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Discussion Starter #1
K8 wee with stock trail wing tires. My first gravel road ride did not go that great, fell hard enough to toast my Shoei helmet and lost consciousness briefly. My ride mates who were on knobby tired dual sports stopped to lower pressure when the pavement ended. Would reducing tire pressure help with the Trail Wing tires? How low?
Thanks fellow riders.
 

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Bin the trailwings and go for some knobbies. I don't think dropping air pressure will be enough, but you can drop to 24lbs as long as you don't take it rock bashing. Then you'll bend a rim.

Try TKC80, Heidenau K60, or for the KLR (cheep) type crowd Shinko 804/805.
 

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You may also find you'll have to practice a bit to keep up if your mates are all on thumpers. Road tyres are fine every where except mud, just more skill needed.
 

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Gravel riding requires letting the bike keep its own head and being very very very careful with that front brake. Keeping your head up is key too.

Stock tires also don't seem to perform as well as replacement tires, I've seen complaints of stock tires and people replace them with the same tire and find the replacement performs better :?: maybe stock tires degrade while being in the factory or sitting so long on the show room floor. (ozone and heat cycles will damage tires as my friend found out when he stored his tires in the same room as his furnace).
 

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Don't try to keep up with your mates, no matter what tires you have. It's the wrong bike for that.
Lowering pressures will help, knobby tires will help. But it's still a top heavy "street" bike.
 

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Look for an off road training class in your area. Off road skills with heavy bikes can be learned quickly if effort is spent practicing.
 

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This is my off road skils list:
Offroad practice:
Lower tyre pressure to 20 psi
Stretch
Side sadle ride
Cantered u turns w/ inside foot off
Counter balance technique
Emergency stop no abs
Power slides
Walking start
Trail stop
Find front brake skid threshold
Steep hill turnaround using rear brake backing up

Mistakes to avoid:
Not standing up
Tight grip, arms, shoulders
Not riding with ball of foot on pegs
Not putting your weight on the outside of a turn
Close Target fixation
 

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Geez... I live down a gravel road I have Metzler tourances on my vee. It gets squirly sometimes (especially when they dump loads of fresh big gravel) you just gotta hang with it accelerate through and keep your hands off the front brake lol. I would venture to say that yes the vee and wee are top heavy but they aren't street bikes by no means it handles offroad single track very well for a bigger bike just have to take it slow when your clearance is iffy... so just ride more and good god get rid of those stock tires they do suck... and have fun. .. ride on
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everybody.

CruisnGrrl, you may well be right, it may have been too much front brake, it happened on a downhill stretch that got steeper all of a sudden.

Will try to find a skills class or coach-- anybody know of such here in Washington?

Checking out tire options. The number of choices is mind boggling. My last bike was an 83 yamaha Vision with 18s front and rear, only a few fitments available.

I can see that the TKC 80 would be a lot better in gravel and dirt but not so sure I want to go that far in the onroad offroad ratio.
Maybe the TKC 70? Metzeler Tourance? Avon Distanzia?

Could I do better by running something different on the front with the Trail wing rear, which has a lot of tread depth left? The front is definitely ready to replace
 

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i run shinko 705's on my wee and if i am running a gravel road, i dont bother airing down. i did 10 miles of route 121 near grafton vt, speeds around 45-55 no problem on 34psi. another thing to keep in mind, loose grip on the bars, and let the bike do a little dancing under you, if you cling to tightly, youre gonna lose control!
 

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Tires matter, so does pressure. When we ride two up, I leave the pressure where it is to save the rims, apply power and just keep the front tracking where it needs to go. The bike steers itself.

The K60 and TKC 80 is a great combo and pulls all day long on black top as well. Biggest trick is keep the front light and power to the rear at all times. Never, ever touch the front brake or you'll be kissing the dirt.
 

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True, don't be afraid of the front brake on loose surfaces. A gradual application will allow you to find the point that it locks the front wheel but still be able to unlock it quickly and still be ok. Play with this point often and your skills and ability to judge surfaces will improve. Going slowly, lock, unlock, lock, unlock.
 

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TKC80 front will give you confidence in the loose, and will handle well on the seal. Use it with anything at all on the back.
 

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K8 wee with stock trail wing tires. My first gravel road ride did not go that great, fell hard enough to toast my Shoei helmet and lost consciousness briefly. My ride mates who were on knobby tired dual sports stopped to lower pressure when the pavement ended. Would reducing tire pressure help with the Trail Wing tires? How low?
Thanks fellow riders.
Tire pressure/type can help alot but....practice away from pack mentality will help more.

Get to know your ride (practice) and your limitations on it.

Great article (reality check) in Sept MotorCyclist (pg 72). They should have just put this article on the cover.

Whether riding or not our riding skills evolve pretty much every day in one direction or the other.
 

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Better make the correction to my earlier post - Be delicate with the front and modulate, same with the rear. My earlier comment has more to do with getting scared and grabbing a handful of front brake in a panic, that WILL stop you, but not as expected.

I ride a lot with friends on big bikes that are just starting to venture onto dirt type riding. 9 times out of 10, the front gets a little loose, they panic, grab the front and it washes out. It happens quickly.

Carry some compression, use your gears, have throttle ready to power up or roll off to slow down.
 

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This is my off road skils list:
Offroad practice:
Lower tyre pressure to 20 psi
Stretch
Side sadle ride
Cantered u turns w/ inside foot off
Counter balance technique
Emergency stop no abs
Power slides
Walking start
Trail stop
Find front brake skid threshold
Steep hill turnaround using rear brake backing up

Mistakes to avoid:
Not standing up
Tight grip, arms, shoulders
Not riding with ball of foot on pegs
Not putting your weight on the outside of a turn
Close Target fixation
Read this again......

Going down hill all of the weight is on the front, very little on the rear. Using the rear brake will have little effect.....learn how to use the front brake.

Go back to the top & read again....
 

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Know the feeling. Lower tire pressure might help, but very little. I changed to TKC80 and after a week I decided I would keep those on all the time. Once you get used to the dinamics of these, you realize you can take any road with much more confidence


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