Tire choice for Dalton and Dempster Hwys.

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by beemerphile, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. beemerphile

    beemerphile Long timer

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    Planning a trip there in June of 2012. Would appreciate tire advice. I flew up last year and holed a rental SUV tire on the Dalton just before the Arctic Circle. Budget Rent-a-car didn't appreciate my sense of adventure. Looks like carcass strength is as important (or more?) that traction attributes. I am riding a R1150R with 120/70-17 front and I have both 5" and 5.5" wheels available for the back. Normal fitments for these are 170/60-17 and 180/55-17 respectively. None of the choices in these sizes are standouts. I had hoped some Ulysses fitments would do well, but there is no consensus there. The Distanzias in this size are soft supermoto compounds. The Pirelli MT60's don't seem to wear well. I've used Dunlop 616's and hated them.

    What tires should I use? Will the 150/70-17 Conti TKC80 normally used on the GS work with the wider 5" wheel or do I need to find a GS wheel? Other recommendations? What about the front?

    Tires are my only real concern for the trip. I've got 40+ years of riding exp. including lots of off-road time.

    Any insight appreciated.
    #1
  2. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    With that much experience, just make sure the tires you choose are round, black (usually), and inflated when you start north. Virtually every style of bike, with every tire choice available (other than drag slicks) has made it to Deadhorse.
    #2
  3. Kul Mom

    Kul Mom aka sKul Marm

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    BP-
    I have been to both places, Deadhorse and Inuvik. The trip to Deadhorse in 2006 on a 2006 R1200GS with new TKC 80's and the trip to Inuvik in 2011 on a 2007 R1200R, my current bike. The R12R had/has a Pirelli Scorpion Trail (120/70 R 17) on the front and a Pirelli Scorpion Sync (180/55 ZR 17) on the back. Two different trips - two different experiences. The Deadhorse trip was on some of the worst the Dalton had to offer and the 80's were amazing - no problems. The Dempster trip was with near perfect weather and I had a flat between the Arctic Circle and Fort McPherson. We repaired the flat on the road, had it fixed in Fort McPherson, and replaced it in Dawson City. My traveling partner on the Dempster trip was my son, Scott. He rides a GS and had TKC 80's - no problems. In any case, Jack was right - you can get there on just about any bike and just about any tire. Some bikes and some tires are easier than others but it can be done. The difference between Scott's tire and mine was the amount of "meat" between the sharp shale road surface and the compressed air in the tire.
    Relax and have a good time!
    -KM
    #3
  4. friar mike

    friar mike IronButtGruver

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    keep in mind whitehorse is your last stop to get new tires DON"T SKIMP !!!!! its a longgggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg walk back.:thwak
    #4
  5. KHuddy

    KHuddy Big Sky Country

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    #5
  6. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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  7. beemerphile

    beemerphile Long timer

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    Oh hell, I almost forgot the gangsta walls. That would have been embarrassing.

    @Kul Mom: Your experience mirrors some others that I have heard plus my own with the SUV tire. I guess if I have to run streetable tires, the next question is which has the strongest carcass for puncture resistance? ME880 Marathons?

    I dunno. But thx for the input so far.
    #7
  8. beemerphile

    beemerphile Long timer

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    FM: Do you ship them there, tote them there, or buy them there? Is there a favorite shop?

    thx
    #8
  9. The Dick

    The Dick CFDVN/BRICK

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    WHITEHORSE IS YOUR LAST CHANCE GOING NORTH????????

    Do we forget Team Pterodactyl Canadian HQ, tires can be shipped here, can certainly be put on here, exchanged and new for this year, I am an official dealer for Heideneau tires or however you spell dat chit. I am not going to be stocking a range of tires but if you give me some lead time I can have them here ready to go.

    Why go to Deadhorse when you can do the Dempster?, oh I forgot it's that American thing!
    #9
  10. Kul Mom

    Kul Mom aka sKul Marm

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    Dick-
    If I had to pick just one, it would definitely be the Dempster. But as GusGus once said, "Been there, done that!"
    -Ellen
    #10
  11. ADVBMR

    ADVBMR Polygamotorcyclist

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    You can get tires at Adventure Cycleworks in Fairbanks. In Anchorage you can get tires at Alaska Leather or The Motorcycle Shop.
    #11
  12. Bionicflite

    Bionicflite Adventurer

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    Had TKC 80's on my GSA and now run the Heideneau k-60's
    After taking severe damage on a impact insident the tire never lost air and took several hours riding back to a dealer in Tucson AZ from Mexico.

