StromTrooper banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious how you ride gravel.

I have ridden on fire roads and gravel roads all my life but would never claim to be a "dirt" rider. Really I'm a street rider that isn't afraid of gravel and have never learned any real offroad technique.

I ride with 90/10 tires. (Tourance standard are my preferred but Tourance Next on the front.) I just kind of open the throttle and go moderately fast and hang on for dear life. I don't slide around corners so I slow down a lot for them. I will sometimes stand if things get hairy but they usualy don't so I usually don't.

How do you ride on gravel or dirt? Do you guys that do a lot of gravel (especially those that put knobbies on your bike) drift/slide around corners?

What tips might you have so that we can really conquer gravel and dirt (and perhaps feel as if we are as good a rider as someone riding Paris-Dakar or Baja.)

..Tom
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
I am interested as well. I took an old Xl250 to a flat track a hand full of times in my yourth and had great fun hanging the tail out around the corners. But then I high sided! Not bad when you are young and riding an XL250, but wouldn't dare on my Dl650!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
as a teenager growing up in south St. Louis in the 70s, we used to ride down the railroad tracks to get to our favorite dirt trails. The railroad tracks had heavy gravel between the two seperate tracks and rode in the middle, between the two train tracks. It was flatter there. Every now and then we would meet a train coming in the other direction but had plenty of room to move over. However, one time there was a parked train on the right track we were riding past it, but another train soon was coming directly at us on the left track leaving us in the middle!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
There was probably 8-10 feet between the two trains but as time has gone on and I recount the story, my memory has reduced that to only a 3 or 4 feet! Sounds more daring and dangerous that way! Let me tell you about riding in gravel under those circumstances, you do not slow down. The faster you go the more stable you are. If you slow down you started to wander a little bit. It was quite an experience and I still remember it to this day.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,399 Posts
Introduced to the dirt late in life after a time could ride with the 'B' group in a local dirt motorcycle club. At my best I was able to follow and keep the dust cloud of the 'A' group in sight though I was way behind. I was on a 350 dual sport and some of the best were riding 650 Honda XR's I believe.
True what they say about 'when in doubt...mo throttle'. Took me awhile to put that in practice. For example if you start fish tailing more throttle will straighten you right out. On the wrong surface it can also spit you on your butt when you try and impress your buddies with a 90 or 180. On a light weight machine one can almost abandon caution but on a 500 lb machine I would exercise it mostly, things like keeping a sharp eye for deep gravel and sand. Easy to stall the DL too when going too slow with low revs and then when you put your foot down...surprise....over you go 'cause you stepped in a low spot. Should be no problem though on hard surfaces. Nice to have someone along to help you up your bike because sometimes it can end up in an awkward place say on a bit of a slope. Exercise caution and watch out for deep stuff and it will be fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Great Topic

Great Topic - I need to do better in gravel
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Gravel

My wife and I ride two up in the gravel every chance we get, maybe 5-6 days a month if the weather and/or work allows. The fork brace, improved springs/oil, rear shock, k60 rear and TKC80 front all work together to help the bike remain stable.

That being said, speed is your friend, within reason. Really, it's one of those things you have to get use to. For me, the only way I get better on a 500lb scrambler is to spend every chance I get riding in those conditions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,233 Posts
My advice number one is get fit.


The fitter you are the easier dirt becomes and the more you will enjoy it.


My advice number two is relax.


If you stiffen up dirt will become hard work and you will never enjoy it.


My advice number three don't be afraid to crash.


If you are too concerned about damage to your bike it is hard to relax and enjoy the dirt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
My advice number one is get fit.


The fitter you are the easier dirt becomes and the more you will enjoy it.


My advice number two is relax.


If you stiffen up dirt will become hard work and you will never enjoy it.


My advice number three don't be afraid to crash.


If you are too concerned about damage to your bike it is hard to relax and enjoy the dirt.
This sums it up pretty well. Relax and think ahead. If you are afraid to drop the bike or are not fond of scratches, stay on the pavement. Otherwise your fears will come true! You'll be fixated on the bike, not the road, trail, etc.

The best part of getting off the pavement is escaping.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
359 Posts
Many years ago I rode on California fire roads. I would do things on those roads that I would love to do locally, but all the dirt roads I ride on now are regular roads that have traffic. The traffic is sparse but it is there and there are plenty of driveways to worry about also. On the fire roads most places you could see quite a ways and know if someone is coming along in the other direction. When you knew it was clear you could really hang it out.

I am quite comfortable on the Vee on the dirt roads around here (NH), but I don't push it. I don't try to do any foot down sliding. I don't mind spinning the tire here and there though. I have to temper my speed so that I am certain I don't cross over to the other side of the road at all in a turn.

I am not confident with the Vee's front end on tight downhill gravelly turns, and if they are off camber at all then I really slow it down. I don't feel that I can use the throttle to assist with the turn. I do on exit, but not on entry or apex. I still have the stock tires on it. I like the stock tires enough that I will probably replace mine with the same thing. I think favoring the dirt anymore will detract from the road and vice versa. I've been quite comfortable with these tires in everything that I ride on (and I will stay a million miles away from mud).

I have a KLR 650 which I feel more comfortable on, but it pushes more than the Vee and has less power to help with the turn. The rear brake is far superior in feel on the KLR than the rear brake on the Vee.

I agree with the above advice, given by others, including don't be afraid to crash. I would also say don't be comfortable with crashing. Try to ride within your limits. That means get comfortable first and then gently explore the edge of your limits and not crash through them. You want to stay on the road, not fall over, and definitely not high side.

As I get older my limits are decreasing and I probably should be decreasing them even more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
I seek out gravel roads but I'm not great on them. Going straight is easy - keep up the speed, relax your grip and learn to enjoy the tires wiggling side to side. I'll often slow down for turns especially when I don't know what's around the corner. But when the road conditions and my mental condition is just right the most fun comes from breaking the rear tire loose around corners. My body doesn't lean into the turn like I would on pavement and just as I get past the apex I open the throttle and the rear tire slides out. Nirvana!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,196 Posts
I have never truly ridden "off road" to speak of, some, yes, but not a lot.

However, I did learn to ride on gravel roads before I ever learned to ride on pavement, so I do pretty good on gravel & dirt roads and even on snow & icy roads in the winter, but pavement scares me, I there is so much grip, I feel like I am going to high side, so I just don't go much faster than I would if the road were gravel. I love recently done chip and seal roads while there is still loose pea stone sized aggregate that is still on the road



Never pay again for live sex! | Hot girls doing naughty stuff for free! | Chat for free!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,233 Posts
I still have the stock tires on it. I like the stock tires enough that I will probably replace mine with the same thing. I think favoring the dirt anymore will detract from the road and vice versa. I've been quite comfortable with these tires in everything that I ride on (and I will stay a million miles away from mud).

.
Tyres are a very personal thing but the extra safety you get by going to a quality tyre is unmeasurable, the better cornering and shorter stopping distance blows any budget concerns out of the water.

I'm running Anakee 3's and their performance on the black stuff in all weather conditions is great, very confidence inspiring and a real pleasure to ride on, there is no comparison with the OME trailwings.

I can only say I was very, very, very surprised at their performance in the dirt, with such good on road manners I expected the off road side to be let down some what, it is not and there is no way I would ever consider putting the OME's back on my bike.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
...
I still have the stock tires on it. I like the stock tires enough that I will probably replace mine with the same thing. I think favoring the dirt anymore will detract from the road and vice versa. I've been quite comfortable with these tires in everything that I ride on (and I will stay a million miles away from mud).
...
I can't see ever adding Knobbies or more dirt-oriented tires for the type of triding I do but I do find the Tourances were a big upgrade from stock: better handling on the street, better in rain, longer life and (to me) better on gravel or dirt roads. The Tourance Next as a front tire is a hug jump in handling on the street vs regular Tourance or Stock. ( I didn't see any real benefit to the tourance Next for the rear.)

I have never ridden an Anakee so can't comment on them but many seem to like them a lot.

..Tom
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
My wife and I ride two up in the gravel every chance we get, maybe 5-6 days a month if the weather and/or work allows. The fork brace, improved springs/oil, rear shock, k60 rear and TKC80 front all work together to help the bike remain stable.

That being said, speed is your friend, within reason. Really, it's one of those things you have to get use to. For me, the only way I get better on a 500lb scrambler is to spend every chance I get riding in those conditions.
In corners are you powersliding? (I would assume if so you would be riding by yourself but if the wife is there and you are sliding I'd really love to know!)

..Tom
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
My advice number one is get fit.

The fitter you are the easier dirt becomes and the more you will enjoy it.

My advice number two is relax.

If you stiffen up dirt will become hard work and you will never enjoy it.

My advice number three don't be afraid to crash.

If you are too concerned about damage to your bike it is hard to relax and enjoy the dirt.
Fit.. yeah I'm working on that! (20 lbs lighter than I was in January but still have a ways to go!

I am roughly relaxed on gravel.. or let me rephrase it: I ride at speeds that I am normally at the top end of my comfort zone. On occasion thning happen that put me over the edge.

Turning or sliding on gravel is where I feel the least comfortable. I tend to slow down a lot when turning.. I know that on dirt you keep yourself more vertical and let the bike lean but can't say I have mastered that (and maybe I undererstand incorrectly?) I guess what I would see as a great improvement in my skill level is if I was comfy power-sliding the bike around turns and corners. I suspect I would have to grab a dirt bike and go out and play for a while to learn that skill with the hope I could transfer it to the much heavier Strom.

..Tom
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I have never truly ridden "off road" to speak of, some, yes, but not a lot.

However, I did learn to ride on gravel roads before I ever learned to ride on pavement, so I do pretty good on gravel & dirt roads and even on snow & icy roads in the winter, but pavement scares me, I there is so much grip, I feel like I am going to high side, so I just don't go much faster than I would if the road were gravel. I love recently done chip and seal roads while there is still loose pea stone sized aggregate that is still on the road
Randy,

I have incredible respect for your riding abilities.. your abilities and confidence riding on snow and ice speak for themselves!

Don't your studded tires lose a fair amount of gip in those conditions? Wouldn't that be a lot like gravel or dirt?

This past winter I had the extreme pleasure spending a day in Quebec driving Porsche's around an ice-covered racetrack. Some of the spots were so slippery you could barely stand. And even though the cars had winter tires and studs you could hang out the tail and drift the cars any time you wanted (GREAT FUN !!!!) . The cars were Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, (All-wheel drive), Carrera 2S (Two Wheel Drive) and Cayman S (Two Wheel Drive.)


As fast and powerful as the Porsche's are, they don't have anywhere near the power to weight of your bike. Your bike must be a real handlful in the snow!


..Tom
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
839 Posts
Tom,

I'm no expert and have a lot to learn but I'll share what I've learned.

First is learning that weight distribution while cornering on loose surfaces is the opposite of what we do on the pavement. So instead of your body leaning more than the bike you'll lean the bike while you stay vertical above it. This is accomplished easier by standing up.

Standing also has a couple more benefits because it lets the bike move around underneath you as well as letting you use your legs as additional shock absorbers (refer to the post above regarding getting fit).

What I've started doing to "force" myself to lean the bike and not me is this: I'll ride standing and will apply slight pressure to the tank with my knees. When setting up for a corner I'll force my outside knee into the tank and relax the pressure on the inside foot peg. This will ensure I weight the outside peg. I'll then drop the bike into the turn while I stay as vertical as I can.

The video below is from a RawHyde Adventures Camp. Its a long one but there is some good info regarding your questions. WARNING: it features lots of BMWs so you haters may want skip it.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Re2A9UJzSBw
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,196 Posts
Randy,

I have incredible respect for your riding abilities.. your abilities and confidence riding on snow and ice speak for themselves!

Don't your studded tires lose a fair amount of gip in those conditions? Wouldn't that be a lot like gravel or dirt?

This past winter I had the extreme pleasure spending a day in Quebec driving Porsche's around an ice-covered racetrack. Some of the spots were so slippery you could barely stand. And even though the cars had winter tires and studs you could hang out the tail and drift the cars any time you wanted (GREAT FUN !!!!) . The cars were Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, (All-wheel drive), Carrera 2S (Two Wheel Drive) and Cayman S (Two Wheel Drive.)


As fast and powerful as the Porsche's are, they don't have anywhere near the power to weight of your bike. Your bike must be a real handlful in the snow!


..Tom
I feel that I can predict gravel a lot better than pavement, sure, ya slip and slide, but its relatively easy to predict compared to pavement where either your gripping solid or sliding beyond control



Never pay again for live sex! | Hot girls doing naughty stuff for free! | Chat for free!
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top