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The world needs some gravel bikes

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by DesertPilot, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    I did a short 200-mile loop around the Santa Cruz mountains Saturday to check the bike out, and that rear license plate holder did a great job of keeping mud off my back. But that's about the only place it protected. This bike has a front fender extender and a rear hugger in it's future :D

    Except from some issues with the suspension, which is of the 'metti fuori i denti dai denti' (shake the fillings out of your teeth) variety, it handles tight corners on less-than-perfect surfaces much better than the Tiger. Definately the bike for gravel... once I get that suspension sorted out.

    IMG_0859.x5r60.JPG
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  2. Scoozi

    Scoozi Been here awhile

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    DSCN0663.JPG

    This is my Kawasaki W650 with some minor mods, tires are Duro HF308. It does alright on the smooth stuff and struggles when it gets rough or muddy.
    Webman, nephron and DesertPilot like this.
  3. LeMaitre

    LeMaitre Been here awhile Supporter

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    Did a couple hours out on gravel today.

    [​IMG]

    Stopped at the helipad at the Pigeon River

    [​IMG]

    Bridge over the Swamp River

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    No maintenance section of Tom Lake Rd

    [​IMG]

    Not going to tackle this without someone with me.

    [​IMG]

    Time to back track.

    -Mark
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  4. Doug Just Doug

    Doug Just Doug Silly Party Candidate Supporter

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    I don't hesitate to run some gravel/hard dirt on my Versys. I do shy away from pea-sized or deep gravel tho since I run street-only tires. I just take it very easy, particularly since the oil filter is exposed, and the 3rd-generation Versys has expensive fairing pieces.

    [​IMG]
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  5. Pago Cruiser

    Pago Cruiser Been here awhile Supporter

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    To the OP, congrats on the Duc!

    Keeping this thread moving in the same direction, surprised someone has not brought up the KLRSys build.
    KLR chassis reliability, Versys 650 engine, Jap electrics, and you can provide whatever gearing you would like for the particular occasion.

    Early model conversion:
    upload_2019-9-19_9-55-30.png

    Later model:
    upload_2019-9-19_9-56-19.png

    Change to some USD forks with better brakes if you want for less then $500, maybe change to a rear cush drive.
    A Cogent Dynamics rear shock would also be a sweet upgrade.
    Maybe add some frame reinforcements at a couple critical areas - nothing too complicated.
    Heck, parts are cheap enough you could have a pavement and gravel and enduro set of wheels/tires/gears.
    I'd buy one. Seriously. IMO, this bike is just about perfect.
    If I did not have to work so dam many hours, I would build one.
    I still might, if I can ever retire...
    Linky here:
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/klrsys-build.797568/
    9Realms, Doug Just Doug and Webman like this.
  6. Cappy63

    Cappy63 Adventurer

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    WP_20160221_13_13_50_Pro.jpg WP_20160221_13_13_50_Pro.jpg WP_20180405_12_44_17_Pro.jpg KTM 950SM goes alright, would be great if I could affordably change to 19/17 wire wheels.
  7. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    Thought I would chime in with another gravel munching "V" after Doug-Just-Doug :-).

    versys_vs.jpg
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  8. LeMaitre

    LeMaitre Been here awhile Supporter

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    Went exploring a paved road, ended up riding a Goldwing with street tires on gravel.



    -Mark
  9. 2old2Bbold

    2old2Bbold was 2bold2getold

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    My gravel/dirt road bike....
    [​IMG]
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  10. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black? Supporter

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    Round trip - Almost 1100 miles of gravel travel on the Dempster Highway and the ITH.

    [​IMG]
  11. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    One of my buddies used to take his 1500 Goldwing places that some people wouldn't go on a dirt bike. Sand, mud, rocks, etc. Said it was incredibly easy to pick up if he dropped it.
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  12. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black? Supporter

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    Dalton on the Vision.

    [​IMG]

    Dempster on the Vision.

    [​IMG]
  13. SRG

    SRG Long timer

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    ^^jesus^^

    Remind me again what's wrong with a light, fast dirt bike with good suspension and brakes?

    Or does using the right machine for the job somehow make it too much fun?
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  14. dirt hokie

    dirt hokie Long timer

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    the last two shots would be boring to ride on a real dirt bike, might as well take the minivan
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  15. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black? Supporter

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    This is a gravel thread so the Dempster Highway is all gravel, the Dalton Highway is about 75% gravel.
    Of course everyone has done these rides on real dirt bikes.

    The Dalton Highway trip -

    [​IMG]

    The Dempster Highway trip -

    [​IMG]
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  16. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black? Supporter

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    You have ridden to Deadhorse, AK, Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk?
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  17. SRG

    SRG Long timer

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    I used to do 80+ on straight stretches of gravel on my old 640's. It was not boring. Might get old/tiering after after a while, but not boring.

    Any modern big bore dual sport (KTM 500 or sim., with the right gearing) will do 100mph. I do not find 100mph boring, not even in my car.
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  18. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    I'm not sure what that has to do with the point you seemingly tried to make. Vision will do 100 easier than any of the small to mid capacity dirt bikes you mentioned. It will also haul more luggage in more comfort and provide better weather protection, which would be a big advantage for many sections of a Deadhorse or Tuk trip.
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  19. PeterTrocewicz

    PeterTrocewicz Been here awhile

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    There is nothing wrong with that. There are situations where it would be impossible to get through without the right bike.
    I believe the point being made is one that I've stated myself, that one does not have to ride a Dual-Sport or Adventure-Tourer to ride on gravel, though they do have their advantages. I would love to have an 800 Tiger. But my T120 does just fine on gravel, even with the original street tires. As did my Honda Magna before that and the other cruisers and stanadards I had before that.
  20. SRG

    SRG Long timer

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    I meant that a fast dirt bike is fun at high speed on gravel, and, for me, the fun on gravel goes down as the weight and size go up.
    dirt hokie likes this.