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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for input. On lose gravel or off tarmac riding. Going up hill or even on the straights I can always just add some more gas and get the bike to settle down. But when going down hills my bike seems to have a mind of its own even though I never went down it sure seems the bike gets "loose". At these times I have no interest in going faster and my back break just seems to cause more sliding.

More info:
this problem occurs when riding fully loaded, I have never taken my bike off tarmac with out being fully loaded.

I never ran an enduro bike.

Thanks
 

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Some is just practice, some suspension & tires, some technique and some (the heavy loaded bit) just trouble.

My advice would be put some knobby tires on the bike and spend a couple of weekends on dirt without the load, that should solve most of the problems. Better rear suspension also makes a big difference but mostly when it gets really nasty - like rocks or washboards.

It's not something I have real problems with, but I have tires with some dirt grip (K60's) and quite a bit of experience.

Most of the braking still needs to be up front, and once you master that sliding well forwards and putting more weight on the front helps. I'd suggest for practice though, straight flat gravel road to start and practice using the front brake, and most important practice releasing it and applying it again when you lock the front.

An ABS bike is way easier here because it takes most of the risk of a front end washout away.

It also helps to not let speed build too much in the first place, slow down before the crest of the hill etc. It's not an MX bike and personally I'm happy with just getting through (as opposed to getting through fast).

If you havn't crashed so far I'd say you are doing O.K. frankly. If I'm riding dirt I do my best to leave the heavy stuff behind somewhere because it's always a PITA.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
2012

It is a 2012 so no ABS. If I pull the front lever I need get my weight forward? What does stop the front tire from sliding like the back?

Can you pull out of a front tire slide?

My tire of choice is k60's.

The reason it is loaded is this is not dirt bike so the only time I take it off tarmac is when I am on a trip. But practice is always what I tell others.
 

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It is a 2012 so no ABS. If I pull the front lever I need get my weight forward? What does stop the front tire from sliding like the back?

Can you pull out of a front tire slide?

My tire of choice is k60's.

The reason it is loaded is this is not dirt bike so the only time I take it off tarmac is when I am on a trip. But practice is always what I tell others.

2012 is an ABS bike.

Maybe that's part of the problem your activating the ABS without realizing it. In the dirt you'll loose breaking power and take longer to stop.

Leave the bike in a lower gear than normal and let engine braking keep the momentum from building to fast. Be as vertical as possible when braking. On steep down hills the rear brake will be even less effective than normal!

With the ABS on I don't know if it's possible to brake slide the rear to turn in the dirt. I might have to experiment!
 

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I would guess you have the stock front tire - My vstrom is also a bit squirrely on loose gravelly dirt road riding. I did add a fork brace, and run semi knobs (fullbore m40/41's), and it's much better behaved - it is a dream on hardpack. But, the Vstrom is a big heavy bike that provides very little feedback as to what's under the front tire when traction gets gravelly. It's just a characteristic of the bike you'll have to come to terms with. That said, if you think your Vstrom has a mind of it's own, wait til you ride it in sand!!!!!

When in doubt, gas it..........seems to work even when you're white knuckling it!
 

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I would guess you have the stock front tire - My vstrom is also a bit squirrely on loose gravelly dirt road riding. I did add a fork brace, and run semi knobs (fullbore m40/41's), and it's much better behaved - it is a dream on hardpack. But, the Vstrom is a big heavy bike that provides very little feedback as to what's under the front tire when traction gets gravelly. It's just a characteristic of the bike you'll have to come to terms with. That said, if you think your Vstrom has a mind of it's own, wait til you ride it in sand!!!!!

When in doubt, gas it..........seems to work even when you're white knuckling it!

Yea downhill off-road fully loaded V-Strom gas it, that will end well :grin2:
 

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2012 is an ABS bike.

Maybe that's part of the problem your activating the ABS without realizing it. In the dirt you'll loose breaking power and take longer to stop.

Leave the bike in a lower gear than normal and let engine braking keep the momentum from building to fast. Be as vertical as possible when braking. On steep down hills the rear brake will be even less effective than normal!

With the ABS on I don't know if it's possible to brake slide the rear to turn in the dirt. I might have to experiment!
2012 DL1000 does not have ABS
 

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Discussion Starter #12
>:)
You're taking a fully loaded Vstrom off road on a loose down hill and you're wondering what's wrong? :green_lol:
You have to run down hill if you plan the "top of the world" or the "Dalton" I also need tents etc.... I am not talking about single track. Just traveling as much as money, time and the wife will let me. My Strom is not garage queen. That's what they make other models for >:)
 

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Not downhill as in off- road downhill.

The Top of the World is messy in the wet, not problem dry ....can't say about the Dalton but these are major highways up there...there are limits to the grades.

If you are in the correct gear you should be able to tractor down without braking.
 

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Heading downhill, keep your weight back, almost over the back wheel. That wheel is rigidly attached to the bike, so use your legs and knees to grip the bike and make your body a stable unit with the rigid part of the bike, except for slightly bent knees flexing to soak up sudden bike movement due to bumps.

Do not put lots of pressure on the bars or "lean" on them, your body movements will make inadvertent inputs. Keep a light grip on the bars and let the front wheel move and "do its thing" a little over irregular surfaces, only making bar inputs for what you want to do. Compressed front forks will make steering more sensitive, adding to it feeling "squirrelly"...

Lowest gear if you can to avoid needing front brake to further compress already challenged fork springs. Shortening the steering geometry by really compressing the forks, with a heavy bike behind them, on a loose surface, road biased tyres and gravity adding to your troubles is, eventually, if it gets steep enough (by the laws of physics), going to end in tears...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Do not put lots of pressure on the bars or "lean" on them, your body movements will make inadvertent inputs. Keep a light grip on the bars and let the front wheel move and "do its thing" a little over irregular surfaces, only making bar inputs for what you want to do. Compressed front forks will make steering more sensitive, adding to it feeling "squirrelly"...

So do you let the "float" under your hands?
You put the weight back.
Do you let the front tire move around or drift?
The front fork compression could you explain this?

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Discussion Starter #16
Not downhill as in off- road downhill.

The Top of the World is messy in the wet, not problem dry ....can't say about the Dalton but these are major highways up there...there are limits to the grades.

If you are in the correct gear you should be able to tractor down without braking.
My biggest issue was following the pace cars during road construction. (down hills). This was the hardest ridding I have endured. It rains almost every time I ride. The last BIG trip I took it rained 18 of the 22 days and of those 22 it also snowed. Going down hill "off tarmac not off road" are only times I feel like I am not in control.

Thanks
 

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remind me to go where you are not. :D

We did BC - touched Alaska at Hyder , Vancouver Island an d home via Glacier, Yellowstone etc and got 1-2 days of rain in 24 in June last year

Buddy did his usual jaunt out to Alaska and got like 27 of 32 days of rain last year

Please don't go to the east coast in July ....PLEASSSSSE!!

We saw bicycles put into the pace trucks in the muddiest sections of the Alcan. I suspect feathering rear brake against throttle might help - stay off the front entirely.
That mud up there is squirmy.....even in our AWD.
 

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Sure.

Soft surfaces, downhill, I do stand up but get my butt and thus body weight back over the aft part of the seat - as described this relieves some load on the front wheel.

In that position, particularly when absorbing bumps from the ground, you have to stabilize your body. (this applies at all times when riding, but is much more pronounced standing) If you lean or "hang on" to the bars, the small, almost imperceptible impacts from the ground that shove your body center of gravity around will feed into the handlebars, making inputs you didn't want - first cause of control difficulties.

Squeeze your knees and calves together on those nice smooth panels Suzuki have provided under the seat and behind the tank. You should feel like this supports your body well enough that apart from the need for control, you don't have to hold onto the bars.

In a very general way, consider that the gyroscopic effect of the rigidly mounted rear wheel provides the bike with stability, and the precession effect from your inputs to the pivoting front wheel provides you with control. (this is why you should avoid rear wheel lock up, serious loss of gyroscopic stability without that gyro turning!) Now, it's not that clearly separated in reality, but the concept works for this discussion.

Literally, have a fairly loose grip on the bars, or maybe I mean don't have "rigid arms"... Not so that they jerk out of your hands, but enough so that if ground features momentarily displace them you let that happen, provided such movement doesn't send the bike where you don't want. "Float", if you like... Keep your body steady with your legs/knees squeezed together, let them flex up and down as secondary shock absorbers and only put force on the bars for throttle, steering and braking input.

Heading significantly downhill, as well as excessive front brake, will load the front fork springs and tyre contact patch. The springs, particularly on a bike with spring rates set for comfort on the road, will compress a fair bit. This makes the forks shorter, altering the steering geometry of the bike and making the steering quicken up, which is probably not desirable at this point... Same for loading the front tyre contact patch on loose surfaces, more pressure will give it better grip, not necessarily bad but exacerbating unwanted, already quicker steering inputs. Also, using back brake or engine braking may cause rear wheel rotation to slow on a loose surface (remember weight shift has caused that tyre contact patch to have less grip) and thus reduce stability of the bike.

The combination of the two may be causing the "squirrelly" feeling so don't add to the problem by leaning on the bars or loading the front end more than necessary.

As I mentioned, there will be an angle of descent where a heavy bike, on road oriented suspension and tyres cannot get enough friction from the back tyre alone on loose/wet surfaces to stay at a steady speed, and it will accelerate downhill. Use if the front brake will be necessary, bringing the above factors into play. At some angle of steepness, the combination will become divergent re speed and control. My strong advice would be never take the V2 there!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks, Zone 5 and yesbut.Now I need to go out and find a off tarmac hill near by run it up and down empty then loaded.

I have also considered one of those BMW off road schools. I have never talked to anyone who has went to one.

MacDoc farmers love me in July and August. I have considered hiring out my services. I don't think I have ever taken a trip without rain.
 
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