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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Went up to a ride in Finland yesterday for a little known ADV ralley called the Shindig, about 30 riders, many of whom where riding KLRs, DR/DRZs and KTM 990/950s. The outliers were me on my V-strom 650 with Deathwing tires, a close second was a KTM 1190 Non "R" version with similar tires. A distant third was a Ulysses with the widest very aggressive knobbies. Another interesting bike was a FZ1 with equally aggressive tires and a crash cage surrounding the motor. I didn't feel real confident going since the forcast was for rain and most of the ride would take place on graded gravel and double track roads. I choose what I consider a moderate category of riding for heavy bikes which included a handful of KLRs, DRs, KTM 990 and the 1190, Ulysses and me. Honestly the bike felt pretty good even on wet slick gravel getting loose occasionally and was able to power out. The pace felt very fast (50mph) and low visibility with the rain. Some of the road bed was washed out and we were unaware until right on top of it. The double track I felt very confident standing on the pegs in 2nd and 3rd gear, even bottomed out on my skid plate 6 times overcoming rocks and ruts. I guess the take home points for me were would my bike felt more confident with better dirt worthy tires? Even the KTM 1190 rider felt loose and unnerved. A friend of mine on a KLR nearly came off a few time due to the conditions. Although heavy, the V-strom felt generally planted, needed more ground clearance, considering returning back to stock height. Everyone looked suprised to see my bike there even among some GSAs. Here is a couple of pics, first coming off of double track, the second a happy dirty V-strom sitting in my drivway waiting for her bath. Tough to get her clean. Dirt is everywhere. This is my first real long range dirt ride. A good trial for trips to come.



 

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Discussion Starter #2
The question I should really put out to forum members would be about tires. Considering what I witnessed in other bikes, tire selection seem to be a major factor in ridablilty as well as weight of the bike. Of course the lighter DRs/DRZ were a little bored with the terrain but to a heavy bike with asphalt oriented tires I was challenged. The FZ1 and Ulysses riders were very confident. Would a change in tires make that big of a change?
 

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Well done. Every day you get home tired and in one piece is a good day.
You would definitely feel your confidence grow if you were to replace the stock Trailwings. I changed to Metzeler Karoo 3's and the improved stability on dirt and stones is amazing. The downside is that they wear much quicker when used on seal. Although the front has fared well my rear is half worn at 7,000km - but I am not complaining as they track so much better not only on dirt and stones but on patched and lumpy seal as well! There are lots of opinions on tire choice on this site.
I would rate tires as my most important upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the feedback Brockie. Another big factor I realized in bike stability on gravel, mud, watercrossings, rider skill is a big one. I am trying to force myself to spend more time in the loose stuff in order to build my skills. I used to think I was a competent rider in the dirt, but most of my experience comes from light bikes. This is a whole different game. Some of the riders on Friday were very skilled on big bikes, one in paticular. He threw his KTM 990 around like a toy. He is a big guy (football player big 6'5") and blew me off the trail. I am looking forward to updating my bike in terms of suspension but will start with tires and returning to stock height. Overall still very satisfied with my bike.
 

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There is no substitute for experience - practice, practice, practice. Always watch the surface and straighten out any tricky patches (loose stones, mud or dirt) and accelerate through them, keeping the front light and straight. You do not have to be a linebacker if you have good technique.

That said, the heavy V-Strom is definitely an all roads tourer that does not like the loose surface to be without a firm base for long - a dirt bike it is not. Happy adventures.
 

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I tried the K60's and they were not too bad but the central ridge on the rear is not that great in deeper gravel - the tyre can just not dig in and bite hard enough.

I'm now running Mitas E-07's and besides being a lot cheaper than the Heinies seem to handle all conditions (including wet tarmac) very well. I flat out love them on good gravel/dirt.

A mate gets 12,000km out of them on his Tiger 800, my rear is nearing 6,000km and probably have at least another 2,000km - probably more in it - this on a Vee that gets hammered. (I only got 9,000km out of the rear Heiny, 11,000 out of the front).





 

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Discussion Starter #8
I tried the K60's and they were not too bad but the central ridge on the rear is not that great in deeper gravel - the tyre can just not dig in and bite hard enough.

I'm now running Mitas E-07's and besides being a lot cheaper than the Heinies seem to handle all conditions (including wet tarmac) very well. I flat out love them on good gravel/dirt.

A mate gets 12,000km out of them on his Tiger 800, my rear is nearing 6,000km and probably have at least another 2,000km - probably more in it - this on a Vee that gets hammered. (I only got 9,000km out of the rear Heiny, 11,000 out of the front).



Are those the Mitas E-07s you are showing in this picture. The tread design looks similar to the Heindies. I will check them out and find out if they are available here. Thanks for the feedback. BTW looks like you are used to riding with the straight up dirt riders? I am learning to love the feel of these roads to but if the bike starts to go I usually pinch it to straighten out. No way of saving these bikes by stiff legging to keep her upright like my old 250R or KDX. Thanks you for the feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Would have been to the Shindig.. but work got in the way. My experience with K60 scouts was good. Nice compromise between full on street or dirt.
Several riders were running the K60s and loved them. I find they are a little pricey for a tire that is going to be missing chunks after hard gravel/rock riding. The Shindig was great. Nearly 200 miles of dirt on Friday. I know they rode similar distances on Saturday and Sunday but previous commitments kept me from participating. Great bunch of guys, some with mad skills on a bike although many were like me. :mrgreen:
 

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Those are E-07's in the pics. No, I don't ride with the dirt bike boys - all Adv bikes generally 650cc+. The big guy on the little Yammie cheated that day (very gnarly track) and bought his wife's bike - we had plenty of laughs at his expense.
 

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Bleedgrn , don't know if your question was ever clearly answered , but Yes , a tire geared for off pavement use (Looks like you're on Trailwings??:thumbdown: ) does make a serious difference. If the ground is a little soft/wet , a tire that has lugs that will sink in a bit will help you stay the course and worry about other things to deal with , where as a street tire slips and slides on the surface of that mess. Still fun to play off road , huh ? Looked like fun.
 
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