Tire choice for Dalton and Dempster Hwys.

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

  1. Rastus

    Rastus World Traveler

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    There is no substitute for Common Sense! You have to ride for the road conditions. If Common Sense was common Everyone would have it!
    #41
  2. BordenBmw

    BordenBmw TheFrenchRider

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  3. Brendon@TMS

    Brendon@TMS The Motorcycle Shop

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    I'll add my $.02 in here...

    First and foremost, I've never done this ride so take my advice with a grain of salt!

    I have, however, worked at The Motorcycle Shop since 03 and listened to stories of riders departing and returning from that ride. Here's the consensus:

    TKC80's are the most common, and from what I'm told, the best option for a "no frills" ride to encounter any weather.

    Are there other options that people have had better luck with? I'm sure, but the vast majority of riders like the TKC80 and have been using it for years. Also, they're modestly priced compared to your other high quality tires, which certainly doesn't hurt.

    You're on an R1150R, right? Smashing bike, I love the roadsters, you don't see too many of them around.

    The biggest problem you're going to face isn't so much which tire to run, as it's the diameter of your front wheel. The reason the GS's have larger front wheels is it allows them to run over more obstacles and maintain momentum through rough stuff. The bigger the wheel, the better the rolling capabilities. The other side of the coin is that larger wheels weigh more and slow down your handling. Your R1150R is a fairly sporty ride, and BMW didn't want to compromise that, so you received a 17 front.

    Can you run a 19 front from a R1150GS? Sure, but you will have to figure out a fender situation which will be more trouble than it's worth.

    I'd run the 5" rear wheel, throw a TKC80 on there, and run a Distanzia on the front (they're available in a dual sport compount/load rating).

    We keep a full stock of dual sport tires and have several of those 120/70 Distanzia fronts in too.
    #43
  4. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    First of all, I have to admit that I've never run a Distanzia, so my comments also deserve to be taken with a dash of salt. But from what I've read, they don't do all that well in muddy conditions. According to Continental's website the TKC80 is available in 120/90-17 (rear) that might fit inside the fender. (Another place on the website indicates a 120/70B-17 is available, but websites are not always up to date with their information.)

    The TKC80 is a popular tire for good reason. The only times I've had one slip is when I was near the top of Atigun in fairly deep snow. Still, never got stopped.
    #44
  5. Brendon@TMS

    Brendon@TMS The Motorcycle Shop

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    Agreed, TKC80 is the best option, but personally, I'd rather not run a "rear" tire on the front. Rear tires should have a higher load capacity, but that might mean a stiffer sidewall and adverse handling characteristics.

    Again, just bench racing, I have no practical experience to back this up.
    #45
  6. marbee40

    marbee40 Some Fear is Good Supporter

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    Awesome tire but won't last as long as TKC's, nor handle as well in the asphalt curves. I ran multiple sets of 606's down in Baja and around San Diego for a couple of years on my XRL. Awesome off-road but they squirm too much on the highway. Slowing down isn't an option...for me.
    #46
  7. marbee40

    marbee40 Some Fear is Good Supporter

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    Just cough up the dough for the TKC's or K-60's.

    I've been to Inuvik on the XRL running TKC's and was very pleased. 2300 miles round trip plus another trip out to McCarthy/Kennicott(sp), and a bunch of short local rides before the rear was getting sketchy. Maybe 3500 total miles on the rear? I hammered the throttle every chance I had on the way to Inuvik (Dempster). On the way home, the Glenn Hwy from Eureka to Palmer was as wet as could be. I forgot I was on a clunky ol' Honda with semi-used knob's and really layer her over through the curves.

    Also, had TKC's on my R1150GSA which I have absolutely rallied on with ZERO complaints. Spooned on a new set before D2D last year and still have plenty on the front...rear is toast. Last years run from Chicken into Dawson was semi-miserable due to rain. I was riding two-up and never worried about my tires. Ran the Poker Run route in reverse w/ AKMud (at a decent clip) and the tires were great.

    In my mind, this is where the TKC really show's what a great tire it is....confidence in the curves on asphalt. Totally readable tire as far as feedback. Is it as sticky as a road-only tire...no, but for a knobby it is great.

    Can't speak to the worthyness of the Heidy-now, but some like it for the same reasons as above. Unfortunately there aren't many 60/40 50/50 choices out there. Shop around EARLY for the tires and get them shipped north soon.

    Have a great trip! Plan for the worst, hope for the best!
    #47
  8. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    While a stiffer sidewall can affect handling, load capacity is based on how many moles of gas can be stuffed inside the carcass. On the Haul Road (and other long stretches of gravel) I'll usually drop my tire pressures around 30% and I doubt that most sidewalls, regardless how stiff, are going to be able to compensate for that.

    The 21" TKC, used primarily on such lightweights as the KLR, DR, and other dualsports that put little weight on the front tire, does well with the soft, flexible sidewall of that tire. But my guess is the R1150R is noticeably heavier up front. My GL1800 runs an Avon Gripster rear tire on the front and it handles as well as an ME880 made for the bike. Of course, it also plants a fair number of kgs onto that tire.
    #48
  9. Dahveed

    Dahveed Sumo Biker!

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    Reading this thread and am now confused. I thought the only way to get into Denali was on a bus (reserve ahead). Do I have this wrong?
    #49
  10. Dahveed

    Dahveed Sumo Biker!

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    I carry a SPOT and a PLB. I know of a guy whose spot had the wrong GPS coords and he waited a few days for help. So a backup is maybe not a bad idea.
    #50
  11. cybrdyke

    cybrdyke In the Dark

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    Yes. You do. He was talking about the Denali HIGHWAY, not the park.
    #51
  12. Dahveed

    Dahveed Sumo Biker!

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    Thanks for clearing that up.
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  13. ducpilot

    ducpilot Been here awhile

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    Considering the bike and rim sizes i would look at something like the Avon Disanzia's. They are a light DS tire and have sizes that would correctly fit your bike.

    they handle gravel just fine... Mud is another story :eek1
    #53
  14. Brendon@TMS

    Brendon@TMS The Motorcycle Shop

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    Just got back from Kawasaki School, saw something interesting...

    They had a pair of Versys rims mounted with TKC's, the front was using a "rear" 130 tire usually found on the back of KLR's and the like.

    Fender clearance would be an issue, but if an OEM's going to take a chance like that you can be confident that nothing is going to explode while riding.
    #54
  15. Gezerbike

    Gezerbike I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaaa......ck

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    Sorry 'bout that. As to riding in the park, you can ride 13 miles into the park. At the 12 mile mark, there is a campground...forget the name offhand. Nice spot to camp. The buses that then take you further into the park stop right outside the campground. Just buy your ticket when you check into the park. Buses about every 20 minutes or so. You will need to make reservations at that campround well in advance, but it is / was worth it.
    #55
  16. KHud

    KHud Survivor

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    You win the lottery and get a pass to ride all the way into Wonder Lake and Kantishna................. :evil

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    #56
  17. Dahveed

    Dahveed Sumo Biker!

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    Congrats. I read about the lottery. Its in the early fall as you can go as far as the snow pack lets you, right? Its no good for me, I'll be there in July.
    #57
  18. Dahveed

    Dahveed Sumo Biker!

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    If I don't need prior reservations, I might take a bus in. I'm not excited by riding to there from Texas just to get on a tourist bus and ride in the park. Is it worth it, or will I get enough scenery on the other roads?
    #58
  19. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    Take the time.
    Spend the money.
    Do it.
    Don't forget your camera/lenses.
    Fite
    #59
  20. Gezerbike

    Gezerbike I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaaa......ck

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    After riding from Texas to Alaska, a breather might be nice. Yes, the park and the bus are worth the trip, and money. Use the park as a place to regroup, relax a little, shower, do your laundry and such. Much prettier there then say, Glenallen.

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    Another thing that I would absolutely make time for, and money, is to fly in to the park from Talkeetna ( Talkeetna Air Taxi ). We lucked out and were able to fly in and land on a Glacier @ 7,000 feet. It will take about a 1/2 day to do it, but it was probably the most breath taking thing we did and saw while we were there.


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    Fighter is right, take your time and see some of the sights you traveled all that way to get to. By the way, that is a Glacier you see wrapping around that peak...2,500 feet thick !
    #60