StromTrooper banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts
S

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Today I found myself at the top of a very steep (50-75% grade), twisty, rutted dirt one-lane road. It was pavement up over the crest of the hill, and by the time I knew what I was in for, I don't think I could have turned around - or even dismounted - without dumping it.

"Hey, it's an 'adventure' bike, right?"

I descended the hill with both brakes on the whole way, in first gear, and I don't think I broke 5mph even at that. I was hyper-conscious of every little push the front tire got when it hit a big rock or the ruts shoved it to one side or the other, and I felt like I was always only a second away from both brakes locking up and skidding on the loose gravel. Despite high "pucker factor," I made it down uneventfully.

Stupid Q time:
1. Is this normal? I mean, is anyone hammering down a steep rough road like this, or do even the pros sweat this kind of stuff?

2. What is the proper braking technique for poor traction + steep downhill? It felt like ALL the weight was up front, so I was light on the rear brake to avoid locking it - but don't the dirt riders use back brakes almost exclusively?

3. I know what happens when you lock the back end up in gravel (not a good feeling), but what happens when you lock the front?

I like the IDEA of the go-anywhere mc, but man, there are places that scare the bejeebies out of me to go - and they usually involve steep downhills with sharp turns. My one and only dump was on gravel in a similar situation: crested a hill only to find a massively steep drop-off with a 90* bend a short way ahead. Locked the back tire and road it out - I was pointing back up the hill when I finally jumped ship (this was on my KLR, btw). I'd scrubbed all but a few mph by then, and the act of hopping off was aided by a mini-high side. Maybe that experience is coloring my fears now - I don't know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
1. is dependant on your skill and confidence level, and the bike.

2. i engine brake down, and rear brake only.

3. when you lock the front, you fall over.

edit: and when you lock the back up, unless your going real slow its best to ride it to a stop, still locked up. if you release it at speed you'll high side (if you're sideways at all).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,275 Posts
Today I found myself at the top of a very steep (50-75% grade), twisty, rutted dirt one-lane road. It was pavement up over the crest of the hill, and by the time I knew what I was in for, I don't think I could have turned around - or even dismounted - without dumping it.
Now you're livin'. :)

I consider a trip worthwhile if I find myself out of my comfort zone at least once while off pavement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,318 Posts
Had a similar experience on my previous BMW 1150gs.

The experts might breeze through calmly but the rest of us mortals end up with a very tight sphincter and hyperventilting before we reach the bottom of the hill.

In my case I ran out of back brake, I managed to get it stopped with front brake only without dropping it.

Luckily I had friends following in a 4WD, it took three of us to get the bike turned around so we could go back up the hill, the road was getting even steeper going down so I chickened out.
 

·
Evolving Curmudgeon
Joined
·
1,119 Posts
That's about all you can do. Scrub off speed as quickly as possible. Try to completely stop and assess. If necessary get both feet down and walk the bike down using the front brake, only letting the bike roll a few feet at a time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
399 Posts
1. is dependant on your skill and confidence level, and the bike.

2. i engine brake down, and rear brake only.

3. when you lock the front, you fall over.

edit: and when you lock the back up, unless your going real slow its best to ride it to a stop, still locked up. if you release it at speed you'll high side (if you're sideways at all).
+1 on this. The back brake is your friend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
853 Posts
Today I found myself at the top of a very steep (50-75% grade), twisty, rutted dirt one-lane road. It was pavement up over the crest of the hill, and by the time I knew what I was in for, I don't think I could have turned around - or even dismounted - without dumping it.

"Hey, it's an 'adventure' bike, right?"

I descended the hill with both brakes on the whole way, in first gear, and I don't think I broke 5mph even at that. I was hyper-conscious of every little push the front tire got when it hit a big rock or the ruts shoved it to one side or the other, and I felt like I was always only a second away from both brakes locking up and skidding on the loose gravel. Despite high "pucker factor," I made it down uneventfully.

Stupid Q time:
1. Is this normal? I mean, is anyone hammering down a steep rough road like this, or do even the pros sweat this kind of stuff?

2. What is the proper braking technique for poor traction + steep downhill? It felt like ALL the weight was up front, so I was light on the rear brake to avoid locking it - but don't the dirt riders use back brakes almost exclusively?

3. I know what happens when you lock the back end up in gravel (not a good feeling), but what happens when you lock the front?

I like the IDEA of the go-anywhere mc, but man, there are places that scare the bejeebies out of me to go - and they usually involve steep downhills with sharp turns. My one and only dump was on gravel in a similar situation: crested a hill only to find a massively steep drop-off with a 90* bend a short way ahead. Locked the back tire and road it out - I was pointing back up the hill when I finally jumped ship (this was on my KLR, btw). I'd scrubbed all but a few mph by then, and the act of hopping off was aided by a mini-high side. Maybe that experience is coloring my fears now - I don't know.
Sounds like you handled it just fine. If you continue to ride such terrain it is possible that your comfort level may go up and you may begin to ride faster....then again maybe not.

Without actually seeing the hill you mentioned it's hard to criticize your actions one way or the other.....I do know this.

I ride much slower over rough terrain on my Strom than I do on my DR650. :yesnod:
 
S

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I guess it wasn't obvious: I started out at the top of the hill from a dead stop. I sat there thinking about it for a few minutes and decided the worst that could happen is I drop the bike.

While I felt an adventurous sense of accomplishment, I felt like I was the world's biggest pansy on the way down.

