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Old 08-07-2009, 03:00 AM   #1
Jamie Z OP
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Stand up vs. Sit down

I ride a DL650. I take it in a lot of places it probably shouldn't go, though it's not single-tracker.

I've never owned a real dirt bike, nor a real dual-sport bike. I've watched all the Long Way Round episodes.

One thing I read and see a lot about is standing up in the gnarly stuff. Stand on the pegs when the going gets rough. It's what all the cool people are doing.

The trouble is, I feel more confident in the saddle.

I'll use today as an example. I was riding a hard pack gravel road which had some water across it. I came to a substantial puddle. Judging the grade and the condition of the road, I figured I was fine to plow through. I was too lazy to scout the crossing first.

Here's the view before I crossed.



I stood up on the pegs (as Charlie and Ewan do it in the movies) and let it fly. Before I knew it, the mud and ruts sent me left and right and then down. There was nothing I could do as the bike caught a rut.



After I picked it up and eased it out, the mud took it again. Minor drop, but the picture better shows the depth.



No harm, no foul. A bent bracket on my cases, some muddy riding gear, a possibly water-logged camera. It's all good.

Not even a quarter mile later, I had a longer crossing on the same road. I was a bit gun shy and stayed seated. I found myself much more stable because a couple of times when the bike started to slide left or right at seven or eight miles per hour, I found that I could brace with my foot and keep going. This isn't my only experience like this, just the most recent.

So here's my question. All the books say to stand on the pegs in the rough stuff. My gut tells me to stand on the rough stuff. But when in the rough stuff, sitting feels more stable. What's the truth here? Is it because I'm riding a 500 lb street bike in the mud? Is it because I'm putzing along at walking speed where I can actually support the bike with my legs? Is standing on the pegs just a warm fuzzy? Or is sitting in the saddle the warm fuzzy?

What am I doing right? What am I doing wrong? Help this off-road poser take his street bike off pavement.

Jamie
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:35 AM   #2
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I personally find that the primary benefit (for me) of standing in the rough stuff is that it allows the bike to move under me. My legs act like more suspension links and my torso remains very stable. Another benefit is that when you do go over, you're already in position to jump off and avoid trapping your leg.

Frankly, given that it looks like you've got street tires on your bike, mud will be a challenge, full stop. You're subject to the vagaries of the terrain under the surface, and not getting much grip to pull yourself out, or even to keep from falling deeper into any given rut. Given those circumstances, your outrigger strategy isn't a terrible one, IMHO.
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:09 AM   #3
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Standing up makes the bike more stable because the weight of your body is lower on the bike (at the footpegs), rather than up high on the seat. Also, if your suspension is not capable of soaking up the bumps, standing allows you to use your knees as another set of shocks, letting the bike move around underneath you while you stay in control.
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:25 AM   #4
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Standing up is absolutely critical for jumping, launching over logs, hauling ass through whoops or anywhere else the bike needs to move more than your body will allow sitting down. There just isn't anyway you will ever land a jump or be able to hop over obstacles while sitting down. Whoops I can pull off on the KTM if I dial the speed back to rational levels. But obviously you are not going to be jumping a DL or banging it over big rocks and logs. So you may not need to worry about standing up.

The reason I say you may not need to stand up is that I am 50ish and not riding at race pace very often anymore. So these days I find that I rarely need to stand up. Which is good given the decrepit condition of my knees and ankles. I still stand up when it is time to really turn up the speed offroad, riding in bottomless gravel and for the situations described above. But just crawling through mud, riding dirt roads and trying to negotiate tough trails aren't enough to make me torture my legs anymore.
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:27 AM   #5
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Its been pretty much summed up in the above two posts, but to add to those, it isn't wrong to sit down.
When it comes to riding, everyone has a different way of doing things, there is no strict right or wrong. Whatever you find gets you through the obstacle, that's the right way for you.
I come from 14 years of off road riding, so standing p is pretty second nature now, but there people Ive ridden with that are as fast or faster than me through obstacles, sitting down.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:39 AM   #6
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Got a friend of mine who "overalled" the "BLACKWATER 100" not once, but twice , and this guy rides like his ass is glued to the seat. Me, I hardly ever sit down.
Whatever works for ya!

Ride On!
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LongCliff
Standing up makes the bike more stable because the weight of your body is lower on the bike (at the footpegs), rather than up high on the seat.
That can't be right can it?

That seems to assume you are lowering the Center of Gravity, but the Center of Gravity is based on where the weight IS, not where it is connected to the bike.

It might add stability by moving weight away from the center or rotation, kind of the reverse of Buells Mass Centralization principle.
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:02 AM   #8
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I think it adds stability because I'm a hell of a lot better at feeling and reacting to motion (ie. 'staying balanced') on my feet than I am on my ass. I've been walking exclusively on my feet for YEARS.
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:35 AM   #9
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I agree with Longcliff. For most trail situations it is a matter of where and how you weight the bike that matters not the actual center of gravity of the combined bike and rider. When riding fast offroad your body is a separate suspension element from the bike. With your weight on the pegs rather than the seat it is easier for the bike to rotate around the pegs as the suspension reacts.

Then you can control that rotational motion around the pegs with your arms because your body acts as a stabilizing mass located away from where the bike is being pitched around. In other words you become a third suspension element when you stand up. Which is why you never see offroad racers parked on their asses when jumping and rarely see it when rocking and rolling through whoop sections.

Then there is the very simple fact that it just hurts less to absorb big impacts with your knees than with your ass. Fortunately, at my advanced age, on the KTM I can sit more than I used to simply because the suspension works pretty well at taking big offroad hits. But I still have to stand up when it is time to control the bike for jumps, blasting through deep whoops or to hop trail obstacles.

As mentioned, I have thought a bit about this just because I am not physically able to stand up much on my rebuilt right ankle and funky hip anymore.
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:50 AM   #10
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I don't think there is anything you can do in mud with a 500lb street bike to be honest. From my motocross experience you only need to stand up when you're going fast over cross ruts or very rough terrain like whoops and rocks. Going through water with rutted soil under it you need to lean back about as far as you can with plenty of throttle to get the front tire light. Anything less and there is a good chance you'll fall unless your going slow. When you have street tires on such a heavy bike I don't think you stand a chance if you get cross rutted in mud which sounds like what happened to you. If your going slow in mud stay on the seat. The faster you can put your foot down the easier you can save the front tire from sliding out from under you.

If there were no ruts under there you probably would have been fine. Remember you don't want to sink axle deep in there either.
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:51 AM   #11
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Jamie,

In the case of your ride, I'd have stayed seated and not gone too fast, as it was not easy or even possible to tell what was underneath the surface of the water. When I go through deep mud, water, etc., I tend to keep my rear on the seat so that my feet are available as a last resort, though I do try hard to keep my feet on the pegs and let the bike do the work.

On rough surfaces I can see, standing up and giving more throttle is my choice.
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:51 AM   #12
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Lots of good reasons to stand, but both ways can work.

Something to keep in mind, that may be affecting your situation, is the bike needs to be set up to work while standing. By set up I mean the controls. If your Strom is set up like you typically would have it for most street riders, the controls are going to feel a bit wrong when you stand, and your body position may not allow you to take full advantage. May actually be a disadvantage as things will now feel foreign to you in technical situations where you need things to be working their best. Most off road bikes have bars, levers, shifter an brake all set to where they can be operated comfortably while standing, they work while sitting to but most off roaders sit farther forward, with elbows up on the seat then your average street rider is going to. For 50/50 bikes that I've owned I usually set them up as a bit of a compromise between the two, so I'm good sitting or standing offroad or sitting way back relaxing on open highway. My Strom is set up for street use, and I still stand when on a rocky dirt road to get the advantages, but everything just feels wrong.

Oh, and that picture may not look impressive to dirt riders, but knowing how a Strom handles mud with street tires I'd say you've got some guts for going through.

One other thing is you mention you have no dirt bike experience, and many of these skills are so easy to learn on real dirtbikes and then you can transfer the techniques to bigger bikes. The learning curve on these monsters is much more difficult.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:29 AM   #13
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Standing up only works if you have knobby tires, and/or can clearly see what you're going to run over so you can brace/go around it.

Going through muddy water on street tires gives you neither of these, so I would do just like you did the second time.. sit down, legs out, steady throttle, no sudden movements.

Trying to stand up through that stuff on street tires is just asking to lose the front end. You can't see what you're steering into, and the front tires isn't gonna grab at all to help you ride it out. If you get squirrely at all, its gonna wash and toss you down, nothing you can do about it.

Now, if yo uwere taking your strom with the street tires on it through a rock garden, then heck yeah, stand up and let the biek work underneath you- it'll be a lot easier on ya :)
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snarf
Standing up only works if you have knobby tires, and/or can clearly see what you're going to run over so you can brace/go around it.

Going through muddy water on street tires gives you neither of these, so I would do just like you did the second time.. sit down, legs out, steady throttle, no sudden movements.

Trying to stand up through that stuff on street tires is just asking to lose the front end. You can't see what you're steering into, and the front tires isn't gonna grab at all to help you ride it out. If you get squirrely at all, its gonna wash and toss you down, nothing you can do about it.

Now, if yo uwere taking your strom with the street tires on it through a rock garden, then heck yeah, stand up and let the biek work underneath you- it'll be a lot easier on ya :)

My sentiments exactly, well first thought was driving through that with street tires, no f'ing way. I have to give you props for trying.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yossarian™
Jamie,

In the case of your ride, I'd have stayed seated and not gone too fast, as it was not easy or even possible to tell what was underneath the surface of the water. When I go through deep mud, water, etc., I tend to keep my rear on the seat so that my feet are available as a last resort, though I do try hard to keep my feet on the pegs and let the bike do the work.

On rough surfaces I can see, standing up and giving more throttle is my choice.
agreed, one look at the bike/tires and I knew the op was in for a challenge - I also agree with standing being something that works best (or only) when you have a visual of what's in store just ahead - big puddles kind of toss all that out the window - if I were making that crossing on my bike, I would have been seated and focused on maintaining balance the whole time while I meander through steadily and not too fast - I wouldn't be too keen on attempting it with a strom with street tires though, no traction in the mud
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