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Old 11-27-2012, 07:44 AM   #1
mikem9 OP
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: North Georgia
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Trailer or Ride? - Race Oriented Dualsport Bike

For those of you who have more race oriented dualsport bikes (KTM EXC's, WRf's, Husaberg, CRf's etc with tags), how far on the street is your typical tolerance (miles) to go ride on the trails? How about a discussion of the tradeoffs.

I ride a KTM EXC 400 in dirt and live about 44 miles from the mountain trails. We typically trailer our bikes and gear to save on knobbies, oil changes and other wear (valves etc). But, I've been rethinking that. (BTW - have considered the more road oriented dual sports, but enjoy the race oriented bikes in the dirt too much.)

If we trailer:
Load bikes and gear.
Drive to trails - approx 50 minutes.
Check tire pressure, lube chain
Get dressed
Ride Trails
Load back up to go home.
Drive 50 minutes home
Unload bikes and gear.
Wash bikes
Crank bikes and ride the wet off and add stablizer
(Note - Load and unload bikes and gear 4 times, plus extra clothing changes - a lot of loading/unloading for a few hours of riding)

If we ride to the mountains.
Get dressed/gear
check tire pressure, lube chain
ride on street for 50 minutes
Ride Trails
Ride home 50 minutes
If muddy, rinse bike at car wash on the way home

Tradeoffs: Extra time loading/unloading when trailering, plus cost of truck gas etc. vs. Extra time/cost of changing tires, oil/filters and valve checks etc.

Your thoughts?

mikem9 screwed with this post 11-27-2012 at 08:45 AM
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:18 AM   #2
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I trailer if it is more than an hour away, my old 2 stroke vibrates my nuts off above 45 mph, and that gets real old real quick.

I also don't like to spend money on new tires every 2,000 miles, so trailering saves me money.

But mainly I trailer because the guys I ride with don't have street legal bikes.
Current fleet: '82 Toyota Pickup 4X4, '99 Suzuki DR650, '97 Yamaha Zuma, '86 sears-craftsman racing lawnmower (guinness world record mower).
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:03 AM   #3
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Your pavement-to-trail ratio is very close to mine. I ride pavement anywhere from 20 minutes to 50 minutes to get to the dirt. I ride a Beta 400RR converted to dual sport use. i always have to stop and get fuel at some point during the day, but there are stations near the trail heads. It works great for me. I have yet to get a trailer, but in cooler weather it would be nice to ride in a warm vehicle to and from the trails. I also have to think out my riding gear accordingly. I have to wear a little more during cool weather, but when I hit the trails, I am too warm. Sometimes I take off my windbreaker and fleece shirt and stash them in the woods near the trailhead. Other times I wad them up and put them in my backpack.

The Woods are calling and I must go.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:51 AM   #4
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You left out the case where you damage the bike while riding (or damage yourself) and still need to get back home. Something to consider. You can also haul more tools in a truck than on your bike.

Personally, I don't want to own a truck right now, so I ride to where I'm going to ride, then ride, then ride back home.
__Scott R. Nelson, 2008 KTM 990 Adventure, 2001 Honda XR650L, Folsom, CA
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:58 AM   #5
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My closest dirt is over an hour usually 2-3 hours away. While I have ridden my plated bike on the road a little, I generally dont.
I also tend to almost always truck pool with a riding buddy, this saves a little gas money but also is nice when you wreck out hard. Your friend is there to help you limp your bike back to the truck, help you load it and drive you home (or to the hospital). When Im doing a true dualsport riding from my house to the offroad, I dont take nearly as many chances. Because I know I need to ride the bike home. I ride a little bit harder when I have a vehicle to carry my broken bike home for me.

So anyway, no I generally dont.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:54 PM   #6
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I always bring the bike to where I'm riding in my van, because if I get a flat, break something, hurt myself, or I'm just beat to death, it's much easier (and more comfy) to drive home rather than ride home.

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Old 11-27-2012, 01:23 PM   #7
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I usually trailer depending on how far it is from "last chance gas" to the fun riding. If I burn 1/4 of my gas getting from the station to the trails, and another 1/4 tank getting back, that doesn't leave me a lot of gas for fun.

Cons to riding the entire way:
Gas range, and carrying extra hurts my weight and offroadability
Tires. Pavement accounts for the same or more wear, with much less fun
Beer. It will be warm by the time I want to drink it. Unless I want to carry a cooler, which isn't worth it.
If I want to camp, I can't fit a lot of comfort camping gear on the KTM, and even the minimum camping gear adds weight and bulk. Either I live without it, or I take the KLR, which sucks even more. Also warm beer.

