Had a wonderful trip this weekend. Loaded up the touratech cases and headed 200 miles to WV to do some caving. The mountainous roads in WV are glorious on the Wee. On Saturday, I had the option of riding in a cage with others up to the cave, which I have been to before, but opted to ride up there on the Wee. The road from the field house to the cave consists of a few miles of slab, about a mile of gravel, and finally a logging road about 3/4 mile to the cave entrance (I have never seen any cars other than a Subaru make it up the logging road). I have the stock trail wing tires and no skid plate as of yet, which crossed my mind before heading up the logging road which has many rocks and roots as well as 8 inch deep ruts in some places and a few gullies (maybe not the right word) with standing water. The trickiest part is the steep hill with the deep ruts mostly because it is all fairly hard mud and not flat at all. All the bumps tried throwing the wheels sideways and they often didn't want to stop going sideways (because of the stock tires). We only made it halfway to the entrance when we had to stop to clear more trees from the path, as there were at least 8-10 large trees still in our way from the storm a few weeks ago (you know...the big one...if you are outside the US, you might not have heard that an unexpected storm rolled through the midatlantic region knocking out power to more than two million customers and killing at least 22 people). Those 8-10 large trees were blocking less than a quarter mile stretch of road. Got to the entrance without much issue, but realized that I would have to go back down after I was tired from a caving trip and they were calling for rain that day.
After an 11 hour trip underground, we emerged to a wet, but no longer raining forest. This made the descent of the logging road interesting because the tires are not made for the terrain I was on, much less when they are wet and extremely slick. I was lucky to only put the bike down once coming down the hill, as I stopped the bike perpendicular to the road a couple times. A few times I was lucky to save it, but only thanks to the ABS!!! I felt the ABS kick in through both my foot and my right hand and it worked amazingly and I am very glad to have it. The one time I did put the bike down, I was going pretty slow and only the front corner of the pannier touched the ground, which saved the bike I do believe.
After this adventure, I believe the bike is capable of traveling on such terrain, but it really needs knobby tires. A few other enhancements would be helpful also, especially the skid plate and crash bars (even though they wouldn't have been tested on that trip). I ride on the street too much to run knobby's all the time on my wee, but could see myself getting some for specific trips on questionable terrain.This is not an ideal bike for off-road conditions, but it can handle them and I will continue to use it as such.
Some photos at the cave entrance: