Throttle control, and the effect on the bike as a whole was brought home to me the other weekend.
I got about 40 mins up a steep, muddy and rock strewn fire trail, and I was fairly focussed on staying upright, when I realised that I had about 10 mins of smooth red clay/very steep section to climb out of it all. Lots of rain over the preceding 2 weeks meant it was going to be acres of fun.
I thought over the sense of turning back, plotted the length of the detour in my mind, looked at the fuel gauge, recalculate, extrapolate, fudge factor.....oh shit. OK then, lets get on with it.
On the climb out I used everything I've learned about keeping a big fat skaty bike upright on smooth wet steep red clay.
The E07 rear has nearly 9000km on it and about 6mm tread depth left at the centre. The Pirelli Scorpion MT90AT on the front is about 4000km old and in fairly good condition.
It was all throttle control. At times it wouldn't turn and I was on and off the throttle searching for the right amount of load on the front, trying to stay upright, trying not to stall at really low revs in 2nd as I searched for more torque. It gets a bit funky when you are fast running out of track coming into hairpin turns. Downshift to 1st and wheelspin to a stop.
The only surface I've ridden on that was worse is frozen red clay. That hurt. I think my friend recorded 5 face plants from me on the BMW that morning.Plus, 3 stall and falls while climbing over snow covered logs. 1 cross rut and face plant in a frozen puddle when the ice broke half way across. 1 slide off track into bush at the bottom of a long descent with an off camber right hand hairpin. It gets old fast. I was getting very cranky. One second upright...the next second on face.
I've found that knobbies make very little difference on this type of surface.
BMW and snow riding isn't something that you should "just go and have a crack at". You need to learn a little more about big heavy bikes and limited traction first. It doesn't snow here much. Thankfully. I've done it 2 up and I am still amazed by how completely wrong it can go and how fast it goes wrong. Try doing a 360 when you are 2 up with gear rolling along the track at about 50 kph. See what that does for your heart rate. See what that does for the knee you had a reconstruction on when you slap the foot on the ground and take all the weight while dragging your boot sideways. My wife insisted I stop IMMEDIATELY. I couldn't. I had dislocated my knee and my boot was dragging along the ground next to the bike. It didn't tickle. Took a while to fix. I was a tad worried, as I couldn't get off the bike, couldn't really stop with the load I had on. I stood up on my left leg and let the right hang and jiggle until it seemed to fix itself. It didn't hurt as much, but it still hurt like crazy.
You ride along and you think, "yep, I've got it all under control" and then it suddenly just spins around and around and everything you do has the exact opposite effect. You realise that you never had control at all. It's an illusion. You are always that fine line away from failure when there's ice and snow in the equation. But I suppose some of you Northern Hemisphere types already know that.
Ahhhh....ridiculously heavy fully loaded bikes and frozen dirt roads....what's not to love?
This is pretty much most fire trails within 500km of my front door. There's a few of them. Unfortunately the Forestry workers use red clay as the base and cover it with gravel that ranges from 1/2 inch ball bearing stuff, to base ball and even house brick sized stuff in the really wet spots.
Long steady gradients tend to end up as smooth red clay wheel ruts. Then winter comes. Not so good.