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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just took a 3 day off-road course (Teach and Tour) with Adventure Riders International, and it was a blast. We did a day of drills, doing turning, braking, locking the front and rear wheels, hill climb, balance, etc. Then 2 days of riding on some ATV tracks and class 4 and worse trails around southern VT. We also did a ton of state higway and dirt road touring through rural Vermont, which was really beautiful.

The class was tailored around big adventure bikes as that's what most of the students had. We had my V-strom, 2 Tenere's, an R1200, and an older guy on a DR200. We all ended up on our sides many times, but the V-strom took it like a champ and had no trouble at all. It fired right up after getting righted, and handled the terrain quite well. For tires I put on a set of Shinko 804/805's. They preformed great as well (at least to my untrained perception).

Overall, the Tenere's had the most trouble, but not entirely because of their design. The older guy on one of the Tenere's went over the front of the bike doing the front wheel lockup drill and flew forward into his nice, brand new Madstad windscreen, shattering it and breaking the front stanchion. The front stanchion is made of plastic and breaks quite easily when you drop the bike (pretty bad design it seems...). The other guy on a Tenere had the same thing happen before, and even had a spare with him because it breaks so easily. The other Tenere took a spill on an ATV track, falling onto it's right side, and puncturing the radiator hose. Both riders recovered, but the guy that went through the windshield struggled alot with the rest of the course. It seems that his 2015 tenere had an extremely touchy throttle after he pulled the ABS fuse. On day 3 when he replaced the fuse to regain ABS and ESC, he handled the deep sand pit we drilled in very well.

The R1200 did surprisingly well despite being huge and the rider being pretty small. He went down hard many times, but the touratech engine bars kep the bike pretty much blemish free. The R1200 rider fell in the sand pit, had the bike fall on his leg and he broke his ankle, but until that point, he handled some pretty rough stuff very well.

The V-strom had some ground clearance issues in parts, getting high centerd on a rock in a muddy section, and on a small wooden bridge, but other than that, I thought the throttle we pretty easy to control, and I really can't complain about much other than the weight.

Anyway, here are some videos of the forest runs. Be gentle with your comments, this was my very first time off-road, and on a pretty heavy bike. We got alot of gawking comments from the rednecks in 4wheelers with their bud lights celebrating memorial day, pretty much all positive and thumbs up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO7D6wwhWnw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNtziVVtzIs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bCigsH4nd0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-fXXBwGVxQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=um2j-OBQdo4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfJ07_7dBcU

Adding a couple pictures.






 

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That looked like fun. Wish I could find a group of adv riders who were willing to take their bikes offroad. I love doing it by myself, but much more fun with numbers.
 

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I love the videos! Sure was a lot of footage! One thing I am impressed with is watching people ride these huge bikes off-road. I'm a firm believer that these bikes do NOT belong off-road and this is based on the weight factor alone. I want a dual sport extremely bad but own two 2015 V-Stroms and can't afford a third bike right now. I'm on the fence about throwing some Heidenau (<---spelling?) tires on my 650 and just beating it to hell if no one wants to buy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I love the videos! Sure was a lot of footage! One thing I am impressed with is watching people ride these huge bikes off-road. I'm a firm believer that these bikes do NOT belong off-road and this is based on the weight factor alone. I want a dual sport extremely bad but own two 2015 V-Stroms and can't afford a third bike right now. I'm on the fence about throwing some Heidenau (<---spelling?) tires on my 650 and just beating it to hell if no one wants to buy it.
Yeah, the guy on the R1200 and the red Tenere were older guys, and they and I were the only ones that were actual newbies, and I was super impressed with how much they handled. They had to have Lorne ride them through a couple spots, but they handled a million times more than 99% of riders out there with their respective bikes probably ever face. I got stuck and had to struggle my way through a number of challenging places that they also got through, and I'm a young fit guy. Serious kudos to them (and for not quitting after a trial by fire on the first day).

I thought the same thing about big bikes like these, but it was actually really cool to see that they really were capable of this kind of terrain. Mind you, I wouldn't want to take it out there by myself, and it certainly is not in any way the best, or even an above average way to go through that kind of terrain, but it was still a ton of fun. And after thinking about it a bit, I would like to try this with a smaller bike and I think it'd be alot more fun, but this was a fun way to make some moderately challenging terrain be more technically challenging.

Watching Lorne ride both the BMW and the Tenere through some tough spots, these bikes could really be taken through this stuff pretty easily by a skilled rider. He's a former professional, so that was a bit of a stacked deck, but still pretty amazing to watch him handle the big bikes with relative ease.

