need advice in planning trip to alaska and mexico baja

What kind of modifications would be necessary for a trip of 5000 miles? I have a 2003 model with heated grips, clarke tank, and a two tooth less sprocket for trail riding.

I understand a seat modification is a must, but what specifically?

what model of windscreen?

what model luggage and rack?

any bags over the rear seat?

type of tires?

size of sprocket?

anything else?

I plan on going in spring with a friend and his DR 650.

thanks in advance.

I plan on doing a bit of touring on my DRZ this summer. Nothing like that but a few 600+ mile trips. I am going to gear mine up one in the front and down to a 38 in the rear.

If you have specific questions on traveling the Alaska portion feel free to ask away. I would be sure that you can make 200 miles on a tank of gas but fill up at every open station along the way up.

I've done many long trips on my tengai including one to alaska, the best advice I can give you on packing is to get everything heavy down low. Also keep it light. Make sure you reset your sag and increase the dampening on the shock. Here is a pic of my tengai and my Father's helix on a two week trip


Here is a solo trip in the Steens. I'm out in bfe, at times over 50 miles from the nearest ranch house, so I have enough food and water to last 3 days on the bike at all times.


Try the Adventure Rider web site. Many have done these trips before. I'm sure you can get a ton of help there. Also probably a few from here have done it also. Good luck that's a hell of a trip. Ride safe.

Here are a couple of pictures of my 03 DRZ with....

Slipsreamer windscreen, Tusk Handgaurds with triple clamp mounts, Dirtly's 1" bar risers, Clark 3.9 gallon fuel tank, Dual Star heated grips, Bill Mayer seat, Tonn's Racing rear rack, TT Store case savers, 12 volt accessory outlet, Ram Mount for GPS, Moto-Sport pannier brackets, Nelson Riggs saddle bags & tail bag, 15-41 steel sprockets with DID x-ring chain & Mefo Explorer tires.

This thing is rock solid anywhere from 70 mph on the pavement to single track, a TRUE dual sport.

nice pictures.

i am starting to read about recommended mx, i.e. cam tensioners, 3x3(?), case savers etc... what are/have you done in this regard?

i have looked for recommended 'things' to do with this bike, but not much luck finding a complete list. i may start a new post asking.


I just did 400 miles on my E and I'd say two things need to be on the top of your list, a more comfy seat and a screen. That stock seat is real hard after an hour or two! And from general touring travel real light, remember you can always buy stuff on route. I'd use plastic or fabric panniers rather than metal, but have little experience of bears! Did see a weasel last week tho, is that the same?:confused:


good advice from my homies, here.. :confused:

That is a great ride, but it will tax your butt. Definitely get a softer seat.. renazco, corbin.. research it & find which you like.

I have mixed feelings about a windscreen. Unless you're riding a lot of interstate, you don't really need it, & if you're in some more rugged stuff or drop it, it will either decapitate you or shatter. I do like a windscreen for long road rides.. it just depends on the roads you take.

+3 on travel light. Many people take way too much junk on a ride like this... you're exploring. You're adventuring. You're getting away from civilization & communing with your inner self.. well, at least until you need gas.. :excuseme:

But you don't need as much junk as you think. Do a few warmup rides.. overnights, 2-3 day trips.. see what you really use. Pack like a backpacker, not an rv. Use the KISS method of travel & packing..

Definitely get the bike in good condition & protection. Get all the protection, bark busters, case savers, radiator guards, skid plate.. you only need 1 drop or small crash to bust things up & cut your trip very short.

Start with new tires, & plan on changing them at an appropriate interval. Make sure your chain & sprockets are new or like new. For a 5k trip, i'd really consider the teraflex. I got 6k miles of mixed use with mine & it will run flat... no tire tools or patch kits to pack. Unless you're doing all pavement, i would ride with a knobbie. It only takes a couple of rough spots to make you glad you have them.

Check all your suspension settings geared up.

Wear good riding gear.. good helmet, boots, rain gear, etc. I'd probably wear a leather armored jacket.. something that vents when warmer, but blocks wind well & offers abrasion resistance if you go down.

Keep your clothes minimal, leave the cotton at home, wear underarmor type long underwear, poly underwear.

You'd be surprised how little you need. Carry plastic (credit card). You can get other stuff along the way.

I did 3 days in utah last fall, & this was all i had:



You need to know your route.. what kind of terrain you'll be getting into. If this is more of an adventure type ride.. mostly pavement, some gravel roads, your needs will be much different than if you're doing some single track, in rocks, mud, water crossings, etc.

Good luck on your trip & planning!


With that mileage I'd also think about an automatic chain oiler.


what i did, Dan, was take a small can of wd-40. Sometimes when i stopped for gas at the end of the day, especially if i had a lot of offroad riding, i would get a hose at the station (if they had it.. not many do anymore), rinse the back chain, sprocket.. then spray on some wd-40 & ride off.

havent done that mileage, but have done 2000miles in a week of mostly pavement and gravel with some offroad exploring.

I had too much stuff. Didn't need clothes because wore my gear all the time anyway. Pack like a backpacker.

Took a full life of a rear tire maxxis 6006, not a bad tire for the purpose. but be sure to match your tire to the terrain. Even the terraflex would likely be square and smooth after 5000 miles of mostly blacktop.

Should plan oil and filter changes and air filter maintenance for along the way, recommend every 1000 miles of road and 500 of off road-maybe call ahead to dealers en route and have them have a filter and a few minutes on hand.

The preventative maintenance stuff (assuming you want to keep the bike)- some mentioned previously: grease the rear suspension linkage and pivot, red locktite the primary nut and front sprocket (locktite it onto the shaft) of your choice (recommend 15T) and put on good steel rear sprocket of your choice (remove the nuts first, then the allen bolts) (recommend 41T for mostly 50-70 mph cruising, 44T for 40-60 mph). Put on the mcct, or not and risk it (risk is low with new bike and new style tensioner-replace the cam chain after the ride if you keep the acct), armour for both of you, bar risers (bigdr), jet kit, 3x3, stock pipe, do the free power mod, led taillight (for power and reliability).

what i did, Dan, was take a small can of wd-40. Sometimes when i stopped for gas at the end of the day, especially if i had a lot of offroad riding, i would get a hose at the station (if they had it.. not many do anymore), rinse the back chain, sprocket.. then spray on some wd-40 & ride off.

Id say wd 40 is way too thin and would soon be gone, washing it off is no bad idea tho.


LOL, Dan!! like this hasn't been covered ad nauseum in TT!

Lots of different opinions on this one.. search 'wd-40' or some combo thereof.. plenty of controversial threads on that!


What kind of modifications would be necessary for a trip of 5000 miles? I have a 2003 model with heated grips, clarke tank, and a two tooth less sprocket for trail riding.

I understand a seat modification is a must, but what specifically?

what model of windscreen?

what model luggage and rack?

any bags over the rear seat?

type of tires?

size of sprocket?

anything else?

I plan on going in spring with a friend and his DR 650.

thanks in advance.

I rode about 3000 miles from Colorado to Canada and back on the Great Divide Route last summer on my green DRZS. You can find the answers to what specific stuff to get from this forum. Here's some of the other things I learned:

- Don't overpack. Don't do what I did below, :prof: it's far too much weight. Picking up a loaded bike is not fun.


- I can go at least 190 miles on my Clarke tank. Bring maybe 2 one-liter MSR gas bottles, but don't worry about the gas so much unless you know you're going into some remote areas.

- Don't carry too much water, it's very heavy. Get a camelback, and fill it daily. Carry an extra liter of water. You're going to get gas every day, so you can fill your camelback, and even most campsites have some water.

- Don't bring too many tools, they're heavy. Get a minimum set that will do everything what you need. I brought some cheapie Harbor Freight tools, because it was no big deal if they got lost. Get some $2 Harbor Freight straps to hold down the stuff on the bike. They also can hold your saddlebags on the bike if they get too loose.

- Bring a spare, pre-oiled air filter (without the frame) that you put in a ziplock bag and squeezed out the air to make it small. Swap and clean filters when one gets dirty. Bring a spark plug, a front tube, and a patch kit.

- You can't overprep the bike. Adjust the valves, clean the carb, change the oil, replace the plug, go over the suspension, check all the bolts. Replace anything that is a wear item before you go, including tires and tubes, brake pads, throttle cable, clutch cable, battery, chain, and sprockets. Get an MCCT. Getting the bike towed and fixed on the road will cost several times more than what you will spend prepping the bike. Buy good quality parts.

- Check the bike daily. Make sure everything is secure on the bike. Check the oil at every gas stop. Check tire pressures and adjust them every morning. Air down a little for dirt, air up for pavement to save the tires. Bring a small, hand air pump, or a stripped down electric one and install a 12V accessory plug on your bike.

- Get protection stuff for the bike. Case savers, radiator guards, handguards, skid plate, etc. They are all absolutely necessary.

- Get protection stuff for you, a comfortable helmet, good all-weather gear, and some body armor if you are riding dirt. I rode from CO to Canada on almost all dirt roads, so I wore motocross boots, a pressure suit, and an MX helmet and goggles (with tearoffs). The MX helmet will let you breathe better on dirt sections, and goggles are better in dusy conditons. Some days I rode in 150 miles of dust following behind the others in the group. I dumped the bike 3 times and was very glad I wore the gear.

- Don't get too cheap. I carried enough food and clothes for a week because I didn't want to spend the money to get stuff on the road and/or thought I would not be able to get what I needed. Don't do this. You can buy food and necessities at any gas station, and Wal-Marts are in any large town. Bring only bike-specific stuff you can't find anywhere else.

- Bring a digital camera. Get one that uses AA batteries, and get those very expensive Everyready e Lithium batteries. They work well, and you won't have to carry a battery charger. Post a ride report on

- Bring at least one spare ignition key. I lost one key in Montana, and would still be there if I didn't have my spare.

- A cheapie LED headlamp is small, doesn't use much battery power, and will provide light wherever you point your head.

- Share common stuff with your riding partner. One can bring tire changing tools, the other a small campstove, for example.

- Don't bring too many clothes. They are bulky and take a lot of space. You can buy a cheap sweatshirt anywhere if you need it, and it will be a good souvenir.

- Pack stuff carefully, put any heavy stuff low on the bike, in saddlebags. On the other hand, don't overload those saddlebags, or they will rip off their mounts and flop around. DAMHIK.

- Are you camping? If so, get a good tent. Yes, they are overpriced, but a $30 tent is no bargain when it rains all night and you get soaked. I used an $8 Wal-Mart air mattress and pillow. It packs small, and is far more comfortable than the hard ground. I slept well for the first time ever when camping.

- Don't worry about smelling and looking bad after 4 days of dusty riding and camping.

- Sharing a $55 a night KOA cabin is a great luxury. They have showers, and the feeling is priceless when you you don't have to pack your tent and stuff in 3 hours of morning rain.

- If you decide not to camp, bring a lot less stuff. No tent, sleeping bag, stove, food, water, and you can wash out your clothes nightly in a sink. "Credit card camping" is comfortable, but (too?) expensive. One downside is that you will stay in larger towns, and miss a lot of the scenery and remoteness of the country that you get when camping out in the middle of nowhere.

- Don't feed the bears. Stay away from animals on the road, slow down for cows.

- Don't overdo it. It's a long ride, so it's a marathon and not a sprint race. Don't force yourself to ride faster or longer than you feel comfortable. Stop for the day before you get tired. Start riding at 8 am, and finish by 6 pm. Plan on a max of 220 miles a day if you're doing all dirt, or about 400 miles if you are doing paved secondary roads. Any longer and you will be tired after a few days. Tired riders make mistakes and crash.

- Don't be afraid to change your route due to weather conditions, forest fires (yes, really), etc. Getting stuck in wet clay is not fun. Go around storms, or wait them out, if possible. Don't worry too much about your schedule if you have to stop to make repairs on the bike(s).

- Don't ride at night. Stock headlights are terrible, and you won't see well enough to avoid those ruts that are out to get you. Be careful around dusk, because that's when deer are most active.

- Keep looking out for the other rider, check your mirrors often. If you get separated, wait or go back. Picking up a bike and fixing a flat tire is much easier and quicker when 2 people do it.

- Bring maps or buy them along the way. GPS's can fail, and not have all the roads. Maps will bail you out.

- Bring (at least) 2 credit cards and a cell phone. Some credit card companies will de-activate your card if you make too many small purchases in a day (like getting gas several times), even if you call them in advance and tell them what you are planning to do. :bonk: Have a backup card.

- Eat at least one good, hearty meal a day. You will burn a lot of calories riding.

- A DRZ is durable enought to go anywhere, but the seat sucks. Get an Alaskan Leathers sheepskin, and wear bicycle shorts. Or modify the seat.

Most importantly, are the riding styles of your companion and yourself the same? Will you both ride the same pace? Can you both do the same distances comfortably? Do you get along well with each other? If one rider wants to go faster or longer than the other, there will be problems. The faster rider will be annoyed at being "held up" all the time, and the slower rider will be more tired because he will ride over his head to keep up. DAMHIK. If you are riding dirt trails, do you both have the riding skills to do it, or the patience to go slowly? It's not worth doing the trip if you lose a friend over a miserable experience, IMHO.

Enjoy your ride.

im soo jealous! have fun

LOL, Dan!! like this hasn't been covered ad nauseum in TT!

Lots of different opinions on this one.. search 'wd-40' or some combo thereof.. plenty of controversial threads on that!


LOL!! Never realised that! I search on most things but didnt realise it was so controversial! What I do know is that I have done 15k miles on my Bandit with a Scott oiler and the chain and sprockets are still in good nick.


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