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Which Bike Would You Take to Alaska

Discussion in 'Americas' started by alprosound, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. alprosound

    alprosound HappyMan

    Joined:
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    Minnesota
    I'm pre-planning for a trip that's a few years down the road. My sons and I will be taking the bikes to Alaska. I was planning on giving my oldest son my DR650 and I'd take a new bike with my 12 year old riding pillion.

    I've dreamed of owning a Ducati Multistrada and was hoping I could justify the purchase next year by thinking I could take it to Alaska and in turn have a great bike for the many other rides I take when I return. Now, I'm not saying passion won't win over logic but while taking such a trip I must consider the fact that I will most likely have repairs along the way. Ducati probably doesn't have much representation along the way......not sure about BMW, etc.

    So, with that in mind, if you could choose any bike to take to Alaska under $15K that you would consider capable and easy to repair along the way with good parts availability, what would you choose? I'd like to keep the bike in the lower 400# weight catagory. I'd like it to be a worthy off road bike but it doesn't need to be as able as my DR. The Multi would be fine for the dirt roads I'd take it on. :ear
    #1
  2. Johnny Drunkard

    Johnny Drunkard Todo utz Super Moderator

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    2 up?

    VStrom.

    Highly unlikely it'll break: FI, tubeless tires, chain drive...what could go wrong?
    #2
  3. GuinnesS

    GuinnesS Been here awhile

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    SAMWEA OVADEA!
    What he said!
    #3
  4. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

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    I don't think there is one perfect bike for anything. Myself I took my '99 BMW F650 to AK a couple years ago and it was great. I plan to take my '07 F650 up the Haul road summer of '08. Those bikes are both perfect for me but maybe not for you.

    I like the '08 KLRs and if I was a tad taller I would consider one for me. The V-Stroms and DR650s are great bikes too. For me it always boils down to what work and is comfortable for me rather than what works for others.

    Enjoy you trip to AK, what terrific thing to do with your kids, talk about memories :clap

    #4
  5. AceRph

    AceRph Affluenza Free!

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    JD has been all over heck & gone on his Strom. Seems to fit the bill pretty well.
    #5
  6. alprosound

    alprosound HappyMan

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    The Suzuki is a great bike and I'd bet parts would be fairly easy to get. Am I wrong to be concerned about parts availability or should I maybe look at stocking some parts for whatever bike I choose and bring some with and leave some at home to ship if so needed? In that way being able to get the bike I'd prefer to get.

    How is the reliability for the KTM Adventure's? Should I be looking at those?
    #6
  7. rpilottx

    rpilottx Long timer

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    If you were going solo, I would say take anything you are comfortable with, Goldwings and Harleys have made it to Prudoe Bay. Since most of the bikes out there are very dependable, take something which allows two up riding in comfort as you will be on the bike 6-10 hours per day.

    I rode a 2002 VStrom to Alaska about 3 years ago and had to tighten a radiator clamp. I am going to Prudoe next summer and plan on using my KTM 950 (24000 maintenance free miles).

    Most (if not all depending on your route) of the ride is pavement unless you specifically plan routes like the Denali Hwy, the Top of the World Hwy, or the Haul Road. The VStrom does not shine off pavement but is good enough for these roads.

    Don't know much about Ducati products but if the bike is reliable, then get what your heart demands. You will be much happier.
    #7
  8. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv Long timer

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    Almost any well maintained DS bike will do. More important issue is, can you work on your own machine or do you rely on a mechanic??:wink:
    I did my AK trip this summer on my 06 1150 GSA and didn't even have a flat tire. Preperation is key, so is a little luck :evil . Knowing how to fix a flat is more important than what GPS to get....:lol3
    Leave with an open mind, a credit card for emergencies, cell phone and a camera so we can look at your photos...:D :D
    Have fun!!!
    #8
  9. DennyIndy

    DennyIndy Old F@rt

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    Indiana
    I am also thinking about this trip. Seems like THE ride of a Lifetime.
    Any of you with experience I am wondering.
    How much fuel range do I need for this route to Alaska?

    Attached Files:

    #9
  10. rpilottx

    rpilottx Long timer

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    I drove out of Alaska in the winter of 1987. My future wife and I left Anchorage at 4pm and drove all night rolling into Whitehorse for breakfast. My pickup only had a range of 240 miles and I was concerned about gas stations. Well, even in the winter and at night there were open gas stations every 100 miles or so.

    If you head up the Haul Road to Prudoe Bay, you will need a minimum of 250 miles. Most people just buy a 2 gallon gas can and strap it on the back of the bike. 250 miles is also the minimum for some of the remote roads in the Canadian Artic as well.

    My wife and I are riding back to Anchorage next summer. She rides a Honda Shadow with a 3.5 gallon tank and usually goes to reserve about 90-100 miles. She plans on riding that bike but does not plan on any gravel road adventures, just the Alcan.
    #10
  11. Hurricane Bob

    Hurricane Bob Long timer

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    :bueller ......another strategy is to use identical motorcycles. whatever spares are carried will fit everyone's ride.

    But in your case this would mean another DR650 and two up on it, didn't mention what you and your pillion weigh.






    :lurk
    #11
  12. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    It's nothing more than a long road and trip, really.

