How fast do you run on gravel roads ?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Hawk62cj5, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    They will do this for 1 ride.....Then you will not get invited to go with them again. Better learn to not be afraid and ride a decent pace. Gravel varies all over the place and is nothing to fear. They go 140 mph on the Springfield mile:clap.Out in the West here you might ride 140 miles of gravel and at 50 mph it will take a long time to finish your ride at even that pace. If you ride 30 instead of 50 you will be in the desert at dark and will be "that guy". Lost? Need a warmer jacket? Bike prep has a lot to do with it. You can sightsee at 50 just like you can at 30.
    #61
  2. SidewinderX

    SidewinderX Hey, watch this!

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    Depends completely on the bike and the road conditions.

    My best gravel traveller was my KTM 990R. She was unbelievably stable at 120mph on gravel. I did it multiple times on mountain gravel roads in the Wilson Creek area. It was truly a hoot but you better have it pointed in the right direction and be ready to slide around corners. I can understand why the Dakar racers can hit such high speeds on this style bike. It is just an experience that you must have to be able to appreciate. I actually hit really high speeds by accident the first time. I was searching for traction in 3rd pinned out of corners so I was running a gear or two high in order to lug the motor down in hopes of less wheel spin. I came out of a corner in 4th sideways and the rear caught traction, in a quick blink I looked down and was doing 90mph. I remember thinking, "This is really stable and feels very natural". It is no problem hitting over 100mph on those bikes. The only problem is finding enough traction to propel you that fast.

    My KTM 690R was next up but would only hit @ 100.

    My current GSA would be lucky to hit 70 or so. Just to much bulk to sling around plus the ABS kills any real fun.
    #62
  3. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    I've been on an opposite situation. I was invited to ride with an established group. They alternated leaders for each segment, stopped, chatted, checked maps and then appointed a new leader for the next segment and so it went. After a couple of rides I would get inpatient with all the talking and map checking and would ask them the new direction, and would tell them I would wait for them on the next intersection. Also, if one of them took off as the leader, after riding for a mile or two behind that usually slower rider, I was eating their dust, I would pass the guy and take over the lead. Eventually some of them, one in particular, started whining and complaining about me passing them and not willing to alternate leaders. It created a problem on their dynamic, I stopped riding with them. But I still ride with the few of them who did not mind my riding and they were the faster ones.

    Also I've ridden once with guys that are a lot faster than me. It happened one time and I decided to pass other offers with situations like that. I really do not want to have people wait for me. I do not mind not resting, but am definitely not comfortable with people waiting for me.

    Bottom line: find a group that is compatible or that at least is understanding of your interests. If you are interested in sight seeing, there are plenty of riders that enjoy that. If you like speed, find your group, there is plenty of riders that enjoy fast rides. Of course, there is the middle ground.
    #63
  4. Wingfixer

    Wingfixer Watch this...

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    Yer gonna hafta define a "bit" slower. I've followed you on dirt roads! :deal
    #64
  5. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    I haven't followed the sidecar rig yet but he is plenty fast without it.
    #65
  6. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    70mph on my F800GS is the top I've managed. I saw some professional riders manage 100 on the same section.
    #66
  7. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    76 mph per the GPS in the middle of Nevada. I like to see far enough ahead to determine whats coming up and still have the ability to slow/stop if it turns out to be a cliff.
    #67
  8. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    I rode the Dempster in the 4th and 5th gear of my KTM 950. Probably topped 85mph a few times, but generally around 65-70.

    I rode the big empty in Wyoming between South Pass and Rawlins on my yamaha wr250r at about 60mph.

    The mountain pass along the CDR into NM was more like 35 or so. Very twisty with babyheads and through the trees.

    The Denali Highway in 2010 was run about 70mph with little bursts to 80.

    The Yam cruised the Pony Express route in Utah at about 50mph and got a whopping 70mpg doing it! It was a good thing too...

    My speed depends on the surface, sight lines and runoff. I like a spirited enough pace to be fun, but I don't want to hurt myself either. Whatever the road will give me with confidence, I'll take. I use good tires, though. I don't want the front skipping on me at those speeds.

