Thinking about doing a trip to Alaska from South Texas, is a KLR 650 a good bike for this, I have at the moment a Concours, planning to hold on to it for good long road trips.
I am tired of the almost computer like bike updates every year and what not, would a good old Klr do the job on a limited buget.
I have not to far away a great testing ground for such a bike Big Bend Natonal park, miles of trails there.
Just wondering if I could even be Ok with a smaller size bike like a 400 cc perhaps.
I am planing to go for my half century B day, five years to go starting from scratch.
How many Kms is that? I wouldn't go lower than a 650 whatever it is anyway. The KLR seems like a very capable bike so unless you are doing 10s of thousands of Ks then it'll be fine.
The KLR is cheap and cheerful and will do well everywhere except the interstate. It is not too happy above 60MPH. But if you're patient...
You need to think about how much off-tarmac time you want. The USA is unique in its long good roads, and is the one part of the world where having a multicylinder bike makes sense.
The next 'step up' would be the Honda Transalp. It'll be a lot more comfortable on the long stretches (which is where you spend most of your time), and similarly handling on the dirt. There are plenty of good ones about from the late 1980s in the USA. They are more reliable than a KLR.
If you are going looking for the dirt then a KLR probably has the edge over the Transalp.
In the other direction: I believe that the DR650 is also available in the USA. This is more off-road orientated than the KLR. Ditto for the Honda XR650L.
I own A 2000 KLR650 and have taken only short trips so far,but it seems to do quite good on interstates ( 80 to 90 mph ). By short trips I mean from eastern NC to central Texas, three times so far ( about 1700 miles one way ). The sprockets are stock size, White Brothers exhaust, modified airbox, gel seat and K&N stage two jet kit.
The silver haired racers rode from the UK to Vladiviostok on 3 KLR650's, only one flat and one set of stuffed steering head bearings between them.
Adrian whos blogg is below is in Uzbekistan now I think?? is on a KLR650. The clutch hasnt lasted after the Magadan Yakustk section but he reckons it was 2000kms of mud in first and second gear!
[This message has been edited by simmo (edited 08 September 2005).]
On the other side you´ll enjoy scenery more if not travelling to fast..
Both KLR/TALP will last if minimum service is made during/before travel.
Now, KLR is in my opinion a more charming bike for the adventure.
A KLR could definitely do the trip. But, as said above, there are better highway bikes and Alaska is a long, long way from Texas. I've ridden mine from Wisconsin to Arizona and back and had a great time but didn't really enjoy riding across the plains on it. I kept it at about 75mph (80 on my speedo) and it cruises just fine but there isn't much wind protection and you need to work out a comfortable seat set-up, my butt was killing me. If you're buying a bike just for this trip I would buy a better highway bike. But, I love my KLR and plan to do a lot of travelling with it too so I would never talk you out of it.
Ok, I have a Kawasaki Concours, a 2002 model, great bike and can travel at good speeds for long hauls with tons of luggage. I have taken it on a trip to Big Bend and all around the Texas hill country.
I know this bike would get me to Alasaka no trouble at all but what about once I get there would I be able at least to go on the highways there and and get to the towns and places of intrest.
Wish I had a bike that could morph to the required thing at a moments notice.
I am no stranger to bikes had them for years and then took a ten year break, I did take a Yamaha 750 Virago over the Contintal devide last summer, I rode from San Antonio Texas to the Davis Mountians in West texas and then crossed the plains in New Mexico in August (I think they call that place the bad lands)and eventually arrived in Colorado, I did some riding on the front range for a couple of days and made my way back to Texas, I rode form Dalheart to San Antonio on the last day, just over 600 miles on an old V twin, it was fansastic a great experiance would do it again.
I did have my doubts about takeing a ten year old bike on that trip but a great word of encouragement for a guy call Harlen on this message board helped me a great deal with my aprehenson and I did take a wonderfull trip, my first in the USA.
So if any one has taken a Kawasaki Concours to Alaska can you post a message to tell me how the bike did. Thanks.
If going the twin cylinder route, the DL650 V-Strom may be a better bet than a Transalp?
Bryan, ANY bike can make it just fine to Alaska - and I've seen Gold Wings on the haul road, so it's up to you and your personal skills where you take it. I've ridden street bikes on gravel roads a lot, and had no problem - you just have to be more careful, and understand that it's not the best bike for the job - but it will do most gravel ROADS just fine.
Sometimes the haul road is no place for a street bike - depends on weather and how recently it's been graded or watered. Make your own choice on the spot.
Go and have a good time!
Seek, and ye shall find.
One world, Two wheels.
Howdy You can do it on your current bike. We passed an old man from Ohio on the Denali Hwy (gravel) on a Goldwing pulling an old Timeout popup tenet trailer. He "Got er Done", but it was hell. I've seen Goldwing and Big Harley Pigs up in Deadhorse.
Take the bike you are comfortable with and like to ride, then if a road gets too hairy, turn around. A KLR was with me this year and other than a pint of oil a day, no problems.
Last June I went from Dallas, TX to Prudhoe Bay and back on a 2003 KLR with Kenda 270s. Bike and tires made the trip just fine. I didn't really hammer on the major highways, kept it around 70-75 mph. Met up with others in Alaska to ride the Dalton Hwy (Haul Road. I think it best to do the road with a companion. It's not a road to be taken lightly. You have to pay attention every minute or the road will jump up and bite you. All in all it was a good trip. Went to Copper Canyon in October of '05 on the same set of tires. Will change them soon.<G>
Will be glad to answer any questions you may have.
I'm planning a similar route for at least the first leg of a RTW. Mileage, by the way Fairbanks to Tucson is about 4,000. I've also considered the KLR, and, given my ultimate goal, have forgotten it. I'm leaning towards a mid 90s BMW 1000 Paris/Dakar. Decent handling in any conditions, good load carrying, simple design, rugged construction. You can find them on the internet with low miles and moderate pricing. Too bad today's "adventure-dual purpose" machines are all plastic and over weight.
I have just returned from a trip from San Antonio Texas to Colorado via New Mexico.
My buddy took his KLR and I a Concours, on the trip.
It was a god chance to get some sort of evaluation done on a KLR although I was not on it, I did watch and learn.
We found the KLR to not have enough power for interstates, yes it would cruise at interstate speeds all day, but against the wind and passing big trucks was slightly beyond it, and running the bike at full throttle was eventually what happned.
Fuel consumptiom was good but no better than my Concourse, fuel range was good but less than the Concours.
Weather protection was not good at all, rain and cold really did affect the rider, the hand guards do not stop cold hands and the fromt wheel sprays water directly to the feet of the rider.Rain soked roads in cold weather were torture for the rider.
But above all wind noise was makeing his ears ring long after he was off the bike.
The good, it handles a dirt road in NM near Fence lake very well, I managed on the Concours, so it wasent that bad a road but not for my bike at all but I had little choise, it was go or back track ove roads I had just ridden.
Comfort appeard to be great, we had a few 400 mile days one 500 and one 660, although the rider was tired it can be done.
Luggage was adquate, but the system on the concourse would be a great item if it was adapated to fit a KLR.
Now, I wonder if its a viable thing to do, My current bike is great, yes the KLR is better at offroad, but in 2800 miles we only did 100 miles of dirt in wich it shined.
Thats a lot of miles to ride to get only 100 offroad.
I asked the rider would he do it again and he said yes, but he would take a Goldwing.
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