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  #1  
Old 01-16-2012, 10:18 PM
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Hi all.

I'm going to Alaska this June/July. Round trip will be approximately 9000 miles. We will be going to Prudhoe so there will be approximately 1000 miles of dirt/gravel.

There is no way that I can make this trip on a single rear tire. In order to save some money, I am considering going darkside for the trip. I've heard several accounts of people saying that their experience with a car tire on gravel/dirt is excellent. Some even say better than knobbies. Any truth to this?

My father is taking his DL1K up there, and he has already put a 205/50 on his bike. It seems a little unusual at slow speeds, but I can't tell a difference on the highway. I have yet to try the tire on dirt.

The car tire is quite a bit heavier, and I'm wondering if I should be concerned with increased wear on the rear wheel bearings, or sprocket/chain due to the increased weight? I assume that once you get to speed, there shouldn't be because you would only need enough energy to maintain forward momentum. Is my assumption correct?

I'd really like to try this out on my bike for this trip, but I'm hesitant to subject my pride and joy to any abnormal wear and tear other than what the Dalton may bring.

Thoughts?
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Last edited by mcb2; 01-16-2012 at 10:20 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2012, 10:26 PM
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Wow, I thought only certain Valkyrie riders did that sort of thing.
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2012, 11:07 PM
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Prudhoe... crikey! I have no experience with those tires, but couldn't you make an arrangement with a bike shop in Juneau to slap a new tire on? get an oil change while you're there. It should be able to then make it to Prudhoe and back.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:26 PM
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I could make an arrangement to have a new tire put on in Anchorage or Fairbanks. The reason I was considering going to a car tire for this trip was to save money.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:44 PM
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I have a friend who did the trip to the Arctic Circle in 2010 on a DL1000 from Kentucky. As expected he needed a tire out west on the return trip. The group did something like 10,970 round trip so he probably had around 8,000 on the tire when he changed it. He was running the stock tire.

Do some research on the old style Tourance (not the newer EXP). I think guys are getting quite a bit more milage out of those. Enough so that you can probably make the trip. We have a set saved for a friend of mine who is planning on Alaska again this year. I'm thinking he said that some have seen 20,000 on the front tire and low-mid teens on the rear. The EXP may be a little stickier but wear a little faster.

Saving money vs. having a good ride. Look at what the square car tire has on the ground when you turn into a corner. Not much. I can say from riding the Suzuki M109 and Yamaha Raider with the really wide rear tires that they don't like to turn very well. Maybe it's not the tire that's causing it but it feels like it is. The wide tire also loves to track those seams you find in the road that run about parallel to your line. If the seam wiggles, the bike wiggles.

Isn't there a modification to the rim to run the car tire? If so that might be a little pricey and there's no going back to stock with that rim. We had a Burgman scooter customer with a trike kit who did this and he had to have the bead area of the rim turned down a little. We wrote on the inside of the rim so nobody would later try to run the normal tire on that modified wheel. Of course we had him sign off all kinds of ways that we didn't recommend what he was doing and that he was relying on the recommendations of others.

Air pressure! Keep up with your tire pressure for the best mileage. Even daily if you're on a long trip so you can detect a small leak before it becomes a big problem. 1,000 miles ridden with air pressure 5 psi low can really make a difference.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcb2 View Post
Hi all.

I'm going to Alaska this June/July. Round trip will be approximately 9000 miles. We will be going to Prudhoe so there will be approximately 1000 miles of dirt/gravel.

There is no way that I can make this trip on a single rear tire. In order to save some money, I am considering going darkside for the trip. I've heard several accounts of people saying that their experience with a car tire on gravel/dirt is excellent. Some even say better than knobbies. Any truth to this?

My father is taking his DL1K up there, and he has already put a 205/50 on his bike. It seems a little unusual at slow speeds, but I can't tell a difference on the highway. I have yet to try the tire on dirt.

The car tire is quite a bit heavier, and I'm wondering if I should be concerned with increased wear on the rear wheel bearings, or sprocket/chain due to the increased weight? I assume that once you get to speed, there shouldn't be because you would only need enough energy to maintain forward momentum. Is my assumption correct?

I'd really like to try this out on my bike for this trip, but I'm hesitant to subject my pride and joy to any abnormal wear and tear other than what the Dalton may bring.

