Motorcycle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I am pretty sure I found my first bike and will be buying it this weekend. Its an 07 V Star 1100. I am signed up for the soonest course I could, May 14.

In the meantime, I live in the country and there is almost no traffic on my secondary roads, I figure I can practice there, maybe drive to the local school and practice slow maneuvering alone.

The down side is, I need to ride 9 km (5.5 miles) of gravel, before I hit the pave. I admit, the gravel worries me more than anything. I know I need to lay off the front brake. Any other tips?
 

·
Female Rider
Joined
·
9,311 Posts
Slow down and try to stay in the smoothest/hardest track. Watch out for large rocks and deep loose gravel. Use the back brake only and brake softly.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,910 Posts
Gravel and dirt.

Practice on a dirt bike. You need experience, before you ride a bike with pavement tires, on gravel and dirt.
The bike will fall over. An 1100 is no light weight, and that does not help.

Unkle Crusty*
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Practice on a dirt bike. You need experience, before you ride a bike with pavement tires, on gravel and dirt.
The bike will fall over. An 1100 is no light weight, and that does not help.

Unkle Crusty*
You think the tires are that big a deal?

These are hard packed and well maintained Alberta road. Dry and hard.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,910 Posts
Hard pack.

Hard pack makes it better, but if at all possible I would find out first hand on a dirt bike. Then you will know. A bit of moisture on hard pack and you might regret being on street tires.
Do you check the ice thickness, do you check the water temperature? Which would you rather fall off. A cheap dirt bike, or the 1100?

The difference between knobbies, or trials universals, and street tires in the dirt, is huge.
Remember how quickly you fell down the first time on skates? That is what it is like. If the cautious part of my message comes across, great.

Unkle Crusty*
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,010 Posts
DON'T. theres a very good chance you'll tip the bike over somewhere. and you will screw up the tires as well.

if you truly need to ride gravel, you need a dirt bike.
9 miles - that is seriously excessive.
get a 400 cc dirt bike that can operate on highways.
case closed.

dT
 

·
American Legion Rider
Joined
·
23,527 Posts
Every move on gravel must be like slow motion. And if your roads are anything like here, just a very small amount of moisture will turn them to slick slop. Dropping your bike is highly likely but picking it up may be a challenge dry or wet. You can