Sportbikes on Death Valley dirt roads?

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Rol, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. Rol

    Rol n00b

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    Hi folks, I need some advice. My boyfriend and I are planning a Death Valley trip for March, and we would love to include some dirt roads in our route. The wrinkle is that we are doing the trip on sportbikes. We ride dirt on our unplated dirtbikes, and so are not total dirt noobs. I think we would do fine on roads that are fire road-ish - no deep sand, no big rocks, and nothing that requires too much clearance...

    What do you think? Could we do Titus Canyon, or Greenwater Valley, or Big Pine Road? Thanks very much for your input.
    #1
  2. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    I haven't done Big Pine Rd yet, but there is no way I would take a sportbike on Titus or Greenwater. I did them this last December, and while I believe your bikes would make it, they would not get through without some damage to the lower fairings and possibly exhaust header pipes.
    #2
  3. tbarstow

    tbarstow Two-wheelin' Fool

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    Titus with no problems on a sport bike, unless it isn't graded after this weekend's rain.
    #3
  4. mike54

    mike54 You don't get me

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    It all depends on the condition of the roads. Greenwater Valley can have a water crossing depending on the recent rainfall. The start of Titus is pretty loose gravel, not difficult but you're going to chew up your lower fairing there. Then there's the decent after red pass. That can be tough at times depending on recent weather and road conditions. We should be getting some decent rain in DV this weekend. West Side road might be OK on a sport bike. Artists loop might be OK also. 20 Mule Team Canyon would be OK too.
    If you want to get into some of the back country roads you could always rent a Jeep in the park. it could be cheaper than the potential repairs to your bike. :D

    Have fun and enjoy your trip.
    #4
  5. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I'm always the guy that says go for it, and I would say don't do it in Death Valley.

    I took my XL600 dual sport, and still struggled with sand and gravel in places. Titus Canyon was one of them.

    There is still a lot to see from the good roads.
    #5
  6. KustomizingKid

    KustomizingKid Been here awhile

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    Calling Antihero, can Antihero come to the thread please.

    :D
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  7. Falconfixer

    Falconfixer It is what it is....

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    I rode through Titus canyon a month ago with some other inmates, stopped for a break at the end of the canyon. Two minutes later two guys on sport bikes were right behind us coming out of Titus, one on an Aprilia and the other on an S1000RR BMW. They seemed fine. Didn't even stop to check bikes for any possible damage.
    #7
  8. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I just shake my head in wonder.......................
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  9. ColdC

    ColdC Been here awhile

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    . . . slow going at times to prevent damage but doable. I drove a BMW 3 series through Titus canyon. Should have seen the looks on the jeep drivers faces parked at the end of the slot canyon. :lol3
    #9
  10. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer

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    IMHO: Deep sand and lose gravel might be a problem... 'normal' rocks, likely no big deal.

    Watch your fuel, and your drinking water.
    #10
  11. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    Mike 54 has given some good advice. Some suggestions, just to test yours and the bikes abilities are short in and out roads such as the ones to Natural Bridges, Borax mill rd, Mosaic canyon, Salt creek, and the road to the original Stove Pipe Wells. Westside road may be doable.

    Unless you have the latest intel, whether you can do it depends on when and if they have been graded. How much travel on them has occurred since and what weather event has happened since.

    The online Park road condition is not updated daily.

    I have ridden Titus when it fairly easy and when the road in has been mostly sand and road out deep gravel, thanks to the Park service. It is a one way road, once started you are committed.

    I don't think they have repaired the road to Scotty's Castle yet, that will give you taste of gravel.
    #11
  12. Gerg

    Gerg Gergy Bear

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    Artist loop is all paved now. Rode it on my scooter in January... some dirt across the road but pretty easy.
    #12
  13. Kenny M.

    Kenny M. Tepid Adventurer

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    Two weeks ago Titus was in good condition, but as was noted conditions can change daily. Good tires and a slow pace should be no problem. Titus is the E ticket ride in Death Valley. Scenery, geology, wildlife, Petroglyphs. It has it all. Don't ask the Rangers. Talk to visitors who have been through there recently.
    #13
  14. Mr. G

    Mr. G Normal Dude

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    One of the problems in DV and other dirt roads is washboard. West Side Rd. is 40 miles of it. It's rough enough on a dual sport with some suspension. Are you willing to do that with the limited suspension of a sport bike? It will not only be hard on you but also hard on the bikes.

    Maybe it's time to pick up a couple of cheap dual sports..........
    #14
  15. DanOGrande

    DanOGrande vorn and confused

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    I say go for it. Especially Titus Canyon and all the little loops around Furnace Creek. I would stay away from Racetrack Road. There's imbedded, sharp volcanic rocks there that wouldn't be good for sportbike tires. Plus it's really rough and washboardy. And I wouldn't attempt to get into Stripped Butte Valley via Cold Springs Rd. There's big rocks there that could cause faring issues.
    #15
  16. mdtodd

    mdtodd Home Fries

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    You didn't happen to get any pictures of us, by any chance? I only have shot of my pal on his Tuono and none of the two of us. Even a shot of me on my green machine would be appreciated.
    #16
  17. Rol

    Rol n00b

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    Thanks for all the input! As it turns out Titus was closed during our visit, so we stuck to the pavement, or tried to. The road to Scotty's castle was about a mile of gravel right outside of the castle gates, and Panamint Valley Road south of the intersection of Wildrose was also gravel for a couple of miles. Wildrose was closed at the south end (big sign, road blocked off), but it was not closed at the north end...? That park definitely keeps you on your toes. Next time, if we aren't on dual sports and we do have sport touring tires on, we might try Titus. :)
    #17