Originally Posted by MK Bike
I would advise you not to count on everyone getting comfortable with gravel. My riding buddy had years of dirt riding experience but he was still very cautious with the gravel even after 3 days. Myself I never had any dirt or gravel experience and I was riding at 50 mph on the gravel after 3 days. So it can go either way.
Agreed. There are a lot of variables at play -- including the bike itself and its unique setup.
When I rode the Trans-Lab in 2009 on my XR650L, we got lucky with good conditions, and I found the ride to be easy and fun. I did a lot of riding at 60-70mph and was comfortable on the gravel almost immediately, and at that speed the bike stabilized nicely over the gravel.
When I rode it again this past fall on my Wee-Strom, I found it far more difficult. The conditions would have been more difficult on the Honda as well as there was a lot more loose, trackless gravel, but additionally, the Wee-Strom just didn't handle the sketchy stuff as well. Some Wee-Strom riders haven't had an issue; in my case, due perhaps to the suspension settings, overall weight, maybe even how the bike was loaded, I just could not find a speed at which the Strom stabilized the way the Honda did.
With each bike and rider -- and the conditions they happen to encounter on the Trans-Lab any given day -- the circumstances will change.