Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Dirt Road riding

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by stewy, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. Lately i have become a bit of a fan of the dirt and gravel roads.....Seems alot of good roads have small sections of dirt joining them.....so the answer to this is lets get better at riding on dirt/gravel roads.

    Now i know the sv isn't idea for the above, but i love the bike and buying a motard/adventure atm just isn't a option (although might be down the track)......so it seems i will learn on what i have......so for those of you (and i am sure their must be a couple of nr as crazy as me to try such a thing) must of ridden road bikes on some dirt/gravel roads at some point during their riding careers.

    So just looking for what techniques i should be adjusting with regards to braking and cornering on dirt with a road bike. (btw i am talking bashbashing type dirt riding, but unsealed roads conditions

    Any tips/hints

    Cheers stewy :)
  2. Are you talking about riding quickly on said roads, or just avoiding landing on your head while putting through?
  3. umm....i don't want to spend all day on these roads but i have enough common sense to suggest if you really want to go quickly get the right equipment to do the correct job :wink: so yeah talking a decent pace....but advice on both would be good, because at times like you know with all riding there are times when you feel you can push and times when you need to just crawl through :)
  4. Contact patch is important - and any tyres will work on smooth dirt so long as you lean the bike over and keep your body as upright as possible to increase the downward presure on the contact patch.

    Brake well before the corner (wheels pointing straight ahead), use as much engine braking as possible.

    Acellerating out of corners should be done gently on road tyres :wink:

    All the best with it all, let us know how it all goes :cool:
  5. in regards to braking do you use more rear brake then front or same amount front and back as you would road??

    Also noticed last night mid turn that the front gets very flightly......at speed 50+ would getting up on the pegs help this of hinder it??
  6. You can use a fair bit of front in a straight line, but certainly a lot more back than you'd use on the road. If you're on the job with your engine braking you still shouldnt need much back brake before things start to lock up.

    Mid turn I prefer to be seated unless it's really rutted or bumpy. But yeah, mid turn, stay up on top of the bike, LOTS of pressure on that outside peg, and once you're on the throttle don't get off it - hence why setting your corner speed is pretty important. Loose on the bars so your bike steers into any slides without opposition from a tense rider. Stick to wheel tracks as there's less deep and loose stuff. You can also use wheel tracks as a bit of a berm to rail around the corner on. Don't ever look down at the front wheel, even on really rutted roads. Your bike will find its way through, but as soon as you look down thats where you go. :grin:

    Also never assume that a dirt road is serviceable even if you've been down it recently. They change very quickly.

    Oh yeah, and watch out for those 4WD's on the wrong side of the road.
  7. Keep your weight on the pegs, and in corners on the outside peg.

    Keep your body above the bike (upright) and let the bike move below you.

    Only use the front brake in a straight line, and only when you can see the the section of road it is on is flat, or relatively flat. On a sloped surface the front will wash out, and on a road bike that would be hard to recover.

    Engine braking is your friend, but on the SV, like my Multistrada, you need to smooth it out with the rear brake.

    The rear brake is your friend, use it in a straight line with the fornt, trail it to stabilise the bike into corners, like a rudder. If you need to, use it alot and slide the rear, rather than touch the front. Use the side of the tyre if you really misjudge a corner speed. . . . also

    If you do go into a corner too fast, and the rear brake doesn't slow you down enough, the throttle is your friend. You can't lean into the corner, so slide the rear end and use gentle but firm acceleration to keep it sliding, but with the handlebars in opposite lock, so that the now spinning back wheel steers the weight of the bike around the corner. (Seriously :shock: ) Remember to keep your weight fully on the outside peg, to balance the bike.

    Understanding the road surface is the key to staying upright. You don't look way ahead like on the road, you look about half a second to a second in front of you, and use your peripheral vision for the distance. You should have set your line from this middle distance. Don't try to watch the road directly in front of you and dodge every road imperfection. This is so that you can see and understand the road surface, and pick your lines through it. Use the edge of holes, dips, and the centre of the road to keep the bike on line, like motocrossers use the berm of a corner to get around it, but on a smaller scale. Beware of topping over the centre hump in the road, as you will probably slide down the other side.

    Pick your road speed carefully. A wet clay road can be totally treacherous, to be taken gingerly, while a hard packed fine gravel road, even with some loose gravel, is far better than an asphalt road with loose gravel. (Ride Beach Forest road to Haines Junction in the wet, you'll see what I mean. :eek: )

    Contact patch like Toecutter said. Yep, Devotard seems to have said similar things. :grin:

    Does that help Stewy?
  8. In regards to flighty, I'd guess the suspension not up to the task or needing some adjustment. You can try moving forwards on the seat to get more weight over the forks - this is why dirt bikes have seats that come right up over the fuel tank and also why they sell steering dampners.

    And should you see a patch of sand, try and be as far back and over the rear wheel so the front doesn't dig in.
  9. I want a picture of you with your leg out on the SV! :grin:
  10. cheers guys thats just the sort of general how to ride a dirt road sort of info i need......as i said down the track might look into a adventure type bike which will be more suited but i just want the basics of what to look for.....what not to do, what to do if x happens, and generally just tips......and i think you guys have covered most of it.

    cheers stewy
  11. hows this for a action shot.....at this point the bike was only 1 month old (still barely brand new) :LOL: actually pass a old couple walking down to the waterfall at the end of this trail ( i was coming back up)stoped to let them through and the lady reply was on a taxi service.....how nice....and they gave me a nice big smile... :LOL:

    http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l279/adnos/Grampians Tour/P2100234.jpg

    http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l279/adnos/Grampians Tour/P2100233.jpg

    and the last one was a muddy section of roadworks on a recent trip back from hotham.....as you can tell from the state of my bike

    http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l279/adnos/Grampians Tour/P3110031.jpg
  12. Go for it Stewy. :grin:

  13. fark and i thought i was adventurous :shock: yeah...well maybe not that far....but then again i assume when you are standing in front of a river crossing you make some damn funny decisions :LOL: thats great

    is that you in that pic devotard??
  14. Nope unfortunately. What a champ! :LOL:
  15. hi mate.
    RoderickGI nailed it.

    Especially weighing the outside peg in corners.

    Have fun!!

    I wanna see some roost :p :grin:
  16. I'd also say that being completely on the ball is just as important as the technique you use on dirt.

    I have about 8km of gravel in to and out of my place that I traverse on the VTR.
    Now I know this road REALLY well but I still got caught out a couple of times.

    I usually run in the wheel tracks of cars as it's much firmer and there are less loose stones.
    Anyway I'm going along there on the way home one day, everything is groovy, watching the birds etc, but not noticing that I've drifted down the camber of the road and into the 3" deep loose stuff on the edges.

    Mate, when you get two wheels into that there is absolutely nothing to be done on a road bike except slow down very gently with the rear brake and come to a complete stop and try again.
    Happened again last week (you'd think I'd learn) but this time on a RH corner and I was forced to run off the road and into the grass because there was just no way I could make any sort of turn at 40kmh or brake properly in that shiz.
    I kept it upright but was pretty embarrasing about 500m from home....

    STAY ALERT and keep outta that loose gravel! (he says to himself).
  17. Here ya go Stewy, this one is actually me. :LOL:

    Don't try this with 200kg of SV1000. ;)

  18. Top one Devo

    Well here's my effort of don't listen to me...riding down a steep hill with numerous erosion mounds, managed to get air on the first one, but land on the second one and then the inevitable when am I coming off :shock: