How bad an idea is it to take a big heavy street bike off-road?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by ChopperCharles, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,854
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I snagged an SCR950, and I'm contemplating adventure riding with it. I've never really ridden much off-road. I had a TW200 that i flogged through the woods occasionally, but always at a pretty slow pace. There are no fire roads or anything really interesting except power line trails around here. And... honestly those aren't interesting at all. There aren't even any dirt roads. But I'd really like to take a trip somewhere, and maybe meet up with some inmates and go interesting places. But how bad an idea is that, really? I mean the big GS bikes weigh about the same... granted they do have better suspension. Am I being dumb? I mean, it's no Triumph Scrambler... but I did fit it with longer shocks and slide the tubes down flush with the top of the triple tree (1/4" height gain in the front, 1.75" rear).

    I often see little dirt roads in the mountains near asheville and I have always avoided them on my street bikes previously. I'd like to do some exploring instead...

    Charles.
    #1
  2. Cuttlefish

    Cuttlefish Riding to disappear.

    Joined:
    May 31, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,835
    Location:
    Sunshine coast Qld Australia
    Firstly it depends upon whether you can accept that you may drop it and then deal with any resultant damage.
    When you've decided on yes, you can...go for it I say.
    Then there's the question of tyres for grip, engine protection and that belt drive.
    #2
    thechief86, Colorad0 and bobw like this.
  3. pjensen641

    pjensen641 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,060
    Location:
    Boone, IA
    Just be willing to turn around if crap gets bad. Personally, if its going to be any gnarlier than a forest service road for any length....I choose my DR650 over my Tiger. If I am on a long trip (1,000+) miles and only need to do 5-10 miles here and there of dry and not rutted two-track...I'll do it. Get a sump guard....even stones can kick up and punch a hole. Just realize, that you run a high risk of dumping the bike....so decide how pristine you want to keep it. For example, many people take a Tiger on some gnarly stuff. Too me, its WAY too expensive to fix when dropped. My $2500 DR is MUCH more fun and carefree for that stuff.
    #3
  4. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,854
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Well, the SCR950 is mostly metal. I'll have big engine guards fitted. The only thing I care terribly about is the tank, and even those are still available new. I don't see it as being a particularly damage-able bike. I mean, if I drop a ninja even at slow speed, it's going to completely hose the bodywork. I can't see the SCR950 getting too banged up tho.

    Belt is an issue, but I'm thinking about a chain drive. R1 sprocket fits the front splines... I'd have to find a different rear carrier or have a custom rear sprocket made to go with a chain. Doable with not even a whole lot of money...

    Charles.
    #4
  5. Todd157k

    Todd157k Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,868
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    I don't know what your 'off-road' roads are like in NC, but if it were out here in the desert lands... I'd flog it like there was no tomorrow! True, technical riding would be out of the question, but for the fire roads and truck trails.. it would be a blast. Tires and suspension would need to be looked at too.
    #5
    bobw and sraber like this.
  6. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,854
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Well, depends where you are. In the piedmont where I live, it's mostly thick squelchy mud. Absolute goo that's impossible to ride through, except in summer when it dries out and turns into hard-pack. Ready to become mud again at the first rain. That and heavily forested areas that have single-track trails up and down steep hills.

    Off-road in the coastal areas is a lot of flat ground with deep powdery sand.

    I've not been off-road in the mountains yet. Judging by the hiking I've done around Asheville, I'm guessing the off-road areas there are little more than goat trails... but I don't really know.

    Charles.
    #6
  7. docjekyll2002

    docjekyll2002 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2015
    Oddometer:
    231
    Location:
    San jose
    I tried standing up a GS800 on pavement. I’m not gonna try doing that offroad
    #7
  8. Sno Dawg

    Sno Dawg Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,204
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    You tried standing up on the seat???


    Why?


    Sno Dawg
    #8
  9. Rsquared

    Rsquared Echo

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    173
    Location:
    Texas
    Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to have the latest Super Adventure/GS to explore. I say go for it...

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,854
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Hrm... anybody got some pics of inappropriate-for-adventure bikes doing their thang?

    I couldn't find anything gnarly, but I did somehow stumble across this...



    Charles.
    #10
    thechief86 likes this.
  11. c_m_shooter

    c_m_shooter Ninja Warrior

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    492
    Location:
    Paradise
    I've ridden a 650 Ninja over some 4wd passes in Colorado. I say go for it. Scary part was coming down in the rain on that slick front tire. If you can fit a TKC80 to the front it will help a lot. Rear traction was never an issue, just kept my momentum up and pumped the front off dips and rocks to wheelie over as much as possible.
    #11
    thechief86 likes this.
  12. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @oneworldcycles

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    11,331
    Location:
    Sunny Northern Cuba (aka: South Florida)
    Just be mindful of the extremely low ground clearance and short rear travel on the SCR. As to the rest? Only one way to find out:ricky
    #12
  13. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,854
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Well, I put 12.25" shocks and lowered the tubes in the trees to give me significantly more cornering clearance. I'm on the balls of my feet at a stop now, instead of flat-footing it. I don't scrape much in the corners anymore, and there's a little more suspension travel. Not a lot more, just 1/2" more shock travel, but it makes a difference on the street. Front is raised 0.25" and rear 1.75".

    Charles.
    #13
  14. ARiderX

    ARiderX Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,292
    Location:
    Western Europe
    As said above, people have been going RTW on all sorts of bikes for the last 5 decades. There's nothing here to stop you from doing exactly what you describe, except some willingness to accept you don't need the latest 25000$ SUV GSA-tank. (90% of which don't see anywhere close the terrain they were supposedly built for in their lifetime)

    Adjust speed and hooligan levels to match the bikes mechanical abilities and you can take anything anywhere. Problem today is that everyone excepts their bikes to handle like race prepped dakar racers.

    Maybe add a good sturdy bash plate in case you don't have one, better safe than sorry, and some proper tires. Good to go...

    Also, lots of steel tins is always better. It will bet dinged up, but that gives it some patina and character. Easy to buff out, and probably won't stop your trip in case of a fall. Plastic will fissure and break...
    #14
    thechief86 likes this.
  15. BkerChuck

    BkerChuck Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    382
    You mentioned dirt roads and if that's the worst you plan on doing beyond it getting a little squirrelly and maybe dropping it you should be fine. I had my Garmin misdirect me onto an unimproved goat trail during a long distance rally once on my FJR1300 in and area that had recently been rained on and was a sloppy sticky yet slippery mess. It was so bad that by the time I realized how bad it was there was no way to safely turn it around. I did 8.5 miles on a trail that had 4 wheelers and dual sports pulling off to the side going the other direction and laughing their asses off at me. One turned around and came after me to see if I was lost. We both laughed at my misfortune but I made it through.
    #15
  16. 2tallnwide

    2tallnwide Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,215
    Location:
    Nature Coast, Florida
    I enjoyed this so much I bought an old DR650S to do it again with. :lol3

    sandy.jpg
    #16
  17. NickBrewer3

    NickBrewer3 Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    Oddometer:
    67
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    It is mostly about the tires...
    #17
    sraber and WooPig like this.
  18. Vectored2adv

    Vectored2adv Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Oddometer:
    349
    Location:
    S.E. USA
    I took my VFR750 on dirt near power lines before. Had to stand up for big dips that a dirt bike would sail over. Lots of fun drifting around turns in 1 2 gears. I was most surprised at the ability to climb very steep hard pack dirt hills. Lots of fun! I did not fall because I was very careful not to push it though. Tires were street shinkos type.
    #18
    Richy likes this.
  19. Vectored2adv

    Vectored2adv Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Oddometer:
    349
    Location:
    S.E. USA
    I had a similar experience as the sv650 in this vid.
    #19
    vsvn likes this.
  20. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Oddometer:
    10,009
    Location:
    Over the bridge of sighs..
    Very...
    #20