The world needs some gravel bikes

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

  1. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    I don't doubt your statement - although it may hinge on your definition of "fun". Dismissing the Vision (or any other bike for that matter) as unsuitable for such a trip would be a mistake, however, as there are plenty of circumstances, including on a long, (mostly) well-surfaced road like the Dalton Highway, where a bigger bike with more weather protection, etc. could be better.

    I must admit I had a few pucker moments on my 1290SA, when passing a road grader that had just "freshened up" the surface and a water truck had just sprayed it. I definitely wondered if a smaller bike would have done better - or be easier to pick up. The big KTM stayed upright, however, and I had the benefits of horsepower, long legs, comfort and luggage capacity (over a smaller bike) for the other 98%+ of the gravel road miles and 100% of the asphalt miles on my Louisiana to Deadhorse trip. Most likely I could have enjoyed the same trip on my old R1100GS, Weestrom, or possibly even my DR350 (although the longer paved road sections could have been rough on the little DR.) For loose gravel roads in the woods of Southern Mississippi and within an hour or so of home, I'd pick the DR every time - even though the others would usually handle it too.

    My buddy with the Goldwing now rides a 1200GS but he would have done almost anything I could do on my DR, better on his wing. He's got years of enduro experience, however, which I do not.
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  2. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black? Supporter

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    The rest of the story.
    I enjoy Iron Butt rides and when I rode Victory's I would try to find IBA rides that no one had done on a Victory. One these rides was the Ultimate Coast to Coast, the southernmost point in the USA to the northernmost. Key West, FL to Deadhorse, AK. First I had to ride to Key West and of course there was the ride home from Deadhorse, AK so the full trip mileage was 11,197 miles. That was in 2012.
    In 2015 I wanted to be the first to complete the Canada North South Challenge, northernmost point in Canada to southernmost. Inuvik, to Point Pelee N.P. Full trip mileage was 8600 miles.
    I would not say the northern rides were easy on the Victory Vision and I guess other Victory riders would agree because no one else has done these IBA rides on a Victory.

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  3. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    The unifying thread here seems to be 'fun'. Sure, some bikes are more capable than others for particular roads, but which one is going to be the most fun?

    For me, where the rides are usually day trips less than 300 mi, the roads are usually easy gravel or bad pavement with a bit of 'goatiness' about them, and getting to these involves some fun on the twisties -- pretty much anything below 500 lbs will do the job, but something around 400 lbs that's more street-oriented than a dual sport has proved the most fun. The Ducati is turning into my go to machine for this -- particuarly now that I've spent all this time getting the suspension sorted -- but since we have space in the garage until my wife gets that KTM she's been dreaming about, I've been hanging onto the Tiger for anything that involves luggage. When I can no longer afford this luxury and have to pick just one bike... I'm going to cry :D
  4. dirt hokie

    dirt hokie Long timer

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    nope, hope to one day. My point is the road is not the challenge, its the distance and remoteness. Otherwise people would not be doing it on cruisers, and regular vehicles, as the pics I was commenting on show.
    Both a semi truck and a Honda Grom can make it there, that fact is what makes it "boring" for a dirt bike. IMHO. Just like many threads on this site, it really comes down to what someone thinks adventure is.
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  5. SRG

    SRG Long timer

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    E234B27B-EF21-49DA-AD5E-AAEDEA8B85F2.jpeg

    What I think a fun gravel bike looks like.

    No, I’m not going to Deadhorse on it, but it’s a blast on the local backroads, dirt/gravel roads and trails.
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  6. LeMaitre

    LeMaitre Been here awhile Supporter

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    That looks like a two track or single track bike. :rofl It's suspension is just waisted on gravel.

    Keeping it real,

    Mark
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  7. SRG

    SRG Long timer

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    I "waisted" the suspension even more by lowering it.

    It does see some easy single track. For not so easy ST I'll take a trials bike, thanks.

    It also sees some highway and even short stretches of interstate. I wouldn't call that part fun, but the bike doesn't care.

    Paved backroads, tighter ones esp. are a blast - "waisting" the bike there too, I guess.

    Keeping it real fun.
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  8. Andrew

    Andrew Optimus Primer Administrator Super Moderator

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    Confessions of a gravel noob... I rode up and back down a very slippery Sierra Foothills driveway this weekend, on the R1150GS. Going up was interesting, lost traction several times but stayed upright. Going down I remembered to stay off the front brake and just rode it out with some dabs on the rear. Glad I didn't have to pick it up!
  9. 2old2Bbold

    2old2Bbold was 2bold2getold

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    How you got 22,442 posts and no gravel ??? :hmmmmm
  10. Andrew

    Andrew Optimus Primer Administrator Super Moderator

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    300k paved miles, lots of flat dirt, but really very little steep gravel... the stones were all about inch, inch & a half diameter... like marbles under the street tires. :ricky
  11. 2old2Bbold

    2old2Bbold was 2bold2getold

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    Well that's about some of the worst conditions you can find. I envy you. You have a lot of fun in front of you to learn more dirt riding.
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  12. 2old2Bbold

    2old2Bbold was 2bold2getold

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    Edit: I wouldn't want to do it on that bike though.
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  13. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Challenges come in all forms. Fun, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

    I think I have pretty well sorted out my likes and dislikes when it comes to riding and my bikes tend to reflect that. I have enjoyed various focused motorcycle sports and bought focused bikes for the task, but what I enjoy most is variety so my "main" use bikes tend to be all arounders with a bias towards whatever aspect of riding most holds my interest at the time. Riding a dirtbike for thousands of miles of pavement and graded roads would be low on my personal list of things to do. But that's just based on my own definition of fun. ;)
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  14. dirt hokie

    dirt hokie Long timer

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    loosing tracking is what off road is all about, as well as dropping the bike.
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  15. dirt hokie

    dirt hokie Long timer

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    rocks are counter intuitive, kind of like sand, faster is easier, speed equal stability. Now loose gravel on a hard surface, at speed in a corner, that scares me. But deep sand, baby heads, rock gardens..... i can deal with.
  16. LeMaitre

    LeMaitre Been here awhile Supporter

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    Not being city dweller I define roads as:

    Paved or gravel surface with regular maintenance.

    Off Road:

    Non maintained/minimal maintenance roads and trails.

    -Mark

    PS. One of the first rules of debate is, "he who defines the terms wins" :hide
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  17. SRG

    SRG Long timer

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    813FCF37-171D-4A84-9927-68B8EE19E827.jpeg Being wasted sho is fun
  18. runpet

    runpet Been here awhile

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    A crazy Aussie, a new Road King and a rock and gravel strewn desert. What could go wrong?

    Ya gotta admit though he didn't drop it.



    I knew a guy who road his brand new Sportster in an enduro. More than once. One time he flipped it right in front of me and another time he ran my bike over with his. Could have been the Aussie's long lost American brother. About 15 years ago.
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  19. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    I like their attitude! I may not be in any immediate hurry to copy them -- unless I happen to be riding amachine that belongs to someone I don't like very much -- but I like their attitude! :clap
  20. Rufjeep

    Rufjeep Been here awhile

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    I'd add 3rd category:
    Paved or gravel roads with routine maintenance
    Gravel or dirt roads with minimal or seasonal maintenance that may require high clearance or 4wd
    Off road (single or double track, non maintained roads)
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