Bike Recommendation for Deadhorse Trip

Discussion in 'Americas' started by oldNbold, Jul 12, 2018 at 5:56 AM.

  1. oldNbold

    oldNbold Been here awhile

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    Im hoping this is the right location for this post. For many years I have had a trip to Prudhoe Bay on my list of must do rides. I am now 67 yrs old and cant put it off much longer. I own 3 bikes but none are suitable for that final leg from Fairbanks to the Arctic ocean. Im hoping for a recommendation on a suitable bike. At 67 Im not as young and strong as I once thought I was. My biggest hurdle is that I am only 5'6". Seat height becomes a challenge. I owned a nice V Strom a couple years ago but found it a bit tall even when lowered. Any suggestions on a suitable ride? I could ride what I own and be very comfortable up to the Arctic Circle but that leaves me short of my goal.
    Actually Ill be 68 by the time I leave in the summer of 2019. Thanks in advance for any help.
    #1
  2. woody071585

    woody071585 Adventurer

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    I did it on a vstrom 1000 bike held up well but if I did it again I’d look at the Africa twin or ktm maybe? On the other hand I met 2 crazy’s on 2014 gl1800 I’m certain they walked with em a few miles on that cold wet morning [​IMG][​IMG]


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  3. woody071585

    woody071585 Adventurer

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    Where you riding out of? I’m planning a pavement trip for next year 2 up


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  4. CommanderDave

    CommanderDave Kick Ass Adventure Rider

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    I did it on a Goldwing 1500. It's really about the weather/road conditions. I put Kenda dual sport tires on my wing. Camped at Coldfoot, stripped the bike of all the junk I was carrying except for maintenance stuff. Did the round trip from Coldfoot to Dead horse in one day. I checked weather conditions on the North slope when I was in Fairbanks before I started. I've done Dead Horse to Panama on various bikes. It's about focus and desire, the equipment you have has very little to do with it. My 2 cents. It's your trip...make it a great one!!!
    #4
  5. oldNbold

    oldNbold Been here awhile

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    I am in eastern Iowa.
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  6. woody071585

    woody071585 Adventurer

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    Wi


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  7. oldNbold

    oldNbold Been here awhile

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    I have a daughter in Duluth Mn. I ride up through Wi on my way. Anything to miss I35 and the twin cities.
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  8. Dao1

    Dao1 Long timer

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    I'm 5'5", ride a stock height Vstrom 650 and i routinely tip toe off of it. I know what you mean.
    I've sat on a Honda CB500-x, and that bike seems like it's about 1" lower. I think this is a good bike
    for short legged riders. it has the ability to strap all your stuff on it , big enough gas tank., and will make it to deadhorse & back. 425 lbs - Pretty light for a twin cyl bike.
    relatively inexpensive to buy too.

    another low seat adv bike is the bmw 650gs. It has good suspension and larger diameter tires, which is good for riding dirt, gravel roads.
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  9. Bike Guy

    Bike Guy Been here awhile

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    Hey Oldie, my 2 bike recommendations are only in reference to your post. You are going to receive many choices as everyone has their favorite. If I was in your position I would consider bike cost, reliability, accessories and dealer network. If I was to go again I have 3 bikes I can choose from but neither are my recommendations after reading your post

    1) HONDA 500x.
    2) Suzuki 650 STROM
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  10. gpax

    gpax 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 650 DL650A

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    My V-Strom 650 seems a little high and top heavy for me. My SIDI boots have thick soles and help. Without them my bike can get a bit tippy quickly and seems like it has a high center of gravity. I was going to look at a Tiger 800 XrX Low but the one my local shop ordered was diverted by Triumph so I never got to try it. I am considering putting Soupy Performance lowering links on a new NC750x DCT ABS. I have 28 inch inseams due to severe leg injury when I was 15. I am taking my V-Strom 650 to Alaska again next summer and trade when I get back.
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  11. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Suzuki DR650 is worth considering. Best is if you can rent one in AK, allowing you to ride your street bikes up there to it. I know of KLRs that are rented for the haul road, but not sure about DRs.
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  12. froger

    froger Been here awhile

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    As an old FF with bad legs, the KLR was far too tall for my 5' 8" ass.

    Started with those lowering arms. Helped, but still tall. So I went to a two inch shorter shock instead. With the suspension linkage, it was near three inch's lower. Better, but still not enough. So I put the lowering arms on the shorter shock, and now the thing is three and a half inch's lower than stock. Had to replace the pipe. The swingarm is so close to the pipe now that the guppy belly on the stock exhaust would of hit. I can scrape the crashbars on slow corners, but overall it works good considering how far I changed it. It's probably still a little tall for you, I only throw it out to show you might be able to lower something else that's just a bit too tall.

    Pretty strange, I'll grant you, but I liked the milkcrate. Without lowering it as far as I could I'd a had to give up.
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  13. lonerockz

    lonerockz Permanent n00b

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    Just rode to Deadhorse this summer for the first time and so now I'm an expert. :loco

    My big takeaway is that Deadhorse in good weather can be ridden on a Gold Wing. Deadhorse in bad weather will be a challenge on any bike.

    I had amazing weather and was passed on the road by an Uraguyan on a Yamaha FZ150 with street tires.

    My recommendation is to rent a bike from one of the shops up there (I rented a Honda Africa Twin from MotoQuest) and ride what you love to AK (Boeing 737 in my case). Considering what you will pay to buy a bike that is optimal for the last 300 miles, and will not enjoy as much for the first 3000 renting is a really good option.

    I'm 5'8" with a 28" inseam I was told I had the standard seat in the low position on the AT and it was tiptoe on both feet with my boots that add an inch or so of lift. So an AT with the low seat in the low position might do the trick. Loved that bike, with the exception of the chain. Motoquest will rent the low seat version.

    For you, I'd recommend a rental BMW G650 (or the F650 Single) that has been lowered. Motoquest has those and maybe the Fairbanks rental guys do too. I met a guy on the road that had rented from the Fairbanks folks. He had a flat tire that he had to repair. His 2 sons were both on KTM 1290s they had ridden up. Luckily they had everything to fix the flat. Motoquest charges $500 extra to take a bike to Deadhorse, and most of that goes to guaranteeing fresh knobbies at the start of the trip. I did not have a flat. Probably because I carried everything (including spare tubes) with me to deal with a flat.

    Whatever you get, don't pre-plan the exact days that you go north from Fairbanks! Keep an eye on the weather and make a run when the weather is good. Strangely enough, the best weather site I've found for that part of the world is the Norwegian Weather Service. Really good 2-3 day predictions for precipitation & wind. Just keep in mind all times are Norwegian local. :lol3
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  14. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    Just about any bike that you are comfortable riding on gravel will do just fine. I've seen Goldwings in Deadhorse, as well as Harleys and just about any other bike that can climb hills and get you 100 miles on a tank of gas (provided you're carrying enough extra to get you another 150 miles :D).
    This one was 22 years old when it made its first run to Deadhorse, on tires that already had over 10,000 miles on them when we pulled out of Fairbanks headed north -
    [​IMG]

    If you just take it easy, don't get in a big hurry, and keep an eye on the surface ahead of you, it's not really all that bad. If you haven't much experience riding on gravel, get some practice on local roads close to home first. Start on easy ones, then find some with deeper, looser gravel so you gain confidence. You can find widely varying conditions on the Dalton, but unless there is a blizzard blowing when you get there, it will be manageable.
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  15. oldNbold

    oldNbold Been here awhile

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    There seem to be more people in the same boat as me. Short, old, fat but not giving up. I see some great ideas and tips here.
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  16. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black?

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    I took my Victory Vision to Deadhorse in 2012.
    My concerns were the drive belt on gravel and tires. I made a lower belt guard and used a run flat snow tire on the rear.
    The stock Dunlop E3 was the weak link but I made it!

    [​IMG]

    I also took the Vision to the end of the Dempster Highway in 2015 but this time I used a Shinko 700 Series on the front. Worked great!!
    The bike is low and has great tip over protection.

    [​IMG]
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  17. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    A riding friend that went that did that ride a few years back came home with a bike that was eaten up with roadsplash from the haul road. His ride was an older MC he wasn't fussy about and a good thing as it was sort of ruined alu finish on the bike.
    It's tough to translate various post using height alone as the ergonomics are about the whole body-inseam, torso, arm length,etc.. When you buy a bicycle they have charts that give items like "reach", etc. but MC's it's all about seat height which is just one factor. I did a test ride several years ago on the new Wee strom when it came out. I have 28.5" inseam and am 5'8.5" height-and shrinking daily at 74 yrs old.:lol2 My MC of choice is an unlowered 2012 BMW G650GS with a Sargent low seat. So far I've left off the low/Kouba links I have as I ride it ok on pavement anyway.
    Given this is a road ride ride whatever you like for the long trip?
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  18. Dao1

    Dao1 Long timer

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    I think this is a great idea right here-
    Answers OP's dilemma perfectly!

    in fact i might just do that when my time comes. I do want a bike w/ a 21" front wheel w/ knobs for the dirt roads (that can potentially turn to thick goop w/ rain). Makes a noticeable difference in confidence when hardpack turns to mud.
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  19. woody071585

    woody071585 Adventurer

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    Ya my strom is pretty much junk all the plastic is eaten up and feels like 80 grit sandpaper


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  20. sasho

    sasho Dual Personality

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    There was a German guy on a bicycle that made it to Prudhoe, when I went up there in 2011...

    The bike(s) you already have is probably more suitable than you might think. Make sure that it's in good mechanical condition and up on maintenance, whatever the ride you choose.
    #20