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Old 08-01-2014, 11:08 AM   #1
Chickenmunga OP
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Roadmap for a new rider?

Hello all, I'm a new rider on a '13 WR250R. I bought the bike on July 5th, and as of this posting, I've ridden slightly over 100 miles. Other than the PSSOR Intro to Offroad and the BRC, that's my total exposure on two wheels! I'm Breaking into the scene as wet and green as they come!

Before this forum, I joined another forum with an active local community where I hoped to get my learn on. However, it's more of a superbike/street scene and I'm feeling the proverbial round peg to their square hole.

If there's a forum superhero out there, I'd like to get a roadmap of what to do in terms of gear, classes, practicing on my own, difficulty progression in rides (i.e., parking lot > drive to work > a sample weekend ride on google maps > ?), groups to join, and so on.

Would this book cover everything, or do you recommend a different one?

I know I'm asking a lot, but I'm facing two issues:
  1. I've been gearing up for the street, and it hasn't been a cheap thing to do. I believe in having the right stuff without needing the perfect stuff, but I'm worried about becoming a 'gear whore'. I'm thinking I need a separate dirt helmet and maybe something other than my street coat, but wondering where the line is on going overboard?
  2. I also belong to a 4x4 small adventure-oriented truck club. In two weeks, we will drive the WABDR starting in Packwood. This is going to be pretty ho-hum in my truck, but probably over-the-top for a first big outing on the bike, so I better tuck my tail and wait to bike it another time. We also have an annual meet in Tillamook State Forest in late June, and two of the guys that are seasoned motocrossers want to see me join them. I'd like to figure out how to get 'ready' so I can say yes.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:57 PM   #2
tblume
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Do the Wabdr before you start commuting; seriously.

Learning curve is steep but the consequences are minimal, your buddies can pack your gear, help you up (after laughing and taking pictures) and you'll have way more fun.

And be a gear whore, it happens...
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:11 PM   #3
eric n
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oh boy

http://www.dualsportriding.com/

http://www.rawhyde-offroad.com/

I cant emphasize this enough LEARN TO STAND UP ON THE BIKE....

http://www.roxspeedfx.com/category/a...bar-risers.htm

get mx boots so your feet don't lose circulation while standing on the pegs. set up your bars and levers for the standing position. some of the old dogs may contradict this they have experience you don't yet.

dual sport helmets are best. rain hurts at 70mph. and street helmets will suffocate you when playing pick up bikes. I use goggles with my dual sport helmet and I can see in the heavy rain and fog.

heated grips are a must I don't care how tough you are. an some kind of windshield. but not too tall. and if you get a tank bag get a small one or it WILL hit you in the balls when standing. giant loop is very popular amongst us for luggage.

you also need to get a small air compressor and enough tire irons to change a tube in the middle of nowhere. you lower tire pressure for long off road runs.

and get actual knobbies dunlop606 mt63's 50/50 tires are dangerous for n00bs
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:33 PM   #4
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Get out and ride with experienced riders.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213831

Take more training. Even professional need coaching.

You can't learn from a book if you can't apply the theory from the book correctly. And you need someone who knows what "right" looks like.
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:32 PM   #5
Scott_PDX
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I bought that book when I first started riding and found it helpful if you are really green to the sport. He's got a companion video as well that has some good drills, though they are a little centered to where he rides (high desert).

Tillmook/OHV Trails will be MUCH more challenging than riding the WBDR. I wouldn't ride with experienced Motorcrossers on trails until you have a couple 1000 dirt miles underneath you - unless you are young and have rubbery bones.

If you can find someone to ride the WBDR with you, that would be good practice. You won't be running the same pace as 4x4's.

You don't NEED a separate helmet or coat to ride offroad, but may find as you ride more, that task oriented gear is helpful. A dual sport helmet will serve you good on both street and dirt, you'll "overwhelm" a FF Road Helmet pretty quickly. Dirt helmets/goggles are great on trails, but suck in the rain. You have riding pants and boots? If not I'd make those a priority, if you are going to ride offroad get some "comfortable" dirt boots, and padded pants. Kneepads over Levi's will work to get you started, but don't skimp on boots.

Riding dirt in summer temperatures is best with a dirt jersey over armor vs. a coat that will get hot. Don't be tempted to ride without gloves, elbow, shoulder and back armor of some kind in addition to the boots and knee pads.

