New bike, bad tires and a learning curve I've overshot

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by leftshark, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. leftshark

    leftshark Been here awhile

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    Got myself a lava orange f800gs. Loving it all round. Coming off a KLR600 which was used like it should be, with open disregard for safety and physics. New bike has Shinko 705's on it. Nice road tire but the idea that 20% off road portion of this tire is anything more than crossing your lawn on the way to the road is a joke. Anything remotely soft or deep and this is terrifying. front end feels like it is omnidirectional and any throttle at all leaves a cloud of dust and sideways movement. Granted I am new to the available horsepower. More used to the full power or full brake sort of riding. But I am excited to mount my new set of TKC. Had them on the klr and loved them. All this being said, any tips for the aggressive rider on the heavyweight off roader? KLR was heavy the hp was more subdued and the fear of wrecking it seemed lower. Tips for exercises in the gravel pit to help with the transition?
    Thanks
    #1
  2. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fartografist

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    Actually the Shinko 705 is considered, oddly- a 75-25.

    You beat yourself out of that extra 5%.... :evil

    I put some on my KLR 650 about 1,500 miles ago, and like em for street and gravel roads. Couple times I asked it to climb a little goat trail off road and thought they were OK for occasional dirty-duty, but nothing too aggressive. Great road tire, mine don't care about rain or tar snakes as of yet. Cheap as hell too.

    I am watching to see how many miles they go, and they may stay on my "I would get em again" list if they last 4500 miles or so.
    #2
  3. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    Its funny that you don't think that the 705s are a capable off road tire. While other issues are probably going to prevent me from mounting up another set, I've always found them to be a more than capable dirt tire. In fact, I was out with a buddy today, and he has 705s on his Wee Strom. I have to give him credit...he handled the deep mud, water crossings and technical sections of the trail very well.

    Me, on the other hand, chose a bad line and tipped over in the mud. With TKC80s.

    It ain't the bike, it ain't the tires. Its the RIDER.
    #3
  4. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fartografist

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    Well put sir.
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  5. leftshark

    leftshark Been here awhile

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    I will accept my portion of the blame. Have not tried the tire on hard trail or in the mud. I was in silty dirt and sand. I have a hard time believing that the tire did not contribute to my overall difficulties. Bad technique, sure. New to the bike, oh yeah. Scared, um.... no. But all that being said, any tire can take you anywhere, guys have travelled me world on street tires and little 250's, but to all you purists, I would say, why? I ca ride in sand with the skinko's. I can do mud, I can do trail. Bu why would I want to fight with the bike or heaven forbid slow down, when there is rubber our there that allows me to ignore these limitations.
    #5
  6. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    Pretend it is a 500lb KLR and ride faster. I thought mine was a grown up KLX, until I rode it. It does not tolerate timid riders.

    All my laydowns have occured because I was apprehensive about the weight. Gas and go applies, because it generally goes where you point it.

    Once you got the basics, riding is more mental than physical.
    #6
  7. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    I don't know what to tell you. I've put over 25,000Km on Shinko's in the past two years, all on a DL1000 V-Strom. I've taken the bike in places it should never have gone. Multiple times. I've never fought, or felt limited by the tire. I find sand, no matter what tire, a pain in the ass to ride in. But generally, I don't slow down, (occasionally, I may fall down) but compared to my experience with TKC80s (being left stranded in Labrador) I have found them to be a more than adequate tire. I'm not trying to be ball buster here, but every picture above was achieved while riding on Shinko 705s.

    The Wee in the mudhole picture handled the mud much better than my TKC did today - I couldn't put the bike in a straight line to save my life, but the lesser experienced rider had no problem with his tires and a less off-road capable bike.

    Give the tires a chance...really. You can't beat them for the price.
    #7
  8. TowPro

    TowPro Lets ride

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    another vote for the 705's.
    I laughed when you talked about riding across your yard, they suck in wet grass :evil.
    I ride about 50/50 unimproved road / black top. Work good for both location for me.
    I also would not want to run them in deep mud, but I do see slime coat on some of the dirt roads early in the morning and they seem to at least be predictable.
    I am about to put on my 2nd rear.

    But I would not run them on my Dirt Bike :deal
    #8
  9. s1marks

    s1marks Mercedes

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    Dry Mud. Different from thick wet Mud

    Don't mean to bust your balls either but....Shinko 705 great in dry Mud (just like concrete - pic1 & 2) not much better than a street tire when mud is real slimey or an inch or more thick. If it had been raining a lot more in pic 5, shinko 705 would have had lot more trouble. (Nice dry stretches of mud between little bit of wet mud no count:D).

