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docsabre

Advice for long Alaska dual sport ride

40 posts in this topic

I am planning a June ride from Seattle to Prudhoe Bay Alaska on my XR600. I would appreciate all constructive comments and advice regarding tire selection, saddle bags and recommended gear, etc.

I am not new to motorcycle touring or camping alone on long rides but this will be my first extremely long dual sport ride. I plan to preposition a set of tires in Ankorage. I will also have light weight backpacking gear like MSR stove, freeze dried foods, water purification, tent, Thermorest, sleeping bag, etc. I have excellent waterproof gear.

I also have an aftermarket gas tank (Baja tank) and will carry additional 2 gallon reserve tank. I have tools for repairs, flats, etc.

My major concerns are: (1) what is the best tire for mostly road use that will give me the best wear? At least 800 miles will be on the Dalton Highway and is packed gravel. (2) If anyone has done this trip before, what type of terrain is available for camping? In the lower 48, I travel up a logging road in a National Forest and pitch my tent. Will this be feasable near the Dalton Highway or should I plan on staying in hotels, cabins, etc? (3) For anyone going there recently, how much does gas cost, what is the cost of a meal in one of the isolated towns? (4) Can anyone recommend a good set-up for soft saddlebags with supports to keep them out of the wheel and off the muffler?

Thanks.

David

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I have been through a couple of sets of bags and my next ones will be Dirt Bagz. They have racks and bags for your XR for sure. For Tires, I got along very well with IRC Trail winners on my Dakar in Canada last year. 5000 mile round trip. They were smooth when I got home though. TKC 80s would be a nice 50/50 tire also.

A windshield would be very nice here. I use one on my XRL when I travel and it sure takes the stress off my arms on long rides.

Have fun.

Hayden

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Get a teraflex rear tire, and the concensus on another thread is the Pirelli mt21 for the front. Be sure you get some MSR heavy duty inner tubes too. A couple of spares would'nt hurt. Put new rim locks on too. A flat repair kit with tire irons and co2 inflator. The Edelbrock carb would be a great upgrade especially with the dial a jet feature. Take some extra oil, sparkplug, and enough tools to keep everything tight. Dont forget duct tape!

If you need a windshield might as well rent a motorhome and put the bike on the back!

Oh, welcome to TT!

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I am putting a small windshield on the bike and plan to put a Vista Cruise lock on the throttle also. Which brand of shield would work? The Edelbrock carb would be nice but- they list no replacements for my XR600 and the $450 cost is more than I want to spend. I would have to save a boat load of gas to break even on that. Also, if I have too much invested in the bike I can't walk away from it if it craps out on me. If the bike is too nice I would have to have it shipped back to Fairbanks or Anchorage. Then if it didn't get fixed in time, I would have to travel home and then arrange to come get it, etc. My bike is good enough to do the trip but if something happens that I can't fix, I can hitch hike home and leave the bike for someone to scavenge. I have a friend in Fairbanks who could keep it and I could get it after it was fixed.

The info about the tires is very helpful. I have looked at the Dirt Bags, I like their rack, but Aerostich makes bigger dry bags that may work better. I plan to put the heavy duty tubes on and take more tubes with my tire irons and inflator.

Thanks.

David

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Take a look at the Continental TKC-80 tire, they are reputed to be extremely tough and provide good traction in sloppy stuff. They say that envy is a sin, looks like I'm a sinner for sure. Have a great time.

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Re-wire the stator and run heated grips? When do you plan on going? I would map out the trip to stay at some cheap motels(ground floor, pull the bike right on in) You could be in for some extreme cold weather camping, unless you normally do so, so think about that.

By the way, the one thing I would bring along for sure...a good buddy who likes the same type of "fun"...

I'm sorry, I just re-read your post about going in June, sounds like you have it covered. Maybe a handheld GPS?

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I used to have a Honda Transalp and would take trips like what you're planning.

My tire of choice was the IRC GP110. With my Transalp (450lbs), me (150lbs) and my gear (50lbs) the tire was horribly overloaded but performed well on gravel roads and highway. I would go through two rears for every front. or 11,000 miles out of a front and 5,000-6,000 for a rear. When the front gets low on air it cups very badly.

The best part of about the GP110s is the price. I would pay $45 for a front and $55 for a rear mounted. Can't beat that.

It's a better road tire (with no luggage I could touch a peg on the street) than dirt tire (mud is a no go) but it's great on gravel roads. It also doesn't hum on pavement.

The guys at http://www.happy-trail.com/ do fine work with adventure touring, although they specialize KLR stuff.

Good luck!

