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Old 09-20-2018, 11:55 AM   #1
ScottRNelson
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Bike doesn't want to steer in this stuff

Most dirt roads in the area that are not maintained for local farmer/rancher use have areas of deep dust. I'm starting to think of it as dry mud. I'm sure it has something to do with no rain for months in the area. Once we get some good rain I'm sure this will turn into some amazingly slick mud.

The photo below is of one particularly tricky section that was about 50 feet long. This stuff is two inches deep with invisible ruts underneath. This photo was after I had just crossed it. In the middle was a spot that had me close to dumping the bike. You steer one way and the front end goes the other until it finally catches and corrects the path a bit. If you have enough speed the bike will correct before you dump it. Go too slow and there may not be time for it to catch.



I'm not sure I'm looking for advice on how to handle this stuff, just complaining about it. I know what I'm supposed to do, but I have to fight the urge to do something different.

Heading up a steep hill on a road with this stuff, you have to keep your momentum. I did that about half an hour before this photo was taken of this flat section. I know from experience to trust the bike to bounce over whatever rough stuff there is and the momentum will get me through.

Heading down a (not quite as) steep hill with this stuff on it, I know I can't stop until I get to the bottom. But I know from experience that as long as I can see a flat place down below and there aren't any tricky sharp turns or dropoffs on the way down, I just have to keep it upright until I can get down there and regain control. Rear brake can be used as needed with careful application of the front brake only where there is a bit more traction.

I was coming back from here when I went through the deep dust section.

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Old 09-20-2018, 12:02 PM   #2
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Silt.

I have no advice, I just remember the segment from "Dust to Glory" about the silt in Baja.

And I remember my brief stint on a dirt bike in just plain old sand, and the thrills and excitement it alone can bring.
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:11 PM   #3
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Been a while since I was in the desert in bottomless sand washes but, in my experience riding in such conditions, you want to be accelerating to keep the front wheel from plowing too deeply into the soft surface. Keeping the front wheel on the surface seems to provide adequate control and stability.
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:15 PM   #4
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Been a while since I was in the desert in bottomless sand washes but, in my experience riding in such conditions, you want to be accelerating to keep the front wheel from plowing too deeply into the soft surface. Keeping the front wheel on the surface seems to provide adequate control and stability.
I know how to keep the front wheel on top in sand. It doesn't work in this "silt" stuff. Sand is ten times more firm.
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:19 PM   #5
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I got oodles of experience of this in Pakistan recently. On a CB150F. Such joy. Er. Or not.
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:21 PM   #6
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Stand and stay on the gas hard...!!!!

It takes more guts, but I know they are in there!

Gets way more difficult when you have to change direction. Many of the dunes at Pismo would be similar.
Not on the gas.. you sink, stall... fall.
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:39 PM   #7
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Perhaps try riding that section a bunch on the XR, til it’s not to unnerving.
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:19 PM   #8
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Perhaps try riding that section a bunch on the XR, til itís not too unnerving.
I'm able to get through it on the big KTM and there are only two sections of it on the road down to the Snake River. I'll save the XR for the tougher trails up in the hills. I'm overdue to take it to the trail that defeated me last week when I was on my KTM. Just need to find time for a longer ride.
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:22 PM   #9
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Perhaps try riding that section a bunch on the XR, til itís not to unnerving.
+1

Sand and silt are FUN...... though it takes confidence and commitment to ride it well. Wish we had a place close by to ride more of it on a regular basis.

I always enjoy watching folks coming down to Baja riding the stuff for the first time and all the creative and different approaches to technique they take to tackle it. Butts so far back on the fender their chin is on the gas tank or the sand waddle
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:23 PM   #10
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I know how to keep the front wheel on top in sand. It doesn't work in this "silt" stuff. Sand is ten times more firm.
10x faster?

I have run in the silt stuff (more like baking flour) in a few spots in the desert and what I recall, the key was moving faster and it worked better.
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:31 PM   #11
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10x faster?

I have run in the silt stuff (more like baking flour) in a few spots in the desert and what I recall, the key was moving faster and it worked better.
I was going about 30 mph through that stuff. I don't think the bike can go 10x faster.

Still have to make the turns in the road too.
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:32 PM   #12
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10x faster?

I have run in the silt stuff (more like baking flour) in a few spots in the desert and what I recall, the key was moving faster and it worked better.
Folks that usually struggle with it are the ones who sit and steer too much with their upper body through the bars. Speed helps, but isnt the cure all in my experience (sometimes you have to slalom through Cacti). In my experience, standing or sitting, you need to clinch the tank with your knees and really steer through the pegs along with more throttle and a bit of bias steering with the rear. But if you arent weighting the pegs and controlling the bike with your lower body.... you are going down no matter how far back on the fender you slide (funny to watch) or how fast (dangerous) you go.

Just what I've found. Others may vary.
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:36 PM   #13
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Folks that usually struggle with it are the ones who sit and steer too much with their upper body through the bars.
Yeah, I've learned from sand riding that you don't really steer, you just give the bike hints with body position side to side about where you want to go and it sort of goes in that general direction. You definitely have to be up on the pegs in this loose stuff.
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:45 PM   #14
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Yep. And minor small throttle blips to recover the front if its starts to knife or swap (thats where the confidence comes as most want to shut off - worse thing to do). While there is a minimum speed to make it through, you dont to need bonzai speed or have to be acelerating at all times.

I hear riding slick clay mud is a similar technique, but that stuff still kills me .
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Old 09-20-2018, 02:19 PM   #15
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I hate Baja sand . . .
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