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Thread: Riding the dirt roads

  1. #1
    Registered User dadayama's Avatar
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    Riding the dirt roads

    So i've ridden through every one of the 77 counties in Oklahoma. I've been on a few dirt roads. Lately i have been trying to search out dirt road routes to travel on for practice.

    I am wanting to ride the Continental Divide route in 2012 so i thought i should actually practice some dirt roads going longer distances. On average i am comfortable going about 40 miles an hour, am i a wussy going so slow? I've been on some roads that 20 mph was the top speed. Been trying to do the stand up thing while riding more, makes me nervous but i think i can feel the bike acting better.

    Being mostly self taught on a motorcycle and not getting my first bike until eighteen (my parents would never have let me have a dirt bike), i guess what I'm asking is advice, as best it can be given over the internet, on how to ride dirt roads. I look at adventure rider and i see a lot of dirt bikers riding single tracks, but that isn't my interest. I'm thinking back country like the Continental Divide trail with a bigger motorcycle loaded with camping gear, heading down a dirt, gravel, crap road.

    Though, most times i don't lay my bike over, i would like to be a more confident rider.

    What say all you GS'ers or Off the Beaten Path types...?

    Thanks
    Pedro in OKC, OK

  2. #2
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    This may help with some of the basics.

    http://dualsportriding.com/shop/inde...&products_id=4

  3. #3
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    A few months ago I wrote a 2-part series on this in the BMW ON, called "Untrainable."

    I can't remember exactly which issues, but it was something like May/June or June/July.

    if you've tossed your back issues, send me a PM and I will send you the articles.

    Ian

    (40mph is plenty fast enough on dirt roads... this isn't a race!)
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    __________________________________________________ ________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '97 F650ST || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    .............(40mph is plenty fast enough on dirt roads... this isn't a race!)
    Especially if you want to *see* anything besides the road!

  5. #5
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    It sounds like your getting a good grasp of the skills. I purchased the DVDs that marchyman suggested and worked on those skills to help me improve and gain confidence. I also took the BMW GS riding course last year that was offered by the local dealer. I still have a long way to go to get my skills to the expert level, but I'm pretty comfortable with the type of conditions that you describe. Getting instruction from someone who knows the proper techniques is extremely helpful and important to get to that higher level of confidence. By the end of the BMW course, I was riding my GS in ways I never would have believed I could.

    I too am looking at the CDR, possibly in September 2011, but that's still tenative. I rode much of the OBDR to the Redmond rally, and from what i've seen of the CDR, it should be comparable. FWIW, I spent most of the miles on the OBDR in the bottom three gears, only when the road was really superb did I get over 60 Km/h (40 mph).
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  6. #6
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Welcome:)

    Its such a good read for me to consume, when I find posts like this. I'm a life long dirt guy, teaching and all in my past to those wishing to follow the adventurous lifestyles I've found SOOOO rewarding most of my life. Keep it up. I was the GS Chair guy in Redmond and did some "on the Oregon trail" classes there too and saw so much happiness and smiles from many like yourself, taking the plunge to learn a new life on two wheels. The forest byways are a challenge/learning curve of which you'll find much happiness as you partake in it and find yourself achieving more and more skills. You already meantioned one of the most importatnt commandments of dirt riding, "standing" a lot will indeed keep the bike under you more and more. Take breaks(sit) on the easy parts of the trail/dirt roads, but standing the softer gravel and sandy conditions will keep you much happier. I teach this two up as well. Passengers, as I did in Redmond, CAN and will be great passengers on dirt, standing as well, a unit! Remember the speed is your freind on loser dirt byways and standing too. Stand as soon as you can on takeoff on loose sand/gravel and build your speed to 25-30+ and beyond for the best front wheel float on top. You will begin to steer with your shift of weight on the pegs as speed increases, not so much handlebar anymore...Slow equals plowing the road and bad bike manners and sitting will create a fall soon enough... My best first tips Best regards to ya and maybe we'll meet up someday. Randy"Polarbear"Owens. Happy Trails.

