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Thread: Riding the dirt roads

  1. #16
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Knobs vs DS;

    Knobs are the obvious BEST choice for offroad, but me included, a lifer offroader, use DS for the money concerns and I ride everywhere. Sand/mud/snow are my worst enemies with DS tires in place, but that said I still go advenur'in with a TON of experience under my belt. Air pressure is more important with DS tires and less air equals better traction offroad. This applies to Knobs too, but the DS tires, this is paramount. Less air, I mean to 20lbs or less for deep gravel and so on. ME, if money was not an issue, Knobs would be the tire of choice on my GSA. I'm a bit frugal. For a Cont.Devide ride, where so many offroad miles are present, I may splurge and save up for the TKC tires. I know many that run TKC knobs on the front only for good front tire behavior on soft terrain. Fronts usually go around 6000m and a rear TKC is gone quickly at around 3000m. Speed may help with miles too and toning down your highway cruising to 65mph or less will help with knob wear. MY GSA1200 does not know 65 very often on the superslabs and this would be a challenge to learn the less speed thing for wear on the TKC knobs. Randy

  2. #17
    Ritalin Poster Boy rob nye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dadayama View Post
    "Curious, what did you have for tires? I know a lot of people that won't put TKC's (DOT Knobbies) on their GS when it would make a ton of difference.

    I think they help more on dirt than they detract on pavement."

    I know I know... I have Metzlers Tourance on right now. For the Continental Divide I'll get TKs or something along those lines.

    I ride all the time, commute to work in the cold etc... that is why i choose the tire i did, for the road. I've been curious how some knobbies would handle different then the regular "dualsport" tires. But daily wear is also a concern, I'm all ready getting a flat spot and they are not even 6 months old.

    Thanks
    Peter
    As you experiement in the dirt a set of TKC's is well worth the investment.

    On pavement you will not notice a whole lot of difference unless you push hard, then you'll get little wobbles as the blocks move a bit. You do have significant less contact area so breaking distances and such need to be accounted for. On faster roads or the slab you may find the front wandering a tiny amount or a slight vibration in the bars. This is speed / tire pressure related.

    The first time you use knobbies it also may feel like your drive train is going bad, there will be a little snatch every now and again. It's nothing to worry about but all the more reason to run a set before you go off on your trip.

    I agree with Randy's points about tire pressure, expense and all that and for him it works as it would for anyone else with his experience.

    As you don't have the experience when you wear out the Tourances you have I say get yourself a set of TKC's, you'll be glad you did.

    While you learn you can easily bash up enough stuff (windscreen, turn signals, levers (foot and hand) that will cost sustantially more then wearing out a set of TKC's. That's before the potential injuries to yourself.

    Speaking of which you also need to know how to dismount (bail out when you know you're going down) and pick the bike up in the woods.

  3. #18
    John D'oh
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    Confidence...an essential accessory to adventure riding...

    Confidence in your physical ability, your machine, equipment, and riding skills are essential and mostly a matter of practice / trial and error / and a crash or two. Doesn't seem to be much of a way out of the last one and I’ve become quite good at crashing as the years have gone by. The dirt will punish the timid rider and brutalize the aggressive ones. Wear protective gear even while plodding down a quiet dirt country lane as things get out of hand faster than you can think sometimes.

    Knobby tires for off road or "maintained" dirt are what you want so you will be ready for anything. BIG GNARLY CHUNKY SQUARES OF RUBBER chewing into the dirt are so much more fun and inspire confidence in your riding. I opt for DOT approve for high output engines and for legal speeds on asphalt where you'll spend a bit of time as well. You will realize why they are called "dirt tires" right away. Dual Sport tires are mostly useless for my purposes although I keep a set of Sahara’s mounted to spare rims for times I ‘might’ want to do a bit more pavement than dirt (and haven’t used them once in two years). You don’t have to spend a fortune on knobbies either to get what you need. You'll have lots of options for your F650.

    I've been running the dirt roads in North Central Texas out of Denton for 20 years or more on my dirt BMW and have made a few forays into the Weyerhaeuser Paper company property over on the South Eastern quadrant of Oklahoma. MOST EXCELLENT riding in there...you can get lost for days wandering the old logging roads. There you’ll find every conceivable type of riding conditions to practice for the Continental Divide trip.

    I second the idea of riding standing if for no other reason than to see over then next little rise. The bike is somehow more controllable standing and the technique is useful going slow or fast. Low speeds are what my friends and I call “Cow Trailing” and that’s fine…Great point was made about taking a look around which is why you are out there in the first place. The faster you go the more you have to focus on the trail / road ahead. Just try and keep in mind that the application of throttle gets you out of trouble in the dirt more often than not which is a bit counterintuitive but there it is… The dirt will punish the timid rider ~!

    Go play in the Weyerhaeuser for a day…watch out for logging trucks. Dont forget a sketch book :-)
    Last edited by Na Cl K9; 08-08-2012 at 04:06 PM.

  4. #19
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Love that pic:)

    The old Airhead offroader Smiles. I've got one too I need to rebuild into an offroader, my R100/7 converts to this I hope someday. Randy

  5. #20
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear View Post
    The old Airhead offroader Smiles. I've got one too I need to rebuild into an offroader, my R100/7 converts to this I hope someday. Randy
    randy - mr. paul lehrer (sr09wmb, and leader of the Lost Boys) is your man to go to for how this gets done.

    ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  6. #21
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Time?

    My biggest issue is where the time comes from to get r done. I'm so short of it, these days. I support my DMV with all my stuff registered and it ALL takes time to fix, keep going. Now to get a "favorable" project started,hmmmm? Just how does this happen, I ask? I know...Randy

  7. #22
    John D'oh
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    Randy...When I built my 'poor-mans G/S' there were three of us working on the project building 3 duplicate frames and lengthened swing arms. The choice of front forks, engines, fuel tank seats etc. was determined by what we planned to do with them individually. I wanted a 'pack mule' but got an Impala. They were originally built to take on one place here in Texas - Big Bend. Turned out they were suitable for just about anything after that.

    During the build which started in 1986, actually prior to it as well, we followed up every lead concerning other folks into similar projects. At the time we ran across maybe 10 others here in the US making similar attempts. As I recall talking to Rich - to our knowledge only two of those other builders ever finished their bikes. Time is definitely a central issue.

    It was three years of planning, proto-type work, design, fabrication, scrounging parts and then the final assembly. We did drink a lot of beer while discussing the design and on one of the bikes; you can see where a couple extra Shiner's bubbled to the top....but its all good. The bikes are competitive and the three of us have shared many an adventure aboard them.

    If you are interested in finding out more about them PM me some time. I'll type your ear off.
    Last edited by Na Cl K9; 08-08-2012 at 04:06 PM.

  8. #23
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    hey paul - i came across this bike, currently for sale on the IBMWR. Owner name is Bill McDonald and he said you were very helpful to him when he built is bike.

    here's the ad:

    1975 R-90/6 GS
    Custom GS conversion. very unique, looks factory built. New fork and 21" wheel. 3" lengthened swing arm, custom subframe and seat. Pirelli MT 21 knobby tires . Extra set of wheels. Crash bars. Works shocks, 12" travel. 90k + miles but runs very strong. Always garaged. She's a real horse and will go just about anywhere! Photos available.
    Price: $6,000.00
    Location: Denver, Co.

  9. #24
    John D'oh
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    Thread Hi-jack continues -

    Hi Ian...

    Yes, I did see the ad and figured out who it was by the location. I remember Bill and his project. He was like the third person to actually use our parts to make one for himself. The bike has the swing arm and drive coupling extension that all our bikes use which allows the builder to make use of off-the-shelf stock drive shafts. it has the same geometry at the rear with the custom Works shocks. The front end looks like Rich's Husky dirt fork ÔÇô but the ad says it has a ÔÇÿnewÔÇÖ front end - and the /6 frame has a steeper steering head angle than the /5 frames Rich and I used. He made his own sub frame and as you can see he used the stock mufflers which is a departure from the design pictured in the photo's of the other off-road machines. It also uses the complete stock wiring and headlight like Tom's bike...that big H4 is the one to have out in Big Bend after the sun goes down...I thought I had been to some dark places before but brother, the DARK lays across your path like the grand canyon out on River Road at night... He's been riding it for at least 10 - 15 years or more so I would say his work (and ours) speaks for itself. The thing I noted is how nice it looks in that trim. Makes mine look like a used garden tractor. To get an idea how tall these bikes are, look at the side stand...it has been extended about 8 inches~!

    Photo: Rich (back) and Thomas pause to pose on River Road, BB.
    Last edited by Na Cl K9; 08-08-2012 at 04:06 PM.

  10. #25
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    knobby tires

    I'm a very new rider, having purchased my '02 Dakar a year ago this past October. It came with Distanzias on it, and I promptly dropped it twice on gravel. A friend suggested using Michelin T-63s. They are considerably cheaper than TKCs and I am really pleased with them. So far, I have almost 5000 miles on them. The front is still pretty good, but I'll have to replace the rear before the spring. I have found them very good on asphalt, gravel, and in the wet stuff. I haven't done any mud or stream crossings, but for everything else they really shine.

    I have those two DVDs. They are excellent. Perhaps I should say that the first is excellent, I haven't even unwrapped the second yet. I picked up a set of PivotPegz and have started standing up on them. It's coming along pretty well, but I haven't done anything aggressive to date. It is a lot easier up on the pegs than bouncing around sitting down. I have only done 40+ mph on soft gravel roads once. The pucker factor was pretty high!

    Let me know if you want someone to do the CDR with you. If I can still get my leg over the saddle, I just might want to tag along.

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