Here you encounter corrosive calcium chloride used to hold the road together, tire slashing shale, mud so slick the locals call it black grease, potholes that will swallow half a front tire, ruts left by tractor trailers that will pull you around, gas so infrequent that planning ahead is mandatory, grizzlies the size VWs, washboard as harsh as any suspension test, weather as fickle as a titan and scenery so gorgeously impressionistic it would set Monet’s lower lip quivering. The Dempster is all the North’s motorcycle challenges and romance rolled up into one easily provoked and angry package. If you’re lucky you’ll catch it on a good day. If you’re not, you’re us.
So why come here?
Simple, if you’re testing adventure bikes, you need a proper adventure. A week of homogenous weather on California’s back roads won’t cut it. Riding 12,000km, 20% of that being unpaved, from Vancouver to Inuvik followed by a dash through Alaska will. It’s not gnarly single-track, because these are the “big” adventure bikes, the ones people look to when taking on the world with “second star to the left, straight on till morning” mindset.
So, a it's a bit of a review then.