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  #1  
Old 06-17-2013, 09:28 AM
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Default First experience on a forest service road...

I wanted to share my first experience on a forest service road with a 2012 DL 650. I did some exploring Saturday after riding with a large group that met at TWoS ( Two Wheels of Suches in Suches, Ga ). On the way home I decided to do some exploring on some gravel roads and some forest service roads. The gravel roads were an absolute blast. The forest service road, not so much.

The forest service road was steep in a couple of sections and very rocky. It was mostly hard packed, so not very much loose rock, with a bit of mud here and there. I was riding on stock TrailWings and I did not air down any. I was lightly loaded, but I did have both side cases and the top case installed. I wanted to experience setup this first.

I didn't have any problems with the capability of the bike. On steep down hills in loose rock the back brake is almost useless, but the front brake worked really good. The ABS added a lot of confidence. I'm still surprised how well the bike hooks up with so little wheel spin, even when I blipped the throttle. It just goes. The mud was interesting as the bike had a mind of it's own. I anticipated that and just let it go where it wanted. The mud was the only place I really felt the weight of the bike. That might be because I didn't ride very slow. The only real issue I had was the suspension. It beat the crap out of me. The suspension, as noted by everyone else on several forums, is really harsh in the initial stroke. That is easy to fix, though.

Luckily, I got turned around by a couple of tree's across the path that I couldn't circumnavigate. I made an eight point turn and back tracked out the way I came in.

After I replace the OEM tires with something better and I upgrade the suspension I'll test again. I won't shy away from any forest service until then, though.
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  #2  
Old 06-17-2013, 10:07 AM
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The local National Forests here have little budget for road maintenance, and the maps are out of date. Some of the workers in the NF visitor centers have up to date info on the condition of the roads.

The back brake was almost useless, or the back tire didn't have traction? I think you mean the tire didn't hold, while the brake did its job of stopping the wheel.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_McBride View Post

On steep down hills in loose rock the back brake is almost useless, but the front brake worked really good. The ABS added a lot of confidence.
Most likely, the rear brake was useless because of the ABS.

If you don't have traction, the ABS will essentially disable the brakes.

I learned the hard way, under similar circumstances.

On unfamiliar gravel and dirt roads, especially where you may encounter a steep downgrade, it's best to disable the ABS. This can be done by removing the ABS fuses from the fuseblock or by wiring in a switch.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:21 AM
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There are some great (dirt) roads less than 10 minutes off of Wolf Pen Gap Rd. on the left (leaving TWoS) that are a treat to ride. I never cared much for the Trailwings once leaving the asphalt , never inspired any confidence. Glad you had some fun. Was TWoS up and running now? If so , do tell.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:36 AM
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The back brake worked perfectly. I just meant that the back tire didn't have very much traction.

I have GPS routes of where I was at and I also have defined forestry maps.

I forget which fs I was on, but it was off of Wolf Pen Gap rd.
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Old 06-17-2013, 02:30 PM
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One of the most challenging of the FS roads in that area is Flatland Rd. It starts off as sort of a drive way for some of the residences back there but soon turns into slippery 2-track (a week earlier that you), creek crossing and steep hills. The whole time I was on my DRZ 400 I was thinking how much more difficult would this be on the DL650. Our DS event had a few big ADV's go through without too much problem. Mainly KTM 990's. Also on 180 is Wolf Creek rd., a little more easy going.

Yes, TWoS is open! They're renovated the lodge with a totally new kitchen and new tables in the dining area. The bath house and foot bridge from field to the left are still under construction but they are close. Bill (owner) said the bridge and RV area should be done by the first half of July.
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Old 06-17-2013, 02:50 PM
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Sounds like Duncan Ridge, that's a rocky M-Fer. I hated that road until I got my Kenda big Blocks, now I love that road! Its a hoot when its wet too!
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Old 06-17-2013, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lodom View Post
One of the most challenging of the FS roads in that area is Flatland Rd.
The great part about that road is that you have to enter the river not just cross it and yes that is one incredibly challenging road on the strom. But damn it is a hoot!!! Bike was covered in mud when I last went through there.
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Old 06-17-2013, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lodom View Post
One of the most challenging of the FS roads in that area is Flatland Rd. It starts off as sort of a drive way for some of the residences back there but soon turns into slippery 2-track (a week earlier that you), creek crossing and steep hills. The whole time I was on my DRZ 400 I was thinking how much more difficult would this be on the DL650. Our DS event had a few big ADV's go through without too much problem. Mainly KTM 990's. Also on 180 is Wolf Creek rd., a little more easy going.

Yes, TWoS is open! They're renovated the lodge with a totally new kitchen and new tables in the dining area. The bath house and foot bridge from field to the left are still under construction but they are close. Bill (owner) said the bridge and RV area should be done by the first half of July.
I was either on Wolf Creek rd or Duncan Ridge rd...the fs rd wasn't difficult at all....just bumpy.
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  #10  
Old 06-17-2013, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameraman View Post
The great part about that road is that you have to enter the river not just cross it and yes that is one incredibly challenging road on the strom. But damn it is a hoot!!! Bike was covered in mud when I last went through there.
River? Crap, I didn't get that far. There were a couple of tree's across the path from the recent storms. I'll have go back sometime so I can get my feet wet.
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