Prospective ADV rider, off-roading in CT?

Discussion in 'Northeast - Greater Flugistan and home of the carp' started by bmwpowere36m3, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. bmwpowere36m3

    bmwpowere36m3 Adventurer

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    Hello, I wanted introduce myself and learn of opportunities for off-roading in Connecticut. I'm located in Fairfield County and I've always been passionate about cars and bikes. I remember when I was younger, there was nothing more I wanted than a dirt bike or quad... sadly those dreams never came true for a variety of reasons (parents & lack of nearby places to ride). So I filled my obsession with cars, all kinds of cars, and track days.

    Eventually I got a motorcycle (cruiser) and have been street riding for the past few years. So now I'm torn as to what kind of bike to get next... I've always wanted a sport bike and more recently a dual-sport. I know I'll end up getting a sport bike at some point in time, but I'll be honest after watching some motorcycle adventure documentaries (especially long way round & down) I've got this burning desire to do some off-roading and adventure riding (kind of fulfill that childhood dream of riding in the dirt).

    My concern before I jump off the deep-end is if its realistic for me in my situation. As far as I know in CT, the only public places open for off-roading are Pachaug State Forest & Thomaston Dam. I just wanted to know what's around as far as trails, dirt/gravel roads, single tracks, etc... Thanks!
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  2. Hurricane Bob

    Hurricane Bob formerly: Bomber1965

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    Well, one of the standard answers is not to reveal top secret riding spots on public forums. Due to them being over used/shut down.:bueller

    Private message some locals or just get a $1000 beater bike and hit up a few runs with the locals, you'll find out everything you need to know.



    ....and fill out your profile.:*sip*
    #2
  3. bmwpowere36m3

    bmwpowere36m3 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the advice, so I'm assuming not many "legal" riding places... unless people just don't want to share they're riding locations (which I understand). Part of the problem, is I don't know anyone actively involved in off-roading and the people I know stick to the streets. I just want to know whether it's worth doing if there are enough places to ride. If I have to travel for hours to do some off-roading, then I can only enjoy that when I have more time (weekends or vacations) so I might not be able to enjoy it as often as I'd like (making the purchase of dual-sport bike not a great value in my opinion, when I can get a sport touring and ride it on any paved road).
    #3
  4. 8gv

    8gv Long timer

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    I really don't know much about your side of the state but...

    If you want to do some dual sport riding there's plenty to be had.

    Start in Winsted CT and follow the TMAT (Tans Mass Trail) to Greenfield MA. From there, follow the PDR (Puppy Dog Route) through VT up to Troy VT, close to the Canadian border. You can then go east across northern VT, NH and Maine.

    Or...

    Trailer or ride to Duncannon in central PA. Pick up the TET there and ride it through MD, VA, WV and beyond to GA and FL.

    Or...

    Ride the TAT (Trans America Trail) all the way to Oregon.

    As for singletrack riding. It's not as easy to find as it was 40 years ago but neither is getting chased by the cops.:wink:

    The BTR (Berkshire Trail Riders) put on several good events each year.

    All this can be found in threads here on ADV.

    Now what are you wiring for???:D
    #4
  5. Richklr650

    Richklr650 Been here awhile

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    ok mr bmwpower this is my opinion and only mine always had dirt bikes. well back in 08 i got my first road bike c50 suzuki cruiser was fun for a little while but couldnt go where i wanted to.. sooooooo bought an 09 klx250s d/s to try some dual sport riding ... was having so much fun i bought an 09 klr650.... now even more fun... i could ride where ever i wanted to. i could ride down the street see a dirt road an just take to where ever it went. could head north south east or west and ride the street for miles untill i found more trails and dirt roads... having a blast doing it last feb i picked up a 08 xr650l to add to the collection ... nothing but good fun times meeting up with other d/s riders oh btw sold the zuk now i have the best of both worlds. you can find many folks out here on a d/s find the one you like and go for it. there are plenty of places to ride top secret and not :)
    #5
  6. Richklr650

    Richklr650 Been here awhile

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    p.s. i have met many good people on here and gone on many rides.
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  7. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Transient

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    Welcome to the asylum!

    I recently moved to CT, and have been enjoying some local dirt roads in Litchfield Co. Also many dirt roads in northern Westchester in the North Salem area.

    My thing is just to go out for a ride, and if I see a dirt road, just take as far as it'll go. If it crosses dirt roads, take them. Discovered a ton of roads in Westchester that way.

    There are also lots of dirt roads and woods trails in southern MA, which is not that far away.

    Get a dual sport, you may find you enjoy the handling and quicker steering, even on paved roads, more than your cruiser.
    #7
  8. Apertureguy

    Apertureguy Been here awhile

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    This is what I did for the most part...got on a dual sport bike and looked for them.

    So far I have not been chased or anything and have found some really decent off road locations.

    Keep at it.
    #8
  9. bmwpowere36m3

    bmwpowere36m3 Adventurer

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    Great, I really appreciate the feedback guys... I guess I should just try and find some locals and go for a ride. Maybe can find some willing to ride on this forum that'd be great. What do you guys think of a KLR650 for my first D/S bike? I've read good things about them.
    #9
  10. Richklr650

    Richklr650 Been here awhile

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    i have one...... heavy but goes where i point it ...and a great bike for the twisties
    #10
  11. visovm

    visovm Adventurer

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    Hi,
    I live in northern Westchester and have experienced many of the dirt roads and riding locations several people have talked about in the North Salem area. I could point some of them out, but it would probably be just as effective to go out to this area and ride around. If you want to meet up, I can show you to some of them around here. Heck, maybe I will find some I dont know about or forgot about.