Thoughts?
If you go with having the tire changed out in Alaska make sure to settle on a shop and have a tire (tires) there for the change. Luck
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:21 AM
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I rode to AK in 06 on an 04 DL650 with a buddy on an Aprillia Caponard. We actually trailered the 42hrs from Atlanta, GA to Kalispell, MT to split that long boring drive, save time, and save tires as that was a concern too. Our trip ended up being 6500 miles on the bikes, but would have been over 11k had we ridden the entire way. I got a flat tire 60 miles out of Deadhorse on the way back down the Dalton. We both had air pumps and plugs and stuff to fix the tire, but the type of puncture and the rough roads were playing havoc trying to keep the air in the tire. We did what we could to plug the hole, but it was still leaking down. I ended up pumping it up to 50-60psi and riding as far as I could before it would go flat again. Rinse and repeat many times over. After a few times in a row of using the air pumps, and then putting them away hot, another problem came up. Those little air pumps have plastic gears that get hot and we could tell they were giving up. Long story short, we lost both of them before I made it back to Cold Foot the haly way point. My last air fill up before Cold Foot was waving down a car and them having a pump to use. Finally once in Cold Foot, found a truck driver with a massive plug kit that finally sealed my tire good. Of course the tire was shot by the time I got back to Fairbanks from riding on it flat so much and had to replace it to go home.

I don't remember exactly what the new tire (Tourance) cost me, but it was outrageous and I'm thinking well over $300 in the end. My buddy got a flat later on in the trip, but we used slime on his which worked much better he still made the whole trip on his Tourance, but at 6500 miles it was gone. The rough roads up there really wear tires a lot faster then what you are used to.

So, my point is, if I was doing the trip again today, I would definitely do the dark side to do the trip on one tire. There's plenty of people on this site that have proven it works and works well. I'm about to try it myself on my next tire change and looking forward to it on my trip to Nova Scotia this year. Yeah, you are going to probably get more flack about this than you can shake a stick at and yes you can obviously change tires up there, but you never know what else you'll run into. The choice though is yours in the end and no one elses.

I would read up on this thread and make your own opinion from whats been discussed - Darkside 1st ride

I think if you did go this route, I would use a snow type tire like Randyo is using so you have better traction in the mud/dirt.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueLghtning View Post
I rode to AK in 06 on an 04 DL650 with a buddy on an Aprillia Caponard. We actually trailered the 42hrs from Atlanta, GA to Kalispell, MT to split that long boring drive, save time, and save tires as that was a concern too. Our trip ended up being 6500 miles on the bikes, but would have been over 11k had we ridden the entire way. I got a flat tire 60 miles out of Deadhorse on the way back down the Dalton. We both had air pumps and plugs and stuff to fix the tire, but the type of puncture and the rough roads were playing havoc trying to keep the air in the tire. We did what we could to plug the hole, but it was still leaking down. I ended up pumping it up to 50-60psi and riding as far as I could before it would go flat again. Rinse and repeat many times over. After a few times in a row of using the air pumps, and then putting them away hot, another problem came up. Those little air pumps have plastic gears that get hot and we could tell they were giving up. Long story short, we lost both of them before I made it back to Cold Foot the haly way point. My last air fill up before Cold Foot was waving down a car and them having a pump to use. Finally once in Cold Foot, found a truck driver with a massive plug kit that finally sealed my tire good. Of course the tire was shot by the time I got back to Fairbanks from riding on it flat so much and had to replace it to go home.

I don't remember exactly what the new tire (Tourance) cost me, but it was outrageous and I'm thinking well over $300 in the end. My buddy got a flat later on in the trip, but we used slime on his which worked much better he still made the whole trip on his Tourance, but at 6500 miles it was gone. The rough roads up there really wear tires a lot faster then what you are used to.

So, my point is, if I was doing the trip again today, I would definitely do the dark side to do the trip on one tire. There's plenty of people on this site that have proven it works and works well. I'm about to try it myself on my next tire change and looking forward to it on my trip to Nova Scotia this year. Yeah, you are going to probably get more flack about this than you can shake a stick at and yes you can obviously change tires up there, but you never know what else you'll run into. The choice though is yours in the end and no one elses.

I would read up on this thread and make your own opinion from whats been discussed - Darkside 1st ride

I think if you did go this route, I would use a snow type tire like Randyo is using so you have better traction in the mud/dirt.
Plug kits are OK, but they can't possibly fix every type of tire damage. Carrying an innertube and a patch kit could have fixed your problem quite easily. Even a car tire can tear, causing the same problems you described. If it was me, I wouldn't want to run something I haven't tried before on a trip that long, and I certainly wouldn't do it to save a few hundred dollars, given what that trip will end up costing overall.
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  #9  
Old 01-17-2012, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by phog View Post
Prudhoe... crikey! I have no experience with those tires, but couldn't you make an arrangement with a bike shop in Juneau to slap a new tire on? get an oil change while you're there. It should be able to then make it to Prudhoe and back.
Juneau 's longest road is like 30 miles long-best have a boat tic to get to Prudhoe bay from there? Anchorage??? Why go to Prudhoe bay???Certainly not the best that AK has to offer. -spend the time in the "other parts" of AK. AK isn't about getting "to there", it's about being there & the outdoor activities after you get there. My 2 cents...
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  #10  
Old 01-17-2012, 11:12 AM
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Friend took his motor home up to the Artic circle. Mentioned it was 500 miles of pissy little trees up and 500 miles of p-y little trees back with a couple river crossings from the jumping off point.
But the bragging rights....priceless.
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