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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Dirt riding is a great way to become comfortable with a sliding slipping bike in relatively safety helping to avoid panic when non-threatening slides occur on the street. A street bike may attempt avoid dirt but come a time a section of road may be torn up for replacement, one may be interested in going through the winding path/peak where the tarmac ends or out to the campsite/water off the road. Worst case scenario an emergency (weather/threat) may shutdown a main route and redirect traffic for miles down a logging/fire road.

Any advise on techniques, mods or focus shifts to navigate questionable terrain safely? If an unexpected event requires a long period of traveling off-road what should one do on a street bike. Feel free to comment on how dirt bikes have effected your road riding/racing, the beneficial cross-technique applications one can learn and negative techniques that should not cross over.
 

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BCSB Public Relations
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If an unexpected event requires a long period of traveling off-road what should one do on a street bike.
Carefully navigate around any large obstacles :).

As long as you're not terrified of a little wheel slide here and there, and understand that slamming the brakes in such situations is the worst thing you can do, doing a little off roading shouldn't be a big deal.

I've gone over some (fairly short - a couple hundred meters at most) "bad" (ie. gravel, rocks, potholes, etc.) roads on my R6 at slow speeds (20-30kph) without any issues.

I've also hit all kinds of crap (including deep sand) at medium speeds without too much of a problem on a dual sport.

This is all from one day:


- clay packed road w/ lots of dust; doing about 80-90kph there


- gravel road with a ton of potholes & boulders in the way; doing about 50-60kph


- came around a corner and flew onto this sand at the same 50-60kph. Fun stuff!

Keeping a firm, but still relaxed grip on the handlebars and not panicking definitely helps with the "unexpected" stuff.
 

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V Lister
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Carefully navigate around any large obstacles :).

As long as you're not terrified of a little wheel slide here and there, and understand that slamming the breaks in such situations is the worst thing you can do, doing a little off roading shouldn't be a big deal.

I've gone over some (fairly short - a couple hundred meters at most) "bad" (ie. gravel, rocks, potholes, etc.) roads on my R6 at slow speeds (20-30kph) without any issues.

I've also hit all kinds of crap (including deep sand) at medium speeds without too much of a problem on a dual sport.

This is all from one day:


- clay packed road w/ lots of dust; doing about 80-90kph there


- gravel road with a ton of potholes & boulders in the way; doing about 50-60kph


- came around a corner and flew onto this sand at the same 50-60kph. Fun stuff!

Keeping a firm, but still relaxed grip on the handlebars and not panicking definitely helps with the "unexpected" stuff.
breaks= brakes !!!
 

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Dirt riding is a great way to become comfortable with a sliding slipping bike in relatively safety helping to avoid panic when non-threatening slides occur on the street. A street bike may attempt avoid dirt but come a time a section of road may be torn up for replacement, one may be interested in going through the winding path/peak where the tarmac ends or out to the campsite/water off the road. Worst case scenario an emergency (weather/threat) may shutdown a main route and redirect traffic for miles down a logging/fire road.

Any advise on techniques, mods or focus shifts to navigate questionable terrain safely? If an unexpected event requires a long period of traveling off-road what should one do on a street bike. Feel free to comment on how dirt bikes have effected your road riding/racing, the beneficial cross-technique applications one can learn and negative techniques that should not cross over.
If you have the $$$ and the time, go do Rich Oliver's Mystery School. Well worth the money, you'll learn TONS.
 

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Keep relaxed and keep your head up. Don't be watching 2 feet in front of
your wheel to see what's coming.

Use your rear brake preferrably... avoiding sudden use of the front. You
can ride up a gear to keep the torque down at the rear wheel and increase
some traction.

Splay your legs a bit, don't death grip the tank and tighten up your arms.

And don't panic.... even though it can be difficult. Last year I was ripping
along a country backroad in North California... came around a corner with
considerable speed, and the pavement was gone... no warning, no signs,
nothing. Just a gravel and dirt section for 200 meters... with cows crossing.

I just got off the gas and avoided hitting the front brake. I geared down
and added rpm to avoid locking the tire... then used some rear brake,
held the horn down and luckily the cows got the hell out of the way.
 

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I am not a dirt rider by any stretch, but when I took my course some 6 years ago, one day our instructor took us on a LONG gravel road ride. He also took us through the worst pavement I have ever seen with 4" deep potholes and eroded pavement to make our way through, metal and wet wood bridge decks. He taught us about proper gearing and braking for uneven surfaces etc.



I think that was really one of the best things I learned at school. I have no problem riding my bike through grooved pavement, gravel roads, muddy dirt campground, etc, now. I currently ride an R6. Alot of people I ride with are the same, but some are terrified of gravel. I think it is a huge skill to learn how to ride on such surfaces, especially if you are suddenly faced with them you will have confidence and control.:tredmill

What others have said...reduce traction, do not downshift suddenly on uneven surfaces, pick the flattest and smoothest spot if you have to do so and do so upright, negotiate around lumps and bumps if you can, try to hit drop offs straight on. Dont grab your front brake on uneven surfaces or in a sharp turn on loose surfaces, feather your rear, keep some throttle....its all something you have to sort of learn...
 

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being a former MX racer when I started street riding I was very comfortable when the bike slid or lost traction....and in lots of cases pushed it so it would...its just fun!!!

But riding with others that have never spun a wheel or freak out when they hit a tar snake, wet lines, a bit of gravel or dirt I can see this is a skill that all street riders should learn....like driving in the snow...we all need to be taught nothing bad is gonna happen if you start to feel a little loss of traction and the propper reaction to make will save you....so go out and get on a dirt bike and start sliding and having fun....

FYI myself and some well known road racer practice on TTR125's on polished cement....you learn how to push beyond the bike and tires limits and still be in control...If you went to Kenny Roberts ranch he teaches this on XR100's...

I can say by knowing how to slide and be comfortable has saved me from many falls...the most recent was going up Cypress and hitting some sand at the corner....just kept it sideways and had fun with it...
 
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