Example of Off Road Riding

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Flyingmada, Apr 27, 2020.

  1. Flyingmada

    Flyingmada n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2020
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    New York
    Hey Folks,

    I’ve been riding my whole life but fairly new to adventure riding. Was wondering if someone could give some examples of a scenario where you really need an off-road capable motorcycle (KLR, F800gs) - preferably in northeast US.

    I currently have a Ducati monster but would like a bike I can take on longer trips around the Northeast U.S. and potentially out west. I’m strongly leaning towards a multistrada but wondering what scenarios I may encounter that would require something more off-road oriented. The only thing I can think of is dirt roads or logging trails in VT/NY when I go camping - but seems like something multistrada could handle. What else might I encounter where I’d wish I could go more off road?
    #1
  2. TripleTriples

    TripleTriples Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2019
    Oddometer:
    1,321
    Location:
    OH
    The more technical the terrain gets, the easier it is to tackle with a lighter bike.

    The big adv machines are street bikes that have taller suspensions, bigger wheels and better pricing from a fall (I'm generalizing, but you get it).

    The lightest of them are still 150 or so pounds heavier than something like a KLR650, which is not a light bike in it's own class.

    You CAN ride a big bike almost anywhere you could a smaller one, but it's more work and requires more skill.

    As for the situations, that depends a lot on your abilities but in general, anything can be ride on a gravel road and anything with a bit of ground clearance and good tires can ride something like a BDR.

    It's a sliding scale. The big bikes are better on long stretches of road and then you go to the opposite end of the spectrum with things like a KTM EXC that's basically a dirt bike that's got lights tossed on. Either one will do the job, you just have to decide if you want to be more comfortable on or off pavement.
    #2
    davidtn and -E- like this.
  3. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    10,596
    Location:
    Around Denver
    You don't ever need an off-road capable bike. You can ride all over North America, indeed much of the world, entirely on paved roads. A lot of people do that.

    In fact, you can take basically any street bike off pavement onto a well-maintained gravel road. A lot of people do that.

    The "need" for an off-road capable bike comes when you see a little dirt track or a road that is poorly maintained and you want to see what's on the other end. Or you want to access a remote campsite, or lake, or other cool place, or no place at all.

    If you want to do some actual off road riding (a lot of people seem to use the phrase off-road to mean anything not paved) you'd be best with a dual sport, which may or may not be road legal. With a small dual sport, you can hit single track; rutted, rocky, and muddy jeep trails; and deep sand.

    So... the more capable your bike (and you), the more places you can go if you want to. Not everyone wants to explore off the beaten path. If you're happy with touring on pavement or light gravel, just about any bike will do. Some people want to ride every random trail into the woods or mountains they can find, and those sorts of people would do best with a small, light dual sport. I think most here on this site want something in the middle. I think most people want a bike with good road manners, but which will give them the ability to take the odd rough road now and then.

    I won't comment on the Multistrada as I have no experience, but I think you're headed the right way.

    Jamie
    #3
    MacNoob, Grinnin and davidtn like this.
  4. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    37,304
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    This photo of me is on a county road. There are roads like this everywhere. We could have taken the asphalt road around. If you don’t like riding in these conditions, that is fine. I prefer these roads, there are less people texting and driving. There are ways to travel all around the east coast on roads like this.

    6026B47C-0748-4FAD-A759-1D63F929B565.jpeg
    #4
    scarysharkface and pratered like this.
  5. John F

    John F Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    458
    Location:
    South Windsor, CT
    This. I’ve managed to get sport bikes on sport tires into places I had no business being in, but it’s a lot of work. Plus, I’ve been shut out of a lot of primo campsites over the years simply because I couldn’t get to them. I finally took the plunge and went full-on R1200GSA five years ago and I’ve never looked back. It’s really no problem at all to pound out 600+ miles in a day and then bounce up a deer trail to find a remote spot to camp, and then do it again the next day.
    #5
    Parcero likes this.
  6. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,783
    Location:
    Kentucky-Eastern that is!
    That would never be called a county road in my area as that designation is based on said road coming under county road crew maintenance. Some particulars-my own private road if I'd chosen that path to maintain it would depend on me/us being in favor with the magistrate and county judge executive because in reality there are supposed to be more than one household on roads the county maintains.
    That appears to be, with zero doubt in my mind, what I call a loggers skid "road", i.e. a path built expressly for removing logs, some built by dozers, others by the skidders own blade and made for such purpose and narrow by design. In KY there are regs as toreclamation of skidding roads such as berms for water and grass sowing which conflict with MC's. It varies by state and who owns it as to if these logging roads are public access or not. My logging, wood roads are not public and the majority of timberland in the USA is privately owned, the rest is NF, etc. and access varies. The Daniel Boone NF makes up 58% of my county and much of eastern KY and is very restricted to many uses, especailly powered vehicles with bicycles and horses also controlled access. My Kawasaki Mule is too wide to meet regs as another e.g. here. Plus a Day Pass must be bought to be in the NF here. Knowing a FT logger or property owner would help some to find these spot to ride but not in the NF which has very limited logging anyway. Hardly a reason to shop for a dirt bike unless you have a spot in mind?
    Many NF roads here in my area are dirt, poorly maintained and mostly for fire control and numbered by the NF but legally they are often county roads, yet many have been gated and locked by the NF. That has come under "scrutiny of recent and they began to open those which are county.
    Hunters & hikers access them mostly for recreation. The ones not locked are very few as would a MC rider go ride.
    Having lived in KS all of my early life, where many rural roads are gravel or dirt section roads for agra use, I never thought about needing a so-called GS MC, which is good because they hadn't been invented yet:lol2 But of course many rode MX bikes, mostly on their own farms and competitions.
    #6
  7. Old_Crow

