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Old 12-22-2009, 02:16 PM   #31
A.Vern
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DV snow report

Jim,

Yup from an airplane.

Extremely windy today with snow being blown hundreds of feet into the air off the newly capped Sierras.... aorund 80-100 knots at altitude.

Good news (or bad depending on your motorcycle masochism )...

This last storm must of had a higher snow level in Saline. There is still snow on the South pass, but just on the plateau. The road heading down into the Valley seemed a bit clearer than yesterday. Lipencott looked snow free as did Steel Pass.

If you're thinking about the GSA up steel pass, it can be done as TravelToad did it with his prior to picking up the "Oarnge Crush' disease. I attempted it last March and found my worn TKC's wouldn't climb past around 10 miles up. As I was trying to figure out how to levitate 550 lbs over this gravel climb, my riding partner rode up with a bent front rim. After we pounded it back into shape and put a tube in it, another rim was bent in our riding group and we headed back to the Springs. Steel pass is a slurry of giant gravel that makes it feel like riding on sand with the repurcussions of riding on rocks. I've done it in a 4x4 before, no problems, heavy 2 wheeled vehicles are a bit more of a challenge.






One word if you're going out there on the bike, be prepared for really cold weather and getting stranded.

With that said, have a great trip!
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:12 PM   #32
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A.Vern:

Just put some wings on that GSA and your good to go.

I took three trips to DV on my '07 GSA and learned very quickly that I wouldn't be taking it up Steele Pass. That is one of the reasons I now own a DRZ400S, so I can tackle Steele Pass.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my GSA but found out I couldn't ride it everywhere in DV but did have a blast riding it to Crankshaft Junction and Eureka Dunes.

Do you think the weight of "adventure bikes" has something to do with bent rims riding Steele Pass? I have read reports of VStroms getting bent or broken rims there as well but haven't heard about 650cc or smaller bikes having this problem.

In order to avoid bending a rim on a DRZ400S size bike, what tire pressure would you recommend? I usually run 15 psi front and read when riding a dual sport in death valley. Higher psi protects the rim but makes it harder to ride in deep sand or gravel. Lower psi provided better traction but then you risk a pinch flat or a bent rim. I never ran my psi below 20 on my GSA because I didn't want to risk popping the bead.

I would like to hear if anyone has gotten a bent rim riding Steele Pass on a 650cc or smaller dual sport bike and what air pressure they ran. I don't think I have gotten this info from any ride report I can remember.

I like to minimize the chance of bike failure while riding in DV so I can spend more time riding and hopefully not get stranded......
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:19 PM   #33
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Not small bikes... but I ran Steele Pass on my 2002 BMW R1150GS Adv without bending a rim... I think about 25psi. I have also run it on my 2007 KTM 950R SE without bending a rim... also about 25psi.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:21 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveltoad
Not small bikes... but I ran Steele Pass on my 2002 BMW R1150GS Adv without bending a rim... I think about 25psi. I have also run it on my 2007 KTM 950R SE without bending a rim... also about 25psi.
Maybe 25 psi is the ticket plus a rider with excellent skills riding through the rocks.

I'm anxious to make my own determination of Steele Pass but my skills aren't sufficient to take a GSA through there. I rode my '07 GSA south around the back side of Eureka Dunes to make an assesment of the trail heading to Steele Pass and decided not to risk it when I hit the deep sand. Our group may have been able to make it but I'm sure we would have dropped the bikes more than once and that is something I was unwilling to do with a $20k bike.

I am willing to drop my DRZ400S multiple times because I have it set up to do just that with minimal to no damage.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:54 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by 2on2off
Maybe 25 psi is the ticket plus a rider with excellent skills riding through the rocks.
My skills are far from excellent.

But yes, you do have to be willing to drop the pig... more than once.
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:38 PM   #36
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Jim,

Both bikes that ended up with bent rims (SV650 and R1200GS) had cast wheels. Apparently they are significantly weaker than spoked wheels.

I ran into all kinds of stuff, and the stock spoked wheels on my 1150 GSA were fine.

