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Which Bike Would You Take to Alaska

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

  1. garandman

    garandman Wandering Minstrel

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    Here's a comparison of the DL650 and Multistrada, FWIW.

    Any bike I had with "soul" must have sold it to the Devil along the way. If you want soul buy an old Triumph Bonneville when you get home!
    #21
  2. Bruincounselor

    Bruincounselor North Plains Drifter Supporter

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    Any bike can do the AlCan. It's just a road. Bruinwife learned to ride on the AlCan (on a BMW K75RT no less :eek1). It was her first motorcycle trip and she still rides regularly.

    The secret is not being in a hurry and riding your own ride. Enjoy every moment of the journey; not just the destination. Stop in Liard and soak, ride the bus in Denali, leave a dollar on the wall in the Salty Dog, and enjoy every mile in between. Camp on the ferry (if you choose to go that route - I recommend it), and enjoy the ride home.
    #22
  3. dangerz

    dangerz es veee

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    I'm planning on Summer of '09 and will be taking my SV650. Like everyone said, take what's most comfortable.
    #23
  4. alprosound

    alprosound HappyMan

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    Ha!!! The Zuke is way too reliable to have soul!:D
    #24
  5. alprosound

    alprosound HappyMan

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    Very experienced in the dirt. Been riding dirt since I was six and street since I was 13....Quite frankly I can throw my RT around in the dirt. But just because I can doesn't mean I want to though.:D I want a bike in the lower 400# range and one that will not get torn apart in the dirt. I will take some gravel but it will probably be limited time in the gravel. Even still I want a bike that's fine for both. As for the V-Strom, I happen to love the bike and I could end up owning one. I recommend them all the time to others. But I've been riding for a long time and I've owned quite a few bikes. Many of them Suzukis. Riding is in my soul. A day I'm not on a bike is an awful day for me as it's what provides great joy in my life. Buying a bike that has character means that it is not a boring bike. i.e. Not perfect....has character flaws that speak to me. I sound like a flake but I gurantee many of you reading this know what I speak of. We ride the bikes that really turn our cranks. Having a bike that is so smooth you can't feel it and maintenance free you don't have to work on it is not what I ride for. I live to tinker with my bike and listen to it speak to me.

    As for repair work along the way. I agree, you need to be able to do it yourself and I do. The only thing I have not been comfortable with is the carb and I am taking care of that experience right now.

    Thanks for all the input. If all I were doing was purchasing a bike for the Alaskan trip it would be an easy choice. However, I don't have that much disposable income so my choice is a little more complicated than that. I am going to go take a KTM ADV out for a test ride at the local dealer on Saturday. So far that might seem to be my best choice though I am still breathing heavy for a Duc....:evil
    #25
  6. Johnny Drunkard

    Johnny Drunkard Todo utz Super Moderator

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    From the article:

    ...As all-around motorcycles go...the V-Strom...may just be the most shockingly competent machine in the world today.
    #26
  7. alprosound

    alprosound HappyMan

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    I travel with my kids quite a bit and you're right about it being a trip of a lifetime. Including my own as this was a dream my dad and I had but were never able to do. My kids and I camp wherever we go. We use com and one of the reasons we use it is for the music and his tendancy to get sleepy so I'm pretty familiar with that scenario but that is some great advice for anyone that travels with kids. We also do not travel more than 400 miles a day and usually keep it in the lower 300's. Otherwise it's no fun for the kids.

    Now about that RT.....I don't think I'll ever love a bike more than this bike and I've been thinking more and more about taking it. You're catching me with alterior motives....you see, my biggest fear in life is that I won't be able to buy and ride all the bikes I want before I kick off and take a dirt nap. I'm a bike whore and I like to switch up. I'd love a new RT and I'd like a GS but I want to switch up to something other than another German bike and I've had enough Jap bikes. All that being said, the more I read opinions on this thread the more I'm thinking of taking it. I'm going for a ride on the KTM this weekend.

    Great link and article on the Wee Strom by the way.
    #27
  8. RoundTrip

    RoundTrip Unintentional deerslayer Supporter

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    I guess I'll chime in here as (so far) the only one who has owned a Multistrada.

    Wonderful bike, handles great, will do as well in the dirt as most any other street bike and I found my Ducatis to be very reliable. Once they are thoroughly broken in the service times can easily be stretched significantly.

    Now the single bad part that would prevent me from taking the MS on this trip....

    The SEAT SUCKS! I also bought the "comfort" seat and that SUCKED TOO! :kboom They have been described by the press as "weapons of ass destruction.

    For this single reason, I'd point you to the WeeStrom as it is just a great appliance that won't get in the way of your trip and there are a ton of aftermarket products for luggage, extra lighting etc. Check out www.patwalshdesigns.com (no affiliation) for some interesting farkles.

