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Old 12-08-2014, 03:46 PM   #1
bdx OP
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Riding on snow. WTF is up with that?

I see many pictures scrolling on the front page of this site with bikes that have made tracks through the snow. My recent foray into snow was not quite as elegant. I made some tracks, tracks left by my crashbars and my body rolling through the snow. I am an experienced rider of medium skill level. However, snow has me completely befuddled. While coming down a mountain pass I encountered 2-4 inches of WET sloppy snow and I couldn't stay upright for the life of me. I tried standing, sitting and duckwalking. I ended up face down in the snow. My riding partner (less experienced) was on a Tiger 800 XC with TKC80's and never went down.
Bike: R1200GSA
Tires: Heidenau f/r

What is the secret to riding on snow??
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:52 PM   #2
Thanantos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdx View Post
Bike: R1200GSA
I think that is part of your problem.

On an actually helpful note get some studded tires on that thing.

P.S. Good for you and your buddy for taking those expensive machines off road AND in the snow.
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Old 12-08-2014, 04:12 PM   #3
riverflow
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Originally Posted by Thanantos View Post
I think that is part of your problem.

On an actually helpful note get some studded tires on that thing.

P.S. Good for you and your buddy for taking those expensive machines off road AND in the snow.
As you found out, snow has a lot less traction, which forces you to keep better balance. On a big bike like the GSA with LOTS of torque, you are likely to slide all over, and then not be able to keep it upright.

I think your bike would be fine if you added studded knobbies or tire chains.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...ht=snow+chains

Chains might be more helpful for off road depending on how wet/soft it is; studded tires are certainly better on road.

If you find a source for lengths of V-bar chain that isn't already made into tire chains, let me know.
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:36 PM   #4
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You might enjoy this,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc_IKEdptq0
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:40 PM   #5
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:47 PM   #6
Wraith Rider
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Snow is like offroad. While on pavement weight normally doesn't matter, on snow it really becomes a problem. In addition the boxer engine is the opposite of smooth.

On the other side you yourself might not be relaxed due to your bad expieriences what is never a good thing.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:07 PM   #7
Mikehusa
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More aggressive tires and very good balance, but this is coming from someone who never rode a GS in the snow.
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:00 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. Let's assume that studded tires and tire bars are not an option. That was an 800 mile weekend and a 1/2 mile of it was on snow. I was just looking for some tried and true tips for getting my ass through some snow. While I'm at it...
Anyone have any tips for rocks. I have no trouble with rocky terrain while going up hill. A little trouble going downhill, but the most trouble is when I stop. I find it nigh impossible to get rolling again. Cause I don't have enough speed up to get the stability, the front tire gets kicked around and I tumble. "Just gas it" doesn't always work due to the proximity of roadside drop offs or hairpins. How do you get rolling again when stopped in loose rocky trails?
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdx View Post
Thanks for the replies. Let's assume that studded tires and tire bars are not an option. That was an 800 mile weekend and a 1/2 mile of it was on snow. I was just looking for some tried and true tips for getting my ass through some snow. While I'm at it...
Anyone have any tips for rocks. I have no trouble with rocky terrain while going up hill. A little trouble going downhill, but the most trouble is when I stop. I find it nigh impossible to get rolling again. Cause I don't have enough speed up to get the stability, the front tire gets kicked around and I tumble. "Just gas it" doesn't always work due to the proximity of roadside drop offs or hairpins. How do you get rolling again when stopped in loose rocky trails?
Without the right equipment there is only one option. Ride slow and be smooth. It is possible to ride at quite a high speed but you must be aware that it is going to take much much longer to stop/slow down/turn and any sudden inputs on the bars, brakes or gas is going to cause a lose of traction.

As for the rocks, choose your stopping location well. If you stopped there because of a crash so you could not choose well, then it might be easier to turn the bike around and give it a second try from the bottom. It is almost always easier to go again from the bottom than to start mid climb. When going down hill, the biggest problem is picking up too much speed. Number one rule is don't start at the top with too much speed! Keep an agresive stance on the bike and do not try to climb off the bake of the bike as this will only reduce the traction on the front wheel and likely cause it to wash out.

Your biggest problem by far is a GSA1200. It really is a street bike that "can" go off road
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:09 AM   #10
Pecha72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdx View Post
I see many pictures scrolling on the front page of this site with bikes that have made tracks through the snow. My recent foray into snow was not quite as elegant. I made some tracks, tracks left by my crashbars and my body rolling through the snow. I am an experienced rider of medium skill level. However, snow has me completely befuddled. While coming down a mountain pass I encountered 2-4 inches of WET sloppy snow and I couldn't stay upright for the life of me. I tried standing, sitting and duckwalking. I ended up face down in the snow. My riding partner (less experienced) was on a Tiger 800 XC with TKC80's and never went down.
Bike: R1200GSA
Tires: Heidenau f/r

What is the secret to riding on snow??
– Riding technique – learning to feather the throttle and brakes, and to use very gentle steering inputs; learning to judge the appropriate speed for each situation and surface condition, and knowing, how much your stopping distances may stretch.

– Tyres (quite knobbly, and with PLENTY of space between the knobs, so the tyre can ΄clean΄ itself from the snow, as it rotates... if the snow fills the gaps between the knobs, you go down – any road tyre usually gets packed with snow very quickly. You do not need studs for snow, but you need them for ice, and where there is snow, there is often ice, too)

– Good cold weather riding gear – otherwise it is not enjoyable, and could very easily become dangerous, too, if your concentration is disturbed by the fact, that you are freezing your ass off. Depending on where you ride, and how cold it is (and is help near or not), freezing could also turn life-threatening. Not advisable to ride alone at all in very cold weather.

And compared to a big, heavy GS, a lightweight motorcycle, such as a 125-400cc enduro, could help a lot.

But if it is only half a mile, and the rest has no snow or ice, then just go extremely slowly, or even push the bike, if you have to.... I wouldn΄t change anything else for that 1/2 a mile..
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:14 AM   #11
Mat
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Studs don't help much in the snow if they also have to work on asphalt. Tire pattern is more important, and the Heidenau Scout Are not the best for that. If you had those. TKC80 are also not ideal, but a bit better.

And of course, as others said, the weight is an issue, as is the torque. If I had the money, I would get myself a dedicated Winter bike, maybe a (light!) 350. Not a new one because it will be eaten by the salt

If that is not a choice, as in your case, if possible use the ditch, but be careful - holes and other nasty stuff might be hidden under the snow. If there was some wind, it can look smooth on the surface but all the holes are filled up...
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:18 AM   #12
riverflow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdx View Post
Thanks for the replies. Let's assume that studded tires and tire bars are not an option. That was an 800 mile weekend and a 1/2 mile of it was on snow. I was just looking for some tried and true tips for getting my ass through some snow. While I'm at it...
Anyone have any tips for rocks. I have no trouble with rocky terrain while going up hill. A little trouble going downhill, but the most trouble is when I stop. I find it nigh impossible to get rolling again. Cause I don't have enough speed up to get the stability, the front tire gets kicked around and I tumble. "Just gas it" doesn't always work due to the proximity of roadside drop offs or hairpins. How do you get rolling again when stopped in loose rocky trails?
Try and stop where it's flat & smooth.

If it's really bad, I usually end up rocking my bike back and forth with the clutch (think MSF clutch exercise) and then clutch wheelie (front wheel coming up not necessary). Once I get rolling again, I don't have any real issues. Since you don't have a 21" front, try moving your weight back more onto the rear wheel)

For me going downhill I engine brake unless I need to drag the rear wheel. Front brakes don't get touched until it's flat.
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:54 AM   #13
foxtrapper
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Originally Posted by bdx View Post
I was just looking for some tried and true tips for getting my ass through some snow.
Smooth, gentle, upright. Everything you do should be done at a whisper volume. Just touch those brakes, and really try not to use the front. Let the clutch slip and try to move the bike along with the engine all but idling. Smooth. Still more smooth. Gentle. Gentler still.


Quote:
Anyone have any tips for rocks...How do you get rolling again when stopped in loose rocky trails?
Pick your stop point, and have it as clear as possible for the line you plan for on taking off. Use your arm muscles and hold that handlebar to control the bike. This is not a time for letting the bike pick its own line.
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:20 AM   #14
Mikehusa
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Granted, not a GS but still a 500lb bike. Advantage of a GS is when lying on their side the jug can be used as a pivot point making it pretty easy to position. When slowing down pull in the clutch to eliminate loss of traction to the rear wheel from engine braking. Balance, balance, balance. If you don't already, get used to standing on the pegs, you'll have much more control from body positioning. I would recommend taking a specific big bike off-road class, I always learn something new when I do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9ara8_V0dI
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Old 12-09-2014, 07:01 AM   #15
randyo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mat View Post
Studs don't help much in the snow if they also have to work on asphalt.
uh?


studs make all the difference, snow packs into ice
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