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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would you guys let any air out of your tires for riding dirt roads, forest service roads, light gravel, and dirt? I have read that some recommend lower the air pressure used for riding black top but I would like your opinions. If you would reduce the air pressure, how much?
 

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I have tried it once or twice (and I ride a fair amount of gravel/dirt) - I don't feel it is worth the hassle to air up again later. I notice a slight improvement in handling but not enough to bother with - this is one forest roads, good condition gravel, as conditions deteriorate, the benfits likely increase. More benefit to having some skill/experience on gravel.
 

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I have virtually zero experience on gravel or off-road, and am looking forward to acquiring more. Before I get torched for thinking of taking my Wee off-road, it's what I have available to me, for now. I have dreams of a 250 for off-road jaunts, but that'll have to wait until next year. For now I have the "Turtle."



So named, because she likes to wallow in the water and mud, if I get too close.
 

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Would you guys let any air out of your tires for riding dirt roads, forest service roads, light gravel, and dirt?

Imagine if you lowered the pressure to 25lb's or so it would help out some. I don't generally air down for the type of riding suitable for the Strom. Would be more concerned with the tread pattern. Run TKC's on and off pavement with little problem. Probably will have to swap the rear tire out before 5,000. :beatnik:
 

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For the short jaunts off pavement that I take I never air down the tires. I hear that it improves off road handling a bit but I am always riding pavement to get there and back.
 

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In that case, just ride it and start getting that off pavement experience. Lots of good info available on dirt technique that is (mostly) applicable to the Strom. Throttle is your friend, stand up when it gets a little rough to aid balance, look well ahead, be smooth, stay off, or limit front brake usage. Have fun.
 

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The purpose behind lowering air pressure is that it increases the footprint of the tire. That allows it to ride more on top of the surface than it would otherwise. It can make a big difference in sand or very loose dirt/gravel. I am in the category of "not worth the trouble" especially if you will be back on firm ground later on. Low tires on pavement are dangerous.

Better just to get experience and improve technique.

Yes, many a rim has been bent from using too low air pressure. V-Strom rims are especially susceptible to this.
 

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If the trail/road is pretty much dry then standard pressures are fine. If it is a slimy slick path/road, I'm going to dial back the pressure a bit to something like 25psi in the front and around 20psi in the rear. I'm also going to slow down accordingly and look really hard for anything that may do damage to the bike. I won't paved-road ride for any distance at these pressures. I just take one of those small portable compressors with me to re-inflate the tires.
 

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As with a lot of things, this isn't a black and white "yes or no" practice (at least not to me). As with so much concerning bikes like these that we talk about it's subjective because so much is at play.

The type of tire and stiffness of sidewall make a HUGE difference, yet no one has mentioned that yet. A really stiff tire probably won't let you notice much improvement, but a softer more giving tire surely will, even if that drop is relatively slight.

I notice, running Battlewings or 705's, some gravel and loose dirt improvement even dropping down to 30psi, well within the tire's ability to soak up rim-bending rocks or debris. That's 15% down from my normal running pressures, and if I'm going to spend all day on the back roads and dirt I will absolutely air down. If it's just occasional dirt, not worth the effort.

If I'm caught in slimy conditions? Hell yes I air down. It's amazing when dealing with slop how much dropping down to 15psi will let you tractor the bike through, even with tires that might otherwise not be aggressive enough.
 

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haven't taken the big pig off road yet, save for a few grassy excursions across a lawn or 2, but on the DR airing down for trail riding makes a big difference. forgetting to air back up when re-entering slab is immediately noticeable since the bike handles like shit and feels very squirmy with even the slightest lean.
 

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I recently spent two days riding dirt roads. Left the tires with "normal" pressure the first day and dropped both to 25psi the second. The roads were dry both days. I noticed the lowered pressure made the bike less skittish on the gravel, especially the corners, so I will do it again. Pumped them back up before going back to the asphalt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, I am planning on a two day event with a bunch of ADV riders in the Hoosier National Forest that will include about 200 miles of dirt/gravel. I guess I will play it by ear and judge the conditions once I get there. I expect to have lots of advice there as well but I sure do appreciate everyone throwin' in on my questions. Thanx
 

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try it

I think road pressures are fine on dirt/gravel. I suspect the 'less skittish' feeling with low pressures comes from the sidewalls flexing, not conveying what the tire is actually doing. After all, the bike IS skittish on gravel, and I'd rather know when I'm pushing the limits. riding in mud or deep sand, on theother hand, you probably want the expanded footprint, although I can;t imagine either is going to be much fun on a bike this tall/heavy. I'd hate to think what'd happen if you happened on a big pothole on hard dirt with low tire pressure. Of course, your best bet is to try it each way, and see what you like.
 

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Depends on the conditions. For hard-packed dirt roads I wouldn't bother, not really necessary. But around here (central Florida), pockets of deep sugar sand are common even on groomed forest roads. In that case, airing down helps.
 

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I think road pressures are fine on dirt/gravel. I suspect the 'less skittish' feeling with low pressures comes from the sidewalls flexing, not conveying what the tire is actually doing. After all, the bike IS skittish on gravel, and I'd rather know when I'm pushing the limits. riding in mud or deep sand, on theother hand, you probably want the expanded footprint, although I can;t imagine either is going to be much fun on a bike this tall/heavy. I'd hate to think what'd happen if you happened on a big pothole on hard dirt with low tire pressure. Of course, your best bet is to try it each way, and see what you like.
Actually it's the total opposite. Having high pressures on gravel is pretty much like riding on marbles, a very skittish and disconnected feeling indeed. Having lower pressure allows the tread to flex (not just the sidewalls) and conform to the road irregularities & rocks etc much better, and yes the bigger contact patch helps too. You have pretty low feeling for what the tire is doing with high pressure & small contact patch on gravel. You have a much better feel for what the tire is doing and traction with it aired down.

You bring up another important point though, don't get too crazy airing down, esp a tubeless mag wheel like Stroms have, as you are in real danger of bending a rim. So airing down offroad is good, but remember it's not a trials tire!

But as others have said, if I were going to be on a well-groomed mostly hardpack type of road and not too much of it, I wouldn't bother.
 
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