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I have a 1985 1100 Shadow. I only has 75,000 miles on it and I have been religious about maintenance. The vast majority of the miles are highway miles. Here is my concerns. I have not had to do anything other then rountine maintenance to the bike. I have ridden all over the United States but haven't been to Alaska yet. When I go, are there any motorcycle reliability concerns I should address before leaving? Has anyone had problems with the fuel pump? I do not want to break down somewhere along the Alaskan highway because of something I overlooked.
 

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There are very few things that go wrong on a regular basis - and a lot depends on the model year.

Your biggest concern shouldn't be breaking down but finding vintage parts to replace the broken ones. Sometimes not easy to do on a 22yr old bike.(dealers and honda quit carrying the parts).

Certainly a fuel pump could go bad, but you could use one from an electriacal after market automobile fuel pump in a pinch, or the igniter unit could fail, and finding one would be nearly impossible without ebay....etc. Rectifiers and stators were a problem in certain years, but you have surpassed any time or mileage limits for that to likely occur.
Wheel bearing do go bad sometimes but they are easily obtained in the aftermarket arena, but should it take out a hub - it would be stuck.

If it was me - and funds weren't an issue I would attempt a ride to Alaska on a newer model probably a model that was less than 10yrs old, so there would be ample spare parts available should you require one.

Actually in a couple or three years I am planning a ride to Alaska and it will be on a V-Strom 1000 or similar type of bike that is more dirt/gravel road friendly. :wink:

Good luck with the trip and bring lot's of pictures back to share and a ride report.
 

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My biggest concern would be tires. The roads can be rough up there and I would be concerned about ruining a tire, getting a flat and then having to wait days while a tire is located and then shipped to your breakdown location.

I would also do a complete maintenance on the bike before leaving. New plugs, oil / air filter, oil change, fuel filter, etc. I wouldn't leave anything to chance.

Just food for thought

Chris
 

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I have to agree with Chuck

cbjr0256 said:
If it was me - and funds weren't an issue I would attempt a ride to Alaska on a newer model probably a model that was less than 10yrs old, so there would be ample spare parts available should you require one.
On that trip especially, I would try to eliminate as many potential problems well before you depart. I too would recommend some type of dual sport bike because of the iffy weather & road conditions you may encounter. But that is certainly not a prerequisite for the trip.
What ever you do, I wait with anticipation to hear all about your trip. :)
 

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Go

Have it serviced, replace the tires if they show any wear and have a good time. You should have no more difficulty than someone on a newer bike, assumming yours is well maintained and ready for the trip.
GET A TRAVEL TANK! The 2.25 gal model is fabulous and takes up very little space. I believe Sanoke runs one too.
 

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Re: Go

deeppurple52 said:
GET A TRAVEL TANK! The 2.25 gal model is fabulous and takes up very little space. I believe Sanoke runs one too.
I agree. Mine is great for those lonesome roads that don't have any gas stations. I can get almost 300 miles between gas stops if I watch my speed.
 

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Re: Go

sanoke said:
deeppurple52 said:
GET A TRAVEL TANK! The 2.25 gal model is fabulous and takes up very little space. I believe Sanoke runs one too.
I agree. Mine is great for those lonesome roads that don't have any gas stations. I can get almost 300 miles between gas stops if I watch my speed.
Sanoke,
do you have a link to travel tanks? I'm planning to ride across canada this summer and northern ontario going around the great lakes has a lot of spots with no service station for 200 to 250 kms or more.
Thanks
 

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Check the internet for Honda dealerships in the main cities. The only one I am sure of is in Whitehorse, Yukon, where I had to wait several days for a new tire to be flown in from Edmonton. Moral of the story: start out on new tires, because even if the ones you have look pretty good they will wear at an incredible rate on those roads. I didn't have any problem at all finding gas for my 1100 Shadow, but then I didn't try the haul road to Prudhoe Bay, either. If you are on paved roads you'll find gas. And get the "Milepost."
 