    Son has a helmet cam filming his Mexican 1000 aboard a KTM 350 last spring. Blasting across the playa at 96mph pinned. Right across sandy ruts and wheel tracks from other vehicles. Unbelievable! ....Then Robbie Gordon comes by at a buck thirty in his Humbuggy through the pucker bushes. Jeepers... :eek1
    #68
  9. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    THIS ^^^^

    Have fun and ride to the conditions.
    #69
  10. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Hey, being "that guy" isn't as bad as some serious gravel rash! :eek1

    As was said, the road dictates what happens. I've been on some limestone that allowed 50-60 and one time was on a road that had been graded and the thick heavy loose gravel/dirt was hazardous at 20. It all depends.
    #70
  11. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    Very fast road.

    [​IMG]

    The bike's speedo indicated 80mph. But the GPS told me a different story.

    [​IMG]

    Still, not bad at all. Oh yes, it was a bit windy.
    #71
  12. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    I'm happy at 65-70 on most gravel surfaces on my DR350, but if it gets like marble gravel and it starts rolling around, I get panicky really easy. I'm a long-time street rider, not really used to uncertain traction.
    #72
  13. blkhrt81

    blkhrt81 Been here awhile

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    Depends a lot on the bike, on the same roads, good maintained gravel, I can break 100 mph on a Daytona 1200. On the same roads I don't go much over 60 with the Bonneville or the Scrambler, the Sprint ST took a little getting used too but now I can comfortably break 70 with it.
    This is all on dry road with a clear sight line, the other side of how fast you can go, is how fast you can stop. Braking on gravel is very different than braking on pavement.
    #73
  14. fifthcircle

    fifthcircle Beer Knurd

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    Bike. Tires. Road conditions.

    I used to ride gravel on my v strom. Very slowly. 35mph.

    I added tkc80's. Much better. 50mph.

    I now have a DRZ400. Worlds better. 60+ without the pucker of the big street bike.

    Ride what feels comfortable. The more dirt you ride, the more comfortable you'll get.

    Sent from my fat thumbs on a small touch screen.
    #74
  15. Aj Mick

    Aj Mick Been here awhile

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    How fast I go varies according to the bike and the road.

    I am no speed freak, and prefer byways to highways. Even on sealed roads I seldom exceed 100 km/hr. My present ride is a little 100cc scoot, on which I don't do more than about 75. I grew up riding off road; I had been riding about 4 years before I first encountered a sealed road.

    Riding, to me is more about getting places and enjoying the surroundings than honing and testing my skills as a rider. If I do feel like a bit of a challenge it is more likely to be on gravel than on a sealed road.

    I go about as fast on gravel roads as I do on sealed roads, but I do ride a bit differently. On gravel I hang loose, and anticipate well ahead, and am gentle with my braking or manoeuvring inputs.
    #75
  16. preppypyro

    preppypyro Been here awhile

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    I grew up on a farm and all we had was gravel roads. My very first bike was a yamaha 100 cc 2 stroke street bike. All my friends had dirt bikes, three wheelers, or quads. Not knowing better as a kid i used to drive as fast as I could with that street bike, and i attribute how comfortable I am on gravel to that.

    I drive gravel every day in the summer commuting to work and back, about 40kms a day every day, and many times I take the scenic route home adding double that.

    On my xt600 I run kenda k270's, and I drive 110 km/h all the time. Mud slows me down though, and when the road has been freshly graded I usually slow down to 100. When the road has that worn down tire tracks in it, I drive as fast as the bike will go. That bike is nice and light, seems to handle great on the gravel

    On my 950 supermoto I run michelin pilot 2's (pretty fat rear tire 180/55-17, with 17 front tire) and I usually run 120 on that bike. The front is a little "jumpier" regarding the steering on the gravel, but Im sorta thinking thats cause my tires are in need of replacing. Mud slows this bike down alot. This bike is also pretty light and seems to handle really good on the gravel, I think its better then my xt.

    This year Im going to try the pirelli scorpions or the continental trail attacks (or trail attack 2's if they come out in time) and Im hoping the Sm will feel right at home with a new set of skins on it.
    #76