So youre riding down a relatively steep dirt/gravel road - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Riding Proficiency Tips and suggestions for improving the rider's safety skills and riding techniques

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post #1 of 30 Old 03-10-2014, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: SE Tenn
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So youre riding down a relatively steep dirt/gravel road

Do you stand up?
Do brake with back, front, both?
As you round a curve (no oncoming traffic) you utilize the other lane (less ruts) and you sense the bike wanting to go farther taoward the edge (which is a dropoff). What goes through your mind to keep from going to the edge?

Thanks for sharing; and what Im doing is practicing dirt and gravel roads because a. I like to leave the pavement and b. I should be ready for dirt roads in Coffee growing regions of central america during my trip this november.

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post #2 of 30 Old 03-10-2014, 01:52 PM
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Both, always both.
Yes, but ONLY when confident that no vehicle can possibly arrive unexpectedly.
Look where you want to go, and do not lock your wheels. Practice quickly easing off the brake of any wheel that locks. You are almost always NEVER better off with locked wheels.

It is usually best on sloping downhill tracks to stay high as it is always easy to drop down and often difficult to get back up.

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post #3 of 30 Old 03-10-2014, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Brockie. Staying high seems to be what I need to practice for sure. Ive been nervous a few times wondering how Id regain higher ground through loose stuff. So far Ive always been going slow when caught on the lowside- gives me time to find relatively solid ground to the high side.
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post #4 of 30 Old 03-10-2014, 10:19 PM
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I stand up alot on gravel, weight on outside peg, more rear brake than front, drag rear brake at low speed for stability. Roads with no lines, expect somebody in your lane even if you are in your lane, be ready to break or accelerate, go left or right. You might want to borrow a small dirt bike and go fool around, make some mistakes, have some fun. Hope you have a good trip.
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post #5 of 30 Old 03-10-2014, 10:31 PM
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One of the best things I can offer is don't be afraid of that front brake off road. Even like being on road, the front still provides you with more of your stopping power, probably even more biased towards the front in off road situations. So learn to use both and find those limits of each and get comfortable with that. You of course don't want to be locking up the front, but learn how hard you can push the front and definitely learn to modulate the rear. When you start locking up the rear in gravel, you can really cause the rear end to start dancing around on you.

Also learn to use the throttle to dig in the rear and get the bike to turn as you are coming out of a turn.

Standing up off road is never a bad thing. You have way more control while you are standing.

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post #6 of 30 Old 03-10-2014, 10:33 PM
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More rear brake than front, but don't lock'em up. And I can't stress enough what Brockie said - look where you want to go! Kinda tough when things get outa control, but sooo important not to focus on the hazard that presents itself. Better to focus on the way out!

Escape the cage!

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post #7 of 30 Old 03-11-2014, 12:16 AM
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As Stone said "weight the outside peg" This seemed so counter to what I was thinking but once I learned it, riding off-road really became much more fun and much more controlled. I couldn't get the power sliding thing until I learned to weight the outside peg and all of a sudden I was in control of the bike. Now it's Roostefari!

Practice this.

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post #8 of 30 Old 03-11-2014, 12:38 AM
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Stand when called for , and use the front brakes. I use the rear some in dirt/gravel , but still get Most of my stopping off the front binders.
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post #9 of 30 Old 03-11-2014, 01:17 AM
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Going downhill, on gravel? Gravel is always a biotch - like riding on marbles sometimes, even a pure dirt bike with knobs will have traction issues. Dirt is variable, so will your technique need to be.

I've always stood up and got my butt over the back- - you don't want the front tire to dig in, which on a front tire heavy bike like the strom is something to be mindful of. Front end float is key going straight. Gravel on a downhill corner? If it's tight, I'm getting up on the tank to weight the front end as much as possible while sitting down, keep leaning to a minumum. Push that tire thru the loose gravel to some hard dirt below. You definitely want to mind your speed on downhill, deep gravel turns, because gravel has a mid of it's own - tough on any bike, yet that much tougher on a heavy porker like a strom.

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post #10 of 30 Old 03-11-2014, 04:31 AM
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All good information so far.

Human nature dictates that you will go where you look, so don't look at the nasty part of the track right at your front wheel, look ahead and look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go.

Then relax, it is hard to do at first but if you relax the bike will not stand up and head wide, it will go where you look, so all your problems are solved.

Often if you think I'm going to crash you will, if you can change that thought to I can make this you will make it.

It is the same for the road too.

So in short, look, relax and enjoy the experience.

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