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Christopher said:
My biggest concern would be tires.
I agree. I'm no mechanic, but it seems to me the fundamental components of the bike -- engine, drive train, fuel system -- will likely do fine. Weird things can happen, but the chances are relatively small. But the tires are a weak link. Heck, they're a weak link for all of us -- we can't carry a spare, or not easily anyway. So the advice to replace the tires prior to the trip if they show wear is good. Take a tire repair kit. And be very aware of where you're taking the thing. I've not driven the roads up there, but I understand some of the roads are hell on tires ... something about volcanic rock or something.
 

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Warning to Alaska Riders:

Hitting a deer is bad, hitting a moose is worse.
 

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Re: Go

Sasquatch said:
sanoke said:
deeppurple52 said:
GET A TRAVEL TANK! The 2.25 gal model is fabulous and takes up very little space. I believe Sanoke runs one too.
I agree. Mine is great for those lonesome roads that don't have any gas stations. I can get almost 300 miles between gas stops if I watch my speed.
Sanoke,
do you have a link to travel tanks? I'm planning to ride across canada this summer and northern ontario going around the great lakes has a lot of spots with no service station for 200 to 250 kms or more.
Thanks
http://www.tourtank.com

Mine is the 2.25 gal. version.
 

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Sanoke, thanks for the link. I notice that these tanks are all designed to be mounted behind the passenger backrest or behind any backrest.
I'm in the process right now to manufacture a longer passenger backrest to hold my T travel bag resting on a small luggage rack behind the passenger backrest.. I also need the backseat for camping gear which means I can't use either backrest for mounting of a travel tank.
Can't think of anywhere else to mount one. :(
Any thoughts anyone?
 

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I dunno about taking a trip like that on a 22-year-old bike.

Most Honda shops I know of absolutely will not work on a bike that old--they usually have signs posted in the service department saying so. And I'm not aware of any Honda dealerships that will install secondhand parts, which is what you might have to use for a bike of that vintage.

I've owned nothing but Hondas, including a 1975 Goldwing, a 1984 Interceptor, a 1996 ST1100 and, as of today, a 2004 Sabre (yippee!!) They're generally bulletproof (except for the Interceptor) but little stuff like thermostats has gone sideways, even though I'm a stickler on maintenance. No big deal if it happens locally. Very big deal in the boonies with no available parts.

Odds are on your side, I should think, but one never knows. It would depend, I think, on the rider's mechanical ability. If you can replace stuff like a fuel pump or thermostat yourself, I'd be inclined to give it a go. Where there's a road, there are people, and where there are people, there's a way to get yourself and your bike to a mailbox and a phone to scour salvage yards that will ship. If you're like me and can't do anything more complicated than an oil change, I'd get a newer bike. No matter what, I'd spend a lot of time researching the location of shops. I'd be surprised if there were any outside Anchorage.
 

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George,
I have a 1985 1100 Shadow also. When I rode to Alaska, I left my Shadow at home and rode a Kawasaki KLR650. It was 4,000 miles from Kansas to Anchorage. The Shadow could have made it easy enough, but the KLR was a better choice for this trip.

The Alaska Highway will have about 5% of it under construction at any given time. 5% does not sound like much, but 5% of 1500 miles is more than I want to ride my Shadow on. In the construction areas, there will be much loose and sometimes deep chip rock. On the pavement there is often large pot holes.

On the non-paved highways in Alaska, there can be miles and miles of “washboard”. I have ridden my Shadow on washboard and know that it does not like it, feels like it is going to rip the bike apart. The KLR handles the wash board fairly well. If the KLR starts to shake too much, just speed up and it floats over the washboard. The Taylor Highway up to Chicken and Eagle was rough, but one of the best areas in Alaska, and less traffic than the main highways. The Top of the World Highway is paved from Alaska to Dawson, Yukon.

The Shadow’s 15 inch tire was a common size 20 years ago, but not all bike shops carry 15’s nowadays. Better call ahead if you are going to need a tire. A Dunlop 491 should make the whole distance.
 
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