Which bike to ride to Alaska - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 31st, 2005, 11:37 pm Thread Starter
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Which bike to ride to Alaska

My brother, my brother-in-law, and myself plan to ride from Georgia to Alaska and back in June, 2007. Currently I ride a 2004 KGT, which, at least to me, is waay to big and heavy for this journey. Therefore, I need to locate a smaller, but capable bike that can handle this tough trip and have it equipped with all of the needed accessories such as skid plates, axuxillary lights, auxillary fuel cell, and Jesse-type luggage system. So far I have limited my choices to these notable mounts: a Suzuki DL 650 V-Strom; a Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom; or a Triumph Tiger. Personally, I like the looks of the Tiger, but I'm not sure how it will handle the harsh exposure of an Alaskan trip. Help me out here guys.....what's your take on this?

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 1st, 2006, 12:26 am
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Alaska and back or bust

Of the three folks I know that have done it all did it on airhead GS's. That would be my choice. They are simple and so easy to repair on the side of the road and if you join Airheads they have a network about as big as the MOA. Where in GA are you? I have a friend that just did the trip this past summer on an airhead GS. If interested I could give him your contact info.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 1st, 2006, 5:09 am
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go with one of the big dual sports. The DL1000 or Tiger or any boxer GS will do the trick. The 650 will not have the cajones for a comfortable trip. Have a nice trip. Take lots of pictures.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 1st, 2006, 5:45 am
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I took that trip in 1989 on a K100RT and see no reason why you couldn't do it on a GT. I'm sure the roads are much better now than when I went. Most were like country roads, and the only really rough sections were the areas of construction, which would only last a few miles. Gas was never more than 100 miles apart and unless you plan on going off road, the skid plates are overkill. A cover for your headlight is necessity to save it from flying rocks.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 1st, 2006, 2:59 pm
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Friend of mine did it on a Tiger, no issues. He did plan on changing tire while there and made arrangements in advance.
As far as the roads go, there are two seasons...winter and construction. How far are you going into Alaska? Lots of critters to watch out for, and usually they're big.

That's my 2 worth...and remember, you read it here on the internet.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 1st, 2006, 8:04 pm
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In 88 we rode up on K75Ts and got along fine without extra fuel cells or skid plates. I hear the Alaska Hwy is almost all paved now. The gravel roads we did take, like the Top Of The World Hwy were well maintained. The problem areas as mentioned above was road construction sections.
I would ride what you have. If you can afford to buy a bike just for this trip then a Tiger or GS will give you the option of checking out more back roads or trails.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 1st, 2006, 8:22 pm
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What we rode in 88

Here is my wife on her K75T in Alaska.
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Lee Fillian
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 1st, 2006, 8:40 pm
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I went two summers ago, 2003, on my '02 K12RS. The roads are paved all the way, except areas under repair. The K12RS did a fantastic job, if you are a competent rider you will have no problem getting across areas under repair.
Sound like you are looking for excuse to by another bike.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 1st, 2006, 9:40 pm
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Nothing wrong owning another bike..... In my opinion, something like a GS would be a great idea. Capable of any roads conditions. The extra fuel tank capacity is going to make a world of difference. No fear of where the next gas station will be. The K bike would be as comfortable, but the fuel range will suck.

What ever you decide, have a safe trip!

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 8:24 pm
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Alaska mounts...

Speaking from experience (I did the Alaska ride in summer of '04), the ride up was fun - primarily becuase of the novelty of never seeing that part of planet before. The ride back was, to put it politely, just a LOT of miles - the adrenelin just wasn't there for the return trip.

As for bikes, a GS is my choice. Not so much because of "off roading" but because it has less expensive german paint and bodywork to get gravel blasted by the construction zones. Back in the lower 48, I ride a GT - it would be comfortable for the ride to Alaska, but it would probably need a paint job on the front and lower fairing once home. Most any dual sport or naked bike would be fine - you really don't need a really fast bike or lots of wind protection - usually the scenery is such that you don't want to blast through at 80 mph anyway (and you do need to watch out for moose and other critters crossing the road).

The gravel/construction zones really aren't that bad - they are ALWAYS sign posted well in advance, and the longer construction zones will likely have a pilot vehicle. The good news is that they let bikes go to the head of the line (so you don't get sprayed by dust and gravel riding behind cars, trucks, and RV's). The bad news is you get to follow the water truck (to keep down the dust) which means you and your bike will get coated with a plaster made from water and Alaska road dust.

If I did the trip again, I think I'd buy a solid, used GS in the lower 48 - ride it up to Alaska, tour the state, and sell it up there and take the big white bird home. Alaska is a seller's market for GS's.


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