Vstrom vs. soft dirt, i.e. traction control is trying to kill me
In my recent quest for dual sport tire information, I've come across a lot of discussion about the V-Strom and how it handles soft dirt (and similarly sand). I though I would throw in my two cents worth from an experience I had early on.
I've been riding dirt since I was a pre-teen, although never fancy or racing style, mostly mountain trails and sand dunes. So I'm aware of the need to get and keep the front tire up and on top of the sand using a more aggressive acceleration and higher speeds that one would normally use for packed dirt.
I was riding my Vee2 down a dirt two track having a good time with everything going just fine. The hard dirt would at times give way to that super fine soft dirt several inches deep. That is the stuff that with a little water becomes soup or pudding very quickly... As the trail became more and more soft and deep powder and less of a packed dirt two track, I decided to turn around. The soft stuff just off the trail was even deeper, but I successfully got the bike 180 degrees and just need to power up and get back on the trail. All of the following happened in just a few seconds... As I powered up and started moving, the handlebars were understandably plowing back and forth. More power, more speed... Everytime I had just about won out over the soft dirt plow and achieved smooth sailing, the traction control (unknown to me at the time - I was wearing ear plugs and caught up in the moment) would cut the power and I'd sink hard back into the dirt and the handlebars would start slopping back and forth again. At first I just figured that the dirt had gotten worse and so I tried to power up and out even more, followed by another TC power cut. Each time I lost a little ground in my battle against gravity until about the 3rd time the TC induced plow stopped me cold and tipped me over. Grrr.
After dusting off and picking up the behemoth, I made another run at getting it out and back onto solid ground. This time however, I did notice the engine stumble on the first go around. I figured the tip over may have loaded things up so I clutched and revved. Working good, let's go... Another engine stumble, then it dawned on me that the TC was cutting power! I hadn't even given the TC a second thought until that moment, DOH! I turned it from "1" to off and powered my way out of that soft dirt pit with no problem.
I'm not recommending the V-Strom for riding dunes or even sketchy terrain, but I found that it does quite well when the technology isn't getting in the way. I now "try" to remember to turn off the TC as soon as I leave the pavement. For better or worse, I want the bike to respond predictably to my inputs. That was the first and only time I've ever had my Vee2 tip over. Probably won't be the last...