Video: From Alaska to Argentina on a KLR650

Hell For Leather, HFL, News -



Alex Chacon just spent 503 days riding 82,459 miles through 22 different countries on his travels between Alaska and Argentina, all while documenting it for his site, Expedition South.

I didn’t think much of the video (we get sent a TON of youtube videos) until about 1:00 minute in, when this thing just gets incredible. I thought I was pretty awesome after my solo ride to Seattle on a Goldwing in April and all of the beautiful places I got to visit only to be shown up by Brundy and his awesome trip to Costa Rica, both of which pale in comparison to an adventure of this magnitude. Guess we’ll just have to step our game up.

Big thanks to Sean Laughlin for the tip.

  • Stef

    1:47! wauw amazing route!

  • Stuki

    And after all that, you still prominently feature a KLR review box where that reliable beast of burden, which has taken more people on truly long and unsupported adventures than pretty much every other make and model combined, is only rated a 5……… Poor thingy!

    • Wes Siler

      A score of 5 equates to average in its class. The KLR is far from being a bad motorcycle, but it requires significant modification to the tires, suspension, protection parts, ergonomics, comfort and luggage in order to do this sort of thing. As you see on Alex’s bike.

      Its performance is also limited on the road when compared to other ADV bikes and its off-road capability is far from being comparable to other 650 singles. But hey, it is cheap.

      • Peitro Petrelli

        I am curious to know which bike(s) (in this class, and those not in this class), in your opinion that is ready to take on a journey such as this, in stock form? Would the most of them not be modified in a smiliar manner?

        • Wes Siler

          The 990 Adventure is really the only one that’s ready to rock out of the crate. It’s obviously a ton more pricey though.

          Even at the KLR’s low price, it still needs more work than most. It’s a very old, very basic platform.

          • Stuki

            ALL my (second hand, admittedly, and not with 990s) experience with KTMs, are that they have a hard time making it from Santa Monica to the Rock Store ( That’s about 15 miles, for non SoCal’ers) without needing some sort of care; before, after, and even sometimes during the ride. Alaska to TDF unsupported?? Unless qualified KTM dealers with road side assistance are waaay more prevalent south of the border than here; not on my dime and time.

            Nick Sanders famously took an S10 down and up at a good clip and without issues, but picked the fastest and easiest route, instead of the “nicest” one from an adventure perspective. Which, for those of us that aren’t inveterate type As on record attempts, is a bit of a bummer. If I were to go that far, I’d at least want to look for the nicest rides along the way.

            Personally, on a trip with THAT much non slabbing, and having that much time, I’d have to need a good bit of convincing not to try making a WR250R work. Much easier in the tight stuff than the bigger bikes, and only really giving up speed to them on the flats. And a gigantic farkle market in the US, and probably elsewhere.

            A KLR guy once explained to me that the reason the KLR is as prehistoric as it is, is not strictly to keep the purchase price down. But also because keeping it that way ensures it can be fixed and worked on in places where noone can afford bikes even as “fancy” as a KLR. IOW, the KLR is a big bike built much the same way 50-150cc third world transportation contraptions are built. Meaning anyone, anywhere capable of getting a Honda generator running, can do the same to a KLR. While even bikes like the WR has waay too much stuff on it that would stymie the average Amazon blacksmith. And I won”t even begin thinking about stuff like the new GS, the 1200 Adventure and the S10….

            I’m not convinced, though. The WR is just so bloody friendly on any “road” where 50mph is max prudent, that I’d probably take my chances. At least in the Americas. Prolonged keeping up with the Talibanis in their Hiluxes, perhaps something even more basic is indicated.

            • Eric Cherry


              I think I’d take the KLR over the KTM for such a journey myself, but since she’s done it (and still doing it) on a KTM…. tho if my failing memory does me a solid this time. I think she chose the KTM due to her size. I’m 6’5″ and cheap, so the Kawasaki sounds like a fit for me.

      • Stuki

        After reading about you putting 1200gs’ (and 690s :) ) to shame in that desert camp on the NC, I got to thinking how nice an adventure bike an NC could be, if given serious effort by Honda. Considering the cost of long trips, as well as the obvious ability of many “adventurers” to pay up front (BMW, KTM, S10, Crosstourer, Triumph etc…), putting that smooth, low revving, low REGULAR fuel consuming twin in a serious ADV chassis (21/18 rims, “KTM grade” but slightly lower suspension, possibly a shaft, geometry designed to haul stuff), designed specifically for that purpose, would seem about ideal. Substantially more power than the all conquering KLR for smooth slabbing, but much less weight and consumption than 1200cc machines. And Honda dealers pretty much in any village anywhere. Heck, if they really wanted to oneup the others, find a way to make it easily dismantleable into pieces light enough for portaging across the worst of it, and you’re really talking…..

      • shaun

        Yeah, when I bought my KLR, I went straight to Happy Trails, Touratech, and other sites to upgrade it. There’s a lot to the older model that should be done by the factory to beef it up. Including the subframe reinforcement that requires sweat, a pair of balls, and a big drill to do yourself.

        Not for the feint of heart.

  • JC Maldonado

    KLR is a monster. My buddy’s beast will cross 50k miles this year.

  • Eric

    That is inspiring!!!

  • Kona11

    Need some help here. In the title it says one man. After watching the video the footage shows two KLR’s one being a pre 2008 and the other 2008+ . Did he change bikes along the way. Anyway the footage is great. Loved it.

    • David Brundage

      It looks to me like he changed bikes along the way.

  • Mister X

    Fantastic video, and great soundtrack to accompany it!

  • Matthew Mason

    Updating Bucket List

  • Thomas erst

    I love this dude.