    Prrof is in the pudding guys Heideneau's are a harder compound and you easily double your wear over the TKC 80's

    Attached Files:

    #12
  13. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

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    But it doesn't come in orange - guess I could mix the red and yellow together...................:hmmmmm

    I'll be doing the same trip at about the same time - maybe we'll run into each other :D Oh, since this is about tires I was planning on running the Heidenaus.
    #13
  14. Tosh Togo

    Tosh Togo Long timer

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    :clap

    I rode Dempster Highway in 1992 with a Conti hard-compound street touring tire in back, an ME33/Lazer on the front. :1drink

    Put a small dent in the rear wheel somewhere along the way, but no worries with the tires. :D
    #14
  15. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Rode my Versys up there this summer and here's what I used. I don't know the width of the rims off the top of my head, but the bike has 17 " rims front & back, so I put tires that are technically rear tires both on the front as well as the back of the bike. I put Metzler Tourances on the bike when leaving Key West, FL; a 130 rear up front, and a 150 rear in the back. I then shipped ahead of time a set of TKCs (same sizes, also both technically rear tires) to the Air Force Lodge in Watson Lake, YT. In Watson Lake, YT I put the TKCs on the bike and from Watson Lake, I ran to Dawson City, then Inuvik, then back down to Dawson City, Top of the World Hwy to Fairbanks via Tok (with a side trip to Eagle). By the Time I got to Fairbanks the rear TKC looked as though it had about 1K miles left on it, but to be safe I put a new TKC on in the rear for the trip up to Deadhorse and back down to Fairbanks. I then put the old TKC back on in Fairbanks and easily put another 1K miles on it: Fairbanks to Anchorage, side trip down to Seward & back, back to Tok via Glenallen (with a side trip to Valdez), and then back to Watson Lake. In Watson Lake, I put the TKC that I bought in Fairbanks (at Adventure Cycleworks, great guys to deal with! :thumb) back on the bike as by that time the original TKC was on the wear bars.

    I will say that TKCs were not necessary, UNLESS the weather gets real crapy; the Tourances would have probably worked. Grant it, that is a HUGE maybe, and weather can change on dime up in that part of the world, so be prepared and ride with what you are comfortable.
    #15
  16. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Same!

    Gezz they don't have grey to match our bikes so it looks like we can't go...:D

    We are too, we fly into Anchorage 3rd May 2012, faf round and put our bikes together after a sleep in or two.

    Barb says she has a dodgy dungeon she can throw us into to set em up (heated grips :evil) then a coupla close to the safety tower rideby shake down/first 1000 km service runs then off to see Alaska and cause trouble then over to D2D.

    Keep an eye out for us, we will be on two DR650s clad with a dutchie dude and chinese chick, our bikes will look like bumble bees :D
    #16
  17. Cowgirl

    Cowgirl Cougar on the prowl

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    We'll meet at D2D - I'll be the one on the bright orange Wee with the unmistakable jacket :D
    #17
  18. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Coolio ... we head up to Inuvik afta D2D before heading south for a few days.

    Look forward to seeing the unmistakeable jacket
    #18
  19. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    The legendary Dick Fish seemed to like the ME880's. That was the tire he was using when, during the 2001 Iron Butt Rally, he did the round trip from Fairbanks to Deadhorse and back in 18 hours. The road was much worse then than it is nowadays.
    [​IMG]

    Two years later he did it on a GS-A with an ME880 on the front and a Tourance on the back.
    [​IMG]

    But then... Dick was known to be able to ride just about anything, just about anywhere.
    #19
  20. Ullr

    Ullr C+ Racing

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    I don't get any extra mileage out of a Heidenau over a TKC so I went back to a TKC for the rear. I love the Heidenau on the front though. It doesn't cup and no vibration.
    #20