  7. #7
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Because of where we live, a great deal of Annie and my riding is on dirt roads. I do not consider myself particularly skilled in off-road riding, but I do it a bunch and have always gotten there and back in one piece. Applying the techniques Polarbear describes above is enough for you to handle just about any dirt road and enjoy the ride. Just remember that close encounters with the dirt when riding on it are part of the deal. Stand-up; head & eyes up; just enough speed; easy on the front brake; smile.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  8. #8
    Ritalin Poster Boy rob nye's Avatar
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    I say get a smaller bike and practice as much as you can.

    The biggest key to riding off road is staying relaxed, which is really hard to do when your trying to learn dirt on a GS.

    I'd also say that it's just about impossible to become a good dirt rider without crashing a few times, again this points to finding a cheap, older UJM dual sport to thrash a bit.

  9. #9
    Registered User dadayama's Avatar
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    I've laid it over several times, the last time i was going trough a patch of mud, Oklahoma red clay, and the bike just slid out from underneath me and i landed on my feet. The bad thing was it was a complete bitch to get the bike back up as i could not get a good footing, my feet kept sliding. There was no one around and i was a long ways out, but finally got the bike up. That's when i decided i need more friends who ride motorcycles and i should find some one to go on the Continental Divide route with me.

    Hey MCMXCIVRS, what does OBDR mean?

    Thanks for all the advice so far.

    Peter

  10. #10
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dadayama View Post
    ... what does OBDR mean?
    Oregon Backroad Discovery Route

    lotsa fun!

  11. #11
    Ritalin Poster Boy rob nye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dadayama View Post
    I've laid it over several times, the last time i was going trough a patch of mud, Oklahoma red clay, and the bike just slid out from underneath me and i landed on my feet. The bad thing was it was a complete bitch to get the bike back up as i could not get a good footing, my feet kept sliding. There was no one around and i was a long ways out, but finally got the bike up. That's when i decided i need more friends who ride motorcycles and i should find some one to go on the Continental Divide route with me.

    Hey MCMXCIVRS, what does OBDR mean?

    Thanks for all the advice so far.

    Peter
    Curious, what did you have for tires? I know a lot of people that won't put TKC's (DOT Knobbies) on their GS when it would make a ton of difference.

    I think they help more on dirt than they detract on pavement.

  12. #12
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robnye View Post
    Curious, what did you have for tires? I know a lot of people that won't put TKC's (DOT Knobbies) on their GS when it would make a ton of difference.

    I think they help more on dirt than they detract on pavement.
    TKCs front and back. Wouldn't suggest using any of the more road oriented DS tires for the route unless you skipped a lot of the rougher sections. I've had no issues with them on pavement other than the rapid wear.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  13. #13
    Ritalin Poster Boy rob nye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCMXCIVRS View Post
    TKCs front and back. Wouldn't suggest using any of the more road oriented DS tires for the route unless you skipped a lot of the rougher sections. I've had no issues with them on pavement other than the rapid wear.
    I was asking the OP what tires he was using when he was slip sliding away.

  14. #14
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robnye View Post
    I was asking the OP what tires he was using when he was slip sliding away.

    I see that now
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  15. #15
    Registered User dadayama's Avatar
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    "Curious, what did you have for tires? I know a lot of people that won't put TKC's (DOT Knobbies) on their GS when it would make a ton of difference.

    I think they help more on dirt than they detract on pavement."

    I know I know... I have Metzlers Tourance on right now. For the Continental Divide I'll get TKs or something along those lines.

    I ride all the time, commute to work in the cold etc... that is why i choose the tire i did, for the road. I've been curious how some knobbies would handle different then the regular "dualsport" tires. But daily wear is also a concern, I'm all ready getting a flat spot and they are not even 6 months old.

    Thanks
    Peter

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