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Old 12-22-2012, 10:59 AM   #31
Scott Baja
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The best advice you have received so far, in my opinion, is being capable of picking your bike. I would practice with panniers on in your yard. You will soon get the knack of it. If on the trail, you can lesson the weight by removing some gear. If this is a dream of yours, dont deny yourself. Just my 2 cents..
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:14 AM   #32
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Early Season Attempts

Hello,

A group of friends and I are planning a trip to Moab the last week in May. Coincidentally we are also from Iowa.

A portion of our trip will be from Boulder to Moab and I have set aside two days for this leg in hopes that we could camp near and travel over either Ophir or Cinnamon Pass on our way to Moab.

This would be taking place on about May 20/21 and I have heard mixed reports as to whether those passes will be clear by those dates.

Any advice on attempting either Ophir or Cinnamon during that time would be greatly appreciated. Of course we realize that a late season snow could drastically alter our plans and we can always audible to take some alternate scenic pavement but would prefer a more adventurous path.

Also its important to note, our group rides "big traillies" (1200gs's and 650 KLR's) but we are pretty gritty and experienced.

Thanks very much for any input.

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Old 02-12-2013, 08:18 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by FreeHugger View Post
Hello,

A group of friends and I are planning a trip to Moab the last week in May. Coincidentally we are also from Iowa.

A portion of our trip will be from Boulder to Moab and I have set aside two days for this leg in hopes that we could camp near and travel over either Ophir or Cinnamon Pass on our way to Moab.

This would be taking place on about May 20/21 and I have heard mixed reports as to whether those passes will be clear by those dates.

Any advice on attempting either Ophir or Cinnamon during that time would be greatly appreciated. Of course we realize that a late season snow could drastically alter our plans and we can always audible to take some alternate scenic pavement but would prefer a more adventurous path.

Also its important to note, our group rides "big traillies" (1200gs's and 650 KLR's) but we are pretty gritty and experienced.

Thanks very much for any input.

This year Ophir might well be open by then...Heres is a great site to check for opening dates in the past..

www.bushducks.com/tripreps/passopen.htm#ophir

Looks like Ophir and Cinnamon were open by mid May last year. It was a rather dry year last year and this year seems drier than that so I'm guessing you'll be fine..
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:50 AM   #34
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Great, thank you for the link.

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Originally Posted by enduro-ince View Post
This year Ophir might well be open by then...Heres is a great site to check for opening dates in the past..

www.bushducks.com/tripreps/passopen.htm#ophir

Looks like Ophir and Cinnamon were open by mid May last year. It was a rather dry year last year and this year seems drier than that so I'm guessing you'll be fine..
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:22 AM   #35
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Thanks for the advice. My desires seem to out run my experience level. Don't own a smaller bike. Should probably invest in the BMW off road training school.

Again, thanks
The BMW off road training school ain't gonna help you on the passes you mentioned!!! It's a pretty basic class just enough to get your feet wet. I took the class at the performance school in SC, and while it did provide some good tips, if you are expecting to become proficient in rocks, sand, gravel, and hopping over stumps and stuff, you had better look elsewhere. Maybe the Rawhide adventure school.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:49 AM   #36
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I wouldn't be too scared of any of the passes except Black Bear; I did it on my 990 and I don't think I would do it again.

If you have trouble making slow speed turns while modulating your clutch and picking lines through a switchback, you should practice that; IMHO, that's the most difficult part of any of those passes.

Here are two ride reports that show all of the passes mentioned:

Does Size Matter?

Does Size Matter Part 2
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:43 PM   #37
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Sounds Awesome

I have ridden and drove most of the passes in that area. While skill will play a big part, your comfort level should be the biggest indicator of whether or not to proceed. The highest pucker factor I had was on the Yankee Boy Basin road headed towards Ouray when my rear brakes failed. Riding down those narrow roads with only the front brake was not fun.

But the views were amazing

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Old 02-12-2013, 06:37 PM   #38
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From Lake City to the top of Engineer pass is easy. I saw a ford minivan go to the top this way. The other side , to hwy 550, is tougher. I wouldn't recommend that you do that side.

Lake City to the top of cinnamon pass is fairly easy. A buddy of mine did it on his RT. But there is a long steep loose rocky downhill that goes into the ghost town of animas fork. Silverton to Animas fork is fairly easy. A few swithcbacks and a little bit of rocks here and there.

Ophir pass is mostly easy. Rocky at the top and going toward Telluride for a little ways. Go slow and pick your way through.

Imogene pass from ouray is moderate. The pic above is going up to Imogene. Imogene pass from Telluride has narrow steep swithcbacks with straight down drop offs.

My definitely DON"T DO list for an inexperienced dirt rider is --
Black Bear pass and Poughkeepsi gulch. Jeep rental places tell you to stay off these.
Corkscrew gulch is steep and narrow and slick with drop offs. California Gulch is rocky towards the top. And when you get to the top you either go back, or go down poughkeepsi or corkscrew.

An easy scenic ride is Last Dollar road. It goes north by the airport in Telluride. Scenes from True Grit were filmed there. When you hit the HWY turn right to ridegway. Just a little ways north is Owl Creek pass. Another easy scenic ride. More of True Grit was filmed through here.

Almost anyplace that you walk into in that area will have good maps for sale. Trails Illustrated are some of the most detailed maps.

The scenery in this area is incredible. Have fun and take lots of pictures.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:12 PM   #39
RideThereNow
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Wicked I LIVE IN the OPHIR AREA IN THE SUMMER

You've already seen some good advice from other folks regarding this area. So take this for what it's worth, I know the area fairly well and would like to offer my two cents for what it's worth.

Most of my neighbors ride 250cc and smaller bikes over these passes for regular day or weekend rides. Some of them are really, really, REALLY good riders, I can't stress that enough. Having said that, we do know a couple who have done Black Bear, Cinnimon, Engineer, Ophir and others passes TWO UP on a BMW R90S. They are still married, so I guess love conquers all (they were 30+ years younger when they did these rides and she did some walking and pushing.).

My opinion is that you might do these passes on that big bike with limited experience but it would NOT be something to take lightly and would be more in line with going to prison, maybe evan a mexican prison.

There is a world of great riding in CO and UT, and other western states that you would enjoy on a big bike and at the end be able to go home to enjoy family and friends.

Ride Safe, Live Long.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:29 PM   #40
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I haven't ridden any of the passes on a bike so can't comment on them, but I am from the Midwest and have spent several weeks in CO over the years both vacationing and on business. I don't seem to do very well in high altitude even if I take a couple weeks in the area to acclimate. Watching some of the video's on this thread, my heart starts racing not because of the degree of difficulty, but because of knowing how I react to altitude. You should know how you react to thinner air before riding any bike, big or small, on these passes.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:51 PM   #41
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My 2 cents. Depending upon your level of experience ............. I would not recommend a novice rider taking a GSA, solo, through Engineers Pass, Ophir Pass, Black Bear or Cinnamon. The GSA is just to big and to heavy - about 580 lbs (wet weight) - then add your gear and rider. So you end up with 800 plus lbs, that you need to manage through the rocks, turns, switchbacks, off camber road, scree, as well as going up and coming down. Smaller bike - would be advisable in these areas. KOH
Ophir wasn't that big a deal on my big Quota.

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Old 02-12-2013, 07:55 PM   #42
rocker59
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Thanks for the advice. My desires seem to out run my experience level. Don't own a smaller bike. Should probably invest in the BMW off road training school.

Again, thanks
Last Dollar Road is a dirt road between Dallas Divide and Telluride. No high pass involved, but a nice ride.

Also, riding from Silverton, through Eureka, to Animas Forks doesn't involve a high pass, but is well worth the trip.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:37 PM   #43
Jeathrow Bowdean
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I like what some else said about renting a bike when you get to the area, and you might even find some dudes to go up there with you at the same time. I'm not good at dirt riding on a big bike being that something could go wrong when your trying to handle the big wheels, and that would suck if you got hurt.

A rented light bike will put so much more fun at seeing the veiw when you can pilot the bike with ease if you want to see the whole thing, and some other trails well you have the rent-a-bike. Keep your nice bike for the fun stuff so you don't end up with damages to it or your self. I did this with my V Strom that I have, even though I have 800 kms of crazy off road riding on it.

I just about ended up in a pickel with it on one venture, so I bought a small bike for this stuff. A big bike can get anyone into trouble, and I know that most of the folks that have gone up that pass consider this !!! You sound like you are a person who love to motorcycle, and if you do it right, you will motorcycle for a long time if you limit your self on the places you go with the bike you have. I'm closing in on my 50 mark, and I need to protect what I have from this point on being that I will not re-cope as fast as when I was young, so I don't take my V into this stuff.

This is just my opion, and I like to see my brothers on wheels enjoy what they can do with out going past the line. Lifting the bike is one thing, but lets say the bike is on top of you !!!

I would love to see this pass my self, and now I know that I need to do it on a lighter bike.

From Jeathrow Bowdean in Western Canada. PS: But then again, what would I know about this stuff being that I have never seen the pass, except on the video !!!
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:08 PM   #44
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After I got my engineering degree I found this pass too. I found it to be a challenge in my 4x4. Don't think I would take any of my rode bikes over it though. But then I'm a bit up in age now. That 92 Ford saw many of the passes in CO. Notice the kissed up rear bumper!
From Silverton you can ride quite a ways before it gets to nasty.

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Old 02-16-2013, 10:54 AM   #45
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I did that same trip and area the second week of June last year and was on a rented KTM990. I think your skillsets will play an important part of how you will be able to handle the passes more than the type of bike you ride. You've seen some very varied answers and bikes of different capabilities. A mediocre rider on the best equipment available will not do well and a well seasoned rider with skills can do them on any motorcycle. This was my first time in the area and also my first time on a big ADV bike and I feel that my moto-x skills played a huge advantage to handling the big bike. My riding partner was on a much smaller bike, KTM 690, and was struggling due to the altitude and lesser skillsets. I know of riders with years of road riding experience that have never gone offroad and quickly learn that offroad riding is a whole new ballgame. I've also seen MSF instructors get spanked pretty hard when confronted with dirt & rocks.
Attitude plays a huge dividend also if you are comfortable on your bike and you can handle it competently you will be ahead of the game.
It's been said here a few times already, but take it slow and methodical and you will have a blast.
I did Engineer Pass solo when my riding buddy gave up and turned around and went back to Lake City and rode the hardball around to meet me in Ouray. I give him full credit for admitting when he was over his head instead of becoming a liability to me.
Pic of me at Engineer's Pass
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