Dual-Purpose vs. SUV

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by DenverCruiser, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. DenverCruiser

    DenverCruiser n00b

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    First of all, great site you guys have here!



    So, my dream is to travel to Alaska from Denver. Figure around a 2-3 week trip by myself. I had been thinking the perfect vehicle would be an older SUV (Land Cruiser). I have just gotten the idea (through you guys on this site) that maybe instead it would be better to do it in a dual-purpose motorcycle. What are the pros and cons to each, do you guys think? I do not yet own the Bike or the right Land Cruiser at this point. I know you guys will be a little biased but am wondering if you have more thoughts on this that I have not thought of so far. This is what I am thinking so far:

    Pro Toyota:
    Safety
    Possibility to sleep in vehicle
    Can take more gear

    Negatives to Toyota:
    More parts to break
    Lots more gas money
    Not as close to nature




    Thanks all, and great pictures! I apologize if this was the wrong place to post this.
    #1
  2. AKBMW

    AKBMW Been here awhile

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    Go with the bike can't go wrong!
    #2
  3. Kingsqueak

    Kingsqueak Wannabe

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    You could do that trip in a car if you wanted to.

    It's not a matter of needing special equipment to get there on four wheels. With a bike it's a more challenging ride than the daily commute on asphalt, but it's more about being on a bike than anything else.

    Car vs bike is an odd question to ask, you need to know yourself what you want from the trip.

    I would advise at least some experience on a bike before you leave your driveway for that trip as well.
    #3
  4. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    Yes, it's a little like "I wanna get laid, should I just pick up a hooker or get married?" Either way will achieve the objective, but the consqeuences and experience are entirely different.

    - Mark
    #4
  5. DenverCruiser

    DenverCruiser n00b

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    Thank you for your posts. How are the experiences entirely different? You meet more pople on the bike? You feel more independent on the bike?
    #5
  6. Kingsqueak

    Kingsqueak Wannabe

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    Not being a wiseguy, but have you ever ridden a motorcycle?

    For me

    The vulnerability of the bike makes me feel alive, as does the response, the sounds, the wind, the rain. It's not where you're going, it's getting there, on a bike.

    A simple example; riding along the shore on my bike, every few thousand feet the temperature is bouncing 20 degrees as I pass through 'banks' of a front that is stepping onto shore. I would have never noticed that in a car.

    A car is a means to get somewhere for the most part, it's not about the trip, it's about making the time between destinations as unmemorable as possible.
    #6
  7. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

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    I do believe if you have to ask you would be better off in the cage.
    #7
  8. Stephen

    Stephen Long timer Supporter

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    blah blah blah ...

    If you want to ride, take a motorcycle.

    If you want to drive, take a truck.

    WTF. :huh This ain't hard; this ain't logic; this ain't rational. Don't ask us bike morons; ask yourself: what do I want to do? If you can't come up with an answer pretty fuckin' quick, we sure as hell can't either.
    #8
  9. DenverCruiser

    DenverCruiser n00b

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    Got it.
    #9
  10. legion

    legion Honking the Horn

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    My FJ-60 is ok for sleeping in but I'd rather be on the bike anytime.
    #10
  11. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    Denver, we're giving you a bit of a hard time and I don't mean to contribute to this perception or make you feel unwelcome if your question is serious. It's just that this is one of those things where such a choice is highly individual and there's not much most of us can contribute on whether to take a trip in a car or on a bike. I like both kinds of road trips - each has it's place.

    If you're not a biker, or have never toured on a bike, I wouldn't make this your first trip. Learning to ride well and safely is a huge committment and learning to ride comfortably on a long trip is another big step. Alasaka is something that a lot of people on this forum work up to over years and years.

    If you're just evaluating this on coldly "which vehicle is more practical for a trip like this", the SUV is the way to go. It's safer, warmer, drier, more comfortable, hauls a lot more gear, is generally more reliable, can be driven on slick surfaces, can be driven for longer distances, etc. While motorcycles can occasionally go places that the SUV can't and certainly use less fuel, almost universally the folks here take motorcycles on adventure tours because we prefer the motorcycling driving experience over a car driving experience. And that preference is entirely dependent on the individual.

    - Mark
    #11
  12. Katoomer

    Katoomer Silver Surfer

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    What Markjenn said. " " Good answer. Either way, Alaska welcomes another traveler. :thumbup

    Katoomer
    #12
  13. sunio

    sunio Adventurer

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    The fact that I am browsing this forum will lead to the simple answer: take a bike!. I just returned from Alaska after four weeks on the bike. I traveled from Toronto, ON to Alaska, North West Territories and back. It was an amazing experience, and I only regret that I didn't do it earlier in my life. The roads I traveled could have been covered with my car (I don't have truck) easily and since I have a VW diesel it would have been much cheaper to do it in a car. I went for this trip with my brother on two bikes and the cost of fuel, tires, chains, oil, filters etc was higher than what would have been for the car, especially if we split in two. My bike averaged just above 4l/ 100km. My brother's 5l/100km. That's 9L vs 5l of diesel (cheaper in most places) my car burns even when fully loaded. But we would have missed on the experience, which riding the bikes brings. We don't have much riding experience and had no long distance touring experience at all before this trip. The only things to our advantage were the fact that we knew how to work on our bikes ourselves and that we've been camping since we were little kids. 28 days of sleeping in the the tent in a different location every night is not for everyone. We've done it in the past on several trips (not on bikes though) so that was easy. We've covered 18500km (11k+ miles) on this trip and when I returned home I said that if I only could leave next day for another month I would have gone back again.

    You don't need much gear for a trip if you know what to take and how to pack it. I had three cases totaling maybe 130L + tank bag and that was more than enough. The last time I slept in a car was some 15 years ago and I told myself to never do it again. It's much less comfy than in a tent where you can stretch your bones and have some breeze. There is nothing worse than a locked cage with high humidity inside when you cannot roll down your widnows because mosquitos are waiting on the other side :).

    On our trip we changed three tires, two chains and spockets, did two oil and filter changes, and checked valves all with the tools we carried and we only needed help from mechanics to undo two stubborn countersprocket nuts. Everything else we did in the great outdoors of Alaska, NWT and BC.

    Get a right bike. Take it for a few weekend trips. Get used to it. Learn now to maintain and fix it and forget about the cage. It's only good to take your kids to the church.
    #13
  14. Renazco

    Renazco Formerly AKA Boejangles

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    Your kidding right?? :patch
    #14
  15. dirtydeeds

    dirtydeeds I'm alive.

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    Get a bike.
    Leave it at home this time though. This is not a first time bike trip.
    Make sure to look up 4 wheel drive clubs. They will show you the best places to see.
    #15
  16. Rad

    Rad Done riding

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    If you have to ask; you better get the car :nod
    #16
  17. GS Spirit

    GS Spirit Downsizing

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    Sounds like you have a case of call of the wild as do many of us here and Alaska is definitely a grand destination and has three different aspects to it and ways to see it 1.by air bush pilots bouncing you to the hard to get to spots. 2. By land bike, car, or whatever but if you are not an experienced rider you might find riding long distances on dirt and gravel roads to be more of a chore than adventure. 3. By sea the coast line and views and animals have a lot to offer.

    I don't know your background but Alaska is not the place that you want to practice your survival / adventure skills nor do you have to go all the way to Alaska to have great adventures.

    Might I suggest that you go to DMV and take the test and get your learners permit there are many people here that did not start riding until later in life and will never turn back. The fun of just you the bike and the road, and sure other cool stuff is connected with riding but they are just bonuses.
    #17