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Discussion Starter #1
I searched and didn't find much on this. On my other, lighter dual sports, I always found it much better to air down for "off-road" (OK, rougher dirt road) riding. My DR650 liked ~18, the WRR a bit less. I'm not experienced with a heavier adventure-type bike-what pressures do you guys and gals run when in the dirt? I'd expect the street pressures to have the bike bouncing and slipping all over when the going gets rough.
 

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Unless you have wire spoked wheels, I would recommend against airing down.

I didn't find it particularly helpful, plus if you hit one good rock you've got a bent aluminum wheel.

Run street pressures.

If not for it's 500 lb. weight, limited ground clearance, spindly handlebars, close fender fit, short suspention travel, exposed oil filter and forward weigh bias, it would make a great dirt bike.
 

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Not Much

I haven't reduced, not intentionally. I have the WABCDR DVD and when they made the vid, Touratech took along a moto tech (and a chef). On the first segment, the tech changed a tire on a BMW and noted that the rider had lowered pressure to 20 ( I think) and that the tire hit a sharp rock and opened a hole so big it could not be plugged so the tech installed a tube.
The tech then said he wouldn't lower pressure anymore than 5 PSI. Very recently we did a quite knarly, rocky, crappy series of roads north of Ellensburg WA, discussed lowering, but did not do it. That AM before launch I checked and both my tires were down to 20 psi and I had probably done a bank run at those pressures a few days before and thought the bike was a little sluggish. I run M Anakee 3 and it has a high sidewall that is really stiff at OEM pressure and I think it would resist rocks. I cringed every time I could not avoid triangular rocks on the above run but it was not a problem, nor were 4-6 in ruts on Colockum RD.
 

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I generally don't air down but a mate road my Vee on gravel the other day and he preferred the feel of the E-07's at around 30psi. I wouldn't go any lower (and will be pumping them back up before I head out this weekend) as I got a puncture on a near new K60 when riding over rocky terrain on the one occasion I did experiment with lower pressures. These bikes ain't light...
 

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Unless you have wire spoked wheels, I would recommend against airing down.

I didn't find it particularly helpful, plus if you hit one good rock you've got a bent aluminum wheel.

Run street pressures.
Or worse, broken wheel. That said, if I knew I was going through sand and/or mud, and knew that rocks weren't an issue, then I'd go down to 25psi or so.
If not for it's 500 lb. weight, limited ground clearance, spindly handlebars, close fender fit, short suspention travel, exposed oil filter and forward weigh bias, it would make a great dirt bike.
LOL, that's really well put... :hurray:
 

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I have an opinion on this one.

First the Strom is not an off road bike. I have tried, even to the point of removing the whole fairing to lighten it up. I took it onto some serious trails in the past. I also do ride a lot of off road on my CRF250X enduro bike. I started my 40 years of riding as an MX racer. I traveled around OZ for a year in 1982 on a GL550E and all of the top was all dirt and dust back then. So I have some experience with riding dirt.

The Strom is a good bike to take on fire access roads, and gravel roads. I have toured on the Trans Lab Hyw which is mostly gravel. On these types of roads it is not likely that you will hit large enough rocks to dent a rim.

Yes I air down. 25 on the front and 27 on the rear. Fully inflated ties on a loose gravel surface creates a very skittish feeling ride. The tires will roll off the gravel sideways and if there is a camber it moves you in that direction.

Airing down stabilizes the bike considerably. Much more control and comfort. If I am doing over 80% gravel backroads in my riding area then yes I do air down. I also turn my ABS off with the switch I installed. (Eastern Beaver).

I have never dented a rim, I have bottomed out a few times even with Emulator valves in the forks and a heavier oil.

Give it a try for yourself. My Stromtropper ball cap says

"Pavement + Dirt = Adventure" Get off the pavement where the caggers are far less frequent. Stand up on the pegs, Give Er Eh!!!
 

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I run about 28PSI if I know I'm doing significant amounts of dirt.

The K60's I run get a lot more comfortable on gravel at about that point.

I've only bent a rim once, running 22PSI and being chased by a KTM 990. We both hit a washed out culvert. (~4" of concrete edge) @~80kph.

I got a barely visible ding, we had to beat his rim back into shape with the back end of an axe, and a chunk fell out the next week.

So ... the cast rims are plenty strong, not arguing risk goes up as pressure goes down, but 28PSI seems plenty safe with K60's.

Pete
 

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How much you air down and how comfortable the bike feels when back on tar at the lower pressures depends partially on whether you're running radials or cross/bias ply tyres (which have stiffer sidewalls). You don't air down a radial as much - and you'll notice that lower pressure more on a radial when back on tar.

Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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I don't ride the rock strewn trails like I would on a real dirt bike so I am not worried about the rim, so I feel safe to go as low as 22 front and 25 rear. You will feel much more planted with lower TP. Experiment and see how different pressures feel.
 

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Meh

I went on the Switzerland Trail yesterday for about 20 miles. My FIRST OFFROAD EXPERIENCE EVER! I dropped my pressures to 26psi front and rear on the trailwings which are at 9100 miles now and pert near the wear bar limit (on the rear). Me and my gear/luggage are about 190lbs. The trail is rated easy and has a good amount of embeded rock throughout. After feeling out the Strom for about 5 miles, I ended up cruising the majority of this trail at 25-30 mph. I was actively avoiding sharp pointy rocks and deep ruts. I used some rocks as a dimple die on my skid plate when I explored a small portion of a more difficult trail. It was a blast.

I came to the conclusion that stock pressures were terribly unstable on this terrain. I was aware of the risk of bending a rim and decided the drastic increase in control I gained by reducing the pressures was worth the risk. (I have a compressor on-board which makes this decision easier.) Better to bend a rim than tumble off the side of a mountain! And hey, neither happened! There were some pretty good impacts on the skid plate and a lot of rocks passed under the tires but no bent rim. Admittedly, I inspected my rims towards the end of the trip with uncertainty, but all was well. I was utterly stunned at the way this 500 pounder handled on that trail and am really excited to seek others of the same difficulty rating and go from there.

I bought this bike because I could only afford one. This bike is good at everything and amazing at nothing (except economy). Which is why this bike is so much more than the sum of its parts. I wish I could afford a dirt bike but I simply can't. Until that day, I'll take the Strom anywhere I need to in order to get my daily therapy.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm just starting to play with tire pressures now. If I take the fun route, my daily commute gives me ~20 miles of gravel road (and 25 paved) each way. Stock 33/36 wasn't terrible on gravel, but not great either. It tends to "ping" on small rocks and gets pretty squirrley if it is at all deep. Today was the first time I tried 30/33, and the improvement in dirt is noticable, while I don't really notice a negative impact on pavement. I'm going to play a bit more and see what works best for me. I think I'll drop it down to 28 each and see how it feels in both situations. I'm not bothered with airing up when I get to pavement, I carry a small compressor (and plugs).
 

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Anakee 3s

On large, loose gravel (tennis ball/golf ball) I found even dropping to 30 lbs F&R was enough to make a difference.
 

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I also vote for the lower tire pressures off road. It may not suit everyone but I find full road pressures (F33 R36) very skittish especially on gravel. Dropping to about 20/20 makes a big difference for me.

The theory, as I understand it, is the bigger contact patch allows the tire to wrap around the rocks rather than bounce off them. Mountain bikers do it, 4WDs do it, motocross/trail/trial riders do it.

Note, 20 psi is for tubeless tires. Tubed tires can go down to 14 psi or lower, but need rim locks at those pressures.

Like PeteW, over 1000's kms of lower tire pressure riding off-road, I've only ever had one dinged rim. Was repairable.

VStrom rims are very tough, in my experience, compared to many other brands/models eg BMW F650S. More comments re that problem on this thread.
 

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I'm with the air-down crowd. I didn't notice much diffence on the stock deathwings but with my E-07s it does a lot. Not much big rock around here though. Usually drop down to 25-27 or so. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I had aired back up to recommended pressure for a long pavement ride. Took it out on a rocky forest service road on the way home from work the next day-decided stock pressures were borderline lethal in those situations. Bike bounced around way to much, and wanted to "ping" or kick on loose rocks. 30/30 is much better, I'm going to keep experimenting with lower pressures. I have a week-long camping trip coming up next week that will be nearly all dirt roads, so I should have plenty of time to figure out what works. 30/30 seems good for general use with 70/30 dirt/pavement (my daily commute if I take the fun ride). For 95% dirt I want to go down and see how 26-28 works for me.
 

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When traveling, I'll keep my pressures up thanks. Granted, the bike definitely tracks much better and is less twitchy, but your trip could be spoiled in an instant at speed by an exposed rock, or a sharp edged step up.

Not good if you are 200km from anywhere and 800km from the nearest bike shop.
 

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Unless you have wire spoked wheels, I would recommend against airing down.

I didn't find it particularly helpful, plus if you hit one good rock you've got a bent aluminum wheel.

Run street pressures.

If not for it's 500 lb. weight, limited ground clearance, spindly handlebars, close fender fit, short suspention travel, exposed oil filter and forward weigh bias, it would make a great dirt bike.
I'm becoming more and more a subscriber of this line of thought :mrgreen:.... See http://www.stromtrooper.com/dl650a-2012/208073-bent-mah-rims-somethin-fierce.html

Btw Stromin', any suggestions on a much more capable off road machine that is also street legal?
 

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