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Old 10-11-2014, 09:20 AM   #1
bruceca2002 OP
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Sand Riding

Can someone tell me the proper way to set up your bike for riding sand? Is the suspension supposed to be soft or stiff? Any riding tips would help also. Thanks
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Old 10-11-2014, 10:39 AM   #2
Tompound
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Shift your weight to the rear of the bike, to make the front of the bike light, do not fight the bike, just let it float over the sand, using weight distribution, more for steering, and do not use your brakes, or at least lay way off, the sand will slow you down really fast, front braking can and will make you fall down, momentum is key, keep your speed up, going faster make sand riding easier, and if you fall down, it is sand soft and gets in every crack in your body. Hahahaha
Hope this helps make it fun and not a fight!
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Old 10-11-2014, 04:58 PM   #3
PinkFloyd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tompound View Post
Shift your weight to the rear of the bike, to make the front of the bike light, do not fight the bike, just let it float over the sand, using weight distribution, more for steering, and do not use your brakes, or at least lay way off, the sand will slow you down really fast, front braking can and will make you fall down, momentum is key, keep your speed up, going faster make sand riding easier, and if you fall down, it is sand soft and gets in every crack in your body. Hahahaha
Hope this helps make it fun and not a fight!
This ^^^^^. Try to steer more with your hips than with your hands.
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:35 PM   #4
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My local tuner says the suspension should be a tad stiffer but you still have to make sure the bike will behave when hitting the roots, rocks and ledges. I ride with some guys, one on a DR650 who was running box stock suspension and street tire pressures. He was making me look like a day 1 sand rider with how well he could move that big critter through the sugar sand.

FWIW, I would read up on some of the tips from Jimmy Lewis on sand riding. One thing Jimmy has mentioned is don't try and run lower tire pressures because to make a difference you have to get down very low, say 5-6 psi. He recommends normal tire pressures to keep from getting pinch flats.

From what I've seen and read, sand riding is practice, practice, practice and more practice! Start slow and stay in control. Only pick up the pace when you feel safe enough to do so.
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Old 10-11-2014, 09:16 PM   #5
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Sand paddle on the rear, dedicated sand tire on the front, the rest doesn't matter that much.
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Old 10-11-2014, 10:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bruceca2002 View Post
Can someone tell me the proper way to set up your bike for riding sand? Is the suspension supposed to be soft or stiff? Any riding tips would help also. Thanks
What bike?

I ride DR650s in sugarsand...sandy trails, sandy waterholes, sandy whoops, wide open sand clearings, sandy roads, etc. On a DR, a rear knobby with at least a little bit of paddle to it (like a Michelin T63 or Desert), coupled with an aggressive 21" front knob designed for sand/mud, can make sand considerably easier for a noob. I ran a non-DOT AMS Sand Snake front knob when I was trying to learn sand. It made a big difference in the learning curve. I can now ride sand and mud OK with something milder, like Shinko 244s front and rear. I'm just not doing a race pace kind of riding with them, especially with the wash-prone front.

Get the bike up to speed quickly, then get up on the pegs on the balls of your feet, with your knees and elbows slightly bent to act as additional suspension and to allow the bike to move around under you. Weight the pegs and pressure the tank to make directional corrections, keeping a relaxed grip on the bars. The bike will wander a little, so just accept it. Stay on the gas until ready to slow/stop or to sharply turn. I tend to use mostly downthrottling/downshifting to slow slightly, with light front brake and heavier back brake to slow/stop quickly in the sand. When you want to turn sharply, drop down onto the seat right by the tank as you throttle down, point the bars into the turn, kick the inside leg forward with knee slightly bent and toes pointed up as the foot skims above the sand, then give it the gas as you lean the bike and hit the turn. If the front starts to wash out, whack that throttle wiiiiiide open.

