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Bike Ideas.... Alaska!

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by AaronBodenham, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. AaronBodenham

    AaronBodenham n00b

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    Mount Pleasant Iowa
    Well here goes: We are planning a trip to Alaska next summer (actually up to Tuktoyuktuk), and I think this winter would be a great time to snag up a bit more of a distance bike. I currently ride a 2002 Vstrom 1000, and I feel that it just isn't quite right for this trip. I am happy with its performance, but distance comfort was not put on the top of the list when designing this bike, therefore I'm looking for something different.

    The new bike would probably be touring focused, so shaft drive, wind protection, storage, and range are all pretty important. Oh, and I am on a bit of a budget. I've looked at ST1100s and Connie 1000s, but haven't had a chance to ride either, and I'm wondering if there is anyone out there with other ideas for what I'm looking for. (I've also done my research on FJRs and C14s, that is just a bit much for me right now).

    Thanks for looking!
    #1
  2. rat

    rat Dirty Hippie

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    Uhhh. Tuk is not near Alaska... well, sorta... but it's still a pretty big distance.


    Also… have fun. But do your research. You are about to encounter mosquitos the likes of which you have never encountered in your life. Honestly, were I you... I'd be more focused on a bike that can be easily fixed no matter where you are, has an abundant part supply, and is as SIMPLE as shit to work on. Get the hell away from Sport tourers for this trip. Honestly... The KLR, or similar would make way more sense.
    #2
  3. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    There were more Stroms on Dempster than GSes when we were there back in June. Just get better seat, good tires and Scot oiler there is nothing wrong with 'strom.

    EDIT: mosquitos are fine much better than gnats in Florida, really nothing to write home about.

    Visited provinces:
    [​IMG]
    Visited states:
    [​IMG]
    #3
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  4. rat

    rat Dirty Hippie

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    Hey, you do you. I lived in the far north for much of my life. All through the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Labrador.
    #4
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  5. sieg

    sieg Wearing out tires......2 at a time, day after day. Supporter

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    V-Strom sounds like a perfect bike for that trip........oh never mind I see you don't think so........carry on.

    Only rode there twice, 5000 miles one way, once on a 800GS, once on a KLR. I guess I was uncomfortable all the way.......didn't realize it till now though, thanks for the heads up.
    #5
  6. rat

    rat Dirty Hippie

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    The dude finds the V-strom uncomfortable… what about that means that he's saying you must have been uncomfortable?
    #6
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  7. StumpyHamilton

    StumpyHamilton Adventurer

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    KLR, vstrom, f800gs, 1200gsa, dr650 and a smattering of super teneres and africa twins are what I've seen up here this year.

    I would stick to one of those as well, the more road oriented bikes don't have as much suspension travel, and I find that I use every inch of it with the roads here.

    Also, bring all of the spare parts.
    #7
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  8. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    I love North if not for the winter. But as bugs go you need to go to Everglades then you'll understand what bugs in the north are nothing special.
    #8
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  9. KKORO

    KKORO Been here awhile

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    I did the 10,000 mile trip last year on a stock 2004 KLR. I broke a clutch cable. That was the extent of my problems. If you are going to going off roading up there, stick with the dual sports like KLR's or DR's. If you're sticking to the main roads, pretty much any bike will make the trip without issues -- until (and it can be a big "until") construction zones. I had a couple of scares in construction zones. One was going down a freshly graded switch back going downhill after doing the Top of the World Highway just before I got to Chicken. Because of the fresh gravel, I didn't see some sand on the side of the road. A work truck was coming up the switch back, so I had to keep way to the right. Front wheel hit sand and lost traction and pushed the front end to the left towards the truck. Got out of that OK, but got the ol' heart pumping. Next spot was just passed Chicken when the construction crew was spraying water all over. I had to go through a lot of mud. I actually got stuck in about 6" of mud at one point. Both times I was glad I was on the KLR.

    Having said that, I've sold the KLR and bought a Vstrom 1000. I made a 5,000 mile ride to Newfoundland this past June. I ran into some of the same construction zone problems and the V handled everything just fine.

    I'm planning on taking the V to Alaska next June. I saw enough Vstrom 1000 and 650's up there last summer to know my 1000 will be just fine. I've got a 32" inseam and my KLR had a 37" high seat. On my toes a lot, but it was fine. The Vstrom 1000 has a 33 inch seat now, and will have a 34" seat in a couple of weeks when I get my new Adcox seat. I'm very much looking forward to Alaska next year.

    My advice would be to keep the Vstrom you have. Put your money towards a Adcox or Russell Day Long that's dropped down an inch or two, a Madstad Windshield, nice top box with panniers, and enjoy the ride. I would seriously consider if the shaft drive is the way to go. I know they rarely break down, but if it does, fixing it could be a real problem. Lots of folks have done it with no problems though.

    Which ever way you go, I'll buy you drink at Dust to Dawson if you're there.

