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Riding road bike up rutted gravel driveway

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by shif_tea, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. Hi guys,

    This may be a stupid question, I tried looking up with search engine and even youtube but couldn't really find anything that related.

    Basically just bought myself a new GSXR600 (finally got my full license) and I was wanting to do a road trip up to visit my family who live at Coffs Harbour (I'm in Sydney).

    Problem is my mum lives out of town on a block of land and the driveway it rather treacherous! It's about 1km long, at a 45 degree angle and is gravel and fairly badly rutted in places.

    I know it's hard to judge considering I don't really have accurate pictures of the driveway or anything, but just wondering if anyone has taken a road bike like this (low clearance, road tyres etc) up a dodgy kind of road, and if so whether it's quite a mission or not.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. I've taken road bikes up dodgy driveways (and roads) on a few occasions, but prefer to avoid it if I can (though 1km is a long way to walk). Really depends on how easily you can get traction, and how steep it is.

    It's not that tricky to do if you can maintain forward momentum, but finding yourself sliding backwards sucks :shock:.
  3. The risks and pitfalls are obvious. Mostly the risks seem to be bottoming the fairing, or losing the front. Uphill is sometimes easier than down. Just because you rode into a place doesn't mean you can get out. It may rain overnight, and be a very different proposition in the morning. It's nice to be stylish, and dragging your feet or paddling up while you ride the clutch isn't very stylish, but smashing up your bike isn't very stylish either. At least a GSXR6 isn't all that heavy to pick up. They're not cheap to fix, but. I've never had my Mum help me pick up one of my bikes, but I think I'm glad about that. On the upside, it's amazing what you can do on a bike when the alternative is to wait for some stranger / pig-shooter to come along and skull-drag your new road bike up a 4x4 track on its side...

    Without having seen the driveway, or seen you ride, it's a bit hard to give advice. Your own intuition may well be the best guide. If you think it'll be ok but you just want a pat on the back, then go for it champ. If you think you're going to die but you want somebody else to tell you not to be a suicidal fool, then perhaps you should rethink it.

    I have taken big road bikes into places that you would NEVER get a 2 wheel drive car, but they were naked bikes with a fairly upright seating position, and I was a bit of a wild youth and if I beached the bike on the collector box, I just laughed. I did drop them from time to time, doing stupid sh1t like that, but probably not as often as you'd expect. I certainly did less damage than you'd think, but bikes were made a bit different in 1980. On a fully faired sports bike ... it's a bit different.

    Sliding backwards sucks, yeah. There are precious few times when baling out on a motorbike that is still on its wheels is a good idea, but when you're heading backwards down a greasy slope at an increasing rate with the front locked and the rear spinning, and your arse is chewing great big bites out of the seat, that might be a good moment to hit the silk.

    Perhaps you could park at the end of the drive and walk up and get some helping hands to come back down with you. Then perhaps Mum could post you on YouTube and we could all have a good ... I mean we could all learn a valuable lesson from your efforts.

    Use the force, Luke. Trust your instincts.
  4. Thanks guys. I'm not so much worried about my safety as the worst I can see happening is I lay the bike down, but as knee said, that's an expensive thing to do and I'd rather avoid it if possible. Might just see how it feels when I get there, won't be for a few weeks at least anyway.

    And good point kneedragon....i actually hadn't even thought about getting back down again....

    Might have to hassle them to get the driveway redone before I visit :p
  5. As stated above if they can get a 2 wheel drive car with there limited ground clearance up and down you will be fine,depending on ground clearance ruts are your fiend.They really help with traction,go slow and stay loose.Deep soft sands a differant mater,20 years ago just about all rallys were done on road bikes.If you want a laugh have a look at the Queensland Laverda Club website footage of The Bellegen Rally river crossing,its suprising
    what gets done on roadys
  6. Deep soft sand, oh yeah... On a little clapped out commuter I did it quite a bit, and a few different trail bikes. The hard smooth sand at the water's edge at low tide is a joy to ride and slide on. Honest, it is the most brilliant progressive break away in the history of the world. But ... er ...Not on a big road bike, thanks v much...
  7. Just take it easy, Let the bike move under you, you will be right,

    My drive is 1 in 3 Gravel, Heather on her 250 cruiser rides in and out every day,
    I used to, will again in 6 months.

    Come down in first gear, throttle off, let the motor brake you coming down, Peice off piss,
    Stay off the front Brake,
  8. My only suggestion is if the surface is loose gravel any, keep your weight on the pegs, and do any turns gently by shifting your weight on them instead of the bars whenever you can - but once in the turn, try and keep your weight on the outside peg. As much as possible keep your arms loose and let the bike play a little - easier to control that way :).
  9. Just ride in the ruts, don't try to climb out of them once you are in, and if you do have to, climb out at a sharp angle, don't try to edge slowly out. About 25-40km/h is a good speed, or whatever you are comfortable with on your bike in second gear at low speeds. I used to ride a 500m roadbase and gravel driveway daily, rain and shine, I found around 40 km/h comfortable for my bike and myself at that time. Just speed up and slow down a little till you find a nice groove.
    No need to carry weight on the pegs at low speeds for such a short distance, just ride the bike and let the rear do what it wants to, it won't go too far at these speeds.
    When turning in to a gravel driveway, do ALL your turning before the driveway, swing wide on the bitumen and get lined up before you hit the dirt, otherwise you'll have lots of fun as the bike transitions from road to dirt.
    Also don't use much, if any, front brake if you have a small front wheel, use the rear as much as you can.
  10. Thanks guys a lot of good stuff in there.

    I'm pretty sure that even if I don't want them to my family will be filming it hoping for a stack so they can embarrass me with it....will post the youtube link if this happens! :p
  11. Another good thing to do is keep your eyes up. Look where you want to go.
  12. I was going to suggest walking the bike in gear while playing the clutch but then remembered it was 1km long.
    Not good if its a hot day and your in leathers
  13. Some good points here.
    If you can try and walk it first. Don't look for all the narly bits but take them in. Just plan your path and get some courage up.
    Keep your momentum up and smooth. Be very gentle with the throttle.
    Keep your weight back a bit and sit up. Take the weight off your arms and keep them lose. Let the bike and bars move around a bit.
    If you can and there is a flat bit, stop and plan your path. ie if you will have to get out of a rut because it gets too deep.
    When you are riding keep your eyes maybe thirty meters ahead of you.
  14. Dont look at any holes in front of you, Because thats where you will go, straight through them,
  15. [-(i would'nt try it.
    on a brand new bike, i definately would'nt try it.
    plenty of people here could do it, typhoon explained it perfectly, but unless you've done this stuff before on dirt bikes, don't do it.
    please do not hurt brand new baby gixxer.:(
  16. This contradics what a few fellows have said - sorry guys.

    Going up the most important thing is momentum. You must keep up a jogging speed or there abouts and just hold the throttle steady, so as to avoid any break in traction. If that happens you are likely to be stuffed. (very hard to get going again frm dead stop, and possible to drop the bike)

    Stay on the best parts of the driveway. So pick a side and stay on it. Get as far up as you can, then stop there. Get a few to come down and help you walk it from there.

    The minute you attempt to diagonally cross any ruts you will likely go down.
    Road tyres have next to zero traction on dirt or even grass, uless you are straight vertcle and not applying power or brake(generally speaking)

    As has been said, depart at slow walking pace, against engine braking. Very gentle use of front brake may be applied when the bike is balanced and fully aligned. Do not touch the rear brake. If that back wheel loses traction your speed will build up very very quickly and you will not be able to stop it. (runaway train going faster and faster until you eventually fall off and ruin your bike. )
    Oh one more thing, do not declutch. Without engine braking you could be doomed.

    Scared yet? :) THAT'S the worst case scenario, but you ride to combat that and anything else is a piece of cake. :)

    Good luck!
  17. Just ride it, keep your weight back and keep a bit of momentum on the way up. The way down is more risky, bog cog, keep your weight back again and stay off the front brake on the loose stuff, don't be shy of a bit of front brake on the hard pack. A bit of rear brake is ok on the way down but if it goes apeshit get off it and ignore where the arse is going, just keep the front end upright (unless you are going to hit something) steer it don't lean it. Don't panic and stay loose on the bars, sportsbikes do quite well on the rough stuff, it is loose stuff and sand/bulldust that they don't cope well with.
  18. Yeah, that's about right.

    Look - as has been said before - If they're driving a 2 wheel drive sedan up and down there without problems, then you should have no problems.

    We're all sitting here, wracking our brains about what to say about situations and conditions that are far more challenging and difficult than your corolla or camry would cope with. Common sense, you know? Just use basic common sense and you'll be fine.
  19. Depends on speed. Keep your focus about 3 ~ 5 seconds ahead of you. Long enough to take it in and think about it, not long enough that you've got too many things on your mind.