1. eNewsletter Sign Up

What bike?, Any Bike?, to AK

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by GR8ADV, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Safety Second!

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,505
    Location:
    Bellevue
    Now I have never made this trip so I may be wacked out here. So set me straight if ya can before our trip next spring. BTW making the trip on a 1200 GSA and a 650gs.

    Ok a DS survives a fall better that a plastic coated sport tourer. But a 600-750 lb two wheel bike on gravel road, deep or shallow, is two wheels on a gravel road, regardless of the bike, within reason. Heck a low CG harley may be easier. lol.

    DS's provide, better crash protection, ground clearance, and suspension travel than your everyday, say RT (to keep it in the family), for example. I have not seen much in the ride reports regarding anything more than gravel roads, which most any bike with knobbies should/could handle. I assume there are some good DS roads up in AK, I just don't seem to see many/any in the RR's I am reading.

    If anyone can point me to some interesting threads or trips in this regard that would be great. Would love a little 'adventure' on the trip, if ya know what I mean.
    #1
  2. vegasphotog

    vegasphotog Las Vegas Cheechako

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,333
    Location:
    Covered in Desert Dirt since 2007
    Any bike can make it. It is the rider. Whatever you enjoy the most. Read the 1000's of trip reports to Alaska. Lotsa good info.
    #2
  3. akrider

    akrider mild adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,848
    Location:
    Anchorage, Ak
    Stop planning to crash. Just hit the road and take whatever the road throws at you. Take your time, stay within your skill level and enjoy the experience.
    #3
  4. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Safety Second!

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,505
    Location:
    Bellevue
    What are you talking about?? Who is planning on crashing??? The reference I make to crashing is just that a DS bike has better crash protection than some of the other road worthy (RT, Honda, HD) bikes that can ride the AK gravel roads as good as any other bike, DS or not.

    What I am looking for are some good DS 'offroad' opportunities in AK if they exist. Most all of what I read about is 'off pavement' ie gravel roads.
    #4
  5. AKtracks

    AKtracks Kilted Fükengrüver

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,261
    Location:
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    There are, literally, tens of thousands of miles worth of trails for DSing in AK. In the Interior, they're everywhere. A couple things to keep in mind though...

    Lots of land in AK is Federal Reserve, etc.... meaning you can't take motorized vehicles across the land. Many/most of these lands aren't marked, but you're still responsible for not crossing the lines.

    Many of the "trails" are on or cross private property. Some of the private property is owned by people that want to remain separated from society. Many of these land owners own firearms, and use them as a greeting tool.

    For the most part you won't run into these problems often, and as long as you respect the land and others using it you shouldn't run into any problems.
    #5
  6. Tom S

    Tom S Can I ride it? Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,374
    Location:
    Anchorage Alaska
    Tens of thousands?! I strongly disagree. I'd like to see a thousand miles of trails that we could ride. Down here we might have had a couple hundred at the most, but that was many, many years ago. I think I rode all of them in this area. Now there is pretty much zip. "No motorized vehicles allowed." :baldy
    I do agree that in the Interior there would be a lot more to chose from.
    #6
  7. Exurban

    Exurban Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    822
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    I think a DS gives you the best versatility for changing conditions. Their gravel roads are not like our gravel roads down here. While they may be "anything more than gravel roads" the quality of them varies markedly from mile to mile. All of the sudden hitting a freshly graded section with soft dirt or pea gravel will severely test your riding skills on any bike, much less a barge-like luxotourer. The summer road construction sites of otherwise paved roads looked like they were carpet bombed. There are extremely skilled riders who can ride anything on those roads. I'm not one of them. My GS is heavy but think it the best bike for me and the extent of my trip last year. I did meet a couple riders on cruisers who were absolutely scared shitless of the construction zones they rode through and would have to ride again. And, I got passed on the Top of the World Highway by an HD like I was standing still. If it didn't take me 6,000 or so miles to get there, the conventional wisdom from experienced locals is that a 650 DS is the best bike for up there. Yes, any bike can do it. It all depends on one's skill, comfort level on a given bike and one's self-assessment of risk management.
    #7
  8. AKtracks

    AKtracks Kilted Fükengrüver

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,261
    Location:
    Fairbanks, Alaska

    Yes Tom, I would agree that my statement doesn't apply to Anchorage/Kenai Penninsula, but that's a relatively small and highly populated part of the state. Once you get out of those areas there are old mining, logging, hunting and mushing trails everywhere.
    #8
  9. AKtracks

    AKtracks Kilted Fükengrüver

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,261
    Location:
    Fairbanks, Alaska

    :lol3
    That's the best description I've heard for it yet.
    :thumb
    #9
  10. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Safety Second!

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,505
    Location:
    Bellevue
    I am in the early planning stages. Any advice on a couple I should not miss? Here is roughly where we will be.

    Tentatively we are heading north and east out of seattle through Jasper, hang out at Liard HS's, check out the Canadian Icefields (and the parkway haha), North on 4 from Watson lk to Carmacks, Dawson City to Tok, maybe check out the Ice Museum on our way to PB. Back down to the Denali hwy and off to Homer/Sewerd/Valdez (not sure which) for a day of fishing before heading off to Haines for a boat ride to Prince Rupert and then a nice ride home through beautiful BC.

    thanks for any thoughts of creative detours that may be of great interest. Would love to find a cool place to watch bears get their fill of fish.

    hmmm maybe I should make this a separate post...

    ken
    #10
  11. AKtracks

    AKtracks Kilted Fükengrüver

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,261
    Location:
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Hmmm, can't think of anyplace that you could watch bears fish from the roadside (at least not a place that is regular enough to be a sure thing) but there are some good side trips off the Denali Highway (some info available here). You might also want to plan a side trip over Hatcher Pass on your way to/from the Anchorage area. Hopefully all the fires will be under control by the time you get here.. it seems there's a fire everywhere you look in the Interior.
    #11