    There is some great riding on private property around here as well, but unless you have permission its a no go. There was a great local spot that a ton of local people used to ride for as long as I can remember (I have lived here for almost 20 years and never had any issues until the last few months of this past summer) Someone put the location on a 4x4 forum and people from NJ, PA, NYC and other areas started to come to the spot. They were riding wheelies on the road, littering all over, and treating the place like crap. Needless to say, the cops came several times and now the land owner is patrolling the property and put huge ass boulders along all the entrances so a dual sport bike could barely squeeze through. Its a real shame and could have been avoided if people would respect the locals, public roads and the property owner. :cry

    The TMT and PDR are excellent if you want to ease into dual sport riding. You can do either one on a 650cc or larger bike and not have any issues. (I did it with my DL650 in the rain for the entire TMT and half the PDR) If you explore around the roads that lead off the TMT and PDR you are sure to find many other legal back roads. The Winsted area of CT at the start of the TMT has some good riding and some local spots that I have heard people down in our area talk about, but I have never been to them.

    I would do what feels right. If you want to try it, get a bike and search this forum for information and people to meet up with. You will get addicted and find out what you really like (or dont) about dual sport riding...than you can take it from there. In fact, my next project is going to be a Suzuki DR650 build up for some adventure riding and eventually a TAT trip.

    Good luck in your search for a bike and for places to ride.:clap
    #11
  12. BificusRex

    BificusRex Been here awhile

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    KLR??? but then you'll be regarded as a cheap S.O.B. and become the butt of countless jokes. J/K (not really)

    A suzuki drz400 would be a good first dual sport bike, but xr's, klr's and the such can be found for reasonable prices as well.

    My next bike (hopefully) will be a drz400 or an xr 650. But maybe if a load of money falls into my lap a ktm adventure bike could become the front runner.
    From my POV I want my next bike to be rideable across CT and all over new england, so a larger bike would make sense. For day long rides and the functions & d/s rides put on by clubs the smaller bikes seem logical.

    Either way, once you start riding on dirt you'll likely forget about that 454 you got because the D/S will be more fun to ride. Good luck with your choice
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  13. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Transient

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    Smaller and lighter bikes are easier to ride on dirt. I've had a KLR650, and found it a bit heavy. Lighter is easier to control in difficult terrain, and easier, naturally, to pick up when you fall, and you will fall if you ride enough.

    It also depends on what you intend to ride. If you're going to stick to dirt roads, the KLR would be fine, same for a Suz. DR650, but if you intend to get into woods trails, a lighter bike like a Suz. DRZ400 or Yam. WR250R would be a better choice.

    Also a couple of very light 250's out there, Yam. XT 225/250 and Kaw Super Sherpa 250 are considered good learning bikes. They're light, but also low. Don't have the high seating position of most dual sports, so a little more confidence inspiring for a new off road rider. They do give up some suspension travel though.
    #13
  14. sjc56

    sjc56 Long timer

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    What all above have said, lots of dirt roads, roads towns no longer maintain, some are such bad shape they are a lot of fun.
    #14
  15. tjzondrz

    tjzondrz Non-Nefarious

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    I have never heard of the TET trail.Would you be kind enough to give me some info?
    Thanks,Tim.
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  16. Hurricane Bob

    Hurricane Bob formerly: Bomber1965

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  17. tjzondrz

    tjzondrz Non-Nefarious

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    Thank you Sir.
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  18. Kainic

    Kainic Almost there

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    I am down in southern CT and not much around here other than unpaved town roads especially Westchester county area.
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  19. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    OP, who is not experienced in off-pavement riding, is called upon to select a bike based on what kind of riding he will be doing. Kind of a "Catch 22" situation.

    KLR is a fine bike for dirt ROADS but can be a chore on actual TRAILS depending on how rought they are. OTOH it is a fine bike for pavement runs to get to the dirt roads.

    DRZ is much better on on actual trails, and fine on dirt roads. Can be iffy for long pavement runs depending on sprockets since it suffers from lack of a 6th gear (or wider ratios in the 5 it has). Stock sprockets are too stiff for actual gnarly trails, but gear it down for trails and it is too buzzy for comfortable highway use.

    DR650 is a bit better in the woods and still not so bad on the highway.

    If OP is mostly going to be on roads and dirt ROADS a KLR is a fine bike. This is the classic dualsport compromise. I have had two DRZs and have a 2012 now, geared WAY down for trails; I only use if for short-range local pavement, but I have always had multiple bikes. If I want to go anywhere that requires much pavement to get there, that's why I have a KTM 990. But OTOH that bike is way to heavy for much in the way of actual trails; I have done it but it is too much work.

    I have often had three bikes just due to the dualsport compromise. Like I've had an Aprilia RXV-550. And a BMW F650 GS. And a V-Strom 1000. And a street legal GasGas 200EC (2-stroke). There is no single dualsport bike that is perfect for all conditions.
    #19
  20. bmwpowere36m3

    bmwpowere36m3 Adventurer

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    So here are my craigslist finds in my area:

    • 2005 KLR650 4k miles $3200
    • 2005 KLR650 25k miles $2100
    • 2003 KLR650 14k miles $2500
    • 2000 KLR650 28k miles $1800
    • 1987 KLR650 $1000
    • 2005 DR650 3k miles $3000
    • 2004 XR650L 2k miles $3200
    • 2002 XR650L 3k miles $Make Offer
    • 2001 XR650L 8k miles $2300
    • 2006 DRZ400S 3k miles $3200
    • 2001 DRZ400S 3k miles $2750
    • 2001 DRZ400S 8k miels $2300
    • 2000 DRZ400S 3k miles $2750

    ughh I don't know...
    #20