Trail riding abuse!

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V-Rider
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Trail riding abuse!

Post by V-Rider » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:02 pm

I took my bike to some really heavy trail riding last night my friend following in his land rover (well he couldnt do it on his Thundercat now could he? Or coule he?:whistle: ).

I was impressed that my Versys handled it all - some huge ruts and rocky areas, mud and general gravel.

Bike slipped several times, front and rear and just powered on through - staying loose on the bars and letting the bike do its own thing.

One thing I did find, was that I was riding in first - low RPM and going up hill and through the really technical stuff, it felt like I was absolutely RAPING the bike. :S

Chain was all over the place, drive wasn't constant and it couldnt have dont the clutch any good!

Is there any tips you can recommend? Do I need to increase my speed, or go into second gear with even more stuttering? I found myself having to pick a path slowly uphill, as I just couldnt ride quickly and process the information to create a path fast enough!

Any and all advice appreciated! :blush:
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Willy_Eckerslike
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Re: Trail riding abuse!

Post by Willy_Eckerslike » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:28 pm

Firstly, good on you for having the balls to give it a go. Road biased bikes are always a handful on anything trickier than a dry gravel lane due to their weight, stiff suspension, lack of clearance and high gearing. You can fit knobbly tyres, softer springs and change the gearing but you'll seriously compromise the road manners of your bike. A bit of speed helps but it also makes the inevitable offs more dramatic. All I can suggest is pick your line carefully, keep your head up and let the bike do it's own thing. And learn how to fit your own clutch plates. B)
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ChasF
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Re: Trail riding abuse!

Post by ChasF » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:47 pm

A road bike will have taller gearing than a dirt bike but you should be in at least second gear for all but the steepest climbs or really technical trials type obstacles. the chain flapping about shouldn't be too much of a problem, better too slack than too tight but be careful as a road bike won't have a lower chain guide just in front of the rear sprocket like you find on a dirt bike so if it is too slack there is a risk that it might come off the sprocket. If the back wheel wasn't in contact with the ground all the time you need to look at your rear shock and perhaps increase the compression damping and especially the rebound damping if this is possible. fitting more off road biased tyres and dropping the tyre pressures a bit will give more grip and allow you to speed up a bit.

Above all, have fun!

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Re: Trail riding abuse!

Post by V-Rider » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:54 pm

Willy_Eckerslike wrote:Firstly, good on you for having the balls to give it a go. Road biased bikes are always a handful on anything trickier than a dry gravel lane due to their weight, stiff suspension, lack of clearance and high gearing. You can fit knobbly tyres, softer springs and change the gearing but you'll seriously compromise the road manners of your bike. A bit of speed helps but it also makes the inevitable offs more dramatic. All I can suggest is pick your line carefully, keep your head up and let the bike do it's own thing. And learn how to fit your own clutch plates. B)
Thanks, it did seem a bit of a handful really, not completely unmanagable, the suspension did well in my humble opinion - it was more the constant on/off feeling of the clutch and throttle going over every bump, whilst keeping the throttle constant.

This was quite some technical stuff - one or two 'steps' that had to be ridden around uphill and bloody loads of odd shaped rocks. :blink:

Second gear didnt seem to help much either though? It was dropping the revs even further and causing even worse stuttering...
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Re: Trail riding abuse!

Post by V-Rider » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:00 pm

This is the lane I completed - albeit no mud or rain, but bloody rocky!
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Lee
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Re: Trail riding abuse!

Post by Lee » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:17 pm

Nice one Hans, bet that was fun with your tyres.
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Re: Trail riding abuse!

Post by V-Rider » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:21 pm

Oh no nothing as muddy as that!

It gripped well, lane was dry throughout. Small stream to cross before attempting the hill though.

It was not bad, I was trying to choose the right path if anything, some of those sections have been degraded due to 4x4's tearing up and down there.

The bike coped admirably, but I'm trying to sort out my riding technique as I think it may be wrong, the bike just stuttered through it at low revs and didnt feel happy doing it... Maybe I needed to up the speed?
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Re: Trail riding abuse!

