ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > The perfect line and other riding myths
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-01-2014, 06:51 AM   #1
mikem9 OP
Wanderer
 
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 1,195
Big bikes vs. Small Bikes

Let's discuss the trade offs of big bikes vs. small bikes during true Adventure travel, where a lot of rough dirt roads are involved.

mikem9 screwed with this post 02-01-2014 at 07:02 AM
mikem9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 07:04 AM   #2
tkent02
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Littleton, CO
Oddometer: 2,122
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post
Let's discuss the trade offs of big bikes vs. small bikes during true Adventure travel, where a lot of rough dirt roads are involved.
Smaller is always better when it gets rough.
tkent02 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 07:14 PM   #3
basketcase
lifelong reject fixer
 
basketcase's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2004
Location: Roll Tide Central...
Oddometer: 1,362
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkent02 View Post
Smaller is always better when it gets rough.
+1

Additionally, big is relative, to some degree.

When I bought the DR in January 2010 and rode the CDT later that year, I had ridden only on pavement for the previous 15 years -- all on 500+ lb. road bikes.

And for the five years immediately before that I had ridden Gold Wings. My GL1500 easily weighed over 1,000 lbs with my gear and me on board.

So then I buy a DR650 and take it on a shakedown ride. When I got home that day I felt like I could throw it over my shoulder tote it in the house with me.

Then I met a guy locally who regularly rode the forest service trails and fire roads on an R1150 GS.

The same year I met him he rode that bike on the CDT. I thought he was crazy because riding the CDT on the DR650 I thought several times, "a DR350, or perhaps even a WR250, would be a better choice for the terrain I am riding."

But the fact his riding skills were light years ahead of mine. He could ride circles around me on any day of the week on any kind of bike.

So there's a lot more to it than simply a bigger or smaller bike.
__________________
'00 R1100RT
------------
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." - Marcus Aurelius
basketcase is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 07:40 PM   #4
NJ-Brett
Brett
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Southern New Jersey
Oddometer: 6,187
I had no problem riding a big bike in the dirt, right up till the helicopter ride.
Before that, I thought it was great.

A bigger heavier bike is just more of a workout, and I was up for that.

Its very rare to read about somebody on a light bike breaking bones here, despite some bad crashes, but its very common with guys who ride big bikes off road.
NJ-Brett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2014, 12:20 AM   #5
JohnnyWaffles
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2012
Location: Denver, CO
Oddometer: 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
Its very rare to read about somebody on a light bike breaking bones here, despite some bad crashes, but its very common with guys who ride big bikes off road.
It would be interesting to see how many big bike riders who suffered serious lower extremity injuries were wearing non-motocross boots lacking proper support, such as "adventure touring" boots.

I'll be purchasing Sidi Crossfire's.
__________________
2013 KTM 990 Adventure Baja Edition
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefeater Steve
The KTM is the kind of bike you take behind the middle school and get pregnant. It's the kind of bike that, from the moment you light the fire, you know is downright nasty and makes you want to meet in the Burger King bathroom and lick its butthole.
JohnnyWaffles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2014, 04:16 AM   #6
Soldier311
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2013
Location: Eastern NC
Oddometer: 965
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
I had no problem riding a big bike in the dirt, right up till the helicopter ride.
....
You should add that to your signature line, Brett.
__________________
"It's more fun to ride a slow girl fast than a fast girl slow."
1999 DR350SEX
Soldier311 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 07:22 AM   #7
OrangeYZ
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Southern Oregon
Oddometer: 484
Everybody has different ideas of what's big and what's small. Right now there's a guy in Thumpers debating whether he should keep his big bike or his little bike, the little bike being a BMW 650.

Hell, I have different ideas from day to day. If I want to go dirt riding, the little bike is a 300 2 stroke and the big bike is a 540 RFS. For a street ride the 540 is the little bike up against an 800. When I bought the 800, it was one of the smaller bikes at the dealer.

My dad's little bike is a Norton 850 and his big bike has an engine bigger than my sister's Corolla and weighs almost as much.

For any given trip, I ride the smallest bike I can get away with.

EDIT:
Apparently the OP feels that smaller original posts are better than big ones where the going might get rough.
__________________
Idaho
OrangeYZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 07:28 AM   #8
mikem9 OP
Wanderer
 
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 1,195
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeYZ View Post

EDIT:
Apparently the OP feels that smaller original posts are better than big ones where the going might get rough.
Ha! how did you know? I changed my original wordy post.
mikem9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 07:38 AM   #9
Dusty1013
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Dec 2013
Location: Penn's Woods
Oddometer: 114
I used to do some nutty stuff with my KLR that I wouldn't even consider on my GSA. Of course I wouldn't want to slab it a couple states over on a KLR to get to some trails. Even on the KLR at times I was wishing for a 250 in the rough stuff. Like it was said above smaller is always better. Love my GSA but on Long way Around I bet they were wishing for something smaller most of the time, but that's another thread.
__________________
Current Bikes- BMW R1200 GSA, Triumph T-100
Dusty1013 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 07:55 AM   #10
OrangeYZ
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Southern Oregon
Oddometer: 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post
Ha! how did you know? I changed my original wordy post.
Because it took me twenty minutes to type out and post my wordy post
__________________
Idaho
OrangeYZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 08:21 AM   #11
mikem9 OP
Wanderer
 
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 1,195
What kind of motivated me to write this post, is that I was reading a thread where 3 guys were adventuring to South America. One was riding a BMW F800 GS, one was on a BMW country 650 and one was on a Yamaha XT 225. Seems like the guy on the 225 was on a much better bike for where they were riding.

Also, the Long Way round film did influence my thinking on the subject - Just looked like those guys would have been much better off on much smaller bikes.

A while back I was on a a big dual sport/adventure ride event. A rider on a GS 1200 went up a slick little hill - not really a huge challenge to small bikes. He lost it. When everyone helped him pick his bike up, his foot was pointing the wrong way. Also saw a friend yesterday who loves to challenge himself on his big adventure bike. He crushed his ankle last year pretty badly when his bike fell on him. Took him a long time to recover.

I think big adventure bikes are very cool, but the more I think and read about them, I think I would just stay on pavement or graded gravel for the most part and ride smaller bikes (530 and below) on the knarlier stuff.

Thoughts?

mikem9 screwed with this post 02-01-2014 at 09:15 AM
mikem9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 09:38 AM   #12
KoolBreeze
Gnarly Adventurer
 
KoolBreeze's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: lower west side USofA
Oddometer: 462
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeYZ View Post
Everybody has different ideas of what's big and what's small. Right now there's a guy in Thumpers debating whether he should keep his big bike or his little bike, the little bike being a BMW 650.

Hell, I have different ideas from day to day. If I want to go dirt riding, the little bike is a 300 2 stroke and the big bike is a 540 RFS. For a street ride the 540 is the little bike up against an 800. When I bought the 800, it was one of the smaller bikes at the dealer.

My dad's little bike is a Norton 850 and his big bike has an engine bigger than my sister's Corolla and weighs almost as much.

For any given trip, I ride the smallest bike I can get away with.

EDIT:
Apparently the OP feels that smaller original posts are better than big ones where the going might get rough.
for all that....

"rough dirt road" is also very subjective.
KoolBreeze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 09:48 AM   #13
SloMo228
World Class Cheapass
 
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: SE Michigan
Oddometer: 1,481
For anyone who's ever been to Glacier National Park in Montana, there is a Forest Service road called North Fork Road, which is where my dad and I happened to end up on two rather unsuitable bikes. Last summer, my dad and I visited Glacier, me on my ZRX1100 and him on his GL1500. We arrived at the park a little late and all of the front-end, easily accessible campsites were full. We pulled out the map of the park and located a campsite at Bowman Lake, and headed for it, not knowing what the roads there and back would be like. Now, that road is probably not terribly challenging on a smaller DS bike, and probably not even that bad on a bigger ADV bike with some ground clearance, but it was quite an experience for us - me on a 120hp street bike with slick tires and next to no ground clearance, and him on his 900+lb behemoth. It was one of those experiences that was fun in retrospect but at the time we were both constantly worrying about being able to make it up a gravelly hill, or bottoming out and cracking an oil pan, leaving us stranded miles from help.

I would have much preferred to have been on a ~300lb DS bike and would have had a lot more fun, too. We did pass a group of riders (going the other way, we'd never have been able to overtake anyone) on KLRs and DR650s and such who were clearly having more fun than us.

The smaller bike is almost always going to be better suited to rougher conditions, and that's what I'd take in a heartbeat. The biggest bike I'd want to be riding on anything rougher than a graded gravel road is a 650.
__________________
--------------------------- Steve----------------------------------------
'93 GL1500 frankenbike basketcase in progress
'96 DR350SE
SloMo228 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 11:58 AM   #14
Wraith Rider
Beastly Adventurer
 
Wraith Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Germany
Oddometer: 1,043
Simple thing.

In rough dirt, the lighter the better.
On the street, the more powerful the better.
__________________
"Why not stay in disguise all the time? You know, look like everyone else."
"Because we shouldn't have to."
Wraith Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2014, 12:16 PM   #15
tkent02
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Littleton, CO
Oddometer: 2,122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wraith Rider View Post
Simple thing.

In rough dirt, the lighter the better.
On the street, the more powerful the better.
On a straight street maybe. Where I prefer to ride, give me quick and nimble handling any day over an overweight high-powered behemoth.
tkent02 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 04:09 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014