Vstrom vs. soft dirt, i.e. traction control is trying to kill me - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-16-2017, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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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...
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-16-2017, 03:23 PM
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Yup, and I disable the ABS on my Wee by spinning the front wheel while on the center stand.

2015 VSTROM 650 X ABS EXP
Previous rides: 2012 KLX250S, 2006 VT1100C2, 2002 KX125, 1999 SV650, 1987 GPZ305
Bikes I wish I had: Ducati 916, Harley Road King, KTM 500 EXC, BMW R1200RT, Honda CRF1000L, BMW R75
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-16-2017, 08:38 PM
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Seems things like technology don't offer the best solution for experienced riders in poor conditions. All that stuff should be made to be disabled. How hard can the push of a button be to program?
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-16-2017, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcham View Post
Yup, and I disable the ABS on my Wee by spinning the front wheel while on the center stand.


How does that disable the ABS?

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post #5 of 9 Old 07-16-2017, 10:39 PM
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If after starting the engine the abs computer senses one wheel spinning but not the other, it disables the system and you get an abs warning light.

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2015 VSTROM 650 X ABS EXP
Previous rides: 2012 KLX250S, 2006 VT1100C2, 2002 KX125, 1999 SV650, 1987 GPZ305
Bikes I wish I had: Ducati 916, Harley Road King, KTM 500 EXC, BMW R1200RT, Honda CRF1000L, BMW R75

Last edited by marcham; 07-17-2017 at 10:51 PM.
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-17-2017, 09:08 AM
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" it disables the system and you get an abs warning light."
Not the best answer but certainly doable if you are going off road. Just remember to leave the bike running or you will have to repeat the task when you restart the bike after a fall down in the soft stuff.
My G650GS has a button on the left side handlebar switch set to disable the ABS. Convenient but I'll probably never use it. I'm a dirt coward.
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-17-2017, 05:38 PM
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I understood traction control could be shut off on Vee's??? Did they stop doing that on Subsequent Vee's?

Your not talking ABS here like some have assumed.

So many roads, so little time !
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-17-2017, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Correct, the Vee2 Traction Control can be selected between 'OFF', '1', or '2'. Where '2' is the least forgiving (i.e. used for wet conditions). It was pure operator 'space cadet' that didn't realize the traction control needed to be shutdown when exiting the pavement. I literally never mess with it. I set it to '1' shortly after taking delivery and only messed with it once after getting caught in the rain. Incidentally, you can only change the mode on the Vee2 when moving less than 5mph or something like that, essentially it expects you to stop before changing the sensitivity level.
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-17-2017, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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And the ABS doesn't have a 'switch' or mode to select. You either need to wire in a defeat by interrupting power to at least one of the 3 components in the ABS system... Or trick the ECM into thinking there is a sensor malfunction by spinning only one of the tires with the engine running. This method is fairly easy if you have a center stand and don't mind stopping and dismounting every time you want to disable the ABS. However, the ABS system resets after the next ignition cycle so you'll have to keep it that in mind. For this reason, many prefer to install a handle bar switch and/or a relay to interrupt power to the ABS control module (my personal favorite - low power and doesn't kill the entire fused leg), the ABS pump fused line, or whatever that second ABS fuse goes to (I don't recall off the top of my head). Many threads about how to do it, I'd pick whichever can be shutdown the most gracefully (not set any codes) and can be reactivated to full function without an ignition cycle. A normally closed relay in the 12V line to the ABS computer module seems to be a pretty handy solution. I even debated about just using a physical switch mounted near the seat that I could reach down an click rather than running wires up to the handlebars... Perhaps that switch could be attached to the frame and tucked in near the preload adjuster. There is some space there and tucking it inside the frame would help protect it from accidental use.
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