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Gravel Roads

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by gustyoz, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. I regard myself as a novice and am looking for some articles or tips about riding on gravel roads. Can anyone point me in a good direction?

    Where I live (Tas) gravel is a fact of life and usully lies between you and an interesting destination. Naturally I would love to raise my skills on it. - Bike is a GS 500.

  2. Lots of country gravel/dirt/unsealed roads around Canberra too. My tip is highly technical :LOL: - I slow right down and travel at 30 - 40 kph approx (depending on road conditions).
  3. just be smooth, same as riding in the rain/wet conditions, no sudden movements, brake applications etc (throttle can be fun, but i reckon it could also turn to disaster very quickly too) anyway i have ridden a few km's on dirt/gravel and sandy roads now and it works pretty well for me :wink: have fun and enjoy, you would be suprised the places you can get a road bike :LOL:
  4. The only problem with gravel roads is stopping in an emergency. You can write the bike off straight away.
  5. Be smooth, keep your revs low and learn how to use your rear brake. Avoid corrugated roads and bull dust until you are comfortable on reasonable gravel roads. The rest you can work out as you go along.
  6. Practice locking and releasing the front wheel on a flat bit of gravel. Get used to how easy it can lock, then avoid doing it! Brake in a straight line with the front, learn to use your rear, never chop the throttle or decide to go for some more front brake if you feel you are too quick in a corner. Smooth!!!

    Basically it is like riding on any surface, but because you can find the limits at a much slower pace, people tend to find them.
  7. Try to keep your arms relaxed, too (easier said than done).

    The bike will 'squirm' a little on a loose surface, particularly when you've got sportsbike tyres, but it will try to stabilise itself automagically provided you don't have a deathgrip on the bars. :)
  8. Try standing on/weighing the pegs too.
  9. I can vouch for that. :(

    Although I was not stopping in an emergency, just panicked on a long sweeping right hander that was very loose gravel.

    I found leaning off the bike a little to the inside on corners also helped a lot, like riding in the wet, lean off to keep the bike more upright.

  10. So I'd like to ask for the communities advice regarding gravel patches after watching a crash video from YourPalsChrisAndAl (link below).

    So assuming that you don't see the gravel patch and you're in it and start to feel the slide, what can you do to pull out of it (hopefully in one piece!)?

    I would think of three options and want to know which the better option is or if there is another please do suggest it!
    a. Adjust handlebars and set them up straight before beginning standard brake procedure (setup and squeeze).
    b. Lean in more towards the corner, apply more throttle and try to accelerate out of it.
    c. Try to regain balance and softly apply rear brakes to stabilise?

    I don't know about option B but I added it in as a possibility because I've of people misjudging tight corners and trying to do option A to correct their mistake. Though, this was in better road conditions and the bike was on a good surface.

    While it's raining, I hope netriding will give me some sound tips so I learn from it rather than the hard way :)
  11. #11 iClint, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
    the correct answer... relax, do nothing.

    if you have good form from the very beginning gravels not going to be a problem unless you lock wheels or spin the rear.

    legs gripping the bike hands resting on the bars, if the bars want to move let them the bikes only trying to stabilise itself... if you prevent this by gripping and fighting the bars the bike becomes unstable and you go down.

    YourPalsChrisAndAl are idiots. do the opposite of them at all times.

    Here is the vid as you didn't post the link

    the moment he let his instincts take over, it was all over. generally the natural reactions your body instinctually initiates are the complete opposite of what you should be doing.

    if he had kept his feet on the pegs, his body locked to the bike (griping the bike with his legs) and not overcorrected the bike but rather just let it track on it's own I'm confident he would have ridden that out.

    My experience - I've been there and ridden out of it not just on gravel but water, moss, leaves, tree branches etc, touring around lots of roads, one second you are doing 100km/h on the tarmac, the next second the road turns to gravel for the next 30km.

    the poll needs a "none of the above" option
    • Agree Agree x 6
    • Like Like x 1
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  12. Just chill, that bike has got this.
    With a little warning I will shift my weight slightly, not to upset anything, just so the bike is more upright when it decides to grip again.
  13. #13 twistngo, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
    What iClint said.
    If you don't cut the throttle it won't highside.
    You often get gravel on the inside of corners especially if there's a road junction. You want to be turning on the bit of road you can see to be clear. Roadcraft!
  14. Yeah, that happened fast. Because he didn't see it coming methinks, still on the throttle and leaned over. If he was on a neutral throttle I doubt it would have stepped out like that.
    Backing off the throttle and a little bit of opposite lock (not FULL lock like what happened here) might have saved it but the real problem is not seeing the issue coming up in the first place.
  15. That's pretty interesting, again counter-intuitive :(
    I have been on a gravel patch before with a work Scooter and its pegs started to scrape the floor. I kept the body position the same and rode it out amazingly, though I wasn't sure why.
    Sad to see the reason was because my reactions were late to kick in! :notworthy:

    How do you edit the post? Or add more options to a poll?
  16. So I am expecting a patch of gravel 50mm thick,it turns out to be a sprinkling,oddest thing I have seen in a while.How the hell did he do that.Bloke should be in the Crusty Demons.
  17. Exactly as iClint explained it.

    On my first long road ride through the alpine region I hit gravel and moss a few times and was sliding, the bike will take care of you (y)
  18. Survival reactions! Read twist of the wrist 2.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. as above also dont look at it. you go where you look so you look at it you end up init
  20. Yeah, everyone is right. You should be looking out for gravel and other surface imperfections at all times, as hitting it is always worse than missing it.

    Only thing I will add is if you're braking when you hit the gravel, let them off as much as you can without running off the road due to excess speed. Ideally, brakes should be left alone.

    There are complex things going on here which mean that technically speaking, other things could be done to improve your chances (eg. if your front wheel begins to slide but back does not, apply some throttle to get the front to bite) but thats for the exceptionally experienced / talented riders out there.

    Twist the Wrist 2 DVD or book will explain how everyone here knows this info.