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Tiger 800 Touring to the Dunes with a Paddle Tire

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Sachou, Aug 7, 2020.

  1. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    223
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    Some time ago, I watched an extended commercial that was the Icon Raiden Files Portland to Dakar Youtube video:



    Ever since then, I had pined over a Triumph Tiger 800. Fast forward to last year, and I finally had my dream bike. Now all I needed to do was to ride the hell out of it. And I did. So far it's been up the coast from CA to WA, Glacier Park, Lolo Motorway, on a racetrack, and most relevant is my shakedown sand excursion from last year at the Oregon Dunes:



    Okay, so we've established that horsepower is king in the sand, and the 800cc triple has the 450cc thumpers beat in that regard. Now, if you've watched the Icon video, you know what's coming next, but if not, skip to 14:29

    And so, I shipped a worn out TKC80 donor tire to Skat Trak, forked over $200, and a week later received this absolute monster in the mail:

    20200806_205352.jpg

    This weekend will mark the beginning of an annual beach trip to the Oregon Dunes Recreation Area outside of Coos Bay for a group of my friends and their ATVs, dirtbikes, and sand buggies. They'll be trailering their toys to the beach, while I will be hitting up scenic twisties to get there.

    This is the route I will be taking:

    Rever Route.PNG

    Leaving tomorrow morning, hoping to get all those miles of twisties out of the way in time to watch the sun set over the ocean.

    I should probably start packing.
    #1
  2. waterman28

    waterman28 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    660
    Location:
    Spokane Wa
    So how do you think that paddle will do in the twisties.... your not pushing it hard enough if you can see chicken strips when you get there.
    #2
  3. Bikedude987

    Bikedude987 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    585
    Epic. Hope you get some rain! Run LOW LOW pressure in the front...
    #3
  4. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    2,919
    Location:
    Reardan, WA
    Pretty damn cool my Brother! Cant wait for pics and vid of that thing scooping and slinging sand. Cheers!
    #4
  5. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
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    223
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    I made it back home safely with La Tigre. Wow, what an adventure. An absolutely epic 3 days.

    I have heaps of photos and video footage to go through, which are sure to be entertaining. But for now, I'll leave you all with this teaser:

    #5
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  6. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    223
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    Day 1 morning, 8/8/20 - Richland, WA to Madras, OR

    The first part of my journey had me riding through a hundred miles of windmills and farmland as I headed down into central Oregon.

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    And then I made it officially a quarter of the way through the planet. Fossil, OR

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    Through more steppeland and some nice lonely sweeping roads, I rode through the John Day Fossil Beds, Clarno Unit

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    These are some pretty cool monoliths, and the John Day area looks like quite the haven for a geology enthusiast. I may have to return later to do some exploring on foot. Big bonus is that it's in the middle of nowhere, and there were very few people, even though it is an established tourist spot.

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    As I started nearing Madras, Mt. Hood popped into view

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    Rolled into Madras, spotted a nice looking patio to have lunch at.

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    No crowds, low Covid risk, water misters, shade, and a tasty burger. Madras Brewing was the perfect stop.

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    #6
  7. Pavement Optional

    Pavement Optional Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2019
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    CurveAlice, Oregon
    Nice, I just spent a few days in the John Day area. Great country. Taking a Tiger 800 to the dunes seems kind of nuts, I approve.
    #7
  8. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
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    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    A Tiger 800. In the dunes. My mind is boggled! And I wait, with interest, to see what is to come :clap
    #8
  9. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

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    He was out there last year without a paddle and that blew my mind. Cant wait to see with that evil paddle! Cheers!
    #9
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  10. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    223
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    Day 1 PM - Madras, OR to Spinreel Campground, Oregon Dunes

    Back on the road. Cool bridges over giant chasm, Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint.

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    As I got closer to Sisters, OR, things started to get mountainous.

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    Sisters was a ridiculous cluster of tourists. Traffic flowing through that little town on that Saturday was something that would make a city person feel right at home. I feel like that's much stuff going on during a pandemic, but I digress, and blew through as fast as I could.