"O"

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Hey David,

I don't know if you have decided on saddle bags or a rack yet, but I used to have a 600 and I still have the SRC rack for the back and I have a pair of ortlieb drybag saddle bags the ones you see in aerostitch. The bags have never been used and they are black. I can't see me using them in the future so if you want them along with the rack let me know. I will figure up a good price, cheaper than aerostitch for sure. I also have a big red tank and some other stuff and advice if you are interrested. My e-mail is bhdean@msn.com. If I don't here from you good luck on your trip.

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I live 4 miles from Baja Designs and 20 miles from Ricky Stator. I figure I can get some great info from them. Happy Trails makes a rack that will keep my saddlebags off the wheel. I do plan to have a GPS and sat phone. I want to have a stator that will power my electric vest or charge my phone, digital camera, etc. I can do without heated grips. So all I need is 55 extra Watts to power the vest. I will ask the Baja Design folks if the current stator will handle my vest.

I like the wearability of the Continental tires. My main concern is being able to make it from Seattle to Anchorage with one rear tire (2500 miles). Change to a fresh one for the gravel road to Prudhoe and back (1000 miles). Then put on a new one for the trip home. So I want to get at least 2500 miles out of a rear tire. I have only run knobbies and do not know what to expect for enduro tires. My current Dunlop knobby has about 600 miles on it and is doing great. I will run a knobby from Anchorage to Prudhoe and back for the added off road capability.

I am very used to cold weather camping. I trained at Bridgeport, California with the Marines in a cold weather medicine course in 2000. We camped at 10,000 ft in the Sierra Nevadas in February. We made our own snow caves and stayed in them. I don't think Alaska in June will be that bad.

I would take someone with me if they had time and if I thought they could handle the kind of trip I am going to do. I don't have many friends like that with bikes that will do the trip. I don't like to baby sit people who can't ride. Anyone out there who wants to meet up with me in Seattle or Canada let me know.

Doc

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Goinig just east of Vancouver on 97 to Prince George, Dawson Creek up Alcan Hwy into Alaska. Plan to drive south to Anchorage and re-tire. Then up past Denali Park, to Fairbanks, then on to Prudhoe Bay and back to Fairbanks. Will try a different path south to Anchorage or either re-tire to some fresh enduros in Fairbanks and head back to Canada and do alternate highway 37 back to Prince George for diffeent sights.

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You picked the best time of year to do the trip. I've never done the trip on a bike before though. Make sure you stop in Dawson. It's a blast! Camping through the Yukon is awsome. They actually stock the campgrounds with chopped, dry, firewood! How civilized. As far as advice, I would be very sure of where my next fuel stop is and whether I could make it there. The Yukon is HUGE and there aren't that many people there, if you run out of gas (or break down) on your own in the middle of nowhere, well, you know. You're going to have a blast!

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IMO, with the added weight you will have to carry, any tire will not wear well. I would recommend a good, mostly street tire till you get to PG, or Dawson. Should be bike shops in both cities, call them and have one of them get the tire of your chioce in, since the one you'll ride on from Seattle will most likely be toast. Fuel availability could be an issue, some small towns have strange hours and close without warning, but you can usually find someone that knows the gas station people. I've had to ask some to come down to the station, and they are usually nice! Sounds like a blast of a trip, but solo, I think yer nuts. Giv'r though!

Watch for wildlife, there's lots! Stay safe and let us know how it goes.

Keep an eye on the truckers through BC, they can be brutal through the Fraser canyon up to Prince George.

Oh ya, it can get really freak'n cold up here in June, and even colder in the NORTH!

Peace

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I have a 4.5 gallon aftermarket tank and will carry a spare 1 or 2 gallon jug. Does anyone think I should expect to get 2500 miles out a good "mostly road" tire? If that is possible, tires should not be the limiting factor. If I will need to re-tire in PG or Dawson, it will be a shorter trip than I expected. I would have to get my pre-positioned tires sent down from Alsaka if the local shops don't have a suitable replacement.

As far as the weather, it can be hot or cold. I will expect the worst. I plan to watch out for moose, bear, wildlife, etc. If I have to leave the bike on the side of the road and hitchhike home, I will advertise where you guys can find it if anyone wants to salvage it for parts.

David

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One must do:

zip tie an extra clutch cable that already is routed alongside your present one. I wouldnt leave without doing this.

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Not so much bike advice, but I have done the Alcan a couple times by 4 wheels. I lived in Fairbanks for 2 years. Get some good mosquito repellant! DEET 100% like the Army uses. Lots of 'em and they are huge. In some places they are impossible. They are drawn to the heat signature of anything. I rememeber riding an ATV type thing with treads while hunting, and when we stopped we would jump off and run about 30 feet away to escape the clouds. Smoke helps keep them at bay. We used to use hats with coils of incense mounted on the hat while duck hunting.

On the Alcan itself, oncoming trucks on the gravel shoot out gravel bullets. Especially when they brake. I once swore they were doing it on pupose. Cracked windshields and headlights are common. The gravel is sharp too - hard on tires.

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