I don't consider oil change and valve check miles to be that big a deal, because the motor is strained less on the street, and the maintenance intervals open up.

Cons to trucking the bike to the fun: thinks I'm a poser
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:28 PM   #8
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That really depends on how tough the trails are and the bike. The biggest thing about not riding to the trails for me is being able to get home if I bust up the bike. There is also a consideration of how much I am going to enjoy an hour long highway drone when I am tired and dirty.

With my 640 I would probably ride because the odds of me trashing it on goat trails are slim because I am going to be careful. Not that it hasn't happened. But the bike is about as comfortable as my couch, doesn't have to be ridden WFO on the highway and can easily pack everything I might need.

But my 200 can be ridden at race pace which means there is good chance it going to get abused. Trying to carry a bunch of tools and what have you on it isn't easy. Plus an hour long drone on that narrow seat after a day of thrashing the bike on trails doesn't exactly get me excited.

So, with my competition bike, put me down for wanting a comfortable ride home plus a way to haul a bunch of tools, extra gas, a cooler and a change of clothes. Or maybe I have just become an old man. I have too many scars to sweat you FF's thinking I am poser. And I can live with being older and wiser.
525EXC, 640 Enduro, XT200

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Old 11-28-2012, 06:18 AM   #9
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It depends on how long I plan on trail riding also. The riding area I normally go to is about 30 miles away, so not far at all. However if I plan for a full day of riding it's easier to trailer. Then I can wear proper off road gear, leave drinks and food at the truck, etc. If I ride it's normally cool in the morning and evening then hot in the woods, so either way I'm doing something wrong. Either too many clothes, not enough clothes, not enough drinks, too much weight getting hauled, etc. Something.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:38 AM   #10
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In the summer the riding is anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours away, in the winter it's a cold hour. I'll ride to the nearest trailhead because there is close gas, but i generally prefer not to burn up my knobbies on pavement. Also, if the bike or I break it is nice to have a truck. Compared to riding the trail I doubt the engine even notices time spent on the road in terms of wear.
I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure

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Old 11-28-2012, 09:48 AM   #11
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Today my motorcycles are for adventure riding distant places so they are dual sport machines and rarely trailered at all (sometimes shipped, though). Back in the day I found a small light trailer the handiest way to get my dirtbikes to where I rode them. Pickups are OK. Vans are better. But an SUV pulling a small trailer is best.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:55 AM   #12
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I find the KTMs to be most brutal and fatiguing on the road. You are always acutely aware of the fact you're on a dirt bike. The latest Huskys feel a lot smoother; were it not for the silly dirt bike service intervals, I really feel you could put sports touring tyres on a TE310 and have a nice little urban commuter bike.

My tolerance for riding on the road is much greater on smalll capacity Huskys than any other marque (tyres, helmet, riding gear, etc. all being equal).

EDIT: As Jules says, as much as I rip on people for trailering their bikes rather than riding them to the location, I do like being able to have Enduro kit on and not endure a miserable (and rather exposed feeling) road ride in it, nor overheating on the trails as I have textile road riding gear on. Don't even get me started on how scary/stupid it is having your feet knocked off the pegs by rocks sticking out of the wall of ruts when you opted to wear touring boots so your feet would be dry on the ride to the trail and so that you could walk around afterwards without taking a second set of footwear.
I like my bike because I can overtake 4x4s down farm tracks with a week's worth of shopping on the back.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:19 PM   #13
mikem9 OP
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Thanks for the comments! Good points.

mikem9 screwed with this post 11-29-2012 at 05:38 AM
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:10 PM   #14
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How do you have any more work to do when trailering except loading? Heck I see it as less work because I have to check the bike leaving home, start of the trail, after the trail. I just pull the trailer thru the car wash with my atv's to hose them down, easy enough to do so with the bike. If the bike is set up for real hard dirt riding I would trailer.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:38 AM   #15
mikem9 OP
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Originally Posted by bones_708 View Post
How do you have any more work to do when trailering except loading? Heck I see it as less work because I have to check the bike leaving home, start of the trail, after the trail. I just pull the trailer thru the car wash with my atv's to hose them down, easy enough to do so with the bike. If the bike is set up for real hard dirt riding I would trailer.
It was really just the time/hassle factor of loading I was considering. Each ride we load and unload 4 times. Plus putting on and taking off gear. I'd say overall, all 4 times it probably takes 40 minutes to an hour extra of time in total. But, as discussed above the benefits of trailering for more dirt oriented riding are pretty clear.
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