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Cruisers on dirt?

Discussion in 'Cruisers' started by Stu Swanson, May 22, 2009.

  1. G’day All

    Just got the L’s and considering a Yamaha XVS650. Turning 40 next year and planning a road trip up the centre to Darwin and back to Tassie, ~12000 kms all up. Sticking to the bitumen as much as possible but do plan on a few kms on dirt. Anyone had any experience with riding cruisers on dirt? Anyone made a plate (something) to fit underneath to prevent stone chips?
  2. If you're going to be precious about the bike then I'd suggest don't go for such a big trip. :)

    Seriously: you're not going to protect it from every possible stone chip (head on ones from trucks are the ones going to do the real damage).

    Touring makes you a lot less precious about things (my lovely daytona 675 in the UK started out pristine, but after mud, snow, rain, hail, dust, sand etc and a few accidental stationary drops - you just get on with the riding and don't worry about the little things as much.. a few scars mean she's been somewhere rather than in a garage).

    You could get that invisiguard stuff if you want to help protect the paint.. But some engine protection/crash bars are probably more useful if you want to survive a potential spill without needing new engine covers.

    Incidentally I'd recommend against using tank bags as the dust gets in between and does a lovely job on sanding back the clearcoat.

    If you had a water-cooled bike I'd recommend getting a radiator grille because that's something you do want to protect from rocks: the rest is irrelevant. A decent sized rock flicked up and you'll go from working bike to seized throw away engine in short order.

    I've ridden sports bike (daytona 675), cruiser (w650) and road bike (GS500) on dirt: other than remembering you've got a lot less grip it's as per cars really. The w650 didn't seem any worse for wear after the dirt, I think the chrome will withstand a fair punishment from the pebbles). Don't use brake if you start to slip, just ease off throttle til it settles.. Treat it as if it were a wet weather road and you'll be fine.

    Oh and a few bucks on a throttle rocker or "cruise control" (little bit of plastic that slips around the throttle and lets you use your palm to control throttle) might make it a bit nicer on your throttle hand (if you find you get tired of having to hold the throttle)..?
    Oh and before you set off: look at any possible rubbing points around the seat or your saddle bags and take a roll of gaffer tape to put over it.

    Good luck with the planning! :)
  3. A mate and I did a couple of kays on dirt - me on the NSR, him on the Virago xv250. We had no problems. We were on pretty hard packed dirt though, so others would have to tell you about loose stuff.

    Our speed dropped substantially, obviously, so take that into account.
  4. not a cruiser, but does this count?


    In the dry, pretty much any road except sand is ok on any kind of bike or tyre. Once it gets sandy or wet you need more aggressive tyres.
  5. assuming that you're going on hard packed roads you should be fine. Used to have a triumph bonnie that I rode every day and I lived 5km down a heavily corrigated dirt road. Admittadly i used to ride is exceptionally slow cause i didn't want any stone chips, but if you plan on riding that distance I wouldn't be worrying about the odd stone chip.
  6. You can ride a bike anywhere......doesnt matter what bike on which surface.
    You just have to be aware of the shortcomings.

    All the above posts have made very good points on that.

    One thing though, the position your in sitting on the bike wont make for vety good balance should the tyres let go on dirt.

    But hey, take it anywhere and dont be precious , the adventure outweighs and possible damage.