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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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San Diego to Alaska - painful on a small bike?

Hello to this great board,

I'd like to introduce myself. I'm a first time long-distance rider with dreams of taking a trip from San Diego to Prudhoe Bay, and then down to Tierra del Fuego, starting this August. I'm 26 and have been riding an SV650 for three years.

I am planning on purchasing an F650GS for this trip, as I don't want my adventures to end when the asphault does. I am fairly set in my choice of bike, as all the research I have done has told me that taking a big R1200GS, for example, through Central America is unnecessary.

My concern is on the initial portion of the trip: San Diego to the Arctic Ocean. I know only about 1,000 of the 10,000 miles of that portion of the trip will be gravel, and I have received some advice from people who have done this route before that I may fatigue quickly on such a small bike on the long stretches of paved highway. However, since I *know* I want to continue south after getting back down to San Diego, I see the initial portion of this trip as an "evaluation", a time to test out my skills and work out any kinks in my setup before I leave the English-speaking world.

Am I really going to be miserable on the Alaskan highway on such a small bike? My goal is not speed, but to enjoy the journey. Will I often experience days where the route is so bland that I just want to haul it all day to cover 700 miles? I can't imagine this to be the case, but for a first-timer this is all new to me.

Thanks to all for your help.

-Chris
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  #2  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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My favorite color is red.
I like hot sauce on most all foods expect for cookies, ice cream and .
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A sprinkling of freckles on an exposed cleavage can be very sexy.
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Go do it and tell us what you think...afterwards.

Ride safe....

Last edited by Lone Rider; 12 Jun 2007 at 11:26.
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  #3  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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Thumbs up 650 is fine

As someone who owned an 1150GS, and is currently riding a 650GS, ignore the doubters.

The 650 is a single cylinder bike and has more vibration than a nice 2-cylinder bike, so there's more vibration, and hence, to some, more fatigue. The 650 can go all day at 70mph. Is it necessary to blast through Canada and Alaska at 90mph?

Sitting in the saddle long hours every day, no matter what bike, is fatiguing. However, after a few weeks on the bike, you won't notice. You'll adapt. You'll be able to go all day just fine - same as all them candie-asses on their 1200's. Once those big bikes hit Central America, they lose most of their speed and power advantage. At some point, you'll think cruising at 60mph is damn fast - and it is when you hit some pothole or speed bump!
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  #4  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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So if a girl can do it on a little kids play bike....

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 04:50.
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  #5  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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I agree!

Yes I have to agree... a sprinkling of freckles on an exposed cleavage can be sexy!
Oh...and the bike is a good choice too!
orrin
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  #6  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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Chris,

You'll be just fine on your 650. In 1978 I did a 17,000 mile trip on a Vespa 200 scooter which included a ride from San Francisco to the arctic circle. Back then the Alcan was almost all dirt and gravel.

Q
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Old 12 Jun 2007
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I think that your 650 is "overqualified" as a "small" bike!
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  #8  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Take Lone Rider's advice and just go. Send us a post from Colombia. By then
you will have picked up a few things.
Hello from Colombia!

Yeah, I have done the trip from Alaska down to Colombia (so far) on a DL650. Most of it has been 2-up. If I was alone, and didn't hate the vibration of a thumper, I'd be on a DRZ400 or something similar. Hell, if I was starting in Mexico and heading southward, I'd go on a Honda Cargo 125- they are very common.

-ted
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  #9  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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Small? 650cc??

Mate, in most of the countries you will be in, 650cc will be a HUGE bike! There are about 5 countries in the world where you can actually use a bike of 1000cc or more to it's abilities. As someone else said, the DRZ400 is probably even more suitable then the F650.
My pillion-in-a-million and I are planning to ride from NZ to England on 185cc bikes.
Regards

Nigel in NZ
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  #10  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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Go see the elephant

This gal has been all over africa, south america, russia, australia. europe and a few points inbetween. She is stopping by in montana on her way north to alaska. She is riding a Yamaha 250! Molly dog this is a great story/book waiting to be written by a wordsmith. She doesn't think she is doing anything to exceptional. In 1971 I rode from washington state to anchorage and back in two weeks on a 305 honda dream with 16 inch wheels and bald tires....talk about gravel and mud and evil handling!
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  #11  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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better perspective

Thanks to all for the advice. This has really put things in perspective for me. When you're around such superbike culture here all the time, it makes it seem like nothing else will suffice. Needless to say, this has put my fears to rest.
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  #12  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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In six months remaining copies go on sale.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 04:50.
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  #13  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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Wink SV650, F 650 and V Strom DL650

The Sv 650 is a good bike for this route if it was the naked version. The S version has too cramped a riding position and unsuitable for the rough. My son rides the S version. Packing the bike would be the challenge.

The F650 BMW is really a good bike but so is the V STrom DL650 Suzuki, a dual purpose version using the SV650 engine. The DL is less vibration prone than the F650. I have ridden both. Pick either one and you'll have made a good choice. Seat height, weight, and available accessories may be another deciding factor. Many have ridden the V Strom 2 up for long distances so its definitely up to the task.

Kawasaki's KLR650 has been used lots as well as the DR650 and the DRZ400, however they need bigger tanks to not be frustrating.

We ride a V Strom 1000 2 up and we'll be doing north Africa, parts of Asia and eastern Europe this next year.

I have a german friend who has a F650, a DRZ400 and a R1150GS as well as an older R100SPD. He did Alaska on the GS but that was before he had the F650. He is shorter and for him the F650 would have been better for Alaska.
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