    KKORO
    #9
  10. AwDang

    AwDang Enabler

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    It’s been done on almost every kind of bike around. There’s a pretty famous Victory Vison thats done the trip.
    #10
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  11. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    In order to get meaningful advice, you need to clarify a few things. What is the typical distance you ride in a day? When does the V-Strom stop being comfortable and why? What have you done to the V-Strom to make it more comfortable?

    I haven't found a bike that was really comfortable for me out of the box. Seats, footpegs, handlebars, let alone windshields, all had to be modified/changed to make bikes more comfortable and suited to my riding. Sometimes (especially the windshields) it took several tries to find the right solution. What changes you make really depend on your build, riding styles, etc. The same changes one rider swears by don't work for another. It's not that one is "wrong" and the other is "right", it just doesn't work the same for different people.

    FWIW, I took a 2002 V-Strom on a 12K mile ride around Mexico, most of it two-up. My wife always said it was the most comfortable bike we ever toured on. Even compared to some dedicated touring/sport-touring bikes we have had on other trips.

    As mentioned above, it might be easier to figure out what the V-Strom needs to be more comfortable than start from scratch on a bike you have no experience with. Especially since it would seem the V-Strom is a great bike for that trip otherwise. Now, if you really want a new bike, don't let us stop you from buying one. Just keep in mind that it might not work as well as you think out of the box and will require some mods for a trip like this.

    Gustavo
    #11
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  12. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    This is Victory Vision on Alcan at Mundo lodge.. scary thing we had breakfast with him in Liard Hotsprings that morning.[​IMG]
    #12
  13. StumpyHamilton

    StumpyHamilton Adventurer

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    Is there a thread/story about that?
    #13
  14. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    No thread; picture is from my phone never posted before.

    Jim was coming down the hill and ran wide not sure how because there was pretty much no bend. He mentioned in the morning he had trouble to sleep due to constant daylight I am guessing he spaced out. Yeah and he was ok waiting for RCMP at lodge he walked away from this one. Unfortunately for him he's 64 and his wife was trying to weed him off the bike so this was his last ride; never found how he faired the number he gave me was messed up.

    Get something to cover your eyes for sleep and carry red bull. Whole red bull is too much 1/2 is perfect to keep you ticking so you either need a bottle or seal rest with condom; they give away them free in Dawson City. Bunkhouse has a whole jar in every bathroom grab 'em have different uses.
    #14
  15. AaronBodenham

    AaronBodenham n00b

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    Gustavo:
    I understand what you're saying here, and it makes good sense. Right now I am running a Cee Bailey's windshield, protaper atv mid bend bars with a 1" riser, stock seat and pegs. I've done some 700ish mile days, and the plan is to kill some miles right away on the trip, doing 1000 miles a day for a few days just to burn miles to get to the good stuff. The wind protection seems to be the weak link, getting noisy and battering at high speed. If I keep the Vstom, it's just going to take a lot to turn it into a mile munching machine for me. The ST attracts me simply because it is already the mile machine. If you have some comfort recommendations for the Vstrom, I would be glad to hear some of them.
    Thanks!
    #15
  16. The_Precious_Juice

    The_Precious_Juice 2019 DL650XT Touring

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    I agree with keeping the Suzuki and making modifications.

    She is made for such trips!

    ___
    My MC bike idea is the Versys 650 (2015+)
    :happay
    1+ in the front sproket.


    Plenty of travel.
    5.5 gallons.

    If she had a 19" front she would be dialed in nicely.

    ___
    I too plan on buying in early 2019 and getting a good deal.

    The 2014+ Suzuki V2 would be a great MC too!
    I demo road her back in 2014 and loved the ride!
    #16
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  17. lrgart

    lrgart 2 wheels and a motor, I’m in!

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    Holy Bananas Foster Batman!!!
    #17
  18. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    Good luck finding premium gas up north it is more uncommon than common.
    #18
  19. beemerphile

    beemerphile Unreconstructed Southerner Supporter

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    RE: ST1100s, Connie 1000s, FJRs and C14s

    I don't think you want any of those fat pigs on that trip. I did some time on an ST1100 in that kind of riding and it wore me out. Making the VStrom comfortable seems the better bet. But then, any bike will do if you will do.
    #19
  20. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Yeah, I'm no fan of noisy, buffeting air either. But, I discovered that on an ADV style bike, where you sit fairly far away from the windshield, there was basically no windshield that would do that. I experimented with tons of windshields. Nothing sized short of a literal barn door would give me that quiet and tranquil riding experience. So I went the other way. Use a short windshield to bring the air down to below shoulder level. That way, you get clean, quiet, air around the helmet. Sure, you have to deal with more wind pressure at your helmet. It's totally worth it. Added bonus, the vents work better in summer.

    Here is what my setup looked like on the DL1K:
    [​IMG]

    I've had a short windshield on every ADV style bike since that.

    Gustavo
    #20
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