Originally Posted by cbig
But I'm not sure I want to gift my buddies with my slowness
They're on xr650r's, a 530 exc and wr450f. On the ledges, rock hops, yes! Road shots and long sand/gravel hauls ...hills..
The steeper the hills, the more the sand, the bigger the xr
I think you would smoke your buddies on your XR250R going up Lippinicott and especially on the 10 mile section of Steele Pass that has been completely washed away but from Furnace Creek to Beatty on the pavement, with a strong headwind, you would be left in the dust.
There are no big hill climbs in Death Valley where you need lots of horsepower. The paved roads are the only places where you might be at a disadvantage. Riding up Pleasant Canyon from Ballarat is a 1st or 2nd gear techical climb because of all the rocks.
I think your 250 would be the bike of choice for:
1. Goler Wash
2. Mengel Pass
3. Echo Pass
4. South Pass
5. Steele Pass
6. Lippincott Road
7. Pleasant Canyon and South Park
On the dirt roads between all those places, I rarely ride faster than 40 mph so anyone out there reading this thread who rides a 250cc dual sport bike, should know it will do very well all over Death Valley and better than larger bikes on the technical sections.
There are sections of deep sand and gravel but there are more rocks to deal with than sand and gravel.
It is actually the heavy Adventure Bikes, not the light 250cc bikes, that will have problems with the difficult sections of DV.
If you find yourself on a 400 lb.or heavier bike fully loaded with gear and are using dual sport tires rather than knobbies, and you are half way up Lippincott Road with 30 psi or more air in your tires and you loose your momentum and are riding alone, you might be stuck for a while. Just turning around a heavy bike on Lippincott alone is a challenge not to mention what you are in for if you happen to drop your bike or find it is upside down off the trail.
I say all this because I have been there before. My buddy and I rode our BMW's, he on an R1200GS and I was on an R1200GSA. We were told that Lippincott was easy and could be done in a 2WD car so we tried it. Our bikes were fully loaded, but we did have knobbies. We had to air down to 20 psi to have any hope of making it up and I had to push my friend to get some traction to make it up Lippincott. We just barely made it and that was a few years ago when this road was in much better shape than it is right now.
We rode the same bikes over "the escape route", also known as Manly Pass, and he hit a rock with his back wheel while going down a steep hill, causing the back end to swap and before he knew it, he and the bike were upside down off the trail on a steep down hill section.
We unloaded what we could and it took both of us to lift his GS and get it back on the trail. Had he been alone, he would have had to hike out to the pavement and get help.
After these two experiences, I won't ride an Adventure bike on the Escape Route or on Lippincott Mine Road again. However, I will take my lighter dual sport bikes anywhere in DV but won't ride alone.
Even with all my years of experience riding off road in the desert, unexpected things can happen so having one or more buddies along is the best plan as far as I'm concerned.
For the talented, experienced riders reading this, I'm sure you already know all this and you probably have more skill on a big bike than I do. I'm passing on my opinions and experience for the "mere mortals" out there who are not pro level riders and may be new to dual sporting or adventure riding and want to know what to expect, especially if they are new to Death Valley.
I have found the information I have gotten from those who post on advrider to be very helpful for me when planning trips. What is easy for one rider is impossible for the next.