White Rim Trail Two Up

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Brian Reiber, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. Brian Reiber

    Brian Reiber Adventurer

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    Hopefully the community can help me with some trip planning. I have been dreaming about tackling White Rim for several years now and this year I can finally get schedules to line up. I plan to ride the trail 2 up with my wife on our Vstrom 1000. I expect it to be a challenge but I hope that my years of dirt bike riding will be enough to get me through the tricky parts. So I went online today (Feb 17th) and tried to book for mid May. Unfortunately there is slim pickings and the only thing I could get was a site at Airport for May 19th. I was hoping for a spot at Murphy's Hogback or White Crack. My plan was to run the trail CC but based on the campsite available I am now unsure what to do. Is it feasible to run the entire trail 2 up in a day and still have time to top and see sights along the way? I don't want to scare my wife by pushing it and I want to be able to allow for plenty of photo ops for her. I figure if we eliminated the camping I could pack light on the bike and we would have more time to explore Moab and area. I am interested in opinions but I am especially interested in hearing from folks that have ridden the trail 2 up.
    Cheers,
    Brian
    #1
  2. tellicotom

    tellicotom Been here awhile

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    My wife and I ride V_Strom 1000s 1 up and have both been riding dirt bikes since kids.we are not big and strong, I'm 165 and 5'8"". We're not the best riders but we have ridden the Stroms to Alaska, including the Denali Highway, out to McCarthy, the Dalton to the top of the Brooks Range, and the Top of the World Highway. We have done alot of the classic passes in The San Juans on Dualsports and the White Rim Trail on Dualsports, camping at Gooseberry. ( We rode the WR clockwise).

    I'm sure the WR has been done 2 up a a DL1000, but not for me, not even 1 up! To me the gearing is wrong, the bike is too heavy, and the suspension isn't right. Simply not the right tools for the job. The hills are too steep and the sand to soft and deep, for me. It wouldn't be fun! Doable..probably, fun no! It would be too tough on me and the bike.

    As always, opinions vary,
    TellicoTom
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  3. Brian Reiber

    Brian Reiber Adventurer

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    Thanks for posting. I have never been on the trail and all of my ideas come from watching youtube videos, reading articles etc. I have seen quite a few videos of big adventure bikes on the trail some of them two up. Unfortunately the Vstrom is my only bike that has limited offroad capability so it's that or nothing. I'm a little nervous about the sand section. I am a small guy 5'5" and about 160lbs. I'm definitely a little short in the saddle for the bike but what the heck your feet are supposed to be on the pegs anyways not madly flailing in the dirt. I would definitely bail on this ride if there is rain in the forecast as I have no desire to tackle wet clay with or without a passenger. I'd love some more opinions. I'm not too worried about steepness per say but the sand concerns me. Anymore opinions? How rutted and rocky are these steep hills? If I have to jump all around to pick a line it might be a little tough for me and wife.
    #3
  4. tellicotom

    tellicotom Been here awhile

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    The tires would make a big difference. How much off pavement have you done 2 up on the Strom? As you know, in the middle section, you are between Hard Scrabble Hill and Murphy's Hogback, so you need to climb one of them to get out. There's that happy medium between on the pegs and maddley flaiingf as in a properly timed foot dab, and the Vstrom is to talk and heavy for me to do it realibly. Plus, I wouldn't want to pick the beast up very often.

    If you're thinking of the wife walking up them, or even the tougher sections, unless she is an avid hiker, you may end up in the dog house longer than I'd care to be!

    I've only done the WRT once, but I'd rate it alittle tougher than Cinnamon Pass in the San Juans, but a tad easier than Engineer Pass..
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  5. Brian Reiber

    Brian Reiber Adventurer

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    You do bring up a good point. I have no real two up off road experience. Just a little gravel and forestry road type stuff all really easy stuff. I have no concerns about asking my wife to walk up a hill. She is fit and hikes steep terrain all the time. My thought process is that worst case scenario if I put the bike down it will be low speed. Hopefully none or minimal damage. Lifting it will suck. There is the very real concern though that I get down in between two hills and I can't get back up either one. That would certainly be hard on the ego. Again I'm seeing a lot of really big bikes tackle this.....maybe they're just really good riders I don't know.
    #5
  6. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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    VStrom, two up with camping gear...let me guess, hard boxes? Hope you got great medical insurance...screw the bike, I’d be concerned about serious injury if that bike drops on either of your legs.
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  7. WYO George

    WYO George Epstein didn’t kill himself

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    I'd say you're better off to spend the day with a rental Jeep and drive it and enjoy each other's company as opposed to one of you walking out and dealing with the divorce afterwards.

    White Rim isn't terrible solo on a medium bike. I've run it a few times on a DR650, last year a guy in our group had an Africa Twin and was OK, but he did drop it once that I know of, maybe twice. Miles and miles of WRT are easy enough to do on a Goldwing and then you'll have a moderately steep climb with loose rocks followed by 5 miles of really soft, deep sand. Hardscrabble Hill is nothing I would personally attempt on a big bike, even solo. Last year it had a couple sections where people had spun tires on the hill and so now you have a sandy ledge on a steep uphill.

    Seriously though, Jeep rentals in Moab aren't expensive. As much as I love bikes, when my wife goes with me we will be taking a Jeep.

    Check around on the rentals if you go that route, some companies you pick the rental up that morning and some let you pick it up the night before so you can get an early start.
    #7
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  8. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

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    Well well well. Some interesting stuff here. We are thinking of going to Moab and staying at the 3 step hideaway in May. Was planning on doing the WRT 2up on a KTM 1290. We’ ve done plenty of backcountry stuff including the BOM1000 last year. The terrain you describe sounds worse than all I have read. Mainly 5 miles of soft sand. Guess theres always other places to ride if I get talked out of the WRT. To me it looked totally doable but now i’m not sure.
    #8
  9. radmann10

    radmann10 Derf Supporter

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    Be careful on the WRT with a big bike. There are Mtn bikers on the really steep hills that get in your way. Some of the hills you need to hit with some speed to get to the top. Two up, big bike, Mtn bike in the way, if you get stopped it will be difficult to get going again. In places the road is steep with lots of loose rocks.
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  10. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

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    You’re getting good advice here.

    I’ve ridden the WRT 6 or 7 times...usually do it in one day.....camped one time. Rode various bikes, a DR650, a WR250R, and Tiger 800XC. No worries on the 250 and 650. Dropped the 800 in the sand once and was a little hairy on the Hogback and Hardscrabble. I’m sure it’s been done on a V1000 with knobbies....and probably 2up...but no way I’d take it....let alone 2 up. It’ll get hammered...and possibly the two of you too.

    Renting the Jeep and camping for a night will be fun and enjoyable for the both of you. Another option is to rent a 350/500 KTM or Beta in town...and ride it solo around the WRT for the day.

    Definitely do it one way or another...beautiful place.
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  11. Brian Reiber

    Brian Reiber Adventurer

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    Zero chance of a divorce here. Wife is tough as nails. I do intend to put the bike in the back of the truck and haul it to Moab from Vancouver Island. It's just easier this way as we will have 2 drivers for the long highway miles and then we can pack minimal gear for the trail rather than a whole weeks worth of luggage. If the the weather conditions when we arrive in Moab aren't conducive to riding then we will take the truck around. Based on the advice I have seen so far it seems like the general consensus is that my adventure is not a good idea. Like I mentioned before I have watched many Youtube videos and it doesn't look that bad. How long are the sections of deep sand and the steeper hills? Is it possible for my wife to walk those sections while I navigate them? I have seen a lot of videos of other riding it 2 up, trucks with full size campers navigated for elderly couples (no offense to anyone) and I feel like we should be able to accomplish this weather provided.
    #11
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  12. Brian Reiber

    Brian Reiber Adventurer

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    Is it fair to say that the trail is incredibly variable based on weather/trail conditions? I believe I've even seen threads of people suggesting that at times you can damn near drive it in a car and that the severity of the tail is largely over rated. I don't mean to come off cavalier here and I certainly appreciate all of your advice. I guess I'm a little skeptical of internet advice (even though I came here looking for it) based on a prior experience. I took my wife on a surprise hiking trip in the Grand Canyon in August 2 summers ago and I researched it to death. Based on the info I received I way over planned. We started at an insanely early our, I booked a night at Phantom Ranch, packed a ton of water, snacks etc. Only to find out that we could have easily hiked to the Colorado and back up to the South Rim or done a rim to rim in a day. My point is just that it's impossible to judge another persons perspective sometimes. This is a pretty knowledgeable group and I don't want to ignore sound advice I just don't understand why I am seeing such conflicting stories elsewhere.
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  13. tellicotom

    tellicotom Been here awhile

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    There are a lot of variables. Tires, weather, trail conditions change, the riders' skills and how much work they want to do.

    I suggest you try other similarly rated trails in the area and see what you think. Go up the Shaffer Switch backs for example. You can always start the WRT and see what you think. If you think no big deal when you encounter the sand and first big hill go for iti f you do it CCW, you will hit the sand before Hardscrabble Hill. If you handle the sand and hill OK, you'll probably be fine.

    We are only telling you our opinions. I ride a Vstrom 1000 and have done the WRT on a smaller bike and honestly tell you that I wouldn't do it. But then, I want to have fun, not get my arse kicked.

    Some folks like a good arse kicking! I've heard the only difference between an adventure and an ordeal is your attitude!

    We look forward to your video and your opinion!!
    #13
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  14. hugemoth

    hugemoth Big Brother is watching you!

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    I've ridden the WRT both directions on smaller bikes and there is no way I'd do it 2 up on a big bike. If the wife rides, think about renting 2 small bikes in Moab and doing it that way.
    #14
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  15. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    OP, if you do ride it on the Strom, you’d better post the photos!
    #15
  16. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    I'm not an expert off road rider but I'm not a noob either. I rode the trail once (CCW) on my KLR650 and I wouldn't have wanted to be on anything bigger. I'd say you would need to be a real expert to do it 2 up on a 1000 Strom.

    I have another suggestion. Just ride the two ends of the trail. Ride down the Shaffer trail and then part of the WRT until it starts getting too tough and turn around. Then if you want go do the same to the other end. I did the Shaffer trail and a bit of the WRT on my Versys 650 with street tires. I could see doing it two up......as long as it's dry.

    BTW, there is a ton of great riding in the area, not just the WRT.
    #16
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  17. Brian Reiber

    Brian Reiber Adventurer

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    I like Klaviator's suggestion. I am pushing ahead with plans to do this. We will start at Mineral Bottom and give it a go. The sand piece has me the most concerned as I am so short in the saddle and it isn't an option for me to stick my legs out and dog paddle. If the sand is soft and deep can anyone tell me how long the worst of it normally is? My goal is to have my wife walk around the worst pieces of it rather than subject her to the low speed tip overs that I suspect will occur. After that who knows, hills don't concern me to much but maybe I'm being overly optimistic. If it's too much for us we will turn back and go find something else to do. I will definitely post some photos. Can anyone comment on how long the ride generally takes from Moab out to Mineral Bottom? I am debating between staying in Moab, getting a good nights sleep and starting out fresh on day 1 vs free camping on BLM lands just outside the park to maximize the amount of time we have to enjoy the ride. As I said before I could only get one nights campsite and it is at Airport so we will be riding most of the trail on Day 1.
    #17
  18. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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    I'm curious as to your planned luggage setup for this WRT camping trip. Are you using hard boxes or soft bags? Please post a few pics of your bike loaded for the trip.
    #18
  19. Brian Reiber

    Brian Reiber Adventurer

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    Givi hard bags. Worst case scenario they crack on a tip over. It will give me an excuse to by some boxes.
    #19
  20. Lucky Explorer

    Lucky Explorer Traveled the world

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    I have really enjoyed this thread. I have done the White Rim many times, even witnessed on it the emergence of that new fangled thing called a mountain bike!!! I have ridden ithe White solo on many dirt bikes, 2up on Dakar race bikes (read 42" seats and big tanks). To me the only tough section is the Hogback, yes dodging downhill traffic. BUT I consider myself fairly talented on big bike 2up. And yes I have had my numerous get offs with the associated PT. If you feel you have quality 2up off road experience and can lift it in a fall...if not then pass.
    There are tons of alternative trails around the area that are fantastic. Like Harrah Pass, Lockhart, even Elephant Hill(better down 2up).
    Allen
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