    I ride Shinko 705's on my 1150 GS all the time and I think they are a GREAT tire, I don't do serious mud in them (inch or more thick) I have smaller bikes for that.

    The 705 will serve you well over dry gravel (as in pic 4). They'll do well over coarser stuff too.

    I think to the OP, my advice is differnet. Don't try and bust your balls on day one with your new Bike. Learn it, feel how it behaves. It'll be different from a KLR, it will likely be a lot less forgiving when needed to brake quickly etc. It takes time and lots of practice to ride a bigger bike like that well and IMHO it is a different skill from handling a smaller bike. (Not that I am an expert at either).

    The Shinko 705 is a great compromise for your bike, really good on pavement & dry gravel. If you really want to hit wet gravel and/or mud TKC's will serve you better.

    S1
    #9
  10. officerleroy

    officerleroy Been here awhile

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    Ya, get up over the front of it. The throttle is your friend.:norton
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  11. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    This is the deep, wet, soupy mud hole we went through this morning. Superior handling from the 705s. Just sayin'

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    #11
  12. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

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    I have rode um all... this year and from now on...705's for me and all me riding buddies are going that way too!
    good it dirt? hell yet....
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    #12
  13. leftshark

    leftshark Been here awhile

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    C-stain. After review of your picture I believe I have found the cause of our difference of opinion. I would agree the terrain you show there would be fine with the shinko. Not ideal but fine. My idea of off road is somewhat more treacherous. A lot of quad trail and single track. Gravel hills and whooped out sand trails. Not to disrespect that terrain, loads of fun. But that looks mostly like what takes me to my trails.
    As for the man who says ride over the front end, is that right? I was always told to throttle up and lean back to get the weight off the front end and ride it through
    #13
  14. leftshark

    leftshark Been here awhile

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    And on a side note. Love the skinkos on the road. Just not as an all terrain tire. Great value and pretty smooth for something I can sometimes ride on the gravel
    #14
  15. 3Rrr

    3Rrr Read Ride Reflect recycle

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    Try a Shinko 700 front - much cheaper than the TKC. Have held up good for me even on the road (with the bike loaded) and riding fairly aggressively through some twisties. I ran a 705 on the rear and it performed well. Had a 700 front and 705 rear last year in Moab for the Adventure Rider Challenge 2011. Lots of deep sand, water crossings with some (not lots), but some mud sections. Pretty good combo, especially if aired down. I got a set of 705's and a 700 front on sale, delivered for under 125 total.

    That said, I did just put on my first Scout K60 on the back to try out. I burned through the 705 on the rear quickly and wanted to see how the K60 did on mileage for my riding style and terrain.

    Happy riding.
    #15
  16. s1marks

    s1marks Mercedes

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    Agree, that is a bit more like it. A lot of that sort of stuff and I have to think that TKC's are better suited. When that gets a lot wetter it will be hell to get through with the Shinko's, they're going to slide all over. I know at any sort of speed at all I'd feel more comfortable on TKC's.

    Also, meant to say to the OP. On the bigger bike, 'Stand Up', I'm sure you do that a lot on smaller bikes in the gnarly stuff, but it will help you to get the feel of the bigger machine, particularly if you are doing that in the drier more compact stuff for long period. IMHO it's a good way to get to learn the bike.

    S1
    #16
  17. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

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    Good points.

    If you watch that Touratech video with the pro rider and the sand tyre, watch it in slow motion and you'll see he hits the throttle just prior to turning, and he tends to hold the bike a little more upright and actually "steer" until the front end starts to bite. Once he has the traction he starts to tip in more. Sort of "body in, bike out" style.

    Reminds me of MX and slippery berms a little.

    It seems to work with the weight and balance of the F800.

    I notice far less instances of the front wheel seeming to push out from under me.

    Technique is everything, and everything is technique. At least that's what one of my Warrant Officers used to yell at me while throwing grenade simulators at me.
    #17
  18. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    IMHO - you need a bike that's not an F800. I'll admit, my pics show what is fairly even level, gravel terrain. It does get a little bit more gnarly, with some small baby heads and stuff. And I've ridden both my Vee and my F800 through it. However, if you're looking for a bike to do technical single track and quad trails, you'd probably be better off with an G450X for something...
    #18
  19. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    Most of my summer riding in the hood, looks like this: Hard pack with an overlay of gravel. A tire like a Shinko actually works better than a semi knobby, at least on the rear. Knobbys made the bike skittish. My theory, more contact area.

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    Some times you have to much of a good thing, especially if there is a hill involved. Knobbys work better.

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    They also work better in soft snow
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    In sticky mud, nothing works well


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    The point is the bike is capable of it, if you are having problems, it is probably you more than the tires.

