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Old 10-16-2012, 10:09 AM   #1
FJR_ski OP
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Location: Chicago, IL
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Denali Highway

I'm planning a trip from Chicago to Alaska in 2014. I'm planing to leave 4th week in June.
I been to Alaska in 2010, but never been on Denali Highway.
How is that highway? Is it worth going on, and do you think FJR can handle such road?
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:52 AM   #2
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Location: India Wharf
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In 2006 it was very rough with potholes and babyheads. Typical truck creeped down it at about 20mph. I ride my KTM 950 at around 50, but beat me up pretty good.

2010 it was like a regular highway. 70mph easy in car or bike. Probably the best bet is to check with one of the camps along the route to ask first hand.

Obviously, those roads change quite a bit with the weather. 2006 would not have been good to your tourer. 2010 would have been no problem.

Both my trips were on the Alcan5000 rally. Late August.

Poke around the site. Check the 2014 itinerary.

My favorite roads up there are the South and North Canols, the Dempster, the Top-of-World, and the Denali. You really should be aboard a dirt friendly bike, though. Lots of rain up there and that means mud on those roads.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:04 AM   #3
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I was on the Denali Highway the second week in June 2012 and while 99% of it is dirt.. it was packed pretty well and should be fine for a FJR if it's not totally washed out. There is some really great scenery along the way and very little traffic for the majority of the way so it's definitely a good ride.
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Old 10-17-2012, 03:29 PM   #4
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It is well worth it! I had an extra day planned in Fairbanks just for a loop across the Denali. If the weather is good and it hasn't been recently plowed you should be fine. Even still just take it easy if you find a bad spot.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:31 PM   #5
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About 145 miles, maybe 115 is dirt, Generally well maintained but since it is dirt it is subject to the weather; when dry a Harley bagger can make it without difficulty. Best ridden from east to west (Paxson to Cantwell); that way you have the Alaska Range and Denali to your front. Good places to stop for chow: Tangle Lakes Lodge at mile 21, McClaren River Lodge at mile 42 and Gracious House at mile 85 (there is a new place between McClaren and Gracious House somewhere). Paxson Lodge at mile 0 really sucks. I've been over the road at least a dozen times on a bike, on a snogo and in a cage. All this is from memory so I may be off on the mileage here and there.

KHuddy screwed with this post 10-18-2012 at 04:26 AM
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by FJR_ski View Post
......... and do you think FJR can handle such road?
When we lived in Fairbanks my wife and I hosted John Ryan who was on a FJR. John was trying to (and did) set the record for the ride between Deadhorse, AK and Key West, FL. He road the 415 mile Dalton Hwy (Haul Road), most of which is unpaved, and the 85 miles from the Dalton to Fairbanks on a FJR. He did so with Metzler street tires and mostly in the rain. To my knowledge he rode that stretch as fast as it has ever been done, in the vicinity of 6 hours. Most riders on dual sport bikes take two days to ride that stretch. So yes, a FJR can handle the Denali Hwy. The run tour buses across the Denali every day in the summer.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:51 AM   #7
Girthy Knobkers
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Ran the Denali a few times this year, your FJR will be fine! Enjoy!
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