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 09:46 PM.