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General V-Strom Discussion Talk about all things V-Strom not limited to just one of the above models

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  #1  
Old 12-27-2012, 04:58 AM
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Default Gravel

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!


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  #2  
Old 12-27-2012, 05:31 AM
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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.

Pete
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:22 PM
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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.
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:03 PM
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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.
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:10 PM
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I'm with stupid

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Old 12-27-2012, 07:28 PM
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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
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:15 PM
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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.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:43 PM
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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.

Last edited by Blackheart; 12-27-2012 at 08:46 PM. Reason: spellin'
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:48 PM
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I know the feeling. When I ride on gravel with the stock tires it feels like riding on marbles.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:12 PM
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[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.
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