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Road Bikes on Dirt roads??

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by suzyq, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. Hi guys,

    On Saturday i am picking up my bike (go the Spada!) and what i want to know is how do road bikes go on dirt roads?

    My favourite place to visit in the whole world is Hill End and from my place would make a nice day ride but the road from Sofala to Hill End is mostly dirt :( ! Well it was last time i visited there about 5 years ago. I would love to go out there for a ride but how will the Spada go on dirt?? I do seem to remember there being bikes out there on a ride. There is a great camping area there too. Has anyone been there on their bike?

    Oh i think it will be some time before i am ready to ride all the way there but for the future...


  2. Personally? BLAH!
  3. how about .....SQUIRMY..... just don't go fast , road tyres don't grip on dirt very well
  4. It just takes practice. The Spada does OK on dirt, just take it easy. Find a stretch of road and practice braking so you know what the limits are and pick your lines carefully. It becomes more important to watch a good distance ahead rather than right under your front wheel.

    If it gets corrugated put your weight on the pegs and grip the tank with your knees, that gives you better control.

    Riding on dirt roads can be a lot of fun. Most road riders are terrified of dirt and gravel because they aren't used to it. I enjoy taking the Beemer on dirt roads, especially when there's a few big sports bikes around... :LOL:

  5. I ride my VTR off & onto a dirt road everytime I leave my house. Is ok - just take it easy (2nd gear) make sure your weights down on the pegs & your grip on the bar is relaxed. Avoid serious potholes & the brakes if you can (rear only if you must)
    Apart from that - why buy a road bike if you wanna play in the dirt? :)
  6. You can ride a road bike on an unsealed road even with sports tyres as long as you allow for the fact there's very little grip available (can't go leaning the bike over through corners for example) - some bikes are better suited than others. The other thing about dirt that can be unnerving is when the bike gets stuck in and follows the wheel rut left by cars.
  7. Hi Black Betty,

    Oh 99% of the time i will be riding on the roads, its just that i thought that i would like to go out to Hill End.. and it happens to be at the end of a longish dirt road!!
  8. Cool - inadvertently ended up doing 16odd km of dirt road whilst out having a look around the Otways. Was pretty tough going - thick loose sand, hunks of rock, etc. That was a 1st gear run - not 'fun' but manageable. I find the naked bikes are much better on dirt - less costly as no fairing to replace & easier to clean :grin:
  9. my BF would never ride his road bike on dirt.

    he's too worried about it getting scratched!!! :LOL:
  10. Spada goes fine on dirt


    A few of the dirt roads I've taking my Spada down.

    You can't do anything too fancy, but I've taken her down dry creek beds, fully laden, without too many problems (yeah I dropped her a few times :) )
  11. leaving the tuesday night coffee, I had the brilliant plan to go over Mt Dandenong on the way home (why not). I found signs to Olinda, and suddenly found myself on a dirt road. It was dark, the road was very windy, corrogated and full of gravel, stones and pot holes. Since it was only 5km I braved it through to the paved road on the other end.

    Certainly had to take it slow as the gixxer has no grip on dirt, so cannot have any lean (you can feel the bike just slip - as mentioned by jd) - mostly a 30 to 40km/h journey. If there were not so many corners could probably go a bit quicker, I was happy to stay at slower speeds and within my comfort zone.

    One disadvantage to a full faired bike is the cleaning process - looks like even after that slow trundle ive managed to coat the whole bike in a layer of dust that yesterdays rain failed to remove, so I guess its time to pull the fairings and give her a good wash!
  12. If I'd realised what you were up too - would have offered some advise as was going that way :p next time :grin:
  13. Slow and easy is the idea until you get used to what the bike feels like on a dirt road Suzy.
    Hill End is a great place hey?
    My mate Terri and I (she on a Moto Guzzi and I on my BMW) have toured all the dirt roads out that way.
    Have you been to the Glow Worm Tunnel in the Gardens of Stone Nat Park?
    Or up to Newnes and over the river crossing?
    All quite do-able on a road bike.
    The back wheel will often bounce all over the place, that's normal, you get used to it. Just point the bike in the direction you want to go.
    Gentle rear braking, leave the front brake alone.
    Stand up on the footpegs and lean back away from the front wheel on corrugations.
    Try to relax that death grip on the handlebars a bit...LOL.
    Shalako Lin and I will be doing the Mountains quite a bit in the months ahead (she on a ZZR 250 streetfighter.) We also want to go to the Western Plains Zoo sometime in the next month.
    Your welcome to join us on thse experditions. Doubtless half the day(s) will be spent on dirt roads.
  14. Thanks guys for all the tips. Can't wait to start riding.. 2 sleeps to go! Thanks Jaqhama, let me know when you are going,and if i am free i would love to come if you don't mind have a L rider on a 250 along! I love that part of the country, especially this time of year.

  15. Suzyq, riding on dirt is a slightly different skill to road riding. Firstly make sure you are relaxed, the bike will move - try not to fight it. As has been mentioned there is less grip, so make sure you factor that in and try to remain as upright as possible (also mentioned) even through corners, keep the throttle action smooth as such be in a suitable gear (2nd is usually good - less jerking than 1st). Also be careful when applying your brakes, it is better to use back brake on dirt and gravel. Grabbing your front brake will end in tears. Look carefully ahead and try and ride in any wheel tracks that are established - avoid areas where the gravel looks deep and also try and avoid potholes.
    When you re-enter the asphalt section of the road be aware that your tyres are dirty and ride prudently until you are sure the dirt is off.

    A Spada should have nice skinny-ish tyres which will make dirt riding easier. I have done a fair bit of dirt and gravel on my bike, (through the middle of Tasmania past the Great Lakes - being the most memorable and horrible) and I can't say I enjoy the experience but it is all part of riding.
  16. I have ridden my old yamaha 125 road bike around the farm. That thing had pretty much bald tires and i didn't have a problem. I guess i am used to driving cars etc... on dirt so that does help but yeah you shouldnt have too much trouble.
  17. Really mate?
    I wonder if the dirt road around the Lakes was different when you did it?
    I loved blasting around the Lakes road, you don't want to know the speeds we used to do on our roads bikes.
    I do recall there was some very thick gravel right at the end of the road, where you turn off to head back towards Launceston.
    I was there for a year in 99, did you happen to try jacobs ladder by any chance?
    Now that's a tricky track, up the mountain at Ben Lomond.
  18. Yuck.

  19. Jaqhama, we did this particular road in 2002 from South to North, so Bothwell to the dirt (not turning off for Poatina, which I love) then up to Golden Valley, the first bit to the Mienna(?) pub demanded concentration, the stretch beside the Lake was extremely busy with traffic (tour buses) all doing the speed limit and it was not easy. However the road slightly uphill to Golden Valley was vile, deeply corrugated corners with lots of erosion and reasonably tight corners. However when we got to Golden Valley all this was forgotten - what a magnificent piece of road that is.

    You may have been blasting around on road bikes, but we were both on 748/998 type dukes, both with heavy bags on - it wasn't fun. Someone (we believe at an overnight stop) had also screwed my rebound all the way down. I had complained to my Husband he took my bike for the Golden Valley road and said he couldn't feel anything wrong - that particular piece of road being smooth like Phillip Island. But he did find what I was complaining about when we got home and checked the bikes.

    I don't think we did Jacobs Ladder, but I do recall doing the gravel road into the Hartz National Park down South in 1997 and I didn't like that much either.
  20. Betty that dirt road by chance wouldn't have bee up from Skenes creek turnoff would it? I was taken down a dirt road turn off up there once and ended up at an old Pub/Hotel it was like stepping back in time.Fugging grouse afternoon.There was about 10 bikes and the spread of time between the first one arriving and the last one was about 20 minutes,Some road only riders didn't know what to do once they hit the dirt road.I had a 85 gpz 600r and rode it like a speedway bike on that road :LOL: