Planning a trip to Alaska, need some advice.

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Thumperstookmyballs, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Thumperstookmyballs

    Thumperstookmyballs n00b

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    So i'm planning a trip to Alaska to deadhorse with my girlfriend. We given ourselves over a month, we're leaving from New England, that should be plenty of time. Together we weigh a little over 320 lbs + camping gear, I need a bike that can handle our weight on the highway and can do some light railroading.

    We're both broke university students so I was thinking something on the cheaper side, Vstrom650. I need a bike that can handle highway speeds with our weight, I hear the weestrom gets blown around. Not too sure if there are any good alternatives for something around $4k. What do you guys recommend?
    #1
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  2. madrider5150

    madrider5150 Riding somewhere

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    I've seen lots of vstrom 1000s for around 2k
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  3. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer Supporter

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    It'a about a 10,000 mile round trip for you...you have to average over 330 miles a day for 30 days..that's not figuring in bad roads and bad weather...I head to Alaska every summer from the southeast....two months at last for me to be able to see anything and have some days to wait out weather systems.

    BTW...every bike, no matter what size, gets blown around :lol3
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  4. Motomantra

    Motomantra Registered Lurker

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    The wee is one of the worst bikes I've had for getting blown around, but I'm use to motorcycles.
    Tewster knows Alaska. Read his stuff. Go to the Alaska thread, read Alcan rider intro.
    330 daily average wouldn't be for me. Not for that trip, but I'm old.
    Either V-Strom would be my choice. The 1000 obviously has more power, The wee has "Enough." Might want to stay on pavement
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  5. Thumperstookmyballs

    Thumperstookmyballs n00b

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    My main concern is that the Vstrom won't be able to handle our weight with our camping equipment, will it be able to handle the freeway? We'll probably consider closer to two months to lessen the daily miles. I'll check out tewsters thread!
    #5
  6. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    You don't say what experience both of you have taking long trips.....so I say +1 on taking more than a month from New England. 6 weeks minimum if you want to see anything. And have a GF when you get home.
    Bike? I rode a 650 Strom from PA to AK this summer solo. I think you need more power for 2 and gear. 1000 Strom would do the job....or any other liter size bike. But....Stroms are as capable as any bike out there....and a much better value.
    Don't get stressed out about the bike....concentrate on having a great trip.
    Good Luck!!!!
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  7. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    :thumb
    The 1000 would handle the weight just fine.
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  8. Bearded Hooligan

    Bearded Hooligan Moto Addict

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    I did it from the South East, averaged 350 miles a day for a total of 14k miles in 40 days. Just make sure that whatever you buy, you know to work on it and be willing to adjust schedule due to road conditions and bike repairs. A Sena would help a lot as well.
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  9. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    Yep - you can do it on anything, but if you’re stretching your budget already there won’t be a lot left for dealer repairs along the way - pick something you’re comfortable working on.

    Most of my wrenching history is with BMWs so I’d lean towards those. You can find an 1100 or 1150gs for under $4k and those would handle your load. You could also look at 1100/1150R bikes - not as popular so good deals to be had.
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  10. holckster

    holckster dougholck Supporter

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  11. slobinski

    slobinski easily amused

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    I rode a fully loaded 2009 Wee to Alaska solo in 2011; it was fine for that. Got 50+ MPG and was 100% reliable, and that 5.8 gallon tank allowed 300-odd miles range, though it was no hotrod. Two-up I'd definitely recommend the DL 1000. Tons of good used ones out there. Made the same trip on a Tiger 800 a few times, (plenty of power, great handling). Can't speak to how they are two-up.
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  12. KKORO

    KKORO Been here awhile

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    I went to Alaska from Michigan in 2017. I took 5 weeks, rode 10,000 miles and didn't nearly see enough of Alaska. There's a lot to see in British Columbia and the Yukon also. I'm going back this summer to see what I missed last time. A month really isn't enough time.
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  13. Thumperstookmyballs

    Thumperstookmyballs n00b

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    We have absolutely no experience, but we'll be doing a few weekend trips before we set off for Alaska.
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  14. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    Uh.....a few weekend trips is not near enough preparation for a 6-8 week moto-camping trip.
    I guess you do have youthful exuberence on your side though.
    How long or how many miles HAVE you ridden?
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  15. Thumperstookmyballs

    Thumperstookmyballs n00b

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    I've been riding for like two years, mainly in and around Boston. City miles, not too much time on the highway though and no experience off paved roads.
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  16. gpax

    gpax Honda NC750XD Yamaha XT250 Kawasaki VN-1700

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    I weigh close to the two of you. Out fitted my fully loaded V-Strom 650 with Cogent Dynamic suspension. Rode to Alaska in 2017 and to California in 2018. Plenty of power. No mechanical problems. Plenty of power. Took 45 mph side winds through Death Valley and across Texas at 75 mph.
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  17. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    90+ across Nevada to get across that waste-land ASAP!!!
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  18. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    Ever thought about a shorter trip for your first time?
    Nova Scotia would be an awesome first time experience! Camp at Meat Cove.
    Lovely scenery, wonderful people.....and a helluva lot closer!!!
    I really don't want to piss on your parade.....but I want you to ENJOY your trip....not just endure it. Alaska will be there longer than you.
    #18
  19. outdoorsman

    outdoorsman Lets Ride! Supporter

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    ^^^this! How about a trip to yellowstone, glacier, banff, jasper, etc? Come out to California, lots of riding here.

    Id go on shorter trips and stay closer to home if you lack experience and skills. Riding two up with a heavily loaded bike in less than ideal conditions is a recipe for pain and suffering. Especially with a limited budget, if things go wrong, you'd be in more debt.
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  20. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    @Thumperstookmyballs (great handle, by the way, though I think maybe there's more to the joke than I get...)

    Look, you're going to get a lot of advice - you already have, and so far none of it is bad - and a lot of it going to say that's a crazy idea. And, yeah, it is a crazy idea. A few weekend trips on a new bike is not really "enough" preparation for what is going to be a truly serious trip even if you take two months, and a truly arduous trip if you keep it to a month.

    That said, if it's what you want to do, and you can get away with it, I'm firmly in the supportive camp - maybe I'm just an enabler? I don't know.

    If you're in though, and you survive your weekend trips and still want to do this here are some things to consider:

    First, if you're the rider and she's the pillion, she is literally trusting her life to you. Keep that in mind. A couple of years ago I set out on a sidecar trip as the primary pilot with my wife, our then seven year old son and two dogs as passengers. The plan was to be on the road for a year. I suppose there were lots of things to worry about. I worried about one: not killing my family. Seriously. I had a great time, but I had that in the back of my mind and did my level best to not "push it".

    Second, which maybe goes along with the first, before you start, give yourselves the freedom to quit at any time. Quitting could mean calling a day short, not starting out at all, deciding not to go "all the way" or simply parking the bike and flying back to New England. Pushing yourself to go more miles in a day, go faster from point to point, to get "to the end" can easily put you in a position to overlook risk factors and make bad choices. Sure it's cool to say "I made it all the way to ____," but it's better to have fun and be alive to remember it.

    Third, .....well, you know what - you just asked for bike advice, and I already gave you more than that. So how about this, I'll shut up about all that sort of stuff and give you something really useful: do you know about the tent space thread here? If not, find out about it - it's great - the people you'll meet if you use it will likely be the best part of the trip. Also, though we're not on tent space and we're currently still homeless (having sold our house to fund the above-mentioned trip), if you get to western Washington look us up and we'll find a place for you for a night or two.

    ride safely -
    josh
    #20