Just wondering if there's some technique I should've been using that I don't know about: FWIW, using the back brake is a little counter-intuitive to me - there's hardly any weight on the back tire at all (altho, I WAS braking the front). Seems like the back would lock up almost instantly.
When I dumped my KLR, I was amazed how easily it locked up and how long it took to slide to a stop from 20mph-ish.

Another time on the KLR, I was on a gravel hill that I could NOT stop on - it was steep enough that gravity + me + the bike = locked up rear tire at full stop. THAT is what I'm trying to avoid.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,437 Posts
Google
motorcycle off road riding school Pennsylvania
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
504 Posts
I don't use my strom off pavement much, the bike has to long of a wheel base to feel secure on dirt at low speed.
With a trail bike KDX or even my KLR I've warped rear brake rotors from descending down steep trails, pretty much a given. I never use the front brakes. I always get my weight back as far as I can on the seat to help the rear wheel dig in to slow the bike down.

I have to think that the stock Bridgestones are horrible on soft dirt or gravel, really need to have a more aggressive tire mounted to get any type of bite to prevent the front wheel from sliding out on a downhill turn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Did nearly the exact same thing a few weeks ago on mine. With the exact same reaction. Good to hear I wasn't the only one scared shitless as I was in my decent.

When you're going slow as **** with your ass puckered all up looking for the easiest place to turn around without dropping it, and too scared to stop momentum for fear of droppng it, well... Lets just say that a good challenge like that gives a great feeling of accomplishment after you clear yourself of the situation with everything still working proper on you and your bike. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
I ride dirt bikes alot also,300 ktm exc. I really use the front brake alot! You will stop alot faster using it with the back brake,Then using the back brake by itself! The ticket is to use it as much as possible Without locking up the front.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
504 Posts
The one danger you need to be aware of using the front brake, unless you're a seasoned pro, is dropping the front wheel into a depression while descending down a trail. If this happens while using the front brake it will cause the bike to end over. This all happens very fast. When the front end goes down the rear end will come up losing traction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
853 Posts
I guess it wasn't obvious: I started out at the top of the hill from a dead stop. I sat there thinking about it for a few minutes and decided the worst that could happen is I drop the bike.

While I felt an adventurous sense of accomplishment, I felt like I was the world's biggest pansy on the way down.

Just wondering if there's some technique I should've been using that I don't know about: FWIW, using the back brake is a little counter-intuitive to me - there's hardly any weight on the back tire at all (altho, I WAS braking the front). Seems like the back would lock up almost instantly.
When I dumped my KLR, I was amazed how easily it locked up and how long it took to slide to a stop from 20mph-ish.

Another time on the KLR, I was on a gravel hill that I could NOT stop on - it was steep enough that gravity + me + the bike = locked up rear tire at full stop. THAT is what I'm trying to avoid.
Yes...off road riders use the front brake too.
Yes...too much front brake and the front will wash out and down you go.

With experience you'll begin to get a feel for that. You don't want to grab too much too soon, if the front does lock up release it immediately.

You did the right thing by taking it easy. Next time you can try it a little faster if you like, if you crash, then you'll know that was a bad idea. :mrgreen:
 
S

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
...Next time you can try it a little faster if you like, if you crash, then you'll know that was a bad idea. :mrgreen:
lol.. I think that's the secret to life - experience is something you get right after you needed it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,104 Posts
+1 on going easy on the front brake, to much and she'll slide out from under you-at best. I try to use the rear more, but I've went down some hills the rear tire didn't touch the ground and if you even touched the front, endo-time. I learned on dirt bikes, and the full knobs make a big difference, I doubt if I will ever take the Strom off road, gravel roads-yes, but not anything much more. I hit a sink hole once on a 400 2-stroke enduro and the only thing left above the mud was the handlebars, took 3 hours to get the bike out, with a come-along! Glad you made it through O.K. Cheers--BB
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,048 Posts
There are no stupid questions - remember!
There are however, lots of stupid answers.

I'm no expert.
I did successfully ride down the gravel embankment at a dam by hanging onto the back brake like dragging an anchor.
I still use the technique on very steep gravel downslopes.
 
S

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for all the replies, everyone - I've got some things to think about/ try for next time. I suppose if the worst thing that happens is that I dump the bike, that's not the end of the world.
...altho now that I'm over 40, I start thinking about breaking an ankle or something in the process, too. I feel a lot more brave about stuff like that when I have a riding partner - when I'm riding alone, tho, the thought of lying in a ditch somewhere with a broken leg or something, on a road that sees maybe 2 cars a day... man, I'm turning into an old woman.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Thanks for all the replies, everyone - I've got some things to think about/ try for next time. I suppose if the worst thing that happens is that I dump the bike, that's not the end of the world.
...altho now that I'm over 40, I start thinking about breaking an ankle or something in the process, too. I feel a lot more brave about stuff like that when I have a riding partner - when I'm riding alone, tho, the thought of lying in a ditch somewhere with a broken leg or something, on a road that sees maybe 2 cars a day... man, I'm turning into an old woman.
No, with age comes wisdom. You are finally beginning to realize that you are not completely indestructable! I agree with what's been posted before. I ride in rough terrain alot on my dirt bike, and have gone down on steeps many times. The best technique I use now, is slow and in control as much as possible. Then, if you find yourself out of control with too much speed, relax and stay with the bike and don't panic. My bike has gotten me out of situations all by itself before!

Lastly, the Wee is not a dirt bike! If I crashed my Wee in the dirt off-road, I'd be kinda bummed. My dirt-bike - doesn't bother me if it goes down. Just my .02
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top