Need Gravel Road Advise - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 26 Old 03-30-2008, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Need Gravel Road Advise

I need some pointers/tips on riding gravel roads. After years of riding road bikes I purchased a Vee to make a trek to the great white north. I've been out "practicing" my dirt/gravel riding skills and I'm having a heck of a time. I do all right until I hit a stretch of thick stuff. I average about 45mph and when the front wheel starts sliding I pucker-up. I just mounted up a set of Tourances but I didn’t notice a big difference between them and the TW.

Scared of Gravel

Last edited by Vodie; 03-30-2008 at 08:55 PM.
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post #2 of 26 Old 03-30-2008, 08:55 PM
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When you hit soft stuff, stand up and lean back to lighten the front end at the same time you have better side to side control :rolleyes:
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post #3 of 26 Old 03-30-2008, 09:01 PM
 
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Might want to carry an on-board air source like the one made by slime($20.00), dropping the air pressure to about 20lbs when on gravel seems to help lots. Make sure to air up before hitting the pavement. I did about 40 miles on gravel this past saturday. Keeping my speed up seemed to stabilize things lots more than my first off road attempts at low speed. Good luck and don't forget the givi crashbars:grin: J.R.

Last edited by JONNYREB; 03-30-2008 at 10:08 PM.
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post #4 of 26 Old 03-30-2008, 09:21 PM
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I guess there are a number of different textures of gravel you can encounter. Most gravel roads I have been on have a couple of distinct 'paths' created by the 4-wheel traffic, usually the gravel on those paths is packed, the stones are embedded in the clay and sand, and your front tire should be pretty stable. But if the gravel is loose it can be like riding on ball bearings. Brake only with your rear wheel, and if you can shift your weight to the rear.

If you are planning a trip to Canada, and you are concerned about gravel roads, I assume you are considering a trip to Alaska?
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post #5 of 26 Old 03-30-2008, 09:32 PM
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I ride alot of gravel roads around my area and when riding on deep gravel i always feel most in control when accelerating or decelerating(rear brake only).When forced to stay on the loose stuff for long i just try not to tighten up my grip(hands&knees).Be ready for the sideways pickup coming around the curve(driver getting last drink from his beer can!!).

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post #6 of 26 Old 03-30-2008, 09:36 PM
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At the risk of being accused of heresy, I find the Vee to be really not very good in loose/deep gravel or sand - and my point of comparison is my previous ZRX1100. Maybe the wee is better.

OTOH, several people have made extended trips on gravel roads, like the Alaska Highway or the Trans-Labrador, which certainly include many stretches of loose, deep gravel, on non-knobbie tires and lived to tell the tale.

I think a lot of it is just learning to let the bike move around even if it feels like it's going to wash out from under you.
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post #7 of 26 Old 03-30-2008, 09:38 PM
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Drop the air pressure in your tires when on dirt/gravel for a long distance.

I carry CO2 Cartridges and a dispenser.

The 12g cartridges cost much less than the 16g cartridges and you can buy the cartridges at about any sports store with air rifles. Last time, I bought a bunch the 12g cartridges were $.75.

This website will give you information on them. I'm a mountain biker and carry CO2 cartridges/dispenser on my Mountain bike too.

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_id=4362
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post #8 of 26 Old 03-31-2008, 12:33 AM
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All of the above is pretty good advice. I would add to that a farkle. If you get yourself a Scotts Stabilizer you will find offroad a lot less intimidating. I love to offroad my strom but it really is not a bike for learning to offroad.

When I was a kid there as two kinds of serious offroad riding we did. It was the balls to the wall two stroke crazy or the exploration on the strong as hell 250 (usually fat cats). Riding the strom offroad is a combo of the two different types. There are times when balls to the wall is awesome, and truthfully you should be able to do that in the loose stuff (sand and pea gravel causes the tank slappers and unsteady feelings a stabilizer will fix which will allow you to speed up comfortably). When you approach the larger obstacles (rocks, ruts, creeks) it is time to use your balance and your torque. Take it slow and use the power of these machines to get through the obstruction. We have plenty of power that you don't need speed when the going gets really tricky.

If you can pick up a CRF or something pure offroad DO IT. Not only will it make you more comfortable on your strom offroad but it is so much FUN! And I have found where you have buddies who do not ride its much easier to get them on a dirt bike first. Call it a gateway dru... err.. bike.

Take it easy out there and have fun. Ride your own ride.
-GW

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--------------------
"I wouldn't take a million dollars for the experience, but I sure wouldn't give a red cent to go through it again" -Chester Russell
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2005 DL650 "Maelstrom"
2003 KLR650 "Lou"
1978 Triumph Bonneville 750 "Boomer"
Stromtrooper Offroad Club Member #3
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Last edited by GrayWolf; 03-31-2008 at 12:35 AM.
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post #9 of 26 Old 03-31-2008, 03:19 AM
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Pressure and tyres.

Conti-Escapes transformed my DL off road. If you can't get them in the US - TKC-80's. The only catch is they wear a lot faster.

Anakee's were also significantly better than the stock Trail-wings off road, but nowhere near as good as Escapes.

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post #10 of 26 Old 03-31-2008, 03:42 AM
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Put a forkbrace and a TKC 80 on the front. It will make a world of difference. The standing up and leaning back is also great advice. While you're at it, put some aftermarket bars on it too.

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