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    Back into social distancing.

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    Mt. Jefferson​

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    Mt. Washington​

    A sea of lava rock.

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    Deschutes National Forest is an interesting place unlike any other forest I've been in. It winds through a wildfire burn area, which of course is surreal, but the level of prior volcanic activity and lava rock everywhere was pretty neat to see.

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    Mckenzie Pass​

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    Three Sisters​

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    Mt. Jefferson. RIP Dave Freepons.​

    Here at the pass was really cool. The overall prominence was not too significant, but due to the sea of magma flows, there was little treecover to obstruct views, so it was wide open views, and the place was absolutely surrounded by mountain peaks. The Dee Wright Observatory was built out of the lava rock, and had little labelled viewing portholes that peek out on the numerous peaks. As well as a big bronze cast "compass" up top that pointed them out. Really neat.

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    My favorite shot of the Tiger

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    Three Sisters​

    That was an excellent stop. Also surprisingly uncrowded. Back on the road.

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    Now, the road that leads out of here is one of the best stretches of motorcycling road I have ever ridden. Really tight corners that zigzag through the forest and down the mountain, through thick trees. I'm calling it the "singletrack" of the road. McKenzie Highway.

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    Glorious stuff. But before I knew it, it was over. 2 thumbs up - this is a primo motorcycling destination.

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    At this point I was 300mi into the ride, and it was 6pm. Sun sets at 8:20pm, and it was going to take 2hrs 40mins to get to the ocean, even when bypassing the Aufderheide Scenic Byway (Forest Service Road 19) that I had originally planned on riding. I really need to pad my time a lot more to account for photo stops. That's always my struggle - gotta keep moving, but also gotta take in the sights! Not enough time, too much ground to cover...

    Looks like I wouldn't be able to watch the sunset over the ocean this time. So I rolled on some more miles, and arrived at Spinreel Campground at 10pm, all beat down and exhausted, looking pretty ragged. I set up my hammock and hit it hard, because tomorrow was an even bigger day - PADDLE TIRE DAY!

    Link to gps track recording from the day: https://a.rever.co/rides/1924767
    #10
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  11. ORexpat

    ORexpat Oregon Expatriate Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,713
    Location:
    West of Seattle . . .
    Great riding country. Those Eastern Oregon roads are fabulous.
    #11
  12. Norty01

    Norty01 Occupant

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,754
    Location:
    CARLSBAD, CA, USA
    Dang, that first video of you in the sand is majorly impressive. (I've been in deep/sugar sand on my 800XC, so I know exactly what you went through.)

    Yes, very impressed indeed. :nod
    #12
  13. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    223
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    Day 2 - Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Spinreel Campground

    Good morning.

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    Wake up and smell the tire smoke!

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    My first ever burnout. That was fun.

    A little backstory on that particular tire - It's a Michelin Anakee Adventure, the same one that I took to these dunes last year that shocked and awed all of us on how it handled sand, being an 80/20 street tire. I also took that same tire on a track day and rode 70+ laps at Oregon Raceway Park, where it was expected to perform alongside dedicated track machines. It's a fantastic tire, perfect for my needs, and it deserved a viking sendoff before being swapped out.

    At the time of smoke conversion, the tire had 6000 miles on it: 95% were street miles, plus 2 track days, which didn't contribute to any real wear along the center strip - it really only rounded off the chicken strips, which were to its benefit. I thought the burnout would for sure be the end of it, but there's still tread left!

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    You performed valiantly, Anakee. Now, roll true to VALHALLA!

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    Spooned the beast on. I need to invest in a bead breaker. That Anakee did NOT want to come off. Still clinging to the wheel. It wants to ride more.

    Alright, after an hour of less-than-Formula1-pit-stop tire changing, all my buddies were geared up and ready to hit the sand. But I still had 1 last to-do item that I ended up skipping. I'll touch on that in a moment, because it's time to ride.

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    Preeeetty sketchy. Okay fine, it's just a rear sand tire, nothing changed on the front. I just need to get on the throttle and commit.

    Full Send:

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    Okay, that was a loud and harsh smash. I bottomed it out within the first 60 seconds. Badly. And that was what I was worried about. This is what the fender looked like:

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    Why did this happen? Could it be the giant paddles that were grafted onto a donor tire not intended for paddles? Actually, if you put the paddle tire and the brand new Anakee Adventure side by side, it's only about a 3/8" taller, so clearance there isn't an issue. No, this was a problem that I anticipated, but didn't address because I was too excited to get out on the sand.

    There's a lowering link on my bike. I know about all the downsides, and how it messes with the suspension geometry, etc., but I'm 5'4", with a 28" inseam, so yeah, I ride low.

    I brought the stock links on this trip, and had planned on swapping them out for the sand, but decided to skip it after I conferred with my buddy Chad, whose recommendation was "Just take it easy, and we'll see if it clears it."

    Okay.

    In hindsight, I don't know what the hell I was thinking, agreeing to "take it easy". That's not my riding style, not the point of having fun in the sand, and definitely not even possible to do in the sand. As evidenced by me easing up the access road, there's just no control until you get past 25 mph. Regardless, I came here for full send. And so did Chad. So why did I listen to Chad? Don't listen to Chad. Chad is a bad influence.

    So I went back to camp, took Chad's cordless impact wrench, and swapped out the links in all of 10 minutes.

    And then headed back out on the sand. I immediately went to crest a big dune, but didn't realize the wind had swept a huge lip of sand on the leeward side, and I went flying over the edge, landing squarely on the front tire. No footage of this, unfortunately, but I essentially became a lawn dart. I somehow managed to not go over the bars, didn't break my windscreen, rode out of it, and the Tiger took it like a champ. It really surprised me.

    So maybe I don't know how to pick lines very well right now. I decided then to follow Chad, who drove his truck for this outing.

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    Don't follow Chad.

    We were going at a speed to slow for the Tiger to really have any control. Again - need speeeeeed!

    So we picked it back up, I thumbed the starter, and got nothing. Oh no. The dash lights up, fuel pump primes, but no response on the starter. It's as if the kick stand or clutch safety switch are faulty.

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    So we screw with it for a good while, check fuses, switches, scratch our heads, unplug the battery, nothing. All the while, we were on top of a crest that had a constant windblast of approximately a million miles per hour.

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    Which of course turned into a sandblast that peppered Chad's eyes. Good thing I was wearing goggles.

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    We finally got tired of attempting electrical repairs inside a blast cabinet, so Chad headed back to get some tie down straps to haul the big bike back to camp.

    Without the windbreak of his truck, the Tiger immediately toppled over in the wind.

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    When I brought it back upright, I tried again to start it, and BEHOLD! It fired back to life! I just LOVE intermittent electrical problems.

    Okay, time to take off. A handfull of throttle on that soft sand only served to dig the rear. My buddies would later name the bike "The Ditch Witch".

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    And then it died again.

    But I know the formula to fix it! It started up after I tipped it over last time, so maybe there's a loose connection or something. We performed a thorough tipping, on both sides, but weren't so lucky this time. This time, we just waited 5 minutes, and it miraculously came back to life for no reason. I was able to get it back to camp with no problems. Once it gets started, it runs forever.

    Back to camp, I decided to bypass the kickstand safety switch entirely, because maybe it's full of sand and not working properly anymore. It's also failed me before after a crash on gravel, and is in a really stupid spot to begin with. Okay, several successful starts after that. Problem solved?

    It was at this point that I wanted to get some 3rd person footage of the Tiger in action, and to see that roost for myself. Which meant handing it over to one of the best riders I know, someone who has ridden these dunes for years, and whose only experience in riding a 500lb adventure bike was in the sand last year, and 0 miles more than that.

    Shit, I'm going to have to hand the keys to Chad.

    I only had 2 rules - Don't break my windscreen, and don't ride my motorcycle like I would ride my motorcycle (all my friends knew what that meant).

