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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2014, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Olympic Gravel

I'm leading a multi day group ride in a few weeks with some gravel roads so I figured I'd better get some practice in, cause right now I suck at it! I have a KLX250 and am pretty comfortable on that but the Versys just seems to float over gravel so this was a run to try and bond with the bike on the loose stuff. So last Saturday I headed out to the Olympic Peninsula to hit some gravel roads and take in the beautiful scenery.

Plan was to head up Hurricane Ridge which is a paved road with some fantastic sweeping bends. Unfortunately it gets busy with tourist traffic and my run up to the top was frequently blocked by slow traffic.

Queue to get into Olympic Natl Park. Was praying not to get stuck behind the cruiser train up ahead

As fun as the 17 mile up to Hurricane Ridge is, the real purpose was to hit Obstruction Point Rd at the top which is a roughly 8 mile gravel road to some hiking trails. There are some vertigo inducing drop offs on this road and for someone not entirely confident on gravel I was going to take it easy. No photos from this section as I was too busy riding but see video below...



Olympic peaks


Glamour shot


Joined by V-Strom, F800GS and a DR650


Yet more mountains


End of the road

Then it was back down to the coast and climb the next mountain along, to Deer Park campground and Blue Mountain. This is a much quieter road with 5 or 6 miles of nice curvy tarmac followed by miles of gravel climbing steeply into the hills.










The largest gas tank known to man (8 gallons)






Full 360' view from top of Blue Mtn

Then it was back to to civilization


Happy to say I was very comfortable on these roads, though the gravel wasn't the deepest. Need to strap my tank bag on the back though as it really got in the way of standing.

No Video
edit: thanks to Gigitt for helping me embed the video

Last edited by alba; 07-19-2014 at 11:30 AM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-19-2014, 01:54 AM
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Nice Pics

Video embedded with tags [Yt]

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-19-2014, 02:22 AM
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Nice pics, looks like an awesome outing. What tires are you running on the V?

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-19-2014, 09:14 AM
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You could ride a Harley on those roads. Try a gravel road with fresh loose gravel. Then you will wish you are on your KLX instead of the street oriented Versys. LOL!

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-19-2014, 11:10 AM
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I'm leaving Tuesday (7/22) from SF for the Olympic Peninsula. I plan to arrive on the 27th. I did the ride up to Hurricane ridge last year when I was in the area, but didn't hit those gravel roads. I have done other gravel/maintained dirt roads on the Versys with street tires, and she did just fine. Had some difficulty when the dirt got a little deep (by a street bike's standards) and a little soft, but other than that she's great.

I plan to hit up some gravel/dirt roads on my trip and hope to have some pictures to post a ride report, but I'm not the best at stopping for photos.

Maybe I'll see you on the road...

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-19-2014, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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Nice pics, looks like an awesome outing. What tires are you running on the V?
I have Avon Distanzias. Rated at 90% street I think but I would rate them as even more street biased than that. Great on the street and the wet which is important here in Seattle.

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Nice Pics

Video embedded with tags [Yt]

No Video
So you leave out the whole www.youtube.com part? Just the video id? Ok, would never have figured that out. Thanks.

twowheeladdict, I last did these roads 4 years ago on a maxi-scooter and was accompanied by a 65 year old woman on her Harley So I knew I wasn't getting into anything too bad. There was fresh gravel sections laid out here (hard to see on the video) but even they were ok. I think it's mostly my comfort level and not the bike, so long as I'm not freaking out then everything is fine. I have ridden local forest roads that are beat up and they are much more fun on the KLX. I survive them on the V but enjoy them on the KLX.

BailyMan, I leave for Idaho on the 30th so unlikely to see you around. Hope you have great weather for your trip. I imagine you already have your route planned but if you can manage it, and have not been before, I strongly recommend hitting the east side of Mt St Helens. You get up close to the mountain and even after 30 years the devastation is still in your face. And the roads are just fantastic biking roads. NF25 is tricky with frost heaves, NF99 is race track smooth with great bends and the NF26 is single lane through the moutains. One of my favorite rides.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-19-2014, 11:54 AM
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...Happy to say I was very comfortable on these roads, though the gravel wasn't the deepest. Need to strap my tank bag on the back though as it really got in the way of standing....
GOOD seeing you riding standing up!

The fellow from whom I learned to ride dirt MANY years ago taught me to stand on the 'pegs till I could ride a WHOLE 5 or 6 hour enduro, STILL on the 'pegs at the finish. He NOW rides a Super Tenere, and claims there's NO need to stand...!

He ALSO had some of the WORST crashes (back-in-the-day) while standing, on REAL dirt-bikes, that I've ever seen, w/out getting hurt badly, so I just hope he doesn't "lose it" on the S10 while sitting down....

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-19-2014, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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GOOD seeing you riding standing up!

The fellow from whom I learned to ride dirt MANY years ago taught me to stand on the 'pegs till I could ride a WHOLE 5 or 6 hour enduro, STILL on the 'pegs at the finish. He NOW rides a Super Tenere, and claims there's NO need to stand...!

He ALSO had some of the WORST crashes (back-in-the-day) while standing, on REAL dirt-bikes, that I've ever seen, w/out getting hurt badly, so I just hope he doesn't "lose it" on the S10 while sitting down....
I've been riding the KLX for about 18 months now and the transition from sitting to standing was awkward at first but is now very natural. Just did the Touratech Rally in Plain, WA a few weeks back where I did a full day riding standing up with no issues. I did have some issues on the V as the peg was digging into my soles and I had to sit occasionally get some relief. Either need different boots or consider off road pegs. Or just toughen up But yeah, standing seems the more natural choice for this type of riding.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-19-2014, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alba View Post
I've been riding the KLX for about 18 months now and the transition from sitting to standing was awkward at first but is now very natural. Just did the Touratech Rally in Plain, WA a few weeks back where I did a full day riding standing up with no issues. I did have some issues on the V as the peg was digging into my soles and I had to sit occasionally get some relief. Either need different boots or consider off road pegs. Or just toughen up But yeah, standing seems the more natural choice for this type of riding.
I would say different boots. I've ridden standing up for many miles at a time and never felt pressure through the boots. Of course they aren't very good to walk in.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-19-2014, 10:04 PM
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Never mind the nay-sayers regarding the Versysesesesss off road capability. I have it good authority that the bike is more than capable of light to moderate off road. The folks at Kawa informed me they simply don't support the warranty if you do.

Main thing with loose gravel on this bike is to keep the power on a little in the corners.

Great pictures BTW
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-20-2014, 08:49 AM
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Never mind the nay-sayers regarding the Versysesesesss off road capability. I have it good authority that the bike is more than capable of light to moderate off road. The folks at Kawa informed me they simply don't support the warranty if you do.

Main thing with loose gravel on this bike is to keep the power on a little in the corners.

Great pictures BTW
So was my 1978 Honda 550 four super sport. In fact, it was better than the Versys because of the larger diameter front wheel.



But capable doesn't mean it is easy. The KLX250S is like riding a mountain bicycle off road.

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-20-2014, 04:26 PM
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I've been riding the KLX for about 18 months now and the transition from sitting to standing was awkward at first but is now very natural. Just did the Touratech Rally in Plain, WA a few weeks back where I did a full day riding standing up with no issues. I did have some issues on the V as the peg was digging into my soles and I had to sit occasionally get some relief. Either need different boots or consider off road pegs. Or just toughen up But yeah, standing seems the more natural choice for this type of riding.
I use and recommend these 'pegs off Ebay, for the DR650, about $13. They're wide enough to make your feet more comfortable!
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-20-2014, 06:27 PM
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I agree, and I'm sure the KLX is like riding a mountain bike compared to GS1200 or the KTM. The GS is not light, but surprisingly easy to ride off road..
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-20-2014, 07:23 PM
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Alba, Good to hear you are still out having a great time on your Versys. Great pics up at Olympic Nat Park. Frog


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-20-2014, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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I use and recommend these 'pegs off Ebay, for the DR650, about $13. They're wide enough to make your feet more comfortable!
Thanks, I might give them a try.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-20-2014, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Alba, Good to hear you are still out having a great time on your Versys. Great pics up at Olympic Nat Park. Frog
Oh yes, love this bike. 43,000 miles in 3 years which would have been more if I hadn't been seduced by a KLX last year and the off road world.
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