Lessons Learned from the 2017 PBR

Discussion in 'The Sandbox - AKA Flatistan' started by microtom, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. microtom

    microtom Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    Oddometer:
    103
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I showed up to this with very little experience. I have ridden bikes for a long time including some dual sports for years but never done a group ride off road. To make things more interesting I am now riding a big adventure bike. My expectations were that this would be a relaxed pace cruise through the woods on fairly solid ground and it probably was for the experienced among us but for a noob it was pretty exciting stuff even in the D group. For me this was more about off road riding at a good pace than it was relaxed touring. I had to step it up to keep up with Kaosrider's relaxed riding on an EXC. That said it was a huge opportunity to improve my riding skills and KR took the time to share his knowledge. So with that I am starting a thread to share lessons learned. Based on the amount of spills and distance covered there should be quite a few things to talk about.

    My biggest challenge was getting comfortable on the big 1190R in the soft and slippery sections. I had fresh TKC80s on my bike and don't think I would have stood a chance on anything with a less aggressive tread. The first wet road had me sliding all over the place. It was not fun with 6 gal of fuel up high and a poor riding style. KR quickly got us out of the saddle and recommended taking some weight off the front wheel (I think...) That helped a lot. Using the peg instead of the bars to steer helped in the sand. Throttle and clutch control helped in soft stuff. And those black culvert crossings were stupidly nerve racking on the big bike at speed but they got better as the day went on.

    I did go down once and the lesson learned was don't look at the rider ahead of you too much. Keep a safe distance and focus on your lines. I got caught watching the rider in front of me dance through soft sand only to find myself in the same stuff and dealing with a low tree branch. I think I grabbed a handful of the front break and lost it immediately. Lesson learned.

    Also we rode through a lot of puddles. Some pretty large and deep. Smaller bikes did a good job going around or cutting the edges but with the big bike I choose to plow right through when it looked like the best option. I think it was the right call because towards the end of the day I tried riding the edge of one only to get spun to the left hard and come out it on the other side of the road. Luckily still on two wheels. Anyways, because of the cold and the previous nights rain I had a layer of Goretex sock on. It probably saved my day because my boots were soaked but my feet stayed dry. Very grateful for that in the cold. I highly recommend these - https://www.amazon.com/Rocky-Mens-11-Gore-Tex-Socks/dp/B00DBLN0NY

    Look forward to hearing from the rest of you.
    #1
  2. motomike14

    motomike14 Thumper Crusader

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    Location:
    Florida
    Using your legs and knees are really key in the sand, or really any form of off-road riding. Squeezing the bike allows you to take pressure off of your hands. Most of your input should come from applying pressure with knees or feet on the pegs.

    When cornering, apply pressure on outside peg, keep knee tight to the bike.

    In soft stuff, keeping front end light is key. Weight back, squeeze the bike, maintain momentum. Sometimes it's better to let the bike "do its thing" when it gets a little squirrelly in the sand. If you start grabbing brakes, you not only lose momentum, but likely you'll dig it or pitch yourself off. Just squeeze with your lower body and as soon as it comes back to you, regain momentum.

    When hitting those really soft or bumpy patches, keep weight back by sliding your feet to ride the peg on the balls of your feet, and try to aim your heels down. It's a technique motocross guys use for big whoops, but find in the sand it helps keep your focus on using knees and inner legs to steer,.

    It's not so much speed in sand, but like I said, momentum. Keeping a constant pace through it or the rut.
    #2
  3. ex250mike

    ex250mike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    731
    My first group ride too. I found riding in the ruts at the back of the pack much harder than riding clean sand solo. Especially on a low powered bike. I probably spent more time WOT Saturday than I have in the past 6 months.

    I also learned that wearing summer gear when its 45 out sucks on the highway.
    #3
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  4. trekkerharry

    trekkerharry Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Pompano Beach, Florida
    Thanks microtom, that's a great idea! Although I wasn't able to join you and the rest on the PBR this year, I'm in a similar situation as you; I've been riding all kinds of bikes on all kinds of roads, but have just recently purchased a very big bike to be taken off road. I call her the BATTLESHIP. :rofl:rofl:rofl
    So, a few weeks ago I took her out on the Apollo adventure ride and although I had the time of my life, I went down about 10 times the first day in a 4 mile stretch of deep (I mean d e e p) sand and then only 3 more times the next day in tight winding forest trails.
    So here are my lessons (controversial, I admit) learned:
    1. Don't look down while riding through sand
    2. Stay further back on your pegs when riding sand. Keep the front light.
    3. rest, when tired
    4. When it says "not recommended for bikes above 600cc", listen!
    5. Leave your ego at home
    6. know your skill level and try to improve on it
    7. fear only fear itself
    8. live to ride another day
    My conclusion is that deep sand is not for big bikes or noobs on big bikes. No news flash here! The question is, are you adventurous enough to test your mettle?
    #4
  5. trekkerharry

    trekkerharry Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Pompano Beach, Florida
    ...and most important lesson for big bike adventurers: don't ride alone! That is unless you're very experienced or planning on picking up that 600lbs hunk of steel and plastic by yourself a lot.
    I'm just saying....
    #5
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  6. Colemanfu

    Colemanfu King of all manfu

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    Don't fall asleep by the camp fire, just sayin. :deal
    #6
  7. motomike14

    motomike14 Thumper Crusader

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    Florida
    And don't cry by your bike!
    #7
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  8. jaydee1445

    jaydee1445 Footpeg Crash Tester

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    Location:
    high sided into the orange grove
    Unless you like red fingernails and dildos and Bulls-eyes drawn on you chest.:photog
    The only advice I got as a sand nOOb on the 950 was when in doubt just gas it.:kurt
    #8
  9. motomike14

    motomike14 Thumper Crusader

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    Florida
    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #9
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  10. roadking99

    roadking99 semper fi aka The Big Rooster

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
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    Location:
    St. Augustine
    Remember.....every motorcycle is a dirt bike.....some are just better than others.
    #10
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  11. DTDowning

    DTDowning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2016
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    139
    Location:
    The Island, TX
    RoadKing I like your style... My father pitching his Softail Custom may have a different opinion.
    #11
  12. GasGas Steve

    GasGas Steve n00b

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    Oct 27, 2015
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    Ft Lauderdale,Fl
    Hey Microtom. Thought I d share. I was there on the Yam 250WRR behind Kaosriders Wife or Girl Friend on her Yam XT225 I got to say , you did an admirable job wrestling that big KTM over those what ever they were humps on the forest roads. I had to get past you though quz that KTM got pretty wide on those humps. I rode the day before on my 350 Beta RR on the small bike route thru miles of deep sugar sand and I was very happy to be on a bike weighing around 260 with fuel on board on Fri. We missed or leader at the start and rode with the gpx files on our IPhone mounted to the handle bar. Trust me , it is a lot easier to have a person like Kaosrider showing the way rather than trying to find your way and staying upright. It was a great time and I really enjoyed or D ride on Sat and all the cool people that attended and got us together. Steve File_000.jpeg
    #12
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