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Old 08-16-2013, 08:06 PM   #1
greg1 OP
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Can someone point me toward...

A definitive guide for how to ride technical trails?

I was out today on my brand new (to me) 2004 XR400R on a trail that I've ridden at 60kph on an ATV before, and the best I could do was crawl. I even dumped the bike in knee high water once.

I feel like gravel roads are no problem at all for me (obviously, cause they're easy). But the technical trails, the kind mostly comprised of decent sized fixed/stationary jutting rocks, rife with plenty of free-rolling softball-sized rounded rocks. I had particular difficulty with the wet ones in, and coming out of, large, knee deep, 30 foot long puddles that have formed on the trails (they're always there 365 days a year, and they're stagnant and GROSS and smelly).

It's like the tire climbs up on top of the rollies, and then falls off the side of it, causing me to make a quick correction just to stay up.

I've heard about the old saying "when in doubt, gas it," and was told a couple times that if you're carrying speed, the bike will tend to handle weird rock formations and "rollie rocks" much easier. I don't know if that's true or not, so I stuck to 1st gear for all the technical stuff, only braving 2nd in the easy portions of the trail.

Is there a resource for noobs learning to ride on hairy trails?

Loving my XR so far. It's a tractor! I find most 1st gear "trouble" can be solved by simply pulling in the clutch and trying to stop. KISS... The one time I dumped it I sorta was in "panic mode" and totally forgot about my clutch. The XR being a tractor, the bike pulled me further into a complete mess to the point where it stalled and I dropped it in the water.

Anyway... Any tips?
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:22 AM   #2
Pantah
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You just need seat time. You will figure what works best for you.

The conditions you describe are generally slow going because a two wheeled vehicle is much easier upset than a 4 wheeled vehicle. Eventually you'll be working hard to pick a best path through obstacles for the front wheel; and you'll be up on the pegs and loose in a crouch so the bike can bounce around under you, while your body is relatively stable. You'll use your bars and footpegs for leverage. Four points of contact with the motorcycle is all you want when negotiating tough terrain.

Learning that stuff is such fun, and the learning never ends.
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:54 AM   #3
buls4evr
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Here are some tips to help you right away. Stand, don't sit. Your body CENTERED over the bike. Use the TORQUE of the bike and not the HP to ride in rocks. Put your feet to the outside of the footpegs and don't grip with your knees heavily. Learn what throttle on/off does to your suspension. Throttle ON makes the rear compress. So if you are in 1st gear that rear shock is getting all kinds of compress,no extend type messages. Learn to be smooth with the throttle. Hold the bars like a screwdriver and not a baseball bat and put your elbows UP. Don't accelerate IN the rocks but before them. Try these things and it will become a little easier. Then there is your bike set up.... tire pressure, bar and lever positions.... But that is another learning segment. It all takes time. Learn good habits.
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:58 AM   #4
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You only fell down once?
Not trying hard enough.
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Old 08-17-2013, 03:56 PM   #5
Rango
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You can find some inspiration here:

http://faq.f650.com/FAQs/RidingTipsFAQ.htm

If it is possible try to get out with at least a buddy.
To improve you gotta try hard,
Trying hard, euh well... see tkent02's post.
Buddies can take pictures.
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Old 08-17-2013, 04:58 PM   #6
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All you have to do is simply...
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Old 08-17-2013, 11:31 PM   #7
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Thumb point

These may help:

http://www.flamesonmytank.co.za/offRoad.htm

http://trialstrainingcenter.com/
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Old 08-18-2013, 05:11 AM   #8
Seth650
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buls4evr View Post
Here are some tips to help you right away. Stand, don't sit. Your body CENTERED over the bike. Use the TORQUE of the bike and not the HP to ride in rocks. Put your feet to the outside of the footpegs and don't grip with your knees heavily. Learn what throttle on/off does to your suspension. Throttle ON makes the rear compress. So if you are in 1st gear that rear shock is getting all kinds of compress,no extend type messages. Learn to be smooth with the throttle. Hold the bars like a screwdriver and not a baseball bat and put your elbows UP. Don't accelerate IN the rocks but before them. Try these things and it will become a little easier. Then there is your bike set up.... tire pressure, bar and lever positions.... But that is another learning segment. It all takes time. Learn good habits.
This is great advice. Offroading in general with baseball sized rocks/chips and 6" max ruts, I do a partial stand-up (tiring my thighs) so I can quickly put a leg down (knee not locked) to keep her up. I practice zig zags to constantly learn the limits and cross ruts. On steep up-hills, I lean over the handle bars (nearly always keeping a true verticle). No death grips, to allow some front end wobble. Ride the clutch but not the front brake. Ultimately, you may want to change a sprocket to match your favorite riding style; that info is in the bike-specific areas or bike-specific sites like drriders
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Old 08-18-2013, 07:36 AM   #9
greg1 OP
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After two rides off road with the bike I'm learning some tricks of the trade. I almost can't articulate what's happening, it's more of a "feel" thing. Anticipating how my bike is going to react to different obstacles, staying in control with quick little adjustments.

The biggest thing for me is COVERING THAT CLUTCH! I find that if I get lazy and hold my bars without covering the clutch, I get into trouble.

The previous owner cut the clutch lever very short to accommodate the hand guards he put on. As a result, the "lever action" of the lever is pretty much gone. So my arm gets pretty pumped up when I'm manipulating the clutch for long periods. This will be my first modification. I ordered a Pazzoma 3-finger clutch and brake lever set, hoping maybe the pull will be a little better on the clutch side. If not I'll order a Moose EZPull clutch.
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:48 AM   #10
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I don't have a lot of experience in rocks, but we have a lot of sand and mud around here that form into ruts. I find that when I'm going slow and the bike drops into a rut, a bit of throttle often sorts things out better than trying to correct with bars or balance.

Wear good gear...head, feet, legs, butt, back, chest, arms, hands, shoulders, helmet, and maybe even neck. Rocks aren't usually cushy.
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:24 PM   #11
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This might have something for you:


http://www.bestrestproducts.com/imag...-12%201315.pdf
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:15 PM   #12
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Standing, and covering the clutch is the most important things you can do, and remember, if you're not falling, you're not riding aggressively enough.
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Old 08-18-2013, 06:38 PM   #13
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Sometimes in rocky sections, a way to get through is stand on the pegs. Go just fast enough to keep your momentum over and through the rocks. If that means first gear then use first gear. Learn to look ahead and pick a good line through the rocks.
With practice you might find you can pick up some speed.
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Old 08-18-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
JerryH
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This is not really the proper way to do it, but when riding through some really rough rock gardens, I just put the bike in first gear and crawl along, keeping my feet down as necessary to prevent dropping the bike (wear high top lace up boots to avoid breaking an ankle) You can pull in the clutch any time and stop the bike, with your feet down to prevent dropping it.

Watch some video on rock crawling with Jeeps and other 4 wheel drive buggies. They just barely move, stopping often. And they have the advantage of spotters.

I have ridden through some narrow canyons with huge rocks, and had to wait on guys with quads, because their quads got hung up on the rocks. and they had to get off and lift the frame off the rock it was hung up on. Bikes do have advantages in such situations. I did a lot of this on an XT225 dual sport bike, which is low enough to let me get my feet on the ground. The bash plate took a lot of hits, but never damaged the motor. I just beat the dents out with a hammer. I also had 32 psi in the tires, to prevent rim damage.
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Old 08-18-2013, 07:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
This is not really the proper way to do it, but when riding through some really rough rock gardens, I just put the bike in first gear and crawl along, keeping my feet down as necessary to prevent dropping the bike (wear high top lace up boots to avoid breaking an ankle) You can pull in the clutch any time and stop the bike, with your feet down to prevent dropping it.

Watch some video on rock crawling with Jeeps and other 4 wheel drive buggies. They just barely move, stopping often. And they have the advantage of spotters.

I have ridden through some narrow canyons with huge rocks, and had to wait on guys with quads, because their quads got hung up on the rocks. and they had to get off and lift the frame off the rock it was hung up on. Bikes do have advantages in such situations. I did a lot of this on an XT225 dual sport bike, which is low enough to let me get my feet on the ground. The bash plate took a lot of hits, but never damaged the motor. I just beat the dents out with a hammer. I also had 32 psi in the tires, to prevent rim damage.
Your feet go on the footpegs . You ever see a professional offroader sitting so they can drag their feet? You probably drag your feet thru intersections on the road , don't you?
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