Stupid noob dual-sporting questions
Today I found myself at the top of a very steep (50-75% grade), twisty, rutted dirt one-lane road. It was pavement up over the crest of the hill, and by the time I knew what I was in for, I don't think I could have turned around - or even dismounted - without dumping it.
"Hey, it's an 'adventure' bike, right?"
I descended the hill with both brakes on the whole way, in first gear, and I don't think I broke 5mph even at that. I was hyper-conscious of every little push the front tire got when it hit a big rock or the ruts shoved it to one side or the other, and I felt like I was always only a second away from both brakes locking up and skidding on the loose gravel. Despite high "pucker factor," I made it down uneventfully.
Stupid Q time:
1. Is this normal? I mean, is anyone hammering down a steep rough road like this, or do even the pros sweat this kind of stuff?
2. What is the proper braking technique for poor traction + steep downhill? It felt like ALL the weight was up front, so I was light on the rear brake to avoid locking it - but don't the dirt riders use back brakes almost exclusively?
3. I know what happens when you lock the back end up in gravel (not a good feeling), but what happens when you lock the front?
I like the IDEA of the go-anywhere mc, but man, there are places that scare the bejeebies out of me to go - and they usually involve steep downhills with sharp turns. My one and only dump was on gravel in a similar situation: crested a hill only to find a massively steep drop-off with a 90* bend a short way ahead. Locked the back tire and road it out - I was pointing back up the hill when I finally jumped ship (this was on my KLR, btw). I'd scrubbed all but a few mph by then, and the act of hopping off was aided by a mini-high side. Maybe that experience is coloring my fears now - I don't know.