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Discussion Starter #1
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
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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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.


Mack
 

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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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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. :clap:

Having ridden a R100GS for many years, I am quite familiar with the "plowing action" in the soft stuff and.......riding fast on gravel! :teeth ....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. :teeth :teeth :teeth

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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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...
 

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easyman05 said:
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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XMagnaRider said:
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?
 

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easyman05 said:
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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OK, I'm not going to argue even if it looks like we are talking about different things - center of gravity and center of mass - the point is that standing on the footpegs eases riding on gravel....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
A foreign concept to me...

Although it obviously works, personally, I am having difficulty with the idea of riding while standing on the foot pegs. Not that anyone would know, but at 6'2" and 300 lbs (yeah,yeah..go ahead and say it :) ), I'm not what one would call a small guy.
Dumb question perhaps, but when standing does that mean stand upright and reach for the handlebar? Or more of a bend at the knees and ensure your weight is on the pegs? In regards to the comment regarding 'clutch control', I thought with a dry clutch it was best to lay off it due to excessive wear and tear. Again, is this one of those exceptions?
 

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easyman05 said:
OK, I'm not going to argue even if it looks like we are talking about different things - center of gravity and center of mass - the point is that standing on the footpegs eases riding on gravel....
It has been well argued before....! :teeth My K100RS wasn't too easy to ride standing up, all depends on the bike's ergos that one. The K1200RS....lifting yourself up for the first foot or so is a little challenging at times, once passed that then I am just fine.

Much better field of view over the oncoming potholes/ruts, much less banging of the suspension (And your back/butts) and......way better control.

I have ridden hundred of Kms standing up on gravel, but out here you have to remember to shoulder check.....there could be an empty logging truck right behind you and believe me , they go much faster than me on gravel. I usually (always) let them pass and either stop or slow down for a minute or so not to eat too much dust.

Don't remember how much you can adjust the mirrors in them pods, but on the GS I always turned the right mirror up, that way I could see what was coming behind without shoulder checking.

Shoulder checking standing up on a K1200RS....not easy! :teeth

Mr OP, anyone with a smaller dirt bike to lend you out there? Great practice....a day or so of riding trails/gravel and you'd feel a lot more confident taking that K out for a ride "on gravel".

End of the road, somewhere in Montana. Darn clay.....hard to clean!:yeow:

 

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BMWCanuck said:
Or more of a bend at the knees and ensure your weight is on the pegs?
of course - just lift your body from the saddle....it's not easy to stand on the GT's footpegs....:)

fingers on the clutch - just be ready to pull it in should the rear wheel start spinning or "float"...
 

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Yeah -

I owned a K100RS and when invited to travel the gravel 'highways' of the Great White North, sold it and bought a used R1150GS.

The GS is better for this in almost every way - the front wheel is 19", so it tends to go over soft gravel, not plow. Secondly there are great knobby tires available in the sizes that work on the GS - there are none for the K100 that I could find. There is way more suspension travel, and the ergos lend themselves to standing on the pegs (but only after adding a ROX riser).

Having said all of this the K100 is a capable machine. Moto Eddie rode his across North Africa including the Sahara, so anything is possible, it's just not a tool optimized for gravel.

If I were you I'd sell the K and scour the for sale ads and get a used Airhead GS for about the same $3500 (US or Canadian, not sure there is much difference anymore) that you'd likely get for your K. The Airhead will be slower, but in the end just as much fun - and you'll find yourself looking forward to gravel and dirt!
 
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