    BTW, when you get back...sell the Strom and buy the Multistrada :wink:

    -jeff
    #28
  9. alprosound

    alprosound HappyMan

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    Yes, I've given this some thought as well and it might make the most sense though my SO does not like when I switch bikes up that quickly. She prefers a few years between bikes for some reason. :puke1

    Why do MFG's make such lousy seats? I've never understood that...:dunno :becca
    #29
  10. majicbus

    majicbus Adventurer

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    Why not buy the weestrom just to do the trip with? It's less then half of your price of under $15k then trade it in on something else. I bet you'll spend more on gas/food/lodging making the trip then you will lose on the trade in. Just my two cents.
    #30
  11. TeacherDan

    TeacherDan Adventurer

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    Great Advice!:thumb
    #31
  12. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    If we haven't been there, it's on the list.
    Just my .02 but if you are planning on riding in the dirt to any degree and you want a twin, get a 950 Adventure.

    I am lucky enough to have both bikes. I am a long time Ducati fan and I love my Multi for the pavement. But in the dirt/gravel/mud, there is absolutely no comparison. None. Zero. The Multi has decent horsepower, handles nicely, and you can put luggage on it. But once off road, its a bit of a struggle, especially if the dirt gets deep or wet. It's not that you can't do it. You certainly can. It's just that much more of a chore.

    With the Adventure, you still have decent horsepower, decent handling, and if you are going to spend a significant amount of time in the dirt, the road turns into zero worry/challenge. If you are going to be two up, I'd want to spend less psychic energy worrying about the bike staying upright in the gravel/mud and the 950 Adventure would let me do it.

    I'd draw the following parrallel. My wife and I took Multis to Newfoundland on almost entirely paved roads. It was absolutely awesome and easy (trip report @ http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=156309. This summer we did Quebec, Labrador (including 850 miles on the Trans Labrador Highway with 10 days of rain on gravel, mud and sand) with a 950 Adventure and BMW F650GS (trip report @ http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=240316&highlight=atlantic+canada+loop). The trip was great fun, but it definitely would not have been the same with the Multis.

    Whatever your choice of bikes, I'm sure your going to have a great time. Enjoy!
    #32
  13. batoutoflahonda

    batoutoflahonda Long timer

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    I used a K75 and did all the Top of the World thing, haul road, etc. One thing to keep in mind. The oncoming trucks aproaching have a wall of gravel, mud, small children, and live stock behind them. I had that bike for 4 years after the trip and still never got the all the mud out.
    Point being, I wouldn't go buying a nice 20k (like a BMW RT) motorcycle and expect it not to be a little "ruff" when you get back. Other people I know have put that stick on plastic film over the front of the plastic parts to help with rock chips.
    The dirt roads or of no consern, watch the construstion zones tho, as they lay gravel down and it can be quite deep if fresh. The haul road can be slick as ice in rain, but it makes it more fun.
    But it is one awsome trip. The people along the way were the best part. And like some of the people here were saying. I've seen Gold wings, two up, pulling trailers on the rout. Even a guy pulling a rickshaw.
    #33
  14. ksnak

    ksnak Duc Gal

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    Hi there. Just my little 2 cents worth . . . I live in Alaska and ride a Multistrada 620. I am absolutely in love with the bike and cannot imagine ever giving it up. As has been mentioned by so many other Multi users -- the bike just has so much "soul" it brings pure joy on every ride. :rofl I stay mainly on the paved roads, but do find myself occasionally on dirt/gravel ones, and the Multi does fine. I wouldn't take it on any serious backwoods off road riding, mind you, but for the typical road construction or other unpaved stuff, my Multi has handled beautifully. If you're not already familiar with it, go check out Multistrada.net where there are a few threads that talk about the Multi on gravel/dirt. As for Multi reliability, I have only 6000 miles on my bike thus far but others have thousands with no complaints -- again check out Multistrada.net.

    Whatever your choice, it sounds like a great trip you're planning. Enjoy!
    #34
  15. philp38

    philp38 Long timer

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    Plus 1.
    #35
  16. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    I would either bring the RT as it is a great long distance bike, and it is aLONG way to Alaska and back. Well worth it though. Or A 650 GS BMW would be good but I personally would recommend BMW 1150 or 1200 GS. They worked flawlessly this past June for 4 of us. Whatever you decide on will be fine, enjoy this incredible ride. Most of the roads are in good shape, you can stay off serious gravel if you want by riding the Alcan, but even on it construction zones can be tricky. You will survive. Enjoy...
    #36
  17. alprosound

    alprosound HappyMan

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    Thanks! I've put my beloved Beemer up for sale to purchase a KTM Adventure 950/90. This bike fits me well and the riding style of mine is long distance camping and dirt riding. I think I found a good fit. Thanks!! :freaky
    #37
  18. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    It is not about the bike you take but more about the attitude you take on this epic ride. Most bikes are capable, some better than others. I sure saw alot of BMW GS bikes on my Alaska Ride. Glad that was the bike we were all on. Exceptional Journey.
    #38
  19. alprosound

    alprosound HappyMan

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    Agreed. It really came down to that it was time for me to buy a new bike. Sooooo many bikes I would like. I narrowed down my choices by considering my trip to Alaska. I've still yet to buy the KTM. I really don't expect to sell my Beemer before spring so perhaps I'll change my mind....not likely. The KTM really fits my attitude!! :rayof
    #39
  20. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    It is all good. Go with what works for you. There are alot of great bikes out there, they can all do that trip.
    #40