Author Topic: Digging In The Dirt  (Read 1579 times)

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Offline mcchoc

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Digging In The Dirt
on: May 20, 2021, 08:03:49 AM
Hi All - This coming November/December, Covid permitting, I have been offered an 'editor spot' on Edelweissbike's 'Adventure Patagonia' tour, which I will be writing up (as a very amateur journalist) for Motorcycle Sport & Leisure magazine.  The tour runs from halfway down Chile to the tip of South America, over 21 days.  Only problem is - I've never ridden off-road and much of the trip is on gravel passes.

My chosen steed is the Yamaha Super Tenere 1200, and I've been watching many instructional videos by MotoTrek on You Tube.  I know what is involved - it all makes perfect sense -but just how hard is it to simply relax, and let the bike squirm away underneath you with minimal inputs, when I've been on tarmac for the last 45 years? 

Any advice and recommended off-road training outfits not too far from East Yorkshire much appreciated.

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Offline CraptainC

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Re: Digging In The Dirt
Reply #1 on: May 20, 2021, 09:08:32 AM
Hi Mcchoc,
Firstly, I am jealous - sounds fantastic  :467:

Personally, and depending on the amount of off-road riding I would be inclined to look at a smaller / light bike than a 1200.

As for training;- most of the know off-road rider training schools seem to be in or around Wales. Although a few years ago (quite a few actually) I went on a Yamaha off-road experience in the Pennines, which was more enduro focused.

As you plan to use the Tenere I suggest that you get in touch with Yamaha direct to see if they hold / can recommend any Tenere specific training schools (but be prepared to travel / stay away).

Good luck!
CC

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Offline Chippy4467

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Re: Digging In The Dirt
Reply #2 on: May 20, 2021, 09:44:19 AM
I agree with CraptainC - I'm jealous and I would be looking for a smaller stead, especially if you have never ridden off road before.  Honda (pre Covid) used to have off road school based somewhere on Exmoor.  but as CraptainC says there's a few off road centre's in Wales - think the Triumph one did 2 and 3 day courses. Not a cheap option but would suggest its well worth it ahead of your adventure
Chippy

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Offline mcchoc

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Re: Digging In The Dirt
Reply #3 on: May 20, 2021, 10:24:09 AM
Thanks for that guys.  On  a tour of this length (over 3,000 miles) Edelweiss only use biggish bikes. 

My 'reserve' mount is a Tiger 850.  I am over 6 feet tall, weigh around 17 stone and despite my advanced years, am still pretty strong.  We don't carry luggage as there'll be a support truck sweeping up behind. 

It's not the weight of the bike that worries me - I know I will be picking it up more than once, with help if needed from my seven + compadres ! - but trusting that front wheel.  Totally fine with the back end flapping about, as it sometimes does on the K1300S.

I could I suppose take my Tiger XRx over the fields of East Yorkshire to practise, but I'm really not willing to deck my shiny last time buy.

Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 11:13:34 AM by mcchoc

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Offline Speed_Racer

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Re: Digging In The Dirt
Reply #4 on: May 20, 2021, 05:39:37 PM
Pick the right tires for your terrain, drop the tire pressures down compared to what you're used to on pavement, then go practice a lot! When moving, the bike naturally wants to go straight and stay upright so have good body position and don't fight it.

It gets easier and more comfortable with practice :)
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Offline Icy

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Re: Digging In The Dirt
Reply #5 on: May 20, 2021, 06:13:05 PM
Basic gravel technique: Sit down, grab the tank with your knees, keep repeating to yourself "let the bike dance. let the bike dance" don't fight the handlebars, the bike will stay upright as long as it has forward momentum. Don't go fast, anything over 10 mph is more than enough through most offroad terrain. Your job is to prevent sudden left / right jerks of the handlebars in case they hit an obstacle. Slowly lean into your turns and remember, the bike will eventually go exactly where you look. Not immediately, but eventually so give the bike time. Good throttle control is your bible.

Basic loose traction technique: Stand up, make sure you have some bend in your elbows, don't fight the jerks of the handlebars, simply stay on throttle, use clutch to ease the throttle, keep a steady RPM and use the clutch as much as you can. Don't worry, you can't burn it. Clutch is your friend.

Never, ever look right in front of you - always look ahead, always.

I personally never deflate my tyres (as per manufacturer recommendation) but I know it helps with older knobbies a lot. Modern radial tyres don't really need that adjustment. I also don't even take my sidecases off.

Keep your eyes on the exact spot you want to go through, never focus on the actual obstacles, but where you want to be.




Trust the bike. These bikes are meant to, made to go on these roads. You don't have to go fast, in fact, with these heavy SUVs on two wheels, you should not go fast. It's a balancing act. But that doesn't mean you cannot go fast on a straight gravel / sand mix and enjoy it a bit


I always have 20mm risers on all my bikes. The handlebars are turned upward so that I can reach the controls easier / better.

Training, training, training... Keep training. If you see a hardpacked road, get on it, train. Learn how to be loose on the bike but still connected to it. Let the bike dance underneath you whilst maintaining absolute control of it with your throttle and clutch.



Leaning forward to keep the weight on the front-wheel as much as possible. Elbows bent. Looking ahead, not on the rock that I just bottomed out over.

Off the road and off tarmac is where I have my best memories, always.

I for one, applaud you for using this bike as it was meant to be (never mind that stupid user manual - I bang this thing on the rocks whenever I get a chance!)

 :047: :821: :467:


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Offline Champy72

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Re: Digging In The Dirt
Reply #6 on: May 20, 2021, 06:58:56 PM
And - don't forget you still need that front brake! the rear will not stop you efficiently in the loose stuff.

With your body forward, and the weight on the front, the front brake will work well - but just use two fingers so as not to grab it too much...
If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space.

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Offline mcchoc

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Re: Digging In The Dirt
Reply #7 on: July 14, 2021, 02:11:14 PM
Thanks to all for your valuable input.  As it stands, I'm still not sure if the trip is on.  I'm double-Pfizered but it all depends on Chile's immigration rules. 

The three pals I'm supposed to be meeting for Patagonia have tried to meet up recently but could not as the Canada/Alaska border was closed.  My Aussie mate in Anchorage got within 2 miles of the border, whilst the couple from Vancouver were only a handful of miles away on the Canadian side - after riding through temperatures of over 49 degrees!  They were facing multiple forest fires on their way back, and didn't appreciate my advice to buy some asbestos grundies . .

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Offline Icy

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Re: Digging In The Dirt
Reply #8 on: July 14, 2021, 09:50:12 PM
Yikes!!!
"It's easy to learn how to speak, it takes a lot more to learn how to actually say something." ~Icy
http://instagram.com/soksa.icy/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/soksa/
https://www.youtube.com/user/SokSa/videos
http://www.swordclassri.com/