Best Mods for Alaska - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-20-2011, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Best Mods for Alaska

So, it looks like in about 2 years I may have the oppurtunity to do a group ride out to Alaska. So, my question is, what are the best modifications to do to the bike?

Currently I am planning on a set of knobbys when I get close/in Alaska, one of the radiator plates, bash guard, mud flap, hand guards and engine guards. Don't think I can afford the $2k to switch out wheels...

I already have a Caribou top case, Wolfman Duffel, tank paniers, Kreiga US10 set up as a tank bag, power outlet, and the Kawasaki GPS bracket with a Pelican box for the GPS.

Input welcome, especially from people who have already made the journey.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-20-2011, 03:58 PM
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You should consult jdrocks, he can help you out with all you need to know.
http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ead.php?t=5480

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-20-2011, 05:55 PM
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What mods you need will greatly depend on specifically where you decide to ride... it's a big state!
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-20-2011, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Seems to be a little bit of everything. My guess is we are sticking to roads though, paved and gravel. I know both the Dempster and the Dalton are on the list. I'm familiar with the Dempster via RR over on AdvRider, no clue what the Dalton is.

I haven't joined in officially yet, but just talked with my bro since he is considering it also.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-20-2011, 08:16 PM
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(I'm going to be on that trip. We'll talk!)
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-20-2011, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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(I'm going to be on that trip. We'll talk!)
Sounds good.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 03:10 PM
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Seems to be a little bit of everything. My guess is we are sticking to roads though, paved and gravel. I know both the Dempster and the Dalton are on the list. I'm familiar with the Dempster via RR over on AdvRider, no clue what the Dalton is.

I haven't joined in officially yet, but just talked with my bro since he is considering it also.
The Dalton is basically the Alaskan version of the Dempster, Fairbanks north to Prudo Bay (sp?).

Been to Alaska 3 times, once on a Suzuki Bandit 1200, twice on a KLR, and rode the Dempster last time ('09) on a fresh set of Kenda K270s, but could easily have done it on stock Versys rubber BECAUSE IT WAS DRY! But ain't no guarantee it's GONNA be dry! (We rode the Dempster on the 30 June, 01 to 03 July, sunny and dry. Then read a ride report from the 25th June, FIVE days earlier, and the guy was in snow, mud, etc, etc!)

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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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The Dalton is basically the Alaskan version of the Dempster, Fairbanks north to Prudo Bay (sp?).

Been to Alaska 3 times, once on a Suzuki Bandit 1200, twice on a KLR, and rode the Dempster last time ('09) on a fresh set of Kenda K270s, but could easily have done it on stock Versys rubber BECAUSE IT WAS DRY! But ain't no guarantee it's GONNA be dry! (We rode the Dempster on the 30 June, 01 to 03 July, sunny and dry. Then read a ride report from the 25th June, FIVE days earlier, and the guy was in snow, mud, etc, etc!)
Thanks. If I am blessed enough to get to go, it should be one of those lifetime adventure things. I'll keep you in mind, if you don't mind, as the trip gets closer to appeal to your knowledge. Always nice to get the perspectives of those who did it before me.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 10:24 PM
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Trade it for an adventure touring bike. Every bike trades off performance in one area for performance in another area. The V is a great bike because it is set up the way it is for sporty on pavement riding like say the Triumph Tiger 1050. It is however not the ideal adventure tour bike designed for extreme distance touring or long hauls off pavement. VStrom, Triumph 800XC, BMW GS?
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 09:23 AM
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two wheels -
that is a beaten topic that has been proved down. With 2 secs you can pull up 5-10 ride reports of people riding across the country and into alaska on a V. Most of them had adventure bikes before and hated how boring they are on the majority of the trip cause its mostly on paved roads.

The V will do just fine, just read up on what others did.

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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 11:57 AM
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Definitely add a fender extender, and radiator guard. Regarding the feder extender: I was traveling a dirt section of road in Colorado a year or two ago during a light drizzle, and within 40 miles my fan was making some pretty tortured sounds. Once I got off the dirt I found enough fine mud had sprayed up to be impacting its operation. Also recommend an Airhawk seat cushion. These things have greatly improved my ability to 10 days or more without a layover, (and I'd been using a Corbin before I added the Airhawk.

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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 01:06 PM
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Trade it for an adventure touring bike. Every bike trades off performance in one area for performance in another area. The V is a great bike because it is set up the way it is for sporty on pavement riding like say the Triumph Tiger 1050. It is however not the ideal adventure tour bike designed for extreme distance touring or long hauls off pavement. VStrom, Triumph 800XC, BMW GS?
I'm thinking some of this is also rider skill and preference. I know guys/gals that have done the tip of South America trip on a pre-2008 ninja 250 with two people on the it with some modifications that weren't too costly.

Lets also look at the primary travel mode till you get to the border. It's paved roads and asphalt. Then dirt the rest of the way from what I've read. Tire change outs seem to be necessary as well as other prepatory mods.

While a design standpoint does come into play, I'm sure rider preference and comfort of each rider needs to come into play also. Each one of those bikes you listed aren't set up to do long haul and adventure riding without some modifications right off the showroom floor either.

Just another opinion to add to the masses.
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 03:07 PM
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Something like this...

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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 07:25 PM
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Trade it for an adventure touring bike.
Just for a trip to Alaska? Its not like the road is that bad. Heck people do it on goldwings and harleys for crying out loud. You don't need an adventure bike to make the Alaska trip. Not even if you are heading to Dead Horse.

If you are heading south from the boarder to Anchorage all the roads are paved so no need for any specialized bike going that direction. I have friends that have done the Alaska thing (yes to the Arctic Circle) on full blown SportBikes (CBRs, SVs etc). In fact I know someone that just did it on a ZX14.

I just text my son because he just made the trip a few months ago. He said its easily 95% pavement on the route he took Maybe even more.

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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 10:12 PM
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and for those advising that the northern gravel is safe to run with a sport bike, be my guest. hope someone taking that advice doesn't need a helicopter ride.
I think people are under the impression the road TO Alaska is gravel and that's just not the case. Yeah if you want to hit the Dalton then there is gravel but you do not need a specialty bike to make a trip to Alaska itself. Having said that other than adding the MSR bottle holders to my Versys I am taking her as is (with dual sport tires).

Like what you did with that bike. I wish those spoked wheels were not so ridiculously overprice but they are what they are.

ST1300, Versys, SV650S
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post #16 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 10:14 PM
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So, it looks like in about 2 years I may have the oppurtunity to do a group ride out to Alaska. So, my question is, what are the best modifications to do to the bike
I've been up there a couple times and without question the best mod would be to get your seat 100% right. Go on many high mile days beforehand to insure you have it right. Dude, it's a long way up there.

And why go in a group? Then you have to answer to others. If they are your friends they might not be when you get home.

IMHO this is about the max size group ride I would go on and he is my son,,,

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post #17 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 10:40 PM
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Just my 2 cents. All the highways south of Fairbanks are paved. All the highways to the border are paved. Most of the highway south in Canada is paved. In Alaska the best scenery and best activities are in Southcentral. The Arctic is pretty, but really kind of sucks. If all you want to do is ride to Prudhoe your going to miss the best part of Alaska. And the vast majority of bikes in Ak. are street bikes, and they get around fine. Biggest road hazard is Moose, they will ruin your whole day.
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post #18 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 09:08 AM
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Not being up on my north of the border lingo what's a float plane and why is it fun? Please share if you don't mind.

Also not being a motorcycle all around know by sight type of person. That red bike (not the versys I know that one ) what is that red bike you posted. Is it stock? Is it yours? I'm jealous if it is; I can only keep one motorcycle so I am envious of multi-motorcycle owners for having the cash and space. Sadly my poor versys will get stored in my beat up 16x12 shed with a cover on it, which will double as my outdoor office in the near future.

I will say some of can't afford multiple bikes for different purposes, so it makes sense to slowly customize the ones we do own to suit the needs we do have. It's why I don't have my little ninja 250 anymore, man I loved that little machine, but she went to a great new owner and I see her around town sometimes.
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post #19 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 10:08 AM
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Haha- Hi Jdrocks, love your builds and follow your RR, but the OP asked what the best mods were for the VERSYS, not the ER6!

Just kidding... I would never put the money into the bike that the folks at ADV Moto did... but I thought it was a good representation of what is available and/or what has been done. And despite your claim that it's easy, most people don't have the tools, skill, or unbelievable ingenuity that you do.... that's a compliment! I'm hoping eventually to duplicate on my bike what you did with the rear shock on the 649HP.

Ride on!

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or this, for less than the cost of the those spoke wheels alone...





and for those advising that the northern gravel is safe to run with a sport bike, be my guest. hope someone taking that advice doesn't need a helicopter ride.
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post #20 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Jeez, disappear for a few days, and look what I miss.

Yes, it would be ideal to trade into an 800GS or Tiger 800 XC, but I have a Versys, and I don't have an endless pocketbook. I have ridden dirt roads and done small water crossings (about 1 foot deep, 15 feet wide, with slowish current) on it, all with the current PR2 wrapped on stock rims. So, it feels like the bike has some decent chops to it, but I'm not 100% sure how the dirt roads I have done in MI, WI and IN compare to AK. Not to mention I haven't ridden a dirt road for nearly the miles as I would be, and probably not the speeds I need to be.

I would like to not be limited in where I go by the bike.

As for why the group, it is with another forum that my brother is a part of. I'm using it as an enabler more than anything else, but seems like there could be an interesting group. Plus, there looks like we might have support trucks!

As for the seat, I think one of those Alaskan buttpads and I'll be set. My legs cramping is a much bigger problem then my butt when I ride the V over distances. Just did about 430 miles yesterday, and the rump could easily outlast the legs.

I'll re-read everything else.
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