Jump to content
Zubb

Big bike off road training.

Recommended Posts

I did not start riding  with skinny bikes, (other than in my childhood). I started my adult riding career on pavement and about five years ago converted to the BMW GS adventure bikes. 
riding off pavement has been a thrill and injected countless new opportunities to me. I’ve always known these big bikes were so much more capable offroad than most will admit.

I just finished a weekend off-road training class with West 38 Moto. For the last couple years I’ve been watching as many YouTube videos as possible and pinging my friends on off-road riding techniques with these big bikes. But I got to tell you there is nothing like having an expert coach  teach you while he’s watching you, and give you feedback as you’re riding. I am over the moon with excitement about the practice drills and techniques I learned this weekend. And it’s REALLY fun Now to fly over, up and down stuff that previously clamped the sphincter and firehosed adrenaline to the heart muscle.

For half the price of what rawhide would’ve charged me, I had the pleasure of two days of coaching from a 2018 International GS trophy winner. The guy rides a 1250 like it’s a trials bike. I’m not kidding. In fact he’s been a trials competitor since he was 12. 
 

if you didn’t know, HERE’S a clip of the GS Trophy race in Mongolia. Some segments were ridden 2 up with full gas cans in each hand. And pulling dead 1250’s through the days course. And lots and lots of trials type riding on the 560# beast. 

im so stoked with the skills I learned. And of course, will need to practice regularly if I want to retain and improve. I’m also happy to feel 100 times better in loose surface and yes.... sand. 
 

for the record, I still want nothing to do with sand over 10” deep and probably never will. But up to that, I’m pretty happy to play in now. 

I just had to share because I’m still Higher than a kite over this experience  and just in case .... maybe there’s a member out there that feels extremely limited off road on their huge bike.... there is help out there  Really good help, that’s super fun and pretty inexpensive.  

I found that just like in golf or skiing, lessons are a far safer, faster and better way of learning.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nicely done also look at motoventures at their small bike classes, skill transfer from small bikes to big is huge

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Bp619 said:

Nicely done also look at motoventures at their small bike classes, skill transfer from small bikes to big is huge

I do plan to spend a weekend with Motoventures as well.  Maybe next year or so as I want to practice the hell-out-of what I just learned.  I need to be careful though as I have an addiction problem.  And motorcycles are my heroin.  I am pretty sure that a weekend spent on a 450 learning to roost in the deep stuff would have a very negative influence on my life.  It's dangerous enough me sniffing around the edges with you skinny bike yahoos on this forum.  Goodgod, if I'm not careful I'll have several bikes in the garage . .. . . wait, scratch that. . . . . I'll have NO garage, no wife, no house and no job.  Just a bunch of motorcycles and a rolling tool box living under a blue tarp at Salvation Mountain.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for sharing, Zubb!!! I would like to become more confident on my Super Tenere off road. I get nervous knowing 600 lbs of bike is under me and that a crash could result in a serious injury and depending the terrain, could be extremely difficult to pick up. I ride solo 99.5% of the time so I am very cautious and calculated when I ride. However, I do watch many YouTube videos and dream of having the confidence and fun that I see many riders have.

 

I like watching Mototrek on his BMW GS. He breaks down his techniques in a way that I can relate too. 

 

I will definitely look into the class you went too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

alone . . . desert . . . . . . . Tenere` . . . . . . yes, please take some lessons, and take a friend next time.  I know that after the 3rd time I pick up my bike I am looking for a friend or a satphone!  😄

RE: Mototrek / Brett Tacs - - love that guys vids and I always get excited when he releases a new one.  Fun, good to know info.  But it's not a lesson on the ground and of course you know that.

Pretty sure Dusty has another weekend class in Borrego in Nov.  If I recall, he said Nov 2.  But he holds these all over the country so you might want to ping him right away.  He is currently leading a tour in Baja but should be back in SD by this weekend.

PM me for more info if you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice vid. I especially like the low and slow parts through the trees and rocks.  I often find those more challenging than sand/jumps/up and down obstacles.  Another big challenge is off-camber turns on a big bike.  Big pucker factor for me. 

It has helped riding with LB over the last couple years.  I've put any pride aside (there is no pride when you are splayed out in the dirt under your big bike) and flat out ask about techniques.  Mastering rear brake and feathering the clutch is key in most of these low and slow scenarios.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zubb heard and saw it from his instructor.

The foundation word here is -----TRIALS    is the answer to all moto-sport.

Even Stefan Everts Mr. 10 MXGP champ and now his son are past and current proponents of trials training.

On a trials bike best, but easily done on a standard enduro/off-road bike too. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very few individuals master the art of Trials Competition on a 600lb Freeway Cruiser.  " Get Over It ".  If you want to play Off-road, get a small bike. It is an Urbane Legend that you can ride the deep forest or desert on anything over 500cc.  You can ride the Freeway Bike to the trailhead; then trade it for an off-road bike.  I have tried ( 1300, 990, 690 ( maybe). Don't step on your friends 500 and ride down the wash. You will never go back to the big bike off-road.  Proper Tool for the job. 

As the Lonesome Cowboy said, " Just the Facts".

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly I find the big bike (1090) way more stable offload.  Now the mindset to ride the big girl like my 500 is the tough part.  Once I get going and loose myself in simply riding the big bike is easier in a lot of situations.  I am nowhere near a big guy at 5-8 175 but I love to ride the 1090 offload.  Granted I'm not going to do the double diamond single track on anything but my 200.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I look at the places that I have ridden my 650 (Ocotillo, Pismo, Big Bear) and wonder if it is just what you know.  Granted I only have three short (all under 100 miles) on my 500, but I will admit to feeling more comfortable and in control on the 650.  The 500 is very cool, but I have not grown into the "lightness" of it yet.  Hoping to get more seat time this year and learn to enjoy that bike more.

