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Yamaha FJR Sets Continent Crossing Record

Friday, June 12, 2009
On minute Zero, John Ryan was in Prudhoe Bay, on the North Shore of Alaska. 5,191 minutes later, Ryan was in Key West, Florida, having traversed the entire North American Continent, the long way, on his 2005 Yamaha FJR 1300, outfitted with Metzeler Z6 Interact sport-touring tires. And with those 5,191 minutes, or, if you prefer, 86 hours and 31 minutes, Ryan totally destroyed the existing time record for this trip, of 96:01, by a clean 9.5 hours!

John Ryan and his 2005 Yamaha FJR 1300 performed a record setting North American Continent Crossing.
John Ryan set a new North American continent motorcycle crossing of 86'31" on his 2005 Yamaha street bike.
The adventure began before the adventure began when Ryan ran into a blizzard on the Dalton Highway north of Fairbanks, while trying to get to the starting point for his continental crossing. The snow forced him to return to Fairbanks and try again a few days later. Then, when he was finally able to reach Prudhoe Bay and began his trip, Ryan cut a tire on the sharp rocks of the 400-mile long gravel Dalton Highway, repaired it, and continued to Fairbanks for a replacement. Beginning all over again on try number two, (or is this try number three?) a rock punctured Ryan’s oil pan 26 miles from where he was to start his journey, forcing him to stop in Prudhoe Bay for repairs. Local mechanics, used to working on heavy machinery, welded his cases, fabricated a case guard, and Ryan returned to the start, ready to set the clock and begin his adventure without further interruption.

Nailing the holeshot, so to speak, Ryan blitzed to Fairbanks, riding through 300 miles of rain and mud on the first 400 miles. There, Ryan showered himself and his Yamaha in a carwash, fueled his bike, and headed south to Florida, now mostly on paved roads.

Covering the 5,645 miles, from the far northwest to the far southeast of the North American Continent, Ryan basically ran as perfect a journey as one could ever hope for or plan. There was more rain from Edmonton, BC, until Madison, WI, — a distance of over 1,200 miles — and Ryan made the slight error of a wrong turn in Tennessee that added about 120 miles to his trip. But with so much that can slow a journey like this, one wonders if a more perfect trip is actually possible.

Ryan said, “I could have done better and figure I gave up about three hours. They had me at the border crossing from Canada for an hour and a half. And then I added distance to the trip in Tennessee. The bike and tires were more than great. Not only did they go the distance, but with my enlarged fuel tank and extra gear everything is really stressed to the limit. I had over 140,000 miles on my FJR 1300 when I started, and it’s still under warranty. Over 100 people helped me on this trip, and I’m indebted to them all and Metzeler and Yamaha.”

Ryan’s record took exactly 9 hours and 30 minutes off the previous record, and it was also significantly quicker than John Ryan’s last attempt, which came up short at a total time of 101 hours and 11 minutes, due to extremely bad conditions and less than perfect luck. Ryan said, “Other long distance riders have told me that they think this new record will stand for a long, long time.” Yes, 86 hours and 31 minutes, less than four days, is a seemingly impossible period of time to ride a motorcycle from the top of Alaska to the bottom of Florida. Heck, it used to take airplanes that long to get from Prudhoe Bay to Key West. But they didn’t have the advantage of the high-mileage, high-confidence, new Metzeler Z6 Interact sport-touring tires.

Keeping records for his record required Ryan to maintain time/date stamped receipts from all gas stops, and to have the beginning and end of the journey witnessed by police too verified his identity. Plus, Ryan used an online tracking system that recorded his whereabouts approximately every 20 minutes along the route. It will be an official record once verified by Michael Kneebone of the Iron Butt Association.

Metzeler congratulates John Ryan for joining its historic list of Metzeler heroes, and we congratulate all who helped Ryan in this complicated conspiracy of Ultimate Continent Crossing. And, yeah, don’t try this at home.
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Robert Overby -Fat Guy  August 2, 2010 04:14 PM
I met John at the BMW Rally in Vermont last week. Great Guy! Just think what he could do with some corporate support.
Mr. Kenny-WA -Loven it  July 14, 2010 09:32 PM
What size gas tank do you have or did you have an add on? I love my 04 FJR, painted it red so you can see me at night better in the rain here in WA. I'd like to see how you set up your bike for this trip, looks like mostly everything packed on your tank. Great job!!!
jimmy lawler -proud  June 23, 2010 11:18 AM
John i so proud of you. There is a bunch of Harley clowns around here
who think they have done a great thing. They went from Burbank cal
to watertown new york in fourteen days. That works out to about one hundred ninty six miles a day. I ride more than that bar hopping on Saturday. i have a bike just like yours. 2005 fjr 1300. I have 38,000 miles on it and was getting worried about the high milage but after
reading about your bike i feel better. Your the best
lufeto -Amazing!  June 2, 2010 01:57 PM
it is really amazing to do that, you´re a good example to me to ride some day in tha way.
Dan Diego -What problems at the Canadian border?  October 7, 2009 01:52 PM
What problems did you encounter--if any--at the Canadian border? Entering the US or Canada? Just checking...
john restrepo -may be across the continent  September 11, 2009 04:09 PM
In March I was in Cali, Colombia and see two gays in motorcycles with NY plates and talk to them,their final destination was Argentina,of course they had 3 month at that time.
Frostback -Nice!  July 2, 2009 09:47 AM
Great to see what can be done when man, machine and weather conspire. I'd add that Edmonton is not in BC but rather in Alberta. I'd also like to know what the maximum speeds recorded were as well as how many speeding tickets he got. The gauntlet has now been thrown and I suspect someone will beat it in the next year or two. If he started in the USA and ended in the USA, an argument could be made to sneak the border in Canada and erase those nasty waits. The border is about as porous as a sieve despite what they would have you believe. Lee
hans -action yamaha  June 13, 2009 05:41 PM
john, had my doubts watching you prepare your bike at our shop that this would happen but you made a believer out of me. cant wait to see ya and hear the stories about this. who would attempt this on a new bike, let alone one with 140,000ths. miles on it. you got balls!!
Tom -get me that copy boy!  June 13, 2009 09:12 AM
I doubt very much that Metzeler would be responsible for misspelling the company name in the first sentence of their press release.
Chris -WOW!  June 12, 2009 05:55 PM
56.45 mph average...Based on the 29,805,600 feet traveled that is...That was twenty-nine million, eight hundred and five thousand, six hundred feet...
Motorguy -Ugh!  June 12, 2009 05:47 PM
You know, I love riding but that must be the WORST possible way to go for a ride. That's an average of greater than 60 mph for the entire trip. If settings records tickles your fancy...Knock yourself out, I'll stick to enjoying the scenery.
bikerrandy -FJR sets CC record  June 12, 2009 04:04 PM
Man, I'll bet all the Iron Butt BMW competitors are fit to be tied. A 4 year old Yamaha blows them all off ! I love it. You da Man, John Ryan !