    Nobody needs to live off the land and eat berries for survival.
    You have a credit card, right?
    #12
  13. alprosound

    alprosound HappyMan

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    To answer some of the questions. I do most of my own work and don't rely on mechanics.....rely on mechanics!!! That's funny!:D If I could get a mechanic to get it right the first, second, thrid or fourth time I might be lazy and bring it to the dealer......

    I do like bikes that are easy to maintain.

    I will be two up with a twelve year old. The DR is not fun two up and so I was planning on letting the 17 year old take it. I was thinking about two of the same bikes for the sake of parts but I'm really leaning toward a Multistrada, KTM Adventure, Tiger or V-Strom in that order. I usually tell people to buy a V-Strom whenever someone asks me this question but buying one for myself just seems too boring for me. I love the reliability of the Jap bikes but they have no soul. However, soul versus reliability is the struggle I'm dealing with here. I really want to have a bike that will do the trip but I don't want to buy the bike for the trip. In other words when it's done I'll be taking many other trips from 300-700 mile camping trips to the Circle Tour around Lake Superior again. :freaky
    #13
  14. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    "Which Bike" threads usually do really well over on Beasts or Thumpers, no?
    There must be 10,000 posts there on exactly this subject.

    When you get within a year of your trip and have your bikes...then maybe you can actually start planning? And maybe we can help. But like Lone Rider sez:
    AK is just a road trip. English spoken, Phones work, Police you can't buy, and people who won't help you they way they will in Mexico.:clap
    #14
  15. alprosound

    alprosound HappyMan

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    :D :D +1 on that reply!! The reason for asking now, however, is because I'm probably going to buy the bike this fall or this coming spring. So while I'm pre-planning for the trip I'm also pre-planning for my new toy. :lol3 I want to get a number of trips under my belt with the bike before I decide if it's right. Just trying to make the best choice before hand since my wife doesn't like it when I switch up bikes all the time. I GOT TO DO THAT CAREFULLY.....:rofl
    #15
  16. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer Super Supporter

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    This is true. It's just another long road trip, no special planning necessary. With the exception of gravel, but of course you can find that in the lower 48 also. I wouldn't ride two-up on one of the big thumpers...I'd take a 650 V-Strom. I'm amazed at how well it does two-up, and it's still relatively light.
    #16
  17. jstcrashnthru

    jstcrashnthru Livin' the dream

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    Omawhere?
    I dunno. I think my Strom has tons of soul. :D
    #17
  18. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Well, you've gotten lots of good information in previous posts, so all I can do is to suggest you give them all due thought. With my first trip over the Alcan back in January 1962 (in a cage, naturally), friends riding up and back on a pair of Harleys in the summer of '63, and countless trips back and forth on anything from my venerable '82 Suzuki GS1100G, a Concours, and a GL1800, and knowing friends who have done it on virtually every other kind of bike of all ages - I'd have to say that as long as the bike is in good mechanical condition when you leave, you can make it on just about anything. The DL650 is about as trouble-free a bike as you'll find to make such a trip, and from what I've seen and heard from the guys (and gals) who ride them, comfortable enough for the long miles.
    That said, any bike can have a problem somewhere along the way, and while we have some interesting (and picturesque) towns and cities in the north country, they soon grow tiresome if you find yourself stuck in one of them, waiting for a vital part that has to be shipped from some European nation, or to a small village in the middle of nowhere. Get something that has parts readily available, and spend more of your time enjoying the adventure if the worst should happen.
    #18
  19. MAKETIMBER

    MAKETIMBER Blendzol or nitro?

    Joined:
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    Get A 950 Adventure.......
    Tons Of Fun Before And After Your Trip Not To Mention During Too, And A Very Capable Off Roader. I'd Make Sure You Have A Couple Thousand Miles On It Before You Leave So As To Have It Out From Under The Break In Time And First Service. You Will Not Regret All The Smiles It'll Give You. Use The Hepco & Becker Luggage, Heck The Top Case Even Has A Back Rest. :d
    #19
  20. HeadingNorth

    HeadingNorth Keep On The Gas!!

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Boise Idaho
    Are you taking ANY dirt/gravel roads?? If no,Take the v-strom or Multistrada.

    If Yes, Then what is your dirt experience, If good V-stom O.K. but not the best in the dirt. O.K. if your experienced. If you are not good in Dirt, get a KLR or DR and pratice.

    The next most useful thing I learned in taking the Dalton Hwy to Deadhorse is not to ask everybody, "How's the road ahead." What is a near death experience to rider A is a cake walk to Rider B. Not to mention conditions change almost daily of some sections so by the time you get there it will be differant.

    But the most udeful thing I learned is to be self reliable. Some part of the Yukon/Alaska are R-E-M-O-T-E. A tow would cost thousands. You must Know how to change/patch tires. Know how to repair/replace your chain. Know how to get to and clean the air filter etc. And carry the tools to do all of it. Lot's of people are happy to stop and help so you won't be lost but not everybody is going to have parts. Would it not be a bitch to have to end a trip with an expensive tow just because you broke a chain halfway between Cantwell and Paxson??

    It's a great trip and worth every penny.
    #20