Gravel - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
General V-Strom Discussion Talk about all things V-Strom not limited to just one of the above models

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 48 Old 12-27-2012, 04:58 AM Thread Starter
rodmuzwa's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 35

Any tips for riding my Wee on gravel? I'm getting better at it but it still scares the life out of me! In saying that though, I really love getting off the black stuff and going for a blast on the gravel roads through the woods. Any advice greatly appreciated!

Sent from my iPhone using Free App
rodmuzwa is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 48 Old 12-27-2012, 05:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Posts: 3,233
Tyres. TKC-80 up front. Front pressure around 30PSI. Lower is better, but the odds of rim damage go up.

You can ride on gravel without the front knobs, but it's a hard learning curve.

Fork brace helps, as does a steering damper.

Non-mechanical tricks, relax, force your shoulders down, elbows up, loose the death grip on the bars and time time time.

You need to be thinking a LOT further ahead than on seal, on a DL it's all balance and steering with the throttle - even more than on real dirt bikes.

PeteW is offline  
post #3 of 48 Old 12-27-2012, 02:22 PM
nvr2old's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Greenacres, Wa.
Posts: 1,784
I find that 25 psi. does wonders on gravel surfaces. Any lower and the chance of a bent rim increases. I've done over 4000 miles that way with no damage.
As PeteW said, a fork brace and good technique are very helpful also.

DL-650 K5 red
09 DRZ400
The thrill of living should never be traded
for the safety of existence.
Member of the 100,000 mile club.
nvr2old is offline  
post #4 of 48 Old 12-27-2012, 05:03 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 25
very light on the seat (if at all) and when turning weigh the outside peg more. Let the bike squirm around under you as long as you standing in neutral position. Practice braking limits on that surface (going straight) and practice steering withe rear in turns. As others says, "stay loose". Once you have a feel for the limits its easier to anticipate you inputs.
Stormbeck is offline  
post #5 of 48 Old 12-27-2012, 05:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Baltic, Ct
Posts: 6,624
I'm with stupid

richw is offline  
post #6 of 48 Old 12-27-2012, 07:28 PM
randyo's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Farmington, New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 10,203
the term "gravel" has many meanings to many people

first of all, most gravel, you ride no different than you would on pavement, its only when its begins to get loose that you use different riding techniques

and steering with the rear wheel is not advice I'd give to a beginner learning

ya still countersteer, even when you do "steer with the rear wheel" you still initiate the turn with conventional methods

IBA# 9560
07 Strom 1k (8x,xxx miles)
99 SV650 (135,006 miles)
82 XV920R
A man with a gun is a citizen
A man without a gun is a subject
randyo is offline  
post #7 of 48 Old 12-27-2012, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 23
Get yourself a big ass dirt tire. Won't handle well on the roads though. It's a compromise. I have determined that DL is not great in the dirt and gravel is white knuckling, even after 8 years with the bike.

Life is too short to take the highway
DJ-TROOPER is offline  
post #8 of 48 Old 12-27-2012, 08:43 PM
Blackheart's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Morgan, Utah
Posts: 423
I know fork braces and steering dampers help. But, you can get by without them if you do the following Four things:

MORE WEIGHT on the pegs...less on the seat...for every 10 lbs of force you get off the seat and/or hand grips, that's 10 more lbs that must be on your pegs...which is a 20 pound difference in the variables that make up you CG (Center of Gravity).

MORE THROTTLE when it gets squirrelly...having that rear tire working to push you straight helps take out some of the wiggles caused by the handlebars sawing side to side.

SUGGEST the direction you want to bike to go with weight shifts, don't try and force it on a precise line.

STAY CENTERED over your bike as much as possible, but, if it squirms out from underneath you, MORE THROTTLE with weight shifts that help SUGGEST the bike come back under you.

When in doubt, the answer is usually MORE THROTTLE. I guarantee you if you get squirrelly and chop the throttle off, you'll increase your chances of eating gravel/sand.

Correct speed is important...that depends upon the weight of your bike and the width of your tires. Staying up on top is what you want to do...if that front wheel is digging in, causing you it to zig then zag, you need MORE THROTTLE to get enough speed to get up on top of the surface.

For my KLR650 in sand, with Kenda 270 tires front and rear, I needed to be at least 35 mph...preferably faster, in third or fourth gear. For my KLX250, 30 mph could keep me on top of sand...but, faster was better. WOT in fourth gear could keep me on top on the deepest sand I ever encountered, which was on the LA-Barstow-Las Vegas route a couple of years ago....but, it was hard to keep the bike upright until I got up to sufficient speed. Gravel doesn't require as much speed, unless it's really deep, but, you want to be in a gear that always allows you to give it MORE THROTTLE to get you out of trouble.

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but, MORE THROTTLE will save your bacon when chopping the throttle will slap your bacon into the frying pan. Watch people that have no problem in the sand and/or gravel...copy them. They'll have weight on the pegs, good speed, flexible knees/arms so they can shift weight quickly as needed, and they keep the throttle open no matter what happens.

Don't do those four things, and I can guarantee you that no fork brace or steering damper will allow you to suddenly negotiate gravel and/or sand with aplomb.
Motor7 likes this.

Last edited by Blackheart; 12-27-2012 at 08:46 PM. Reason: spellin'
Blackheart is offline  
post #9 of 48 Old 12-27-2012, 08:48 PM
jamessveta's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Muskegon, MI
Posts: 289
Send a message via Yahoo to jamessveta
I know the feeling. When I ride on gravel with the stock tires it feels like riding on marbles.
jamessveta is offline  
post #10 of 48 Old 12-27-2012, 09:12 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Illinois, St. Louis metro area.
Posts: 1,916
[QUOTE=rodmuzwa;886297]Any tips for riding my Wee on gravel? I'm getting better at it but it still scares the life out of me! /QUOTE]

If you are riding gravel regularly don't forget the crash-bars/ engine guards.

06 DL1000
2007 Royal Star Tour Deluxe
Illinois is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome