I think I need some technique help...950 ADV in the gravel

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by Lobster, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. Lobster

    Lobster Been here awhile

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    I've been the proud owner of a 2006 950 ADV I bought last fall from an inmate here. Life is busy, but I've still managed about 1000 miles on it so far.

    All my old bikes (save the dirt bikes, of course) were totally pavement only rides. Now I have this monster and love screaming around all the gravel roads here in Militiagan. But it is these gravel roads which also scare me.

    Most of these roads are not dirt...far from it. They are hard packed gravel with lots of little stones or "marbles" on top. I can't help but feel like the front is going to simply slide out from underneath me if I give the bike any kind of lean in a turn...scares the hell out of me. A wiggly rear end I can handle...(pun intended! :D)

    So, what's the best technique for cornering on gravel? I'll be up at CJs later this summer and hopefully can do some learning there as well.

    PS I still have the stock Scorpion up front...which I assume is likely not helping...so any recommendations for a new front would be great. Thanks!
    #1
  2. Shunka

    Shunka Supervision Required

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    Where you at in MI? I'm gonna be there the entire month of July with my 06 950. Maybe we can tackle them together? I'm comfortable in sand and I can't imagine gravel being much different. Let me know.
    #2
  3. Junglerot

    Junglerot Hodor!

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    :photog
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  4. Shunka

    Shunka Supervision Required

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    :ear Enlighten me then.

    In my experience it's all about relaxing and letting the bike do what it wants. You have to be comfortable off pavement with letting the bike move and slide a bit. Till you accept that you are making things hard on yourself.

    There are lots of gravel on hard pack here in socal but I don't think that is the type of surface he is talking about having grown up there.

    http://www.openroadjourney.com/articles/110_2.asp

    Link says it better than I can.
    #4
  5. geometrician

    geometrician let's keep going...

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    There's a lot to be said for front tire choice when riding in gravel. Some tread patterns just don't work worth a damn, at which point you need some skill to make up for it.

    Front tires like Kenda Big Block, Continental TKC/Twinduro, Dunlop D606, Pirelli Scorpion Rally, seem to work better than the Pirelli Scorpion AT's that come on the bikes stock. YMMV

    suspension setup rewards in this case as well...
    #5
  6. Balsta

    Balsta Been here awhile

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    I guess Swedish gravel roads may be similar to those in Michigan, at least climate is similar.
    Yes, stock Scorpion is a horrible gravel tire.
    Very good is Pirelli Scorpion Rally (which can be used also for riding tarmc)
    Somewhat worse than the "Rally" but still better than stock are Michelin T63, Continental TKC80 and Metzler Karoo (without "T"). Needless to say, these three are somewhat better (just somewhat though) than "Rally" on tarmac.
    Go get a proper gravel compromize tire and you'll have a much better time racing those roads! but still fun on tarmac.
    #6
  7. Locker43

    Locker43 Adventurer

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    Dry gravel marbles, tires won't make a difference. Try going out in a lite rain and it will be a different world. Dry is quite fun and doable at a good pace but it's all about body position/footpeg pressure. Try some wet stuff, get the feel and progress from there.
    #7
  8. Whip

    Whip Onward through the fog

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    The technique for riding on loose stuff is totally different than pavement riding. On pavement you transfer your weight to the inside to initiate a turn. On gravel you do the opposite. Put our weight to the outside and keep your body positioned perpendicular to the ground by moving the bike under your body and counter weighting it to keep it balanced.

    Watch what not to do.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45hRTsXZ5yM


    Ewen drops his inside shoulder and the bike takes his lead driving him into the ground.


    Then watch the next few minutes as they move their weight to the outside again.



    Have Fun?


    Where in Michigan?


    I still have a Lake House outside Port Hope.


    #8
  9. Balsta

    Balsta Been here awhile

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    ?????
    Why then does the stock feels like being on ice on dry gravel while the Scorpion Rally almost feels like braking on tarmac?
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  10. Shunka

    Shunka Supervision Required

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    I agree. Tires help a lot. I put a Heidenau K60 Scout on the front and it made a world of difference over the stocker for me. MEFO out back and its a blast sliding around the hard pack out here :ricky With the stockers on I was uneasy just like the OP.
    #10
  11. Deviant666

    Deviant666 Been here awhile

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    The body does nothing to initiate a turn...it should just follow what your countersteering does, which is leaning towards the inside of a turn. The turn is always initiated by countersteering....no weight on pegs or any other myths....there's a nice video on youtube that clears it up pretty nicely....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?nomobile=1&v=HWH_QiXw5n4

    on loose stuff first thing you gotta do is look ahead for thicker gravel, plan your lines with as much less leaning as possible. You can use your momentum to take a turn with your brakes or use your throttle to place your tail where you want it to be....for starters I'd go easy not only in terms of speed but also in terms of location. Try practicing in wider roads with speeds that you feel comfortable, then start experimenting with brakes and throttle. See how she behaves and you're already at the next level...

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  12. mickd

    mickd crash test dummie

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    put a tyre on like a 606 that will help for a start,and the best all round way on/off road is get all your braking done b4 the corner then use the power around the corner,use this in sand,mud loose gravel etc etc

    only my 2 cents worth:evil
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  13. KTMSER

    KTMSER Big bike friendly

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    Wow do you even ride off road? :huh There is so much wrong with that first paragraph I don't know where to start..
    #13
  14. Deviant666

    Deviant666 Been here awhile

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    Read to whom my post was refering to. The guy was talking about street riding not offroad...
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  15. Sporting Wood

    Sporting Wood I

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    And lock up the rear, break tractin and kick the rear out so ya can steer with the throttle!

    That place still need a remodel??
    #15
  16. Whip

    Whip Onward through the fog

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    Not relevant to the discussion.

    But you decided it was.

    30 years of track days, thousands of hours racing, two track day schools and a hundred track days have taught me to set up to the inside of every corner before I begin counter steering. If you want to say technically I did not transfer my weight to start the turn, you are prolly right. All the same, move your weight to the inside before you begin the turn you will be a better rider.


    But again, I thought we were trying to help a man ride on gravel not have a Code vs Pridmore discussion.


    :1drink
    #16
  17. Whip

    Whip Onward through the fog

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    And lock up the rear, break tractin and kick the rear out so ya can steer with the throttle!

    That would help.

    That place still need a remodel??


    Yup, you ready for a road trip yet?


    :ear
    #17
  18. Deviant666

    Deviant666 Been here awhile

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    What you said was wrong and I pointed it out....is THAT wrong? Rumours about this and that doesn't help a confused rider in any case, on-road or off-road...that's how I saw it relevant....
    #18
  19. Night Falcon

    Night Falcon Tiger Tamer

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    I found these videos helpful. You really cant compare tarmac based riding techniques when riding off road or gravel for the simple reason one surface is stable and other is loose :D an obvious but seemingly overlooked fact by some folks :deal

    http://www.dualsportriding.com/
    #19
  20. Uller

    Uller Long timer

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    I don't have Ned's videos so I can't comment on them however, I do have an Enduro riding technique video from Shane Watts.

    One of his first couple of practice suggestions is to find a smooth, flat dirt or gravel road and ride along at around 5 mph while standing up and in the "attack" position. You grab/release the front brake causing it to lock up.

    As you keep doing this you are trying to skid the front tire for longer and longer durations as your balance gets better and you get more comfortable having the front slide out on you.

    It very much helps you understand the feeling of loosing the front tire and how to position your body weight to catch and correct it.
    #20