Most of all, just ride the thing. Even if it's only a few hours here and there, the more you ride the more confident you will be. Avoid Interstates, and fast 4 lane arteries as much as you can, too many cars to keep track of. Keep to the speed limit until you know how to stop fast, and practice panic stops.

Relax, you'll be fine, welcome to the "club".
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:09 PM   #6
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Above it was suggested that new tires are in order, which is always solid advice with a small qualification in your case. I assume that the wr has the brigestone 301/302 tire combination, which gets bashed by many, but in fact are a fine street tire, as well as in hardpack and rocky country, where they work fine. You can save a couple hundred bucks and ride them at least thru the summer. They are no good in mud or wet roots, or loose stuff, and the front is the worst offender. I put ~ 2500 miles on the set that came on mine, and went lots of places on them.

It's geared a little high for off pavement work, too, and you can skimp by with a 12 tooth front sprocket and keep your stock chain, or spend some money for a new longer chain and 47 tooth rear sprocket to get to about the same ratio. "Baby head hill" on the wabdr would eat your lunch with the stock gearing, for example.

Just some ideas to conserve bucks until you get some experience.
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Old 08-01-2014, 04:56 PM   #7
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Sorry if I made this thread really generic and made it octopus out.

TL;DR version:

My main question is what order do you do things in? tblume suggested doing the WBDR as the very first trip ever, but wouldn't it be better to work up to that? I guess I'm hoping for a magic numbered list or something to save me from myself (get this, do this, take this course, take this ride...). For instance, the local shop has been good to me, but they wanted to sell me an FMF pipe before I even had a helmet


The rest of it:

Quote:
Originally Posted by tblume View Post
Do the Wabdr before you start commuting; seriously.

Learning curve is steep but the consequences are minimal, your buddies can pack your gear, help you up (after laughing and taking pictures) and you'll have way more fun.
You sure that's a great idea? I'm reasonably willing to do something outside my comfort zone, but being an unprepared idiot who holds up the group and becomes a liability isn't fair to others.
I have some other places to go locally, such as Capitol Forest, which I can do on weekend trips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric n View Post
I think I'm going to need to get an experienced buddy to help pick that out... I want HDB guards, so determining risers and possible different bars seems like a lot of adjustments to get right.

Quote:
dual sport helmets are best. rain hurts at 70mph. and street helmets will suffocate you when playing pick up bikes. I use goggles with my dual sport helmet and I can see in the heavy rain and fog.
Yeah I was having difficulties finding something I liked because I wear glasses with thick frames. I talked to a guy who said I'd probably have two different helmets anyway, so I bought a Shoei Qwest on closeout that fit my glasses like magic.
I'm due for a doc appt. and I'll see about having my spare, thin glasses fitted with new lenses, or look at a cheapo thin Chinese pair... then go helmet shopping again.

Quote:
if you get a tank bag get a small one or it WILL hit you in the balls when standing. giant loop is very popular amongst us for luggage.
Hehe, I'm using an old fanny pack I found in my camping gear. For more stuff, I have a backpack I use instead. I'm eventually thinking one of these racks would be nice since I already have a rotopax I can steal off the truck, and then drop a bag on top.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddaddy View Post
Get out and ride with experienced riders.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213831
I'm watching that. Also saw your Labor Day ride. I probably have plans, but would that be something at my experience level?

Quote:
You don't NEED a separate helmet or coat to ride offroad
  • Road Helmet was frigging expensive so I don't mind a second cheapie beater helmet. I wasn't sure if the coat would get shredded up by stuff.
  • Pants are showing up Tuesday. Until then I'm wearing paintball pants over my jeans
  • I have a very hard time with shoes due to a birth defect causing my right foot to grow larger than normal. If cost was not an issue, I would wear a size 14 shoe with a 4E width on my right foot which might fit, and a normal size 12 on my left foot. As a result, I just make do with size 14 shoes. With boots, I stack or remove liners to soak up some of that extra space. I currently have a pair of Danner Quarry mid-calf steel toe work boots. I compared these to a pair of Gaerne Balance Oiled, and I couldn't figure out what the big benefit would be? I was expecting some sort of heavy ankle support or something that would set it apart from my Danners... am I missing something? (without trying to make this a gear thread, I talked to Revzilla and they suggested TCX would have better fitment.)
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:04 PM   #8
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I will also settle for a personal Mr. Miyagi who I can pay in rice.
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:15 PM   #9
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Before you do much street riding and especially commuting, read "Street Strategies" by Dave Hough.

Welcome and bring me a beer. Stat.
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:27 PM   #10
HellsAlien
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#1 Learn to use the front brake.

#2 Learn to use the front brake.

#3 Learn to use the front brake.

This will save your life. It is the most powerful part of any motorcycle, including superbikes.

"Using" the front brake on a dual sport means learning how to modulate it for different terrains/traction levels. Learning how to ease off the lever is as important as learning how much and when to squeeze it.

Use the front brake to "stop" at signs and red lights on tarmac.

Practice slow, medium and quick stops every time you get on the bike for a while. Be safe, clear the area behind you first. You need to be calibrated to the day's surface: dry/wet/tarsnake/gravel/whatever.

Learn to squeeze it to reduce speed to what you are comfortable with for corner entry. Learn to ease off the lever as you steer into the turn. Then try this on positive and negative camber gravel roads, see what happens.

Leaning over a lot comes later with experience. Experience is what you get 5 seconds after you needed it! Later.

In the dirt, loading the front with the brake before corner entry a)slows you to corner speed you are comfortable with, b)tells you how much traction you have before you get into the turn and fall down, c)loads the tire on the ground, making it possible to steer into the turn with more friction due to load transfer. All this stuff happens real quick, that's part of the "fun."

Look where you want to go. Important. If you want to go to a Buick fender or stump/rock, look at it. If you want to go behind/around it, look there!

I've been at this over 45 years, I teach high performance riding at racetracks. Dual sport dirt is good for that, same habits/reactions at lower speeds, almost as much thrills. The falldowns don't slide out near as far! I'll be out at The Ridge Sun/Mon, drop by for a visit if you want.

You got good equipment, now have fun learning how to use it!
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:19 PM   #11
tblume
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RE: Wabdr first

If you're with a group of 4x4 guys you know, who are going 20-30 mph on faster sections and 10 or less where it's technical; you won't slow them down a bit, I bet you get tired of waiting for them after a couple hours.

Slogging to the trailhead from Oly will be ok if you guys usually convoy, unless they're high speed trucks, then have one haul the bike and you.

Remember:

Have fun
take chances
safety third.

You'll be fine.

edit: how much of that will be shut down for fire related activities?

Good luck
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:53 PM   #12
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Personally, I think biting off the entire WABDR as a noob would be a mistake. If you're not absolutely comfortable riding, you'll be going fairly slowly and the trail will be long, grueling, and you won't likely enjoy it. The guys that are recommending it for a first timer are probably sizzling along at 30+ mph over terrain that you'll be picking your way through at 10 mph. And, you'll be carrying camping gear, more than likely - which will also be a new experience.

What I could recommend though, is to pick out a beginner friendly portion of the trail - say, the Ellensberg-Cashmere section, with current detours. Take a couple of days to do that, camp out at Lion Rock, and enjoy the deteriorated, paved, Old Blewitt Pass Highway section. This would give you an authentic dual sport experience without beating you to death on your first outing.
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:42 PM   #13
tblume
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http://advrider.com/forums/showpost....postcount=2399

Goooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

take the easy ways if you feel out of your element; however, wr250r is as light and capable a bike as they come.
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chickenmunga View Post

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=998539

I'm watching that. Also saw your Labor Day ride. I probably have plans, but would that be something at my experience level?
Come out and ride Saturday, Camp the night. You can always do more or call it a day. I bet you will learn some more.
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chickenmunga View Post
I have a very hard time with shoes due to a birth defect causing my right foot to grow larger than normal. If cost was not an issue, I would wear a size 14 shoe with a 4E width on my right foot which might fit, and a normal size 12 on my left foot. As a result, I just make do with size 14 shoes. With boots, I stack or remove liners to soak up some of that extra space. I currently have a pair of Danner Quarry mid-calf steel toe work boots. I compared these to a pair of Gaerne Balance Oiled, and I couldn't figure out what the big benefit would be? I was expecting some sort of heavy ankle support or something that would set it apart from my Danners... am I missing something? (without trying to make this a gear thread, I talked to Revzilla and they suggested TCX would have better fitment.)
That is a unique situation. Nothing compares to a good set of Motorcross boots.
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