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ADV News1000 Miles On A Honda CT90 & Trail 125 To Alaska’s Northernmost Tip

1000 Miles On A Honda CT90 & Trail 125 To Alaska’s Northernmost Tip

Zack and Ari take tiny bikes on an epic quest to go beyond where the road ends.

Published on 11.26.2021

We’ve had a slew of terrific adventure bike videos cross our screens in recent weeks, including Pol Tarres’ Seeker 2, Zero e-bikes on the Colorado BDR and a Royal Enfield Himalayan tour of America’s Last Frontier, but none have provided as many surprises and head-shaking laughs as 1,000 Miles Across Alaska! 1975 Honda CT90 vs. 2021 Trail 125, a Common Tread Experience (CTXP) episode, presented by Revzilla.

The human characters in this (worth it) nearly 50-minute video are Ari Henning and Zack Courts, both motojournalists and lifelong friends who’ve become famous for their entertaining and informative videos for Motorcyclist Magazine, MotorTrend TV streaming, and since last June, as part of Revzilla’s Common Tread media collective.

Honda Trail 125 and CT90 Alaska motorcycle adventure

But the real star of this video is a 1975 Honda CT90, a non-runner that was unearthed from the corner of a garage in Southern California. After being tuned up and receiving a new chain, battery, air filter and tires, it was strapped to a pallet and shipped to Anchorage, Alaska, snuggled up next to the brand-new 2021 Honda Trail 125 it would be asked to keep up with. And not on some mini-bike appropriate tour. Nope, the two tiny ADV bikes would be flogged from Anchorage to Fairbanks and then all the way up the infamous Dalton Highway to Deadhorse and Purdue Bay. 


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But that’s not where the trip ends. 

Honda Trail 125 and CT90 Alaska motorcycle adventure

While most think of Prudhoe Bay as the northernmost point of the United States, it’s merely the highest point you can reach via roads. Utqiagvik, also known as Barrow, is the true highest point. A still-booming oil town with a population of nearly 5000, Utqiagvik has plenty of its own roads, only to access them you need to fly there, revealing the real motive behind choosing littlest ADV bikes for this adventure. 

“A pair of BMW R1250GSs or a couple of Kawasaki KLR650s like those available for rent in Anchorage would have been ideal for the 1000 or so miles we’d covered in the previous five days,” writes Ari in a Common Tread’s behind-the-scenes account of the trip, “but those bikes might not have fit in a Cessna Grand Caravan. The Trail 125 and CT90 rolled into the single-prop plane beautifully, however, and we didn’t even have to fold the handlebars down or take off the mirrors.”

Honda Trail 125 and CT90 Alaska motorcycle adventure

And off they fly, headed for the most physically challenging part of the ride, at least for Ari who ends up pushing the CT90, which had been misfiring all the way from Anchorage, through heavy gravel after it finally died about a mile from the land’s end monument at Point Barrow.  

Eventually they make it. “We looked left, and the beach curved to the south. Looking right, it curved south. There was no question that we were standing at the edge of the northernmost point of Alaska, which now, finally, felt like the right reason to have travelled so far on such small bikes.”

Honda Trail 125 and CT90 Alaska motorcycle adventure
Honda Trail 125 and CT90 Alaska motorcycle adventure

Ari, Zack and their two-man production crew, Spenser Robert and Andrew Garety, who followed in a rented pickup truck, camped along the route despite the cold, wet conditions and relentless daylight. Ari and Zack didn’t use the truck as a pack wagon, however, instead carrying all of their gear and their food on the little adventure machines all the way from Anchorage. 

How did the bikes hold up? Unsurprisingly, the 2021 Trail 125, a bike we’ve tested on an adventurous ride, ran “flawlessly,” while the vintage C90, a bike Ari says he chose as a counterpoint to Zack’s new Trail 125 because it had more character, ended up needing a top-end rebuild. Ari says Zack had it easy on the fresh Honda, with “features like front ABS and 12-volt LED lighting, as well as un-dented steering-head bearings and intact fork seals to bolster his confidence.” 

Honda Trail 125 and CT90 Alaska motorcycle adventure

After the literal high point and video’s end, the guys opted to fly with the bikes back from Utqiagvik to Anchorage, where the mini motos were once again strapped on the pallet for a return trip to Los Angeles. But don’t worry, the Little Engine That (barely) Could CT90 didn’t get rolled back into long-term storage. Instead, Ari, a passionate DIY mechanic, gave the mini bike a complete rebuild. 

In addition to these antics in Alaska, Ari and Zack have a massive body of work on YouTube dating back more than ten years. One of their most interesting recent videos compares Harley’s TransAmerica ADV bike to BMW’s new R8 cruiser, as in which company did a better job copying the other’s flagship model. 

Honda Trail 125 and CT90 Alaska motorcycle adventure
Honda Trail 125 and CT90 Alaska motorcycle adventure

As the siren song of Alaska’s vast wilderness continues to beckon adventure riders from around the world, this new video reminds us that even a micro ADV bike can be the right size for a massive adventure. And more importantly, that a sense of humor is sometimes your most important survival tool. 

Photography by Spenser Robert

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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7 thoughts on “1000 Miles On A Honda CT90 & Trail 125 To Alaska’s Northernmost Tip

  1. I love the bikes I have 2 that I bought in March this year the only thing I’ve done is a lot of oil changes one quart just doesn’t seem to be enough for the gearbox for Break-in But the addition of the Milwaukee cargo Box container system this container system was excellent and I added a 2 gallon flat gas can mounted to the underside of the metal rack system so it cleared the tires excellent now no worries with running out of gas. It is so much better than my CT70 AND yet the same feeling, Turn on the lights let’s ride my Honda tonight.

  2. And if you haven’t seen it, check out Ed March’s channel c90 adventures on YouTube. He’s an interesting and funny guy who’s been all over the world on his.

  3. Reminds me about the c90adventures videos on YouTube, Who did a similar trip plus many more, on an old c90. Sometimes with his girlfriend. Top videos. I’ll check out this one also.

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