    I think the bike is designed for a stand up rider in order to weigh the front tire. The front is light 47 vs 53% according to http://www.mcnews.com/mcn/features/2011AugTriBMW.pdf, more if you are a sit down rider. Various ways to fix that. More preload on the rear, slip the tubes up 1/2" or some combination of both. Irritating, but if you weigh over 185lbs, respring it.

    Snowy is right about turns, stock set up and the bike runs wide and the front won't hook up unless you are over the tank. Set up or mods compensate to some extent.

    It will not tolerate backing off the throttle in really deep/loose conditions. In sand, silt, and deep gravel it will go where it wants, unless you apply some throttle. Don't grab a fistful, just enough to accelerate. In sand you want to get it up to planing speed. How fast, depends on the type, depth, wet or dry, it differs. The only constant is you need more speed than a lighter bike.

    There is merit in learning to ride on a smaller bike, but it still a different skill set involved. It is a tall heavy bike, you not going to horse it around unless your name is Schwarzenegger. There is a relearning curve. Practice, once you have confidence in it, it is quite capable.

    I personally don't see enough difference in tire brands to make me any better rider. They either got knobs or they don't. If they do, the ones that have longer knobs more widely spaced hook up better in loose stuff. Maybe that is why I spoon on different ones all the time, searching for that perfect tire.

    I think TKC's are a compromise tire. A brand I keep going back to, because if you are truly on adventure, who knows what the terrain will look like?
    #19
  20. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

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    Throttle control, and the effect on the bike as a whole was brought home to me the other weekend.

    I got about 40 mins up a steep, muddy and rock strewn fire trail, and I was fairly focussed on staying upright, when I realised that I had about 10 mins of smooth red clay/very steep section to climb out of it all. Lots of rain over the preceding 2 weeks meant it was going to be acres of fun.

    I thought over the sense of turning back, plotted the length of the detour in my mind, looked at the fuel gauge, recalculate, extrapolate, fudge factor.....oh shit. OK then, lets get on with it.

    On the climb out I used everything I've learned about keeping a big fat skaty bike upright on smooth wet steep red clay.

    The E07 rear has nearly 9000km on it and about 6mm tread depth left at the centre. The Pirelli Scorpion MT90AT on the front is about 4000km old and in fairly good condition.

    It was all throttle control. At times it wouldn't turn and I was on and off the throttle searching for the right amount of load on the front, trying to stay upright, trying not to stall at really low revs in 2nd as I searched for more torque. It gets a bit funky when you are fast running out of track coming into hairpin turns. Downshift to 1st and wheelspin to a stop.

    The only surface I've ridden on that was worse is frozen red clay. That hurt. I think my friend recorded 5 face plants from me on the BMW that morning.Plus, 3 stall and falls while climbing over snow covered logs. 1 cross rut and face plant in a frozen puddle when the ice broke half way across. 1 slide off track into bush at the bottom of a long descent with an off camber right hand hairpin. It gets old fast. I was getting very cranky. One second upright...the next second on face.

    I've found that knobbies make very little difference on this type of surface.

    BMW and snow riding isn't something that you should "just go and have a crack at". You need to learn a little more about big heavy bikes and limited traction first. It doesn't snow here much. Thankfully. I've done it 2 up and I am still amazed by how completely wrong it can go and how fast it goes wrong. Try doing a 360 when you are 2 up with gear rolling along the track at about 50 kph. See what that does for your heart rate. See what that does for the knee you had a reconstruction on when you slap the foot on the ground and take all the weight while dragging your boot sideways. My wife insisted I stop IMMEDIATELY. I couldn't. I had dislocated my knee and my boot was dragging along the ground next to the bike. It didn't tickle. Took a while to fix. I was a tad worried, as I couldn't get off the bike, couldn't really stop with the load I had on. I stood up on my left leg and let the right hang and jiggle until it seemed to fix itself. It didn't hurt as much, but it still hurt like crazy.


    You ride along and you think, "yep, I've got it all under control" and then it suddenly just spins around and around and everything you do has the exact opposite effect. You realise that you never had control at all. It's an illusion. You are always that fine line away from failure when there's ice and snow in the equation. But I suppose some of you Northern Hemisphere types already know that.

    Ahhhh....ridiculously heavy fully loaded bikes and frozen dirt roads....what's not to love?

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    This is pretty much most fire trails within 500km of my front door. There's a few of them. Unfortunately the Forestry workers use red clay as the base and cover it with gravel that ranges from 1/2 inch ball bearing stuff, to base ball and even house brick sized stuff in the really wet spots.

    Long steady gradients tend to end up as smooth red clay wheel ruts. Then winter comes. Not so good.
    #20