    Old_Crow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    190
    Location:
    West Chester, PA
    I rode the TAT and MABDR on a WR250R starting in southeastern PA for both trips. East of the rockies, there are many options to re-route and bypass any poorly maintained roads, trails, and impasses. In the northeast the main obstacles are mud and water crossings, but most can be done on a bigger or heavier bike.

    On my trips, with a dual sport like mine it was reasonable to push past many obstacles throughout the trip that would have otherwise required a re-route to slab. That same bike I rode across North America, I can throw it on a trail and tackle serious coal mine and woods riding just like a full on dirt bike would. It's done 14k ft mountain passes in colorado, deep desert sand in Nevada and California, and 75 MPH on interstate highways in Tennessee. These dual sport bikes are a hack of all trades master of none, and you could see one show up virtually anywhere on land.

    If you want a more specialized bike than that go for it! As others have suggested, you don't really need an off road capable machine, and with so many paved roads in the northeast it makes sense to have something street oriented.
    #7
  8. AwDang

    AwDang Enabler

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,996
    Location:
    MABDR mile post 0
    Random trees down
    Picking the bike up from a nap
    Narrow ledges

    837FBF5D-293B-4469-A76D-965E1F2011E7.jpeg

    9C414671-40C9-43D6-883D-0205E48C6578.jpeg

    4DCED5FE-E11D-47D0-8420-156998391982.jpeg

    E934EA65-A956-4688-A4B0-81EEB084E072.jpeg
    #8
    Yinzer Moto likes this.
  9. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    37,304
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    You live in Kentucky, have you ridden the KAT, including all the options? Many are county roads.

    The road I am on in the pic, was damaged by a logging operation but only for a short distance, you can see the actual county road over my shoulder. This was in WV, very close to the KY border.

    The “roads” after min 2:30 in this video are county roads.

    #9
    kantuckid likes this.
  10. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,783
    Location:
    Kentucky-Eastern that is!
    KAT is a no. I'm not into mud & dirt as I like my hip replacements to much.:lol2
    The Daniel Boone NF which runs from TN up to OH river, just recently agreed to unlock the forest road gates, and leave them open, on those of their dirt forest roads (none of which have humans living in houses, etc. or other buildings on them) which happened to also be county roads. I figured somebody decided they could save money or a hunters group told them they had no legal control over them? Some of those roads, now unlocked, had NF road numbers on them too, not county road numbers. Much of our timber lands are owned by steel, timber & coal companies which dates back to mineral rights being bought up years ago when coal mining began. My county has no coal so here it's the 58% NF controlled surface timber, minerals etc., or private. In my county there are basically zero dirt roads to ride legally in reality w/o private permission. The gate opening thing may also have come from some ATV group pushing the issue of a place to ride?
    I know a select few dirt road spots here to ride near me which look somewhat like your picture, but very few and difficult to access.
    One I got my Mule nearly stuck as it's too narrow between huge rocks, and ATV will fit or a MC, not a UTV. I've talked to MC dirt riders in my area and they have few places to ride unless they "know somebody with land". Sawmill owners own large tracts but I know none that allow people in there except hunters they know.
    #10
  11. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    7,080
    Location:
    Maine
    tl;dr at bottom

    Riding a motorcycle is rewarding in many ways. One of those ways is that it requires more skill than car driving in normal traffic. Riding, when well done feels rewarding. On your Monster in NY, I hope you've had the pleasure of railing some curves in the Catskills, Adirondacks, or Finger Lakes region. Part of the fun for me is concentrating on what the road presents to me and hitting every apex well on a curvy road. It just feels good.

    Now add loose gravel, rocks, logs across the path, water holes, mud, hills with gravel or rocks or ruts, rock "ledges" to ascend or descend, trees close enough to make the path snake through. These are only some of he challenges waiting for us when we get away from the pavement. Where my road riding may be most rewarding where I have more lean angle, my off-pavement riding is most rewarding when I have rougher conditions that challenge my skills. The roughness I can ride over has increased a lot in the 9 years since I got a KLR then a DRZ. I look for trails and unused roads that I might get through to the other end and I might have to turn around.

    You have roads and trails like this in NY, you just haven't looked for them enough yet.

    The KLR doesn't get much respect, but I got mine cheap so dropping it caused no financial worries. I'm glad I started there. I'm on a lighter dual-sport these days and I like it more in many ways. It's much easier to turn around when I find a trail just peters out into woods but it's not as good for long days on the road. I also have a newish ADV bike that is fine for gravel roads, but I'd hate to turn it around on a trail and I'd really rather not drop it very often.

    There is no single "right" way. You can ride your Monster a lot of places. More suspension travel will make rougher roads comfortable. If you have to stand for very long on rough conditions, your low bars will be uncomfortable for your back. There are bikes that are just made for those rougher conditions and bikes that compromise between.

    Enjoy.

    tl;dr: Motorcycling is rewarding because it takes skill to do it well. Motorcycling off pavement is rewarding because it takes skill to do it at all and more skill to do it well.
    #11
    Yinzer Moto likes this.
  12. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    37,304
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    You mostly hit the nail on the head. One thing you missed about off road is the history. There are many historical places and routes that are fun to follow. What makes them more fun is that most 4 wheel vehicles can not get to these places. Just the other day, we discovered an old bridge that was built in the mid 1800’s, deep in the woods and pretty much forgotten about. This is only a few min from my house. Traveling the Oregon Trail across Wyoming with my wife was a great time. The water mill below is deep in the mountains of Colorado and only accessible after many miles of rough road.

    3B34259A-7074-4763-992B-102046B42A5E.jpeg

    D1A0A73C-7E94-442A-BCA3-DAAFD18C15D1.jpeg

    DE7E4CA0-3C40-4C3C-A63A-D41EA447BCC2.jpeg
    #12
    pratered likes this.
  13. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,783
    Location:
    Kentucky-Eastern that is!
    Not to knock anyone's hobbies but I find the backcountry best enjoyed from my feet along with the quiet that accompanies me. The CO pic above reminded me of how longs it's been since my last backpacking or hiking venture. I will add that my bad knee enjoys bicycles very much as the weight comes off! I "think" I've been to that water mill?
    #13
  14. elgato gordo

    elgato gordo KTMRFS

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    521
    Location:
    ABQ, NM
    Why not just get some good tires and maybe find a welder to fashion a skid plate of sorts. Although a Multistrada would be very nice also.

    Attached Files:

    • duc.jpg
      duc.jpg
      File size:
      603.8 KB
      Views:
      20
    #14
  15. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    37,304
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    That section of the Oregon Trail the pics are from was over 200 miles, off road, no gas stop, no towns, nothing. It would take a really fit person to hike that, I have never been that fit in my life. The water fall was at 10 or 11,000ft in elevation, as someone who lives at lower elevation, it is strenuous to hike long distances at altitude, that would have been a 30+ mile round trip hike.
    #15
  16. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,783
    Location:
    Kentucky-Eastern that is!
    Yeh, motors make things less work. That's one aspect of why we all love that twist grip thingy...:lol2
    Generally speaking "most of the better stuff" is never seen using a motor and can be as little as a part of a mile or as much as a very long ways away from motorized travel. Your pic is a great e.g. of an exception as was our fly-in wilderness NF cabin we rented in SE AK which was reached by a float plane to a lake, then wade into shore, or by boat on salt water to shore then a half days hike, no wheels have been there.
    Even the outhouse there had no door and perhaps one of the best views I've laid my eyes on.
    Even the prettiest parts of our own property are only reached by ones feet and it's real woodsy and steep.
    #16
  17. c_m_shooter

    c_m_shooter Ninja Warrior Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    925
    Location:
    Paradise, TX
    I've ridden all over the US on Ducati Monsters, tie a dry bag on the back and go! Avoid mud and deep sand and you will be fine. The exhaust on the first gen models made a decent light skid plate. If you don't ride a dirt bike already, don't even think about off roading a big bike when you are on tour by yourself a long way from home. Here is my then new Ninja 650 at the top of Engineer pass.

    Picture 028.jpg
    #17
    Yinzer Moto likes this.
  18. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,498
    Location:
    Durango,CO(closer to Purgatory)
    Good stuff. Hope the OP is scrolling through this....
    #18
  19. ahung12

    ahung12 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2020
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    Illinois
    I don't know about the OP but I feel so much better about the thought of taking my 919 on a tour of North America now.
    #19