Post by Farky » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:48 pm

Nice lane,but that stream was fun!

Smaller front wheel and a alu spoked wheel is always going to transmit more of the bumps, off roaders have larger spoked wheels to cope with all that. Also the smaller gearing they have make it a lot easier so I'd guess that's got something to do with it.
Speed may be an issue but you want to be in control not so fast you out of control. I took a day course on riding off road on your own bike, all green lane based and introduces you to the various skills required in combination with your bike/equipment and it's abilities/limits. I did find the talent gap fairly big even though my Alp700 isn't best suited to real off road either. Mud and ruts being the biggest issue but then I use road based dual sport tyres and my wheel size is an inch too small.
One thing I took from it, as far as rough stuff is concerned, is that momentum is your friend. So, for me on my Alp, get into first, release clutch, get going and control the bike with knees in tight to the tank with weight on the pegs fully, bum off seat, bend the knees, straighten back, arms bent and relaxed but elbows pointing out. Once your doing that, you can concentrate more on line and balancing your weight along with throttle.
I don't reckon the versys first gear is too high like a sports bike but might be worth checking somehow. My Alps just a touch high compared to the older alps.

One great point to your ride is that you didn't go alone! Never go off piste alone!

I've added bark buster hand guards incase the bike lies down, just to protect the levers and the usual crash bars round the engine to protect the rest. And it did lie down to, twice, at speed, and I tore my foot tendons badly with enduro boots on. Worth buying some solid soled boots if not proper enduro boots with ankle protectors.

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Re: Trail riding abuse!

Post by V-Rider » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:54 pm

Farky wrote:Nice lane,but that stream was fun!

Smaller front wheel and a alu spoked wheel is always going to transmit more of the bumps, off roaders have larger spoked wheels to cope with all that. Also the smaller gearing they have make it a lot easier so I'd guess that's got something to do with it.
Speed may be an issue but you want to be in control not so fast you out of control. I took a day course on riding off road on your own bike, all green lane based and introduces you to the various skills required in combination with your bike/equipment and it's abilities/limits. I did find the talent gap fairly big even though my Alp700 isn't best suited to real off road either. Mud and ruts being the biggest issue but then I use road based dual sport tyres and my wheel size is an inch too small.
One thing I took from it, as far as rough stuff is concerned, is that momentum is your friend. So, for me on my Alp, get into first, release clutch, get going and control the bike with knees in tight to the tank with weight on the pegs fully, bum off seat, bend the knees, straighten back, arms bent and relaxed but elbows pointing out. Once your doing that, you can concentrate more on line and balancing your weight along with throttle.
I don't reckon the versys first gear is too high like a sports bike but might be worth checking somehow. My Alps just a touch high compared to the older alps.

One great point to your ride is that you didn't go alone! Never go off piste alone!

I've added bark buster hand guards incase the bike lies down, just to protect the levers and the usual crash bars round the engine to protect the rest. And it did lie down to, twice, at speed, and I tore my foot tendons badly with enduro boots on. Worth buying some solid soled boots if not proper enduro boots with ankle protectors.
Cheers for the reply Farky - hope the foot still isnt causing you trouble! :blink:
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Re: Trail riding abuse!

Post by minkyhead » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:26 pm

not bad at all for a first attempt id say
better tyres and softer pressures ..id guess 24 front 28 rear may help a little ..
part of the problem is the steep rake on the steering that will transmit itself quicker to the bars ..as thats what its designed to do coupled with the short stroke suspension ..so it will always be a little feisty on bumpy stuff im afraid :(

going down one on the front sprocket may help the gap between 1st and 2nd without getting silly on the road
one thing worth checking ..when you mention stuttering ..is thet the side stand isnt slapping up and down over the bumps ..thus actvating the switch and cutting the ignition momentaraly ..

try a cable tie on the stand to see ..if it needs disconecting ,,,but dont forget when you stop ...:evil: :evil:

i think your getting the bug :silly: glad your having fun :laugh:
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