Also, the bikes took some pretty rough tumbles, and they all really came out with hardly a scratch. Very impressed with them and the engine guards

For the tires, don't waste the coin on expensive tires if you're just going to beat on it. I really liked the shinkos, and they were about $180 for the pair I think
 

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I love the videos! Sure was a lot of footage! One thing I am impressed with is watching people ride these huge bikes off-road. I'm a firm believer that these bikes do NOT belong off-road and this is based on the weight factor alone. I want a dual sport extremely bad but own two 2015 V-Stroms and can't afford a third bike right now. I'm on the fence about throwing some Heidenau (<---spelling?) tires on my 650 and just beating it to hell if no one wants to buy it.
Dooooooooo Itttttttttttttttttt.>:)
 

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I love the videos! Sure was a lot of footage! One thing I am impressed with is watching people ride these huge bikes off-road. I'm a firm believer that these bikes do NOT belong off-road and this is based on the weight factor alone. I want a dual sport extremely bad but own two 2015 V-Stroms and can't afford a third bike right now. I'm on the fence about throwing some Heidenau (<---spelling?) tires on my 650 and just beating it to hell if no one wants to buy it.
No way in hell you would take either of your pristine Stroms on real off road. :grin2: And you don't want the Heidenau K60's anyways, those Shinko 804/805 combo is the ticket. :fineprint:
 

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Impressive stuff, especially on the ole 1000 pig, the new Vee2 would've been much easier or a 650. The Stroms need more ground clearance, just imagine how much more capable they could be?
 

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No way in hell you would take either of your pristine Stroms on real off road. :grin2: And you don't want the Heidenau K60's anyways, those Shinko 804/805 combo is the ticket. :fineprint:
+1 to that. The Shinko big blocks are awesome.
 

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I own their videos and found them a great help. Bet the class was terrific.

FWIW I have the Heidenau K60s on my 07 Wee and love them. They delivered when I rode through fields of grass and mud, old creek beds, and (of course) fire roads. They've given me adequate highway performance (even in frog-stranglers) and the mileage is surprisingly good.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, I found a bit more damage then I thought now that I've cleaned the old girl and inspected a bit better.

The engine guards are bent towards the right side. I must have fallen more on the left side than the right. The skid plate is all kinds of bent up. I managed to get it off, and I pounded out some of the kinks and straightened out the mounting points that had completely folded up. I am thinking I might try to reinforce the mounting points and some other points with steel sheet and some steel corner pieces that I'll weld to fit. It seems that aluminum bash plates can't really be bashed all that much...

I also found that the left frame cover broke around the mounting bolt. This is extra annoying because the right side already lost one of the plastic mounting posts, so now neither mounts flush...

I am thinking I'll make a spacer to fit in the hole in the frame cover and just bolt it back in there with a large flat washer on the outside. Hopefully that will be stronger

Has anyone found a more robust solution for the frame covers? I like having the covers there so that I can put some techspec on them for a better grip, but I hate that they are so easy to break.
 

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Be careful reinforcing the mounting points on your skid plate. That force has to go somewhere, and if the plate can't deform at all, the impact just transfers somewhere else. If you reinforce the mounting points on the plate, you're just going to transfer more force to the engine (if that's where the plate mounts to). I'd rather have those brackets bend than to have the side cases or sump get cracked.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah, I am planning on just either using some light sheet steel, or maybe trying a different mounting point. I'll probably just stare at it for a while and decide what to do.

My ideal thing to do would be to mount it though rubber bushings/stand-offs. If I can find something good for that, I'd love to do that instead.

Actually, now that I think about that more, I'd much rather do that.

To Mcmaster...
 

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Well, I found a bit more damage then I thought now that I've cleaned the old girl and inspected a bit better.

...

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You need real hand guards for riding like that. Aluminum spine type. You will break a lever without them sooner or later.

Also to avoid a busted mirror either rotate them in or take them off.

Didn't look like fun to me. More like dreading the inevitable picking the bike up!
 

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804/805 for sure. STROM is plenty capable just don't think you're going to be hauling the mail like a guy on a more purpose built bike and you have to realize its limitations such as ground clearance. My Strom has seen many off pavement miles.



OP-what skid plate are you using? I recently had to change mine out. For 60k miles everytime I did an oil change I had to put my Hepco Becker on an anvil and straight it and the mounts out. About a month ago I noticed the mounts starting to fracture and rip so just replaced the whole thing with a new plate.

If you don't have handguards and want to get some for not a lot of cash outlay check out the Western Powersports ones from Amazon. Mine have been on there for 3 years and are still trucking along after many a offs.

http://www.amazon.com/Fly-Racing-Off-Road-Motard-Handguards/dp/B003CK1OK0?ie=UTF8&keywords=western power sports hand&qid=1465412072&ref_=sr_1_10&sr=8-10
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You need real hand guards for riding like that. Aluminum spine type. You will break a lever without them sooner or later.

Also to avoid a busted mirror either rotate them in or take them off.

Didn't look like fun to me. More like dreading the inevitable picking the bike up!

I cut my levers short, so there isn't that much risk to the levers. They are significantly shorter than the bar. I know many people will disagree with me on that, but that's fine. I'll deal with the consequences if it comes to that, which I doubt it will.

The mirrors took a couple hits and got twisted, but they are on risers and were fine, I am replacing them anyway with some doubletake mirrors that can fold out of the way, and that hopefully won't hit my wind screen while turning.

BTW, the damage I was referring to wasn't to any of those parts, it was to the bash plate and engine guards from high centering and just plain dumping it so many times.

I can definitely understand if taking a big bike on this stuff isn't everyone's bag. Especially if you have done dirt biking, I would guess this would feel like taking all the fun out of it. For me, I've never ridden a dirt bike, and this want my first time off road, so I came from a very different prospective. I really enjoy knowing that I can ride this bike as comfortably as any bike across the country, but also take it out into the forest.

That said, I'm thinking about getting a smaller bike for more fun in the mountains :grin2:
 
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