What Men Dare Do, Black Bear Pass, on a VStrom - Page 2 - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
General V-Strom Discussion Talk about all things V-Strom not limited to just one of the above models

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post #11 of 19 Old 11-06-2019, 11:01 AM
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Thanks for posting the video. I'm hoping to get back out to CO and UT and ride some of those trails but will rent a smaller dual sport. You were wise to have a skid plate and off road tires.

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post #12 of 19 Old 11-07-2019, 08:55 AM
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Supatramp, I too had to turn the video sound down, but that is not a slam. On real technical stuff I want it quiet and even turn off my music, so if I am going to live vicariously through you it must be quiet. That being said, tackling Black Bear solo on a DL takes big nads....congrats. Last Sept I did 5 other Mtn passes near BB in one day, but avoided Black Bear because of the rock ledges I was told were there. I did not see any rock stairsteps in the video, so were they there??

I had zero problems with the other passes. The boulder field(going up) at Engineer was interesting, but I bounced right through it. The silt sand hill before and Murphy's Hogback on the WRT was more of a challenge for me on my DL than anything around Ouray. I am going to go back and do BB and some of the others I missed...I love that whole area. Maybe even finish the TAT that ended abruptly at the Big Muddy in Arkansas going west a few years ago.

So did you ride out there solo from NJ? Trip report anywhere?

Btw, I find the DL fine for anything except deep sand and rock ledges. A 14T front sprocket turns these bikes into mini tractors.

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post #13 of 19 Old 11-07-2019, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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So did you ride out there solo from NJ? Trip report anywhere?
Btw, I find the DL fine for anything except deep sand and rock ledges. A 14T front sprocket turns these bikes into mini tractors.
I found this video on YouTube. I've ridden out west on three VStroms, twice solo. I did Ophir Pass, and had thought of doing Black Bear, but fortunately a girl I stayed with in Moab, had told me stories of it. She is retired cop, from Telluride, and was very familiar, with the area. I believe trying to do it from that side, is suicidal.
Being 72 now, I wouldn't even think of it, on a better suited bike. Any future trips, will be on fire roads
Once in Moab, I was on one, on the south side of the Colorado River and dumped in a gully of soft sand. My left ankle got sucked under the left Jessie bag.
It was 180 degrees, the wrong way. I tried to lift the bike twice, after I got freed up, but failed. Luckily a German couple, in their SUV, came by and helped me out.
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post #14 of 19 Old 11-07-2019, 04:19 PM
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Oh crap...you got me,...I thought that was your video

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post #15 of 19 Old 11-08-2019, 07:50 PM
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Nice video. Kind of misleading though. If you came over Black Bear, the switchbacks are a cakewalk compared to that one section higher up where the roads turns to the right while you step down the rock steps with the solid wall to the right of you and the dropoff down into the valley on the left. That is the real pucker spot. After that, the switchbacks are where you can start breathing again...
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post #16 of 19 Old 11-09-2019, 01:06 PM
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Nice video. Kind of misleading though. If you came over Black Bear, the switchbacks are a cakewalk compared to that one section higher up where the roads turns to the right while you step down the rock steps with the solid wall to the right of you and the dropoff down into the valley on the left. That is the real pucker spot. After that, the switchbacks are where you can start breathing again...
Yep, those are the stair steps I have heard about. Every other video on the 'tube has them in it. They do look doable on a 'strom, but I understand the conditions change quite a bit from year to year.

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post #17 of 19 Old 11-09-2019, 06:07 PM
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Yup. If you plan on riding the entire route end-to-end, Black Bear is technically a one-way trail running east to west--from 550 near Ouray over the pass to Telluride. The "crux" of BB is at the top of the pass as it begins the descent to the valley where Telluride sits. The east side isn't very technical (no steep climbs with baby heads) and the switchbacks on the west side (which are 2-way traffic up to the cute little house) are pretty straightforward, especially heading down. Even the one-way section isn't terribly technical. However, from riding off-road all of us know there are 2 main things that make a trail tough: 1) technical terrain difficulty and 2) penalty for failure. Black Bear falls mostly into the latter category, as there is little room for error when you ride the one-way section--it is comprised of an off-camber 2-track section of mainly shale type of rock, which gives fairly predictable traction when dry, not so much when wet--with a sharp raised ledge on the right and a sheer drop on the left into a nice 100+ ft gulley. It is visually and mentally intimidating when you approach it and I walked the section before I rode it for the first time.

If you want to return without doing a lot of pavement miles, you can take Tomboy Rd out of Telluride to Imogene Pass Rd back east to CO550 just above Ouray.
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post #18 of 19 Old 11-10-2019, 10:08 AM
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I'm guessing the camera smooths out the visual.
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post #19 of 19 Old 11-20-2019, 01:23 PM
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If you want to return without doing a lot of pavement miles, you can take Tomboy Rd out of Telluride to Imogene Pass Rd back east to CO550 just above Ouray.
Imogene is decently challenging on a bigger bike IMO. I dropped it twice on Imogene, once in a snowdrift I was trying to hammer through and once when I stalled on an uphill and had no footing where I thought I had footing. No skid plate and stock tires, and with trip luggage on the machine. My buddy on a trip-loaded Sertao dropped it maybe a dozen times and bent his bars so they were immovable. I had to lie his bike down, stand on it, and with every bit of strength I had was able to bend the bars straight again to get him off the mountain.

Every time I've tried to do BB on a bike or in a 4WD it's been closed for snow. Farthest I got was the pass (just before it goes to 1 way) in my 4R and then I got stuck in drifts. I'd try it on a Strom if it was dry and clear but apparently I'd be by myself!

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