In sandy whoops with a heavy bike on economy suspension, I slow down a bit, try not to out-ride the suspension, stay on the gas, let the bike move around a little, don't fly over the bars, don't let the seat smack me in the butt hard enough to compress my spine, and keep the bike straight.
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:40 AM   #7
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Riding in sand is for those who don't know how to avoid obstacles
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Old 10-12-2014, 12:42 PM   #8
kamanya
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Preload and compression up a bit. Drop forks to raise the front a bit too if you are struggling. Tires, as said above, don't make a huge difference. Get your standing position comfortable - raise your bars a bit.

Some other thoughts from another angle...

Sand Riding; It's not about the Sand

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Old 10-12-2014, 05:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bruceca2002 View Post
Can someone tell me the proper way to set up your bike for riding sand? Is the suspension supposed to be soft or stiff? Any riding tips would help also. Thanks
It depends on whether the sand is flat or bumpy. This setup guide comes from the Sommer-KTM. The biggest KTM dealer in Germany few years ago.

Front Rebound / Compression
Soft & Bumps 0/+
Soft & Flat +/++
Hard & Bumps 0/-
Hard & Flat -/0
Street +/++

Rear Rebound / Compression
Soft & Bumps ++/+
Soft & Flat +/+
Hard & Bumps -/0
Hard & Flat -/+
Street +/0

0 = Default setting
+ = Increase value
++ = Increase more
- = Reduce value
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Old 10-12-2014, 05:32 PM   #10
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I have found a steady speed to be helpful. I don't hit real fast if I can avoid, it just hurts more if I drop it. Stand up use your hips, keep the weight back, and keep the throttle steady, if you are loosing speed don't give it a brapp, but rather a slow steady acceleration.

In full discloser, I'm a slow and steady rider off road. Ot seems to have kept me alive so far

Oh and I ride a GSA, things may be different on a smaller bike, but I couldn't comment on that
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:26 AM   #11
johnson
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Set-up and, to some extent, riding tips depends on bike, type of sand, type of track, type of riding.

Keep a central body position
Grip hard with your knees and loosen your upper body
Try to keep some throttle on at all times
Smooth on the throttle
Look well ahead to select lines
If really deep braking bumps consider braking before and powering through
Drag the rear brake through acceleration bumps to keep the back end down
If in doubt, throttle out! Braaap!!!
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:49 AM   #12
Kommando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 390beretta View Post
Riding in sand is for those who don't know how to avoid obstacles
Our sand has obstacles too. We have rutted and rooted singletrack through palmetto bushes, swamps, and trees around here in sand.
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Old 10-13-2014, 10:27 AM   #13
Mikehusa
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Surprised no has mentioned to use your clutch to engage/disengage your throttle. Unless coming to a stop or using the rear wheel to steer I would recommend holding a steady throttle at slow speeds and pulling in the clutch to smoothly slow down for a turn for a stop. Typically when you let off the throttle engine braking will cause the rear wheel to dig into the sand. If you hold a steady throttle then instead of chopping the throttle pull in the clutch so the rear wheel will roll on top of the sand to a stop verses anchor into the sand and upset the suspension. Sand is my favorite terrain to ride in on my dirt bikes but I couldn't seam to get the knack of riding an adventure bike in it because there is so much more weight on the front wheel. Took a class and was taught this trick and within 15 min doing tight figure 8's around cones. Works for greasy mud as well.

Mikehusa screwed with this post 10-13-2014 at 12:59 PM
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:47 PM   #14
High Country Herb
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The biggest bike I have ridden in sand was my old XL600. I put an 18" paddle tire on the rear, with a 80% street tire up front. Being able to use the throttle to keep the front end light was the key. That thing had mushy suspension, which seemed to work fine.

I agree with the comment about steering with your hips, rather than hands. It is very much like being on skis. Weight the inner peg, and push the rear out to steer, all while giving it some throttle.

Don't forget your whip antennae, if you are going to one of the State OHV areas. I used a metal one with a spring at the bottom. The fiberglass whips break constantly.
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