Tires for the haul road

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by JustHoward, May 6, 2012.

  1. JustHoward

    JustHoward n00b

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    I am an experienced paved road rider, but relative inexperienced dirt road rider. I will riding up to Prudhoe this June on my Weestrom. Question---

    Do I need to put on knobbies in Fairbanks, or will a tire like a tourance or anakee do just as well? If I use the tourance or anakee, will there much left of the tire that will get me another 4,000 miles on asphalt roads to get back home?

    Howard
    #1
  2. KHuddy

    KHuddy Survivor

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    You've asked the age old question. Knobbies will be well worth their cost and the headache of having them mounted if you encounter wet conditions on the Dalton. That being said, many bikes have made it up and down the road with dual sport or street tires. If you are confident in your dirt riding abilities and smart enough to slow down or even stop when the conditions warrant it, then a Tourance or like tire will work. Chances are you will encounter some rain and you will assuredly go through areas where they are maintaining the road, which creates its own special calcium chloride laced mud.
    If the little voice in your head keeps bringing up the subject of knobbies, then you probably should pay attention.

    8000 miles on a Tourance, Anakee or Battle Axe is probably all that you should expect on the rear. My wife just went over 7000 on her Battle Axes and they have plenty of tread left. But, they are on a F650GS Twin and have not been ridden on the chip-seal highways you will encounter up north.
    #2
  3. friar mike

    friar mike IronButtGruver

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    KHuddy said it all.:nod but foe me about all I get on Tourance rear is 6000 miles but if I slow down if I would get more milage.
    #3
  4. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    While Kevin and Mike have offered great advice, as usual, let me add a contrarian view. Far more important than the tire tread is your riding experience/skill/ability. Riders have crashed on bikes wearing TKC80's. Other riders have made it to Prudhoe Bay and back, even two-up, on bikes with street tires mounted.

    Take your Wee and go find some gravel roads. Put some miles behind you on gravel. Get accustomed to feeling the bike wiggle under your butt, it really has a lot better grip than you will think it has. Riders who panic at the first sign of wiggle are the ones who will make the wrong move and go down. Getting used to the feel, and loosening up, will go a long way toward taking the fear out of riding off pavement.

    The first time I hit the Haul Road was as a gravel road virgin on a heavily-overloaded Concours shod with ME880 tires. Being an unabashed coward, I rode very carefully and with extreme caution. Never leaned the bike beyond the very minimum to negotiate a curve at little better than walking speed. Hit every bump along the way. After turning around, now a high-mileage gravel veteran (almost 90 miles :D ) I decided it would be better to hit just the tops of the bumps. At every curve (and there are plenty of them between the Yukon River and Mile 30 of the Elliott Hwy, where pavement started back then) I would slow to a crawl, and once pointed straight again, would accelerate to 65 to 80 mph. That little foray taught me a lot.

    Next trip took me all the way to Deadhorse, on a bike wearing Tourances that had left Key West with around 2000 miles on them and had about 10,000 miles on them when it left Fairbanks headed north. Up and back, in rain over half of the way, typical grading and maintenance going on along the route, with no problems other than potholes hiding under puddles that made the ride rather rough on the old street bike.

    Since that ride I've learned to lower tire pressures, crank up preload, ride aggressively when necessary (not fast, just making sure I'm in control of the bike, not the other way around), and still use caution.

    Your Wee is a good bike for the trip, and can do it on just about any tire you can fit to its wheels. Learn to use it to the best of its ability and you won't have a problem.
    #4
  5. friar mike

    friar mike IronButtGruver

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    the last time I went up the Dempster I was on Anakee's I had not problem but Iam a rider who has been riding for over 35 years and lives on the dirt AND it didn't rain so there are many variables to think about.
    #5
  6. Englishmatt

    Englishmatt Been here awhile

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    Without any doubt in my mind, Heidenau K60 scouts. Excellent tire that will get you up and down, regardless of weather as well as all the way home again.

    They are very hard wearing compound tires and are excellent all-rounders.
    #6