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Old 01-18-2008, 01:50 PM   #1
koalaKid OP
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Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Northern BC
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Newbie wants to ride Top of the World

Hello fellow inmates :)

I have a few questions, and have been reading these forums to try and get most of my answers. I love the ride reports and they help A LOT.

So here's the set-up:

I live in Northern British Columbia. I am currently shopping for a bike. I have about 10K kms under my belt (which makes me call myself quite green). My longest day trip was 800kms on a GS500. When living in Toronto, I rode as long as there was no ice on the road.

If I could have any bike, I'd prolly go for a speed triple, or honda 599.

I have my heart set on riding to Dawson for the summer solstice (even before reading about the D2D ride). If i wasn't riding to alaska, i'd either go for a street bike or a cruiser (cruiser to decrease chances of speeding tickets).

I've DRIVEN up to watson lake, so I know what some of the alaska highway is like, and i have some limited dirt experience (i've ridden a dirt bike on some quad trails, done some river crossings, wiped out a lot).

I think I will pick up a 200cc or so dirt bike to work on some off road skills before the ride to Dawson. But i'm worried about taking a heavily loaded street bike on long stretches of gravel (especially if it rains). I don't plan on riding the dempster (i really want to explore other parts of alaska), but have not seen many ride reports that explicitly describe the road conditions of the other northern highways.

I'm 5-9 and about 150 lbs. I can tip-toe both feet on a KLR. But i don't plan on doing LOTS of dirt. So i don't think a KLR is for me. Plus, i would want more than toes touching the ground if i'm tackling wet gravel/mud roads. Versys seems very comfortable, as does a wee-strom. just worried about it being top-heavy especially with luggage.

Would a versys with distanzia's or even a 599 with scorpion sync's be enough to tackle the gravel portions of those highways?

I don't like the look of fairinged bikes, so something like a 650r or gsx650f (both bikes i would love for the city) are kind of out of the question at the moment.

Also, for this trip, i am expecting one wipe out (due to slow speed maneuvering on gravel/dirt roads), and one flat tyre. i've never done a serious trip like this, so am a bit nervous. i have a buddy coming with me on a drz400sm.

Oh yeah, this would probably be a 10 day trip from northern BC (dawson creek area), with my only major destination being Dawson CITY. the rest of the time would be for exploring.

any input appreciated. thanks for reading this
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:17 PM   #2
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I did Dawson. The Casiar after a particularly bad winter when it had, in total, about 30-35% of thick gravel. The Hill at Bella Coola and much more on a Harley 700 hundred pound pig, with about 80 lbs of gear. Hell, the Haul road is done on 'Wings. Oh, and I was new to motorcycling with zero experience on dirt or gravel. I am 5'8" -160 lbs.
Get what feels good to you and I promise you a smile per mile.
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:05 PM   #3
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Location: Anchorage, AK
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A man did Africa on an R1, top to bottom. Last year GusGus went faster on his cruiser on the dirt roads than anyone dared to on the Dual sports, for the most part i think. My point is that any bike will do if you like it. So have fun and enjoy your two wheel purchase, they all work great.

PS. if you don't mind goin 55 top speed on the highways and plan on doing a lot of trails then get a DRZ like your frend. Then your evenly matched up from the start eh?
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:43 PM   #4
koalaKid OP
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Thanks for the quick responses.

I've read numerous times that "just about anybody can ride just about anything up the Dempster" but I wouldn't count myself as anything near the most skilled rider (yet). I've seen videos of the guy on the R1. I just don't think _I_ could do the TOW with a fully loaded R1. (with my frame, and experience) Which is the main reason why I started the thread to see if anyone could provide a more "tailored" response

I love the DRZ. I also found a used F650 I might check out at a dealer. Maybe I'm overthinking this, but this is how I look at it:

If I get something larger than a DRZ, then I can carry the majority of the camping equipment, or tools, and save the DRZ some work.

The other problem, I don't plan on doing too many trails outside of this trip, which is why I'm leaning more towards a street bike. Plus, I'd rather get an even smaller dirt bike for the trails, or even (gasp) a quad.

How do carb'd bikes do with the altitude changes?

I also want to go across canada in late August. Outside of drumheller, I don't see myself having an opportunity for offroading.

I don't really see a dual-sport that can do just about everything i want out of a bike. So I'm hoping for a street bike that can do the touring I want, and a little dirt bike for the trails.

Please correct any silly newb assumptions :)
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Old 01-20-2008, 10:06 AM   #5
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There was a fellow who did the Dempster on a Harley. It's all about the rider, and the tires.
Most of the D2D guys aren't doing trails much worse than a dirt road (Klondike Loop). A Versys would be fine bike for TOTW, blue hairs with motorhomes and tour buses negotiate the road (and clog it up). Put as much tire as you can stand on whatever bike and hang with the D2D crazies.
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