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Old 06-14-2012, 10:28 AM   #61
CafeRacer99 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viverrid View Post
if OP (or anyone) decides not to get another bike for dirt riding, that is their decision. What I was challenging was the rationalization that there was no point in getting a light bike because that would only teach him how to brake on a 250. No, it will help him learn how to brake in loose conditions.
I'm not rationalizing not getting a small bike. I just don't want to. Nothing against those who do, more power to you. My riding will entail probably no more than 20% dirt. If that changes, I may change my mind. I've got my sights set on another cafe-style bike when the time comes for another bike, not a dirt bike.

I've suggested to many new riders that they start on a small bike for the street and move up to a larger bike. I have no doubt that the same logic applies in the dirt.

However if someone tells me they want to jump right into a 1000cc sport bike, and they are a reasonably mature adult, I don't tell them they will never be any good at riding because they didn't follow my advice. I figure a grown man knows his abilities and can make his own decisions. He doesn't have to do things my way or be forever screwed. I'll offer a little friendly advice, if asked, and suggest a MSF course.

So I asked here, and got a lot of friendly advice, which is greatly appreciated! I even appreciate the friendly suggestion that I start out on a smaller bike. The implication that I'll never be any good riding on dirt if I don't start on a smaller bike, I can do without.

Over the years I've found that there is almost always more than one right way.
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:01 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 View Post
However if someone tells me they want to jump right into a 1000cc sport bike, and they are a reasonably mature adult, I don't tell them they will never be any good at riding because they didn't follow my advice. I figure a grown man knows his abilities and can make his own decisions. He doesn't have to do things my way or be forever screwed. I'll offer a little friendly advice, if asked, and suggest a MSF course.

So I asked here, and got a lot of friendly advice, which is greatly appreciated! I even appreciate the friendly suggestion that I start out on a smaller bike. The implication that I'll never be any good riding on dirt if I don't start on a smaller bike, I can do without.
If a rider started on a Goldwing, the odds they'd figure it out (especially without a lot of crashes) is pretty slim.
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:56 PM   #63
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If a rider started on a Goldwing, the odds they'd figure it out (especially without a lot of crashes) is pretty slim.
That's an interesting perspective. Do you see the Super Tenere as the dirt equivalent of a full-dress bagger? I don't see that really. Maybe loaded down with full side and top cases and two-up you could draw that conclusion.

But the weight and size difference between say, a Ninja 250 and a Goldwing is pretty wide. And I wouldn't necessarily recommend everyone start off on a Ninja 250 either. Most adults can easily start off in the 600 to 800cc range of street bikes, and I wouldn't even worry too much about a guy who chooses to start off with a 1200 or larger if he was not a complete bumbling fool.

I don't think it's too far beyond the realm of possibility that I could take my unladen S10 out on a dirt road and learn to ride it competently. It's not like I'm taking a 1200GS loaded for a round the world trip to Mongolia for my first real experience riding off pavement. THAT would just be stupid...
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:07 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 View Post
That's an interesting perspective. Do you see the Super Tenere as the dirt equivalent of a full-dress bagger? I don't see that really. Maybe loaded down with full side and top cases and two-up you could draw that conclusion.
The S10 is one of the largest two or three bikes that has aspriations for dirt. That's why I use the Goldwing comparison. Obviously, completely different bikes.

And a Ninja250:Goldwing comparison is about right. The difference is that a Ninja250 is heavier than many dirt bikes with twice the ccs. So.. that also fits.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:19 AM   #65
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2012 DL 650, which is lighter, but taller and also has ABS which works on dirt.

I'm assuming an emergency stop, because the best answer is "don't be going so fast in the first place"

Not the most elegant, but it's worked (so far amazingly well).

Aim the bike first, so you aren't pointing over a cliff or into a rock, then hit both brakes HARD. The rear will lock, ignore it from now on - the ABS will take care of that for you. When you feel the front ABS kick in, back off, then punch it again, repeat, concentrate on steering and staying upright.
Expect the bike to bounce around a bit, particularly if your front damping isn't up to snuff, but it slows a DL down remarkably well on really shitty surfaces.

When you have the speed down, steer round whatever.

That's worked in circumstances I wouldn't have expected to have ANY brakes, steep wet clay covered down-hills, dirt roads that have had polished river stones dumped on them.

I used to do similar without ABS but it was a lot more work having to juggle the rear brake to stop the rear of the bike passing the front - with ABS, much easier - everything stays in line.

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Old 06-15-2012, 06:27 AM   #66
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Let some air out of the tires, and practice...
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:00 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 View Post
That's an interesting perspective. Do you see the Super Tenere as the dirt equivalent of a full-dress bagger? I don't see that really. Maybe loaded down with full side and top cases and two-up you could draw that conclusion.

But the weight and size difference between say, a Ninja 250 and a Goldwing is pretty wide. And I wouldn't necessarily recommend everyone start off on a Ninja 250 either. Most adults can easily start off in the 600 to 800cc range of street bikes, and I wouldn't even worry too much about a guy who chooses to start off with a 1200 or larger if he was not a complete bumbling fool.

I don't think it's too far beyond the realm of possibility that I could take my unladen S10 out on a dirt road and learn to ride it competently. It's not like I'm taking a 1200GS loaded for a round the world trip to Mongolia for my first real experience riding off pavement. THAT would just be stupid...
A big difference is...weight can almost seemingly disappear once one starts rolling, on pavement. It's a lot harder to make weight seem to disappear in technical dirt. At 60MPH on the interstate or a paved track, a 550lb DL may feel quite similar to a loaded 700lb GL. A 250lb trailbike is going to feel MUCH more different from a 400lb KLR, or an even heavier S10, in the rough stuff. A noob could hop on a loaded GL and pilot it around a paved track about as easily as a Ninja 250. That just isn't going to happen for a noob trying to pilot a 400lb+ machine, vs a light dirtbike, on technical singletrack.

Compare apples to apples. There's a big difference between a noob on a big bike riding pavement, and a noob on a big bike riding technical dirt. While it's not "outside the realm of possibility" for someone to learn pavement or dirt on a big machine, as you put it, I don't happen to recommend starting EITHER on a big machine as the best way to learn. I don't care HOW mature or talented they might be. Big, heavy, and powerful machines just tend to be less forgiving of noob-typical mistakes.
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:27 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 View Post
What are your tips for riding downhill on gravel? The scenario is a big bike, Super Ten in my case but any big bike, going down a fairly steep switchback gravel road with some six-inch loose rock thrown in as well.

Are you on the front brake as well as the back? Are you using engine braking or no? How about when you have to come to a full stop to wait for traffic going uphill? ABS?

Thanks!
Noob technique: Whenever practical, come to a complete stop at the top of the hill, before starting down. A "California roll" doesn't cut it. Select the lowest gear that will not lock the rear wheel. Shift weight to the back and idle down with the bike in gear, modulating both brakes to avoid lockup while keeping the speed slow enough to stop if necessary. If you have to ditch it, hit the kill switch on your way off.

If you have ABS, I'd disable it. Pull the fuse if you have to.


Advanced technique: When you get it down on both wheels again, lock up both brakes and see if you can beat your personal record for longest 2-wheel skid, before throttling through the bottom turn. But then, you're not on a 500lb+, street-tired, ABS bike in technical dirt...as you know better. Even your DL wears knobs.
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:20 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 View Post
That's an interesting perspective. Do you see the Super Tenere as the dirt equivalent of a full-dress bagger?


I don't think it's too far beyond the realm of possibility that I could take my unladen S10 out on a dirt road and learn to ride it competently.
I disagree completely. You will never become a competent off-road motorcyclist trying to learn by riding any big twin or triple on dirt roads. The very first time you come across something even mildly technical you are finished, and likely to need help retrieving your pig. You just don't know what you are talking about because you have zero experience.

You learn how to ride off road on light bikes intended for that purpose. Even then it takes a lot of seat time through tough terrain to become competent. Maybe years of seat time.

One can learn to ride on the street on pretty much anything, and they can become quite competent at touring around town or taking trips. But don't confuse that competence with any form of high performance riding, whether it be off-road or on a road racing track. Like any competitive sporting endeavor, that kind of competence is hard to come by.

On the other hand, you are not really looking to acquire competence. You just want to enjoy your motorcycle.
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Old 06-17-2012, 05:05 AM   #70
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What works for me:

Stood up, arse as far back as my reach will allow me to go. ABS off. Engine braking and (both) brakes on gentler climbs and dipped clutch and just controlling on the brakes on descents where the engine power makes you go too fast. I've only had the F800GS' weight get away from me twice (which is why I say the ground clearance is a bigger limiting factor than the weight of the bike offroad), but when it starts to get too much momentum, by God you know about it!


Steep descents with lots of large loose rock is what I am most afraid of on my F8, so consequently, they're also the area of my riding I work hardest to improve.
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:06 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by tedder View Post
If a rider started on a Goldwing, the odds they'd figure it out (especially without a lot of crashes) is pretty slim.
I met a woman some years ago who did just that after her last child was gone from home. She was 65 at the time and on her 3rd or 4th x-c trip... She had 150k miles and no droppees so this too can be done.
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:25 AM   #72
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Having read many threads on this forum before starting this one, I knew that it was only a matter of time before it turned into "get rid of that pig and get a bike like mine."

But I do feel like I've gotten a lot of good information out of it, so for that I'm grateful.

It surprises me that a forum devoted to "adventure bikes" and not dirt bikes, generates so much antipathy towards the very bikes that define the category. It doesn't surprise me that there are so many who believe that the choice they made is the only correct choice.

I ran into the same thing occasionally when I'd ride my Triumph Thruxton in the mountains with my buddies on their race replicas. I am a believer in the old saying "It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow." But I didn't feel it necessary to try to convince everyone around me that their choice was wrong. I put up with a lot of advice about how I needed to upgrade my suspension and horsepower, and just get a lighter bike... Somehow I managed to survive, and even have a hell of a good time, in spite of my heavy, slow pig of a sportbike with the low tech suspension.

In fact, I'm still convinced that my choice was the better choice... for me. I'd have the same bike all over again in the same circumstances.

I'll keep the "pig."
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:27 AM   #73
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Good post!

Wondering if you had a chance to air down your tyres yet? If not, you wont know what kind of slopes you and your bike are capable of. Best to practice acents and decents on your terms. If you find yourself in a pickle one day you can proceed with confidence knowing that you can easily make it down that hill, and back up if need be.

I assume you are carrying a pump. I use a roadbike frame pump, a small one about 18" long.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:45 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by CafeRacer99 View Post
Having read many threads on this forum before starting this one, I knew that it was only a matter of time before it turned into "get rid of that pig and get a bike like mine."

It surprises me that a forum devoted to "adventure bikes" and not dirt bikes, generates so much antipathy towards the very bikes that define the category. It doesn't surprise me that there are so many who believe that the choice they made is the only correct choice.
This is completely missing the point. The bikes recommended aren't necessarily what "we" own, they are what "we" recommend for learning how to ride on dirt.

If you want to get into a size-of-my-dick contest I'm sure many people here have fantastic stories about how they've ridden and/or destroyed big pigs on gnarly offroad. That's missing the point.

Wish you the best.
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:21 PM   #75
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I did not read the previous posts. But when I rode trials one trick is to start as slow as possible at the top of the hill .I usually but not always pull the clutch in and use the brakes to modulate cause I had more control. Air down ,I saw that ,that's a good idea. Trial bikes routinely run three or so pressure PSI in the rear and 5 to 7 in the front so you can go way down.
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