussing which bike is best...

    The first bike on the Dempster to Inuvik back in the 70's was a Moped ridden all the way from Toronto and back...
    #14
  15. Jon_Garfio

    Jon_Garfio Adventurer

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    ji,ji
    #15
  16. mildhog

    mildhog Long timer

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    I have 3 30 yr old bikes and wouldn't hesitate to ride any of them up North which I will do when I'm 60. I keep them maintained, I'm very familiar with them mechanically, and they're comfortable. If your present bike is comfortable, reliable and you trust it, use what you have imho. Part of the adventure!
    #16
  17. Josephvman

    Josephvman I'm the Decider

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    I've never ridden there, but based on what friends who've taken trips there have told me I'd go for something that's:

    1. Simple
    2. Sturdy
    3. Dual-Sport
    4. Huge fuel capacity


    Based on these needs I come up with a BMW R100GS Paris Dakar. Good economy and huge tank, easy to work on, dual sport, pretty rugged machine.
    #17
  18. Namecheck

    Namecheck Like a Sir!

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    I really like the bike you have, but if you wanted to check out something new then look into the GS series. You can carry or get HUGE aftermarket fuel tanks for all GS models if necessary from Touratech and their alternators will easily power a full Gerbings heated suit from the socks up. A heated suit, heated grips and handlebar covers is where my money would be.

    Oh - and a rifle for the bears. Don't get eaten by a bear.
    #18
  19. skysailor

    skysailor Rat Rider

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    I have an older DR, which would be my Alaska bike of choice.
    #19
  20. Alaskatundraman

    Alaskatundraman n00b

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    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Thanks for all the advice guys! I love my current bike, but I got the itch for another bike. The issue with my Magna is it kills my back on the bumps of Alaskan Roads. After about an hour or so of riding, it feels like my back is ready to explode... So I am looking at different bikes with maybe a better suspension. I ride my four wheeler all the time and most times, I am in the standing positions, while riding, not that I am doing anything crazy on it.. :D

    So I am looking at the S10, Versys and even the KTM 990 adventure. Some other bikes that I am looking at are the BMW GS. I test rode one around town and the highway, but it did not give me that ear splitting grin that my Magna does when I let loose the throttle...

    I also am looking at the Ninja1000 but, I am not sure how the bike is for long distance. I know it will give me a huge grin once I rip the throttle, but if the old lady wants to ride, she might not be too comfortable back there, maybe I just get here a little moped and tell her to keep up...:rofl

    As for budget, I hypnotized the old lady into $10,000.00.
    #20