As long as you have spoked wheels, I think you should be good. Just bring a few extra tubes and the gear to switch them out. I am a definite noob in the dirt, but I think steel pass on a lighter bike would be a good ride. I may do it again, but from the North this time. The ride from the Springs heading North is all up hill until you start coming down into Eureka Valley. Traction going downhill wouldn't be too much of a factor.

Following pictures... Fun with bent rims in the middle of nowhere.









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Old 12-23-2009, 12:47 PM   #37
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Another thing to think about, Make sure you have a good skid plate. The stock one on the R1200GS was ripped off by some random rock.
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Old 12-23-2009, 03:30 PM   #38
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A.Vern: Isn't that Joe from S.F. on the SV? I remember reading of his adventure on Steele Pass. I had a chance to meet him in Pacific Grove a few years ago.

Deep sand, deep gravel, deep silt and big rocks are always a challenge for me no matter what bike I'm on. I was actually surprised how well the DRZ handled all the rocks we rode through a few weeks ago in South Park Canyon near Ballaratt but it was still exhausting for me.
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Old 12-23-2009, 03:40 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2on2off
A.Vern: Isn't that Joe from S.F. on the SV? I remember reading of his adventure on Steele Pass. I had a chance to meet him in Pacific Grove a few years ago.

Deep sand, deep gravel, deep silt and big rocks are always a challenge for me no matter what bike I'm on. I was actually surprised how well the DRZ handled all the rocks we rode through a few weeks ago in South Park Canyon near Ballaratt but it was still exhausting for me.
Steele Pass is not as difficult as South Park (if you ride all the way to the top) IMO.
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Old 12-23-2009, 03:47 PM   #40
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Jim,

That is SFJOE in the pics. He was riding with a group that was doing Steel Pass from the North. They stopped to help out Larry (Galatic GS) with his bent rim. Around 5 minutes after we got moving again, Joe hit a rock that bent his. Joe's group used up their two spare tubes with the bent rims (the tubeless tires wouldn't hold air), and as fate would have it , a third bike went flat. I think you know the rest of the story, Joe and crew finally made it back to camp sometime after midnight after driving out with a flat tire.

I just looked up Reedley, looks like you're just up the road from me in Hanford. PM sent.

"Last light and still at the Warm Springs. Those PIAA's came in handy on the way out."




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Old 12-23-2009, 03:50 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2on2off
Maybe 25 psi is the ticket plus a rider with excellent skills riding through the rocks.
I run 20 psi front and rear on the mid sized bikes. I've never dinged a rim at that pressure...made it from Eureka Dunes to the Marble Tub at Steele Pass in 12 minutes one time...don't tell my wife.

I run street pressure on the big bikes, I can't afford wheels.

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Old 12-23-2009, 03:57 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveltoad
Steele Pass is not as difficult as South Park (if you ride all the way to the top) IMO.
I've done Steel pass and South Park in my 4x4 in the past. I'd agree with TT, South Park is alot more challeging than Steele Pass.

Steele Pass wasn't technically hard, but it was tiring on the GSA. My issue was I couldn't keep the rear tire from digging into the gravel when the road got steep. An new tire.... or big cajones and speed might of gotten me past that spot.

You shouldn't have to worry about diggin in with the lighter bike.
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Old 12-23-2009, 04:07 PM   #43
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You don't need extra wheels when you've got mad skilz.....


Quote:
Originally Posted by larryboy
I run 20 psi front and rear on the mid sized bikes. I've never dinged a rim at that pressure...made it from Eureka Dunes to the Marble Tub at Steele Pass in 12 minutes one time...don't tell my wife.

I run street pressure on the big bikes, I can't afford wheels.

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Old 12-23-2009, 05:10 PM   #44
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I only rode about 1/4 of the way up South Park riding west to east and then we had to turn around because we were running out of daylight. We didn't even get to the difficult sections and what we did ride was almost all rocks. We hit some of the first steps, it was getting late, we had already been riding is some snow earlier in the day and I made the decision to play it safe and head back to Ballarat.

Gotta go back and finish the Plesant Canyon/South Park loop riding it clockwise. I want to see that bridge and the view from the top.
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Old 12-23-2009, 05:19 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by 2on2off
Gotta go back and finish the Plesant Canyon/South Park loop riding it clockwise. I want to see that bridge and the view from the top.

That is ice and snow right now from what I've heard.
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