Back to your OP, Kelly:  Just like golf (that I have been playing for 50 years), I have never taken a lesson/class from a pro that I am sure I would learn a bazillion things from.  I read your post and watched the viddy and I can only imagine the things that you learned and the increased confidence that you came back with.  I know that with some proper input I would improve and enjoy the experience much more than I already do.  Goals for me will be golf lessons AND a bike class.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So who wants to go test themselves at Corral Canyon on the big bikes?

I'll lead a ride on my 950 if some people are up for it. 

Note: you must not be afraid to drop your bike and scratch it up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, KTMrad said:

So who wants to go test themselves at Corral Canyon on the big bikes?

I'll lead a ride on my 950 if some people are up for it. 

Note: you must not be afraid to drop your bike and scratch it up.

Ill follow you on my tenere randy. Just tell me when. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, KTMrad said:

So who wants to go test themselves at Corral Canyon on the big bikes?

I'll lead a ride on my 950 if some people are up for it. 

Note: you must not be afraid to drop your bike and scratch it up.

Would love to (as I know nothing of Corral Canyon).  If there's much sand over 6-8" deep I'll want to put the 50/50 tires on though.  Keeping in mind I'm in the practicing new skills stage as apposed to having mastered new skills.  😁.   Tom did tell me I had a lot of skills, probably from Mtn Bike racing, that just needed to be dusted off and polished up.  So I got that going for me.

To my neighbor Mr. Bags . . . I get it, that my pig will never be a goat.  Ever.  But my "thing" is not trying to ride the 1200 like it's a 250.  The challenge and the joy for me is to find what the bike and I are actually capable of, and exploit that.  My happy place for the last few years has been having a bike I can comfortably ride 500-1,000 miles in a day and love it.  Then get up in the morning and ride Forest service road, or Truck trails etc (Non-CA BDR's) and then zip home another high milage day.  And a big reason for that is my son, also a 1200GS rider, lives in Seattle.  So we can get to each other in just a single day and be shooting whiskey around a campfire that very night.

RE: Trials, . . . yes, I see that now.  Balance, clutch and some braking are where the gold is buried.  Also (for me) stop riding around grinning and whistling theme songs in my helmet.  LOOK! @ what's 10, 25,50 and 100 yards ahead of me..... and THINK about it.  Stop being surprised about what's on the trail... and execute your plan around it and the traction it affords.  If it takes 10 HP to keep the bike moving thru something, give it 12.  Not 50.  Stuff that I'm sure is 101 basics for real dirt riders.  But for me, to have a coach making me do the basics and evaluating me on it .... pretty fun stuff.  Frankly I'm more than a little ADD and tend to go off chasing squirrels halfway through something.  Like a hill climb.  Or a golf swing. Or a sand patch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Corral Canyon is big bike friendly if you stick to the perimeter roads.  It is very similar to riding in baja with some sand, ruts, and rocks here and there and is a great place to practice big bike dirt road skills if getting ready for a BDR.  I have a sneaking suspicion Randy is thinking about veering off into one of the smaller trails, which some are "big bike doable" with skills but not necessarily big bike friendly.  Like Randy said, be prepared to drop, pickup and repeat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dropped my orange bike 4 times the first time I rode there (twice in the same spot!).  Granted it was very wet and sloppy and I hate my front tire (making excuses now, but I have never fell 4 times in one day so I am still butt hurt from it).

Cool place; I'll go back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been giving this subject a great deal of consideration as of late.

I've ridden many of the trails in CC as well as McLark and the east-of-Aquatica Otay area on the 990-I got pretty good at it. It's a whole lotta fun for a couple hours. After that, not as much. 

Yes it CAN be done, but for me it's nowhere near as fun as the 500. If there's off-road to be done, it will always be more fun on the 500. 

 

I LOVE the 990- but there it sits in the garage, maintained and ready to ride just about anywhere- but I just don't do it. I'm not enjoying street riding as much as I used to- I do not like high-mileage days, I do not like riding through LA or Vegas to get to decent riding. Yes, I know about Baja, and have ridden there too.

And it's for sale if anyone is interested...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/24/2019 at 7:03 AM, paulmbowers said:

Been giving this subject a great deal of consideration as of late.

I've ridden many of the trails in CC as well as McLark and the east-of-Aquatica Otay area on the 990-I got pretty good at it. It's a whole lotta fun for a couple hours. After that, not as much. 

Yes it CAN be done, but for me it's nowhere near as fun as the 500. If there's off-road to be done, it will always be more fun on the 500. 

 

I LOVE the 990- but there it sits in the garage, maintained and ready to ride just about anywhere- but I just don't do it. I'm not enjoying street riding as much as I used to- I do not like high-mileage days, I do not like riding through LA or Vegas to get to decent riding. Yes, I know about Baja, and have ridden there too.

And it's for sale if anyone is interested...

That makes me sad. 😢

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Zubb said:

That makes me sad. 😢

Yeah, me too.

And it's not like I haven't had great rides on the 990 that would suck on the 500. The Idaho BDR is one- the 1500 miles of dirt northbound might have been more fun on the 500, but the two days of pavement southbound would have sucked on the 500. Certainly San Diego to Connecticut would have been hell on the 500. And riding circuits, like right out of the garage, some of the Colorado BDR, some of the Sierras, then back home- MUCH better on the 990.

But there it sits, all insured and ready to ride just about anywhere. Been sitting like that for months. Had to put Seafoam in the tank.

I'm just not riding it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×