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Dirt roads with loose stones on a sportsbike...

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Kitju Kat, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. So! Pretty much, I ride a ZZR250 and I need to go down some dirt roads with a lot of loose gravel and a lot of pit holes to visit my cousin. I've been putting it off for months cause I'm terrified of the loose surfaces. Am I in my right be worried of the possible dangers or should I just suck it up princess?

    The distance is only about half a k but I'm still a little en experienced as a rider.
    Thoughts people?
  2. Maximum awesome has been achieved....

  3. Just treat it like riding in the rain. Also, standing on the pegs as much as you can helps. And as Chef said, stay loose - just like riding in any adverse condition.
  4. Go slow and dont be afraid to dab a foot out if it gets a bit wobbly,just make sure its well clear of the pegs,be gental on the controls,dirt riding is really good fun so relax and enjoy.
    In another thread I said if a two wheel drive car can do it,any bike will do it easier
  5. Not as bad as you think it is. Just take it slow and stay relaxed.
  6. Summarising what the others have said.
  7. Be gentle on the throttle, and if the front moves around a bit just let it happen. That's pretty normal in gravel. Similar to a crosswind... Just go with it and maintain your throttle, no on/off stuff if you can help it.
  8. after the ride, check inside the belly pan for rocks, and make sure none have flicked up into the radiator shroud; if the fan gets impeded the engine could overheat on real hot days (experience says :roll: :LOL:)
  9. If it's only half a km you could always push it.
  10. Chef that dude will need a new set of Sidis' soon, the soles won't take that for long but they last more than twice as long as Berik and better than Gaerne road boots do when you do that sort of thing to them.
  11. It's not that difficult. JD led us up TWO dirt roads on Saturday and we were fine. Never ridden on a dirt road but if you see a pot hole just put your weight on your legs and you're fine - I was at least.
  12. I enjoy riding sports bikes on gravel/dirt/ grass, they are amazingly stable and capable, but it makes a
    mess of them. Give it a good clean after
  13. Gently apply front brakes as needed, smooth control inputs and you'll be fine ;) . Slamming on the front brakes will most likely have you eating gravel.
  14. Yeah I'm bit surprised to see the sidis in action, i think the blue tape holding them together is a nice touch.

    I got that pic from a link in the threads i linked to. there's a few more and the back story, worth going and having a look at.
  15. Hey, I was following your directions for one of those roads :p.

    You seemed to be doing better than me through the worst of it, which probably explains why dual-sports don't use a 16" front wheel ;).
  16. Its no big deal..a paper tiger really. Tiny amounts of front brake if you must.Otherwise use lots of rear..rear wheel movement is not as alarming as drift coming from the front...and it's that front wheel movement that can cause the rider to SR and make things worse...then you crack your visor,get gravel in your helmet, and bite your tongue...or maybe that was just me.
    Just plonk along in 2nd or 3rd with enough power to stay away from laboring..but not so high as to fishtail the rear if you roll on the power..just plonk along.
    During my frequent shuttles between Adelaide and Melbourne there was a section of 80kms of unsealed road on Hwy 1. My 2 km per minute cruise slowed to 80 and would then often creep up to 100...just relax on the bars and scan the surface to avoid big rocks or deep holes. If you have a radiator or oil cooler, give it a looking at after each dirt section before you take off on the black stuff again.
  17. My 2c. Not saying anyone's right or wrong, this is just what works for me.

    Braking with the front. Do it. I'll save your life in a bad situation. BUT - Do it in a straight line only, otherwise very gentle on the front brakes if not straight. You can brake very hard in a straight line on gravel. Surprisingly so. The front digs in and tends to plough (although still rolling) and it's this "bow wave" of gravel that allows you to brake quite hard even with road tyres fitted.

    First, after checking that no one is behind you, don't be afraid to gas it up and get the rear spinning. Also when in a straight line for starters. Get a feel for the rear moving around, sliding around, kicking out and snapping back. Don't overdo it though. Don't pin the throttle. Just wick it up until the rear starts to spin and control that for as long as you can. Do this on every straight (again, check that no one is behind you), 'cos what you're doing here is learning how to handle a sliding and moving bike. This is what scared most people about riding on dirt/gravel, that sensation of instability, but I say embrace it. Make it happen. Understand it. Train yourself to get used to the idea of the bike moving around. It'll also save your life.

    Corners. Enter them gently, and then accelerate firmly through them. Play with the limits of traction from the rear. Put the inside foot out if you have to. Get the rear wanting to kick out a little bit but driving the front through the corner. I know that may sound insane, but it makes getting around corners easier 'cos the rear is pushing the front towards the middle of the corner.

    Go loose. Hang loose. Don't stiffen up. Let the bike move around. Be the proverbial reed in the wind. Go with the flow. The more you fight, the worse you're making it for the bike and yourself. If the bike drifts over some loose stuff. Let it. If it's drifting towards the edge, just back off, or straight line brake if you have to. Don't target fixate on the edges of the road. Look where you want to go. Basic vision skills.

    Stand on the pegs, keep your butt barely touching the seat, especially over the rougher bits. Let the bike move under you.

    It's not really that scary, and you can get a sportsbike hooking along through gravel at a pace that can make people start to doubt whether the whole dual-purpose bikes are all that they claim to be. No, you're not going to outdo a proper dirt-bike with knobbies, but even with the fat tyres floating on the surface you can get along very well if you allow the bike to move and get used to that idea. Don't fight it. Embrace it.
  18. I used to go to a annual bmw bike rally (the offroad bmw types) which involved 14kms of dirt/gravel/clay hilly roads in the barrington tops nat park to get to.

    Never gave the dirt a second thought even with the limited bike experience I had at the time (and i was doing it on a r6 sportsbike once on my learners, once on my P plates)

    Mountain out of a molehill, especially for 500metres - if it worries you that much you could just walk it.... :)

    All I think you need is common sense for the dirt - I sat on about 40kph whilst being passed quite regularly by offroad beemers doing easily 60+ (They all gave me a cheer when I arrived tho lol - There had been some discussion on whether I would make it without dropping the bike apparently lol)
  19. Ok, thanks for the tips guys! Will give it a shot sometime next week! You've all given me the confidence to try it now haha :D