OK...it's official I HATE GRAVEL... - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 10th, 2011, 4:51 pm Thread Starter
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Angry OK...it's official I HATE GRAVEL...

There, I said it. As much as I wish I could avoid it, I can't. I live 2.5 miles from a highway, once there I can ride pavement anywhere I want to go. Taking the road to the highway isn't too bad if I can stay within one of the tire tracks. I take my time, usually going between 25-30 km/hr and I get there. When meeting on coming traffic...that's a different story. "Slow down" is a foreign concept to 'cages', so whenever I'm going to meet up with one, I end up moving over. Did that today, caught some soft gravel...and tipped the bike. No damage done since I was going about a walking pace and could 'stop the fall'. Heck..didn't even hurt my pride. Person I moved over for did stop to make sure I was ok (nice of him to do so). Picked everything up and kept going. So, here's the loaded question. What's the trick to riding gravel, especially when you have to go into the 'soft stuff'? Or, do you avoid altogether? If it makes a difference, I ride a K100rs.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 10th, 2011, 5:10 pm
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Never touch the front brake....
when in doubt, gas it, etc.
My RS is not a GS, so I would not consider keeping my RS and S if I lived 2.5 miles down a dirt, let alone loose gravel, road. First thing I did when I moved to our place in Fiddletown was to pave the .5 mile driveway. (Back when petrol stuff was half what it is today) I have done a reasonable amount of mileage on gravel on my RS history, and I feel the exact same....I HATE IT. I would seriously consider a GS in your situation. It will handle as well or better on the highway, just not 'quite' as fast or sexy. But when you are on it, and don't fall over, you don't really see it anyway.

Jim Douglas
'00 K1200RS >135,000 mi, '09 K1300S sold @ 22,232 mi
'93 K1100RS traded up @ 78,000 mi, '85 K100RS sold @44,000 mi, Kawi 650 track bike - sold
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 10th, 2011, 6:59 pm Thread Starter
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Although the suggestions are good, paving the road isn't an option for me, nor is buying a different bike at this moment. Stay off the front brake...I don't touch it when I'm on gravel. Problem I have is when the front end starts to 'plow' (for lack of better terminology) in the soft stuff. Even tried the 'gas it' trick..nothing seemed to help. For now, it seems as though the best thing is to take it easy. If necessary, move over and stop to let traffic by, in spite of how ridiculous that looks. Seems a better option than dumping the bike while someone is barreling down the road towards me. As I mentioned, if I keep it in the tracks it's fine...only when I have to move over does it become problematic.
Sometimes a picture paints a clearer picture. This is the road I travel to the highway.
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Last edited by BMWCanuck; Sep 11th, 2011 at 5:17 pm. Reason: Added pictures
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 10th, 2011, 8:53 pm
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I pulled the same stunt on a full-bagger Harley on a dirt road. In the car/truck tracks it was fine. Going off a bit and I found I could fly with the greatest of ease over the bars when the front tire sank into some soft stuff. Thank gosh for heavy Harley leathers I had on then. The bike could stop much faster, or so I've learned. Bike sustained minimal damage, less than $5 in stuff (a turn signal lens and some polishing out of the shield.). I doubt if a newer BMW would fair as well. A K1600GT probably would total out in a dirt road accident where the engine casing took a hit or the fog light bracket snapped off a bit of the "component engine" case.

I dunno. Maybe time for a Can-Am three-wheeler in Canada for you if you insist on 2.5 mile dirt driveway stuff? It's almost a given for you to dump it on something like that. Most of the worst cases of messed up bikers I know were from dirt accidents. They keep telling me "It's safer" even when they have their halos on and sundry splint stuff. Oddly, they are the same ones who tell me "I'm crazy to ride on the asphalt." Go figger.

Even some quad guy in the hills used a 4-wheeler to go down the hill and fetch his mail from the community boxes, maybe 1/4 mile away. One day he managed to get it sideways and rolled it after doing it for 3 years. He got rid of it then due to the LOL nagging him about the incident where he was laid up and she got tired of waiting on him for a few months. Back to the truck or car for him now.

As they say, crap happens.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 11th, 2011, 4:05 am
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I hate gravel too. I only ride on it to test the ABS.

When I do the testing I'm not going more than 5-10 mph and don't like the weight of the bike squirming around, but I have learned NOT to use the front brake (unless testing). I use the same technique on sheet ice and just keep the bike upright and work the steering hard turning into any front slides. I've also found wiggling the bars back and forth on the stuff keeps the bike more upright.

Perhaps you have to accept the inevitable and think about putting on some used saddlebags and add some body protection to the front sides. I don't think much of the usual 'mushrooms' and you have to be careful where they are located, but in your case they could save on damage to the bike for a slow speed tipover.

The big difference here maybe I know where the gravel is I'm going to use and I'm ready for it. If you hit it unexpectedly at speed there's probably not much you can do except leave the front brake alone, fight the instability and pray.



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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 11th, 2011, 1:34 pm
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My K100RS sucked on gravel....not that it ever stopped me to the surprise of some 4Wheelers at times. The K1200RS is pretty good, otherwise how would I get home or explore....must be the fatter tires.

Having ridden a R100GS for many years, I am quite familiar with the "plowing action" in the soft stuff and.......riding fast on gravel! ....never ever release the throttle even for a second, it will make it worse and you may not be able to pull out of it.Some front end wandering is to be expected, trying to fight it with the handlebars will not work, it is pretty well all in the throttle control. Acceleration is your friend, if I can see there is soft stuff coming up I try to accelerate some before I get to it, NOT slow down thus putting more weight on the front. Staying in lower gears/higher revs for control and an adjustable steering stabiliser helps a lot....!

As for the oncoming traffic.....I tend to stand my ground,even going as far as pointing my bike their way for a second or so.....then they may think I am heading for them and most of them will either pull to the right or slow down. Playing chicken I know....but I even do it on pavement if the oncoming vehicle is not giving me my full lane.

Then you can go to places like this:





But I must say....be careful! Had a very slow spill on my bike just last month in a campground, as I was trying to right it up a bystander ran to my help and.....in his excitement kicked me on the back of the leg/foot that already had all the bike's weight on it and....ripped my Achille's tendon. Operation....Cast on....no more riding this year and no work til January.

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Last edited by H96669; Sep 11th, 2011 at 1:47 pm.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 12th, 2011, 5:05 am
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I bought 800GS specially for such kind of roads( hey, we ride to Finland to enjoy their gravels - they are same ideal as the one you posted)

try to stand while riding it - the center of gravity will be lower then and it will be easier to overcome that piece - and have your fingers on the clutch keeping the stable gas at slow pace...

Take care!

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 12th, 2011, 9:57 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easyman05
I bought 800GS specially for such kind of roads( hey, we ride to Finland to enjoy their gravels - they are same ideal as the one you posted)

try to stand while riding it - the center of gravity will be lower then and it will be easier to overcome that piece - and have your fingers on the clutch keeping the stable gas at slow pace...
Standing on the footpegs may make it easier to keep the bike stable, but it does not lower the center of gravity. If you raise your body, the overall center of gravity (bike and rider) is higher.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:37 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XMagnaRider
Standing on the footpegs may make it easier to keep the bike stable, but it does not lower the center of gravity. If you raise your body, the overall center of gravity (bike and rider) is higher.
even having the weight of rider's body on the footpegs?

Take care!

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'09 F800GS Grey
'07 F800ST Blue - wife's(sold)
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Sep 12th, 2011, 4:17 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easyman05
even having the weight of rider's body on the footpegs?
Yes. Even though the rider stands on the footpegs, the center of gravity is still higher.

Standing on the footpegs makes it easier to control the motorcycle on gravel as described above, but it isn't because the center of gravity is lower.
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