Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums - Reply to Topic
General V-Strom Discussion Talk about all things V-Strom not limited to just one of the above models

Thread: Strom on dirt and loose gravel Reply to Thread
Title:
Message:
Trackback:
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:
 

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

  Topic Review (Newest First)
06-19-2011 11:27 AM
Cascade Wanderer "And other than on dedicated dirt trail areas, in "real world" gravel/dirt road riding you really need to watch the road surface closely at all times for changes. Go 60 mph on a hard-packed dirt road and hit a deep gravel patch or sandy dip unprepared -- ouch."

Heartily agree there HSL!

A few weeks ago I was bombing along on some gravel roads out in the middle of nowhere - Eastern Oregon - all was well... Until I suddenly found where the road was muddy and rutted! Yikes. Wasn't prepared for that and was going too fast for those conditions. Almost lost control, but slowed and salvaged things. Came to a stop, had a little chat with myself about the perils of pushing too hard while all alone out in the middle of nowhere, and continued on, at a reduced pace and watching the "gravel" road more carefully.
06-19-2011 02:46 AM
waynestronach
Port Underwood Road

Ok, so after a very wet weekend, decided to take the wee out and put it thru its paces on a wet slippery gravel road. 1st 10km were slow going due to rough road, graded gravel and new slips. ABS was great, saved my bacon at least once when hit a soft mud patch while under heavy brakes and watching the view.


06-18-2011 06:37 PM
waynestronach
Quote:
Originally Posted by HSL View Post
I really think the technique depends on the actual territory. If you travel miles and miles of gravel roads at a fast pace, I'm not sure there is much point in standing on the pegs all the time.

When I first took on gravel, the biggest issue was that terrifying sliding/swimming sensation. Trying to control that through the handlebars (in other words, seizing up the handlebars in the death grip of panic) just made it worse. Letting the handlebars lose and controlling the bike with my lower body seems to help -- at least for me, and that's all I can testify to.
Very good points. Don't fight the handlebars, just makes you tired. On my DRZ400, once I got above 110km/hr on the gravel, the front wheel shaking went from normal to almost tank slapping, I fitted a Scotts steering damper and the problem was solved. Have moved the damper to the wee, not sure if its necessary and don't plan on pushing the wee quite as hard as the DRZ on the loose stuff.

Gravel roads are no big deal on the wee, just slow down until you are comfortable and enjoy. If the gravel is mounded up, use it like a berm, but be extra careful of traffic coming the other way.

I don't stand on gravel roads, unless they are very rough, but standing does have some benefits, it transfers your weight to the footpegs,it lets you quickly move your weight around, improves your ability to handle bumps and you can see further ahead.
06-18-2011 01:34 PM
HSL I really think the technique depends on the actual territory. If you travel miles and miles of gravel roads at a fast pace, I'm not sure there is much point in standing on the pegs all the time.

When I first took on gravel, the biggest issue was that terrifying sliding/swimming sensation. Trying to control that through the handlebars (in other words, seizing up the handlebars in the death grip of panic) just made it worse. Letting the handlebars lose and controlling the bike with my lower body seems to help -- at least for me, and that's all I can testify to.
06-18-2011 01:08 PM
Gitana Standing on the pegs makes a huge difference for me. I don't like to squeeze the tank with my knees. I prefer to stay loose, like riding a dirt bike. It takes some practice to get used to shifting and braking while standing, but it makes the bike feel far less squirrely when on gravel. Also, having your suspension dialed in for you and your weight makes a big difference.
06-18-2011 08:37 AM
Fyrman
Quote:
Originally Posted by HSL View Post
[*]Use your knees, not your hands. "Body english" sounds a bit esotheric to a beginner, but it is amazing how directly your thoughts translate into bike movements when you simply squeeze the tank between your knees as hard as you can (while letting the handlebars "loose"). That's in my view how you start getting comfortable with the constant "swimming" sensation underneath your tires.[/LIST]
X2!!

It's a technique that you really have to learn. It's not a natural feeling at first because of spending so much time on the pavement. Try it and learn it... it makes a difference.
06-18-2011 12:39 AM
HSL Lots of great advice here. One thing to keep in mind is that what you do really depends a lot on the type of surface -- gravel on pavement is nasty, gravel on hard dirt no poblem, hard packed dirt is as good as asphalt, mud can be ok if you don't get stuck in it, but if the mud is actually clay you may wipe out instantly. Not to mention sand, the ultimate killer...

And other than on dedicated dirt trail areas, in "real world" gravel/dirt road riding you really need to watch the road surface closely at all times for changes. Go 60 mph on a hard-packed dirt road and hit a deep gravel patch or sandy dip unprepared -- ouch.

Like many here, I've never ridden dirt bikes; the V-Strom (and Minnesota's wonderful array of scenic gravel/forest/minimum maintenance roads) were really my first experience off pavement. Of the great suggestions here, my personal "top 3" are:
  1. You go where you look -- just as on pavement, or more so.

  2. You have to lean the bike to get through that curve, even though you are sure that if you lean, you'll slide into the ditch. But usually you won't -- you'll find some grip in the gravel, or the curve will be over before you get to the ditch. On the other hand, if you don't lean, you are guaranteed to run into the ditch -- so make your choice... (And for God's sake, don't look at the ditch.)

  3. Use your knees, not your hands. "Body english" sounds a bit esotheric to a beginner, but it is amazing how directly your thoughts translate into bike movements when you simply squeeze the tank between your knees as hard as you can (while letting the handlebars "loose"). That's in my view how you start getting comfortable with the constant "swimming" sensation underneath your tires.
Now that's my take on gravel roads and the like. As I said, I have no clue about dirt biking. In the end, gravel is mostly about getting used to it. I would recommend to practice alone -- focus only on your own feel for the road (not to mention that riding in a dust cloud is no fun...).
06-16-2011 10:08 PM
Fjones I live on a sugar sand and gravel road and found the 110/80 front tire would try to bury itself and slide off. I changed to a 110/90 front and this road is a piece of cake. very little slipping and very good control in the corners. I have a street radial on the back and a bias on the front. so far the handling, on the tarmac is very comfident and comfortable and my 1/2 mile of sugar sand is very controllable.
06-16-2011 05:01 PM
Gitana Back on topic, I'm not comfortable riding a fully loaded Wee on really squirrely sand/gravel roads. It does fine on gravel roads that are in relatively good shape, particularly with a TKC front tire and letting the air out to about 20 psi. I bought one of the little Aerostich compact compressors, and it airs up tires pretty quickly.
06-16-2011 05:00 PM
Fyrman Well Ok then... Who's up for a little "back on topic"???

Darksiding has been beat to death. There's thread after thread debating/arguing/name calling all over the forum. Perhaps you guys should take it to one of those then at least you'd be on topic.

I did a beautiful run down the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia this morning, (even passed a fellow Strommer while heading up the Gaspereau Valley), and even found some time to run some dirt side roads. I think one of the best things you can do is get out there an practice. The more time you spend taking your time and learning how to run in the dirt the less chance of getting caught off guard and not knowing how to deal with it when the pavement inexplicably comes to and end on one of your trips someday. Find a place like the one in the vid I posted earlier and go out and play!
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome