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Discussion Starter #1
Been wanting to see how well the Michelin Hydroedge does on gravel and mud, and Labor Day weekend provided the perfect test opportunity. Planned a ride up the Haul Road - just to Wiseman, which is 13 miles past Coldfoot - and then back down to do the 80 miles, mostly gravel, over to Manley Hot Springs. While there was only a little of the notorious slick-as-snot mud on the Haul Road, at least there was some loose gravel in the corners to have fun with. Any time the bike started to wiggle, all it took was a bit of throttle and the rear tire hooked up and straightened things out.

Rode north with a fellow - an experienced rider - on a DR650 shod with TKC80's. While I was getting the feel of the tires I let him lead and kept him in sight without any trouble. On the way back south, having gained confidence in the tire's behavior in all conditions, I led, and left him far behind. Then we turned west toward Manley. That gravel road has just about everything - cobblestone-type rocks, potholes, loose rocks, slimy mud - you name it. The tire never slipped even a little bit. And while it tried to throw me around on rutted surfaces, as all Darksiders have experienced, it maintained a solid grip and impressed me with its overall handling. Just takes a little extra effort on the handlebars in the slow speed rough stuff.

But... the tire isn't perfect. Running up to the beginning of the Haul Road we hit some rain. Leaned over just shy of dragging the pegs, with wet asphalt and rain falling, I felt the rear end weave just a little once. At least I think I did, but it might have been my imagination.

Some day I hope that one of these naysayers tries to follow me on one of my favorite roads with m/c tires. If he does, A: He won't be able to keep up. and B. If he's foolish enough to try really hard, he may kill himself. Don't want that.

Coming back toward Fairbanks we stopped to take some photos and a rider on a BMW R12GS caught up with us. I was having fun in the twisties, but wasn't dragging the pegs. Talked to him later at the car wash and he said he was having trouble keeping up. :lol:

The Wing is really a great bike for a road like the Haul Road - if you don't mind spending hours and hours afterward getting most of the mud out of all the nooks and crannies. You can drop the speed coming into a really tight corner, then power out without having to drop a gear. Rarely did I have to drop below 5th. It will pull 30 to 130 without a complaint.

As soon as I get my photos sorted out, I'll come back and post a few from the trip as the fall colors were really pretty up there. Here's one as a teaser -
 

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Thanks. Nice write-up. I sure hand it to you AK riders. That is some tough going up there.

Edit:
Hydroedge - a 22 pound LRR tire:
 

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Thanks for the write up. Sounds like you had a blast!:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ALDRider, did you show that R12GS rider what kind of tire he was chasing?

Sure is pretty up there.
Sorry, I didn't take a close look. It wasn't a knobby - it was some sort of sport-touring radial, I believe. On the pavement he should have been able to give me a good run through the tight stuff, even though the Wing could out-accelerate him on the straights.
 

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I gotta get my sorry azz up to Alaska that pix is the awesomest sight i ever seen ! Mud,dirt, less than perfect roads oh yea I gotta get planning.
 

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Thanks for the writeup and that beautiful photo. Looking forward to more photos!
 

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I was just thinking how that photo would look so good blown up to about 16 x 20 and hung in a frame in the cave. Awesome picture. And sounds like you gave the tire what for and it came back for more. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well... I've got more danged photos of Alaska than you can shake a stick at, with quite a few of them posted here and there. If you're interested in the Dalton Hwy/Haul Road, I started a thread called The Lure of the Dalton on another forum. In addition to my own photos, other riders have posted some of theirs, too, making it a pretty representative collection as seen through the riders' eyes. And quite a few photos I've taken on local rides are in My Evening Rides.

Another one from Labor Day is this one taken from a wayside at the top of Gobbler's Knob, looking down across the Jim River valley, with Pump Station 5 and the DOT Jim River camp in the bottom.
 

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Mud,dirt, less than perfect roads oh yea I gotta get planning.
Why? That's what you do all the time!:lol::lol::lol:
 

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Awesome pictures, and write up. Thanks! :yes1::yes1::yes1:

I really need to make it up there sometime. :bow: And who'd thunk the Wing would be a capable dual-sport machine...need to find a knobby for the front and a suspension lift kit :cool:
 

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Been up there on cruise but not a mc spectacular views there just gets a bit nippy in winter lol
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Additional Testing Completed

A riding friend (female) managed to score a lottery pass to travel into Denali National Park in a private vehicle. Since she much prefers being on a motorcycle to riding inside a car, she asked me if I had a bike that could carry two-up (we usually ride together on her DR650 and my KLR650). So of course I said yes, and prepared the GL1800 "Dualsport" for the ride.

