Looking for tips on riding on gravel

patsmith

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+ 1 to all that has been mentioned. While standing I like to have a slight bend at the waist so that I'm leaning towards the front of the bike. It will put a little more weight on the front tire plus give your upper body more leverage to quickly react to a tire that tries to knife or wander to much. Steady throttle is your friend.
 

ThumperX

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I just completed an 1800 mile trip, about 500 miles was on gravel, good tires are a must. Additionally, speed is your friend, in a washboard surface 50 mph + is imperitive to "loat" above the roughness.
 

mwcogburn

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U just ran loose gravel on new stock z8 tires today. Those things are squirrely. I almost lost it a couple of times. It was a lot better when I was standing but I wouldn't do much gravel without more appropriate tires.

Then again I am not an experienced off highway rider.
 

VE258

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from what i've learned (the hard way) this weekend, riding on the gravel-be very careful on uneven spots\roads.
 

gharshman

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Common mistake is to look immediately in front of the bike when you should be looking 20 yards ahead. Going too slow (more common) or too fast (less common) are also mistakes. Find a comfortable speed 15-25 mph until you are comfortable. The wheels will feel like they are floating around and not planted -- that is normal. You have to get used to that feeling. If the front wheel shifts left or right an inch, just go with it. It's just the gravel giving way. Once you are comfortable with the lower traction and the settling effect of the gravel, you can increase your speed. Also, gravel provides plenty of slowing power, so if you are looking 20 yards ahead, you can just let off the throttle and you will slow fairly quickly. Avoid the brakes until you are comfortable, and then take it easy on the brakes. You can recover from a sliding rear wheel, but if the front wheel lets go, it is much harder for an off-road newbie to recover. The front wheel will sometimes dry to "dig in" in deep gravel -- watch out for that, especially in the curve of a road. Sometimes when riding in gravel or dirt, an inexperienced gut reaction of hitting the brakes is the wrong instinct. Many experienced riders will hit the gas instead. If you can do all of that while standing on the pegs, then great, go for it. If not, just stay on the seat and focus on the points above until you've got them mastered.

Book recommendation: http://www.amazon.com/Riding-Skills-Sport-Adventure-Riders/dp/1884313876
 

Wingrider

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It depends,

if you are talking loose gravel in a Construction zone, Like Loose gravel on a paved road, that can be worse than a dirt road with gravel, especially if the paved road has a lot of curves, Blind curves with gravel are the worst.

a dirt road the gravel can get a little embedded which may help some.

If it is a dirt road with gravel, then go back when you have a day off and do some practice riding till you feel comfortable, first starting slow.
 
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T

Tim Clynes

I'll tell you something important here, as a rule of thumb, on a motorcycle, you really want to avoide gravel if you can unless you are looking for it.

If you are looking for it you'll be riding a bike designed for it, and that will not be an NC700 or 750.

However, if you do find it on your NC, DO NOT STAND UP ON THE PEGS, the bike is not designed for it, the front wheel is too small, it is completely unnecessary and you will like as not ditch the bike.

Go slowly on the highest gear you can without stalling the bike.

Go to any country with poor roads and you will find cheap moped carrying a family of 3 or 4 on gravel roads quite happily.

That will be a moped with factory fitted tyres, tiny wheels and inadequate suspension for the road surface.

However, they all sit down, ride slowly, and take time in the corners.
 

RNS1948

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Standing on the footpegs does not lower the centre of gravity. (physics 101) It allows the bike to move under you, & you don't react with your butt to it's every move.
 

DCTFAN

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+ 1 to all that has been mentioned. While standing I like to have a slight bend at the waist so that I'm leaning towards the front of the bike. It will put a little more weight on the front tire plus give your upper body more leverage to quickly react to a tire that tries to knife or wander to much. Steady throttle is your friend.
You do not want to weight the front on gravel. If you have to stand on pegs, stand upright or lean back a little.
The front needs to find traction on its own.
You do not want to react quickly at all, no abrupt actions required.
If you weight front down by leaning forward, you will
more likely loose rear traction where you don't want to or expect- out of control.

You want to be able to control the bike: steady on the throttle, loosen up your grip on handlebars, look ahead and keep calm, so do not look 5 feet in front of you all the time.


PS. someone said that the NCX is not built for gravel roads does not do it justice.
I ride gravel with other dual sport bikes and for hours on end, it performs just as well as
long as the ground clearance can handle the bumps and ruts.
Even the stock tires did well on gravel, but the Shinkos are made for it.
 

TN Thunder

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I grew up riding and driving on gravel and each kind of gravel/rock/dirt/clay has its own characteristics. I am currently using Shinkos as I run more paved than gravel but their grooves are deep and work well with gravel/rock. Staying loose is primary as gravel shifts beneath your front tire especially and if you're tense you're going to lose it. I stay seated unless it is a really rough stretch then I stand. I keep my hand off the front brake most of the time but you can learn to feather the front brake as long as you're running in a straight line. Back brake most of the time. And unless you're really good, watch your speed as stopping and turning takes a bit longer, like riding on ice and snow. Time will make improvements in your skill. I couldn't imagine standing for a 30 mile stretch especially here where I live in the mountains. Just take it slow until you get comfortable and stay loose. Then stay alert and learn to read the roadway. Helps when you hit a stretch with ruts.
 

Hank

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I live on a gravel road.
Stay off the front brake.
Keep your speed up above 10.
I ride in second, keep throttle steady, use clutch to regulate speed (if you have a clutch.)
 

DCTFAN

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Or do as I did.
Just get yourself an AT and turn on that 'G' button, for 'G'ravel.
Thank you Honda, now I'm a Gravel Diavel!
 

TN Thunder

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I run Shinko 500s and find them okay if you don't run gravel/dirt every day. Stay relaxed as possible, maintain a constant speed when you can, go easy on the throttle and forget the front brake until you have a lot of time on gravel. And finally, don't watch the front wheel, always look ahead and think a bit quicker where you're going. I ride gravel here in the mountains of East Tennessee. It's sort of like riding on snow or ice. You just throttle easy, steer easy and allow extra room for stopping.
 
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I went to an overlook in North Ga today near where I live and the whole path was dirt/gravel with gnarly washboards that would fully consume the 17" front with 120/70 tire if I let it but with a completely stock NC700X, I put it in manual and let her rip. In the curves and switchbacks I just leaned opposite of the way I was turning and let the rear step out a little and kept shifting as I bounced off the top of washboards, pretty much straight up MX'n it right up the ridge. So with stock tires you should be fine, really just don't do anything overly stupid and you'll be fine. For future reference if you ride gravel any other time, I stand up in the rougher stuff most of time but not always but smoother, lighter stuff sitting is just fine. As long as you mind the 17" front being smaller than other bikes meant to do gravel and don't go too fast especially in curves, don't lean into the turns like you would on the road, and don't gas it too hard out of turns you will be perfectly fine almost certainly. This is kinda common sense but avoid really washed out areas like steeper areas made on the side of the rodes, any holes in the road, and especially loose or "piled-up looking" gravel like on the edge of gravel roads as that will make even 21"Front/18"Rear tire bikes go down sometimes depending on skill level, road conditions, etc. etc. Happy riding and safe travels!
 

DCTFAN

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Yesterday, I had some fun on gravel.
The CTX has less clearance than the NC,
but the seat is so much better; made my day!
Of course, I had Shinko705's on the CTX.

CTX700ND_Jul2016.jpg
 

AsureDawn

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90% of the time, you'll go where your front tire is pointed. 30% of the time you'll go where your rear tire is pointed. Have fun! ;)
 

kpinvt

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The dirt action starts at 01:39 & 04:18. Watch the front wheels. No dirt road riding around here yet, the roads are still deep mud.

YouTube

OK, I can't help myself, I'm wild about the idea of this bike.
 
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DCTFAN

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As I ride more and more dirt/gravel,
the turns become easier and the bike
is more controlled, but my butt keeps puckering (out of control) ...:p
 
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