    So I hopped on his YZ450FX and commenced followcam:

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    So Chad is actually good for some things. One of which is romping on anything with 2 wheels in the sand in a controlled manner.

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    Another is riding on 1 wheel.

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    And also making a 500lb street bike carve sand.

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    This is Chad:

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    His consensus:
    1. It's like a big dirtbike
    2. There's not enough room to get around the tank up front
    3. Just grampa cruise around the turn, and it will be okay with it
    4. One tooth lower gearing would really help out when carving

    Alright, let's swap bikes and keep riding! Oh wait, it won't start again? DAMNIT!

    Okay, so I flipped the key on an off a dozen times, and it came back to life after 10 minutes. But it's facing slightly uphill, so we wrestled it into a downhill position, and accidentally tipped it over again in the process. So it died. And it won't start. So Chad just rode circles around me on his bike while I was dead in the water.

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    And then it started again for no reason. The whole situation was so damn confounding.

    I'd better get back to camp, because it's still broken. I spent another hour googling symptoms to no avail. It seems the only common electrical issue with the Tiger is the main fuse being corroded, but that wasn't the case here. And the damn thing never failed to start while sitting on asphalt in camp. Intermittent electrical issues are SO GREAT.

    Well, I'm at a loss. And the whole group was gearing up for a big ride. I'm getting nowhere, I'm incredibly frustrated, and the big kitty was purring along, just begging and/or mocking me to ride it. Typical cat dynamic: it only wants to go when it feels like it. There has only been one constant throughout this process - it has never died on me while in motion. So with that logic, I applied my tried and true life strategy: Just keep riding. Never stop riding.

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    To make sure that nobody gets left behind in the group, we usually stop a lot. I just orbited the group and kept an eye on them moving on to the next spot. Can't stop won't stop.

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    This train has no brakes.

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    The fat cat overcame tight sections like this with its secret weapon: 94hp of full throttle cat scratch fury.

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    The sand felt great after the wind smoothed it out. It was like riding on a cloud. Or skiing fresh powder.

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    And the suspension was totally dialed for sand. I've never messed with the settings, but I always found it a little stiff for dirt/gravel. It really came to life on the sand, even in the whoops.

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    And then, finally, I made to the end of the continent.

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    Throughout all the technical and scheduling setbacks, I was finally able to make it to the beach, and I felt super happy about that. I did actually drop the bike once on this session, and it surprisingly started backup after, but otherwise it was 25 minutes of nonstop riding.

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    A sample of a standing start roost:

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    It was a really beautiful day. I also got lucky there.

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    Another on the to-do list: drag race. So we headed back towards camp to a flat open spot that's great to screw around on. And then the bike died.

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    So once again I sat around while everyone pulled wheelies around me.

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    And it never ended up starting again. The sun was getting low, everyone was hungry, and the decision was made to truck the Tiger back to camp.

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    And of course, it had to be frickin' Chad that saved my ass. Another thing he's good for is recovery. And he drives his Long Travel Tacoma the same way he rides.

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    But of course, as soon as we wheel it back onto pavement at camp, it starts up like nothing happened. Damn thing.

    And that's it for the day. Tomorrow will be Monday, the only day I took for vacation time, and I'm expected to be working on Tuesday. I have 500mi of riding to do on a bike that only wants to work some of the time, and a paddle tire that still wants to sling more sand. Keep an eye on this thread - there's still more content left for day 3!

    Any guesses to what's wrong with my bike?
    #13
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  14. CA Stu

    CA Stu Peace and Love

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Oddometer:
    61,019
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Loose battery cable. :deal

    Start there.

    Great report, keep roosting!! :thumb
    #14
  15. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junky

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
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    15,310
    Location:
    Out in the NM Dez somewhere
    Tipover switch?
    #15
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  16. Sachou

    Sachou Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
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    223
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    I know everyone's probably waiting for some more footage of Sand Slinging Fury, but I just finished cutting together a video edit of day 1 for your entertainment:

    #16
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