To the very back end of the park & preserve at the Kantishna airstrip is 92 miles, with the first 11 being paved, the remainder well-maintained gravel, with lots of twisties and switchbacks. Since I have had snow restrict my travel in the park as early as Labor Day, the studded Avon Gripster went onto the front end, just in case.

While 28 psi in the Hydroedge will leave the center of the tread a little cooler than the edges, and 30 psi is what I normally run, for comfort I aired both front and rear down to 28 psi. With that, both tires handled very well on both pavement and gravel, and gave a well-cushioned ride over any washboard we came across. Neither tire ever warmed up above 85°F.

Two-up, the rear tire definitely tried to control the bike when we hit some rutted or high-crowned surface, and a firm grip on the handlebars was necessary. My upper arms got quite a workout. But the sure handling, whether on loose gravel, mud, or pavement, made it worthwhile. Riding over a couple of the passes, with a steep drop-off just 4 or 5 feet away and no guardrail (and my passenger ready to clobber me if I got any closer) the security of the big car tire on the back end was comforting.

One section of the pass road -


We even managed a couple of water crossings and a short trip down a muddy, rutted, dirt two-track to a river crossing -


My passenger got off for the ride back out, using the excuse that she wanted to get some photos of the Wing coming through the mud -


The views we got, even though Denali was partially shrouded in clouds, made the trip a fantastic adventure.


Don't know why everyone doesn't use their GL1800 as a dualsport. ;)
 

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:bow: bowing smiley is my only comment :thumbup:
 

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Fantastic pics Rider!:thumbup: Thanks so much for sharing them!:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:




PSST! Don't you know if you run a C/T in the back, you'll crash and burn?:lol::lol::lol::lol:
 

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That is awesome scenery. Beautiful. :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

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Beautiful views :thumbup: Curious how many miles the hydroedge will last since it is rated 90,000 mi on a car. Looks like an excellent tire to do about anything on :thumbup:
 

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AKLDRIDER,

I have to say that your pictures are incredible and so are you. I'd love to ride with you but I doubt I could even keep you in sight over some of the roads you travel. I've ridden the Haul road from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle and it is a rough SOB in places.

Please, keep your pictures and stories coming.

Remember, if you ever get back down into the lower 48 you're welcome at my place anytime.

MM
 

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Beautiful country but that don't look like fun on a GW

A riding friend (female) managed to score a lottery pass to travel into Denali National Park in a private vehicle. Since she much prefers being on a motorcycle to riding inside a car, she asked me if I had a bike that could carry two-up (we usually ride together on her DR650 and my KLR650). So of course I said yes, and prepared the GL1800 "Dualsport" for the ride.

To the very back end of the park & preserve at the Kantishna airstrip is 92 miles, with the first 11 being paved, the remainder well-maintained gravel, with lots of twisties and switchbacks. Since I have had snow restrict my travel in the park as early as Labor Day, the studded Avon Gripster went onto the front end, just in case.

While 28 psi in the Hydroedge will leave the center of the tread a little cooler than the edges, and 30 psi is what I normally run, for comfort I aired both front and rear down to 28 psi. With that, both tires handled very well on both pavement and gravel, and gave a well-cushioned ride over any washboard we came across. Neither tire ever warmed up above 85°F.

Two-up, the rear tire definitely tried to control the bike when we hit some rutted or high-crowned surface, and a firm grip on the handlebars was necessary. My upper arms got quite a workout. But the sure handling, whether on loose gravel, mud, or pavement, made it worthwhile. Riding over a couple of the passes, with a steep drop-off just 4 or 5 feet away and no guardrail (and my passenger ready to clobber me if I got any closer) the security of the big car tire on the back end was comforting.

One section of the pass road -


We even managed a couple of water crossings and a short trip down a muddy, rutted, dirt two-track to a river crossing -


My passenger got off for the ride back out, using the excuse that she wanted to get some photos of the Wing coming through the mud -


The views we got, even though Denali was partially shrouded in clouds, made the trip a fantastic adventure.


Don't know why everyone doesn't use their GL1800 as a dualsport. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Beautiful views :thumbup: Curious how many miles the hydroedge will last since it is rated 90,000 mi on a car. Looks like an excellent tire to do about anything on :thumbup:
The "beautiful views" are becoming whiter with each passing day. The temp was 14° this morning, and low clouds are bringing the snow down to highway level in many places.

That Hydroedge will probably outlast me, as the X-Ice replaces it for winter riding (although I may give the Hydroedge a trial run to see how it handles snowpack), and I have two other bikes that occupy some of my riding time.

We'll see.
 
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