Location: Kelowna, BC - summer; Florence, AZ - winter
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
What the other posts say, PLUS - your bike will be a LOT more stable at a higher speed, even tho' it seems non-intuitive. Where it'll be all over the place at 20 mph, at 40 or 50 (without a tense grip) it'll be way more secure! Try it.
If you're riding on gravel remember to slow down a lot more for left turns than you do for right turns. Left turns are all off-camber pretty much, so you're pretty likely to end up in the ditch even at old-lady speeds.
Also, avoid ruts and mud at all cost. The small wide street tires don't cope.
Don't ask me how I know.
It also helps to keep your weight forward to plant the front wheel better. Let the rear wheel move where it wants to, as long as the front is not dancing around or starting to lift.
Practice riding with the lightest grip on the handlebars you can manage. Learn to feel the bike finding it's own sense of balance and stability.
The rotating wheel has a gyroscope effect and will behave itself if you let it. It is when you push the wheel into a different direction that the gyroscope effect fights against you and it feels unstable. This is the foundation of counter-steering. When you push forward on the right grip the gyro effect wants to lean the top of the wheel to the right. If the wheel is finding its own way over gravel and you push like this, it will try to lean over, you get nervous and hold tighter, thereby causing another gyro-effect, and the wheel washes out from under you. OTOH, let it do its own stabilizing and you will find it is very well behaved.
You can help make Clem a household name
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Keep your head up and look where you want to go! You'll be amazed how quickly you'll hit that huge rock or rut if you stare at it, but if you look where you'd rather go (such as between the two) you'll miss the scary stuff every time. Stay loose.
-Never mistake kindness for weakness.
-Harley Davidson rEvolution engine (V-Rod): Designed by Porsche, detuned by Harley.
I have the same challenges living 1 1/2 mi. down a dirt/gravel road, but haven't had a problem after watching the Motopeak Dual Sport Riding Techniques DVD numerous times and using the recommended riding (standing) practices. You can buy the DVD at: http://www.dualsportriding.com
Currently have 23,000k on my 07 with more than half in the woods of Nova Scotia. The versys this weekend took an 08 KFS 250 to school. I have been running distansia for 2 rear 1 front now and this weekend myself , buddly with the 250 and 40 ATV rider were amazed where I put this bike and it made it out on it's own every time. Two ATV's were towed. FYI gravel road at 110km/hr. Keep it slow until you learn these. I am looking into shinko 150/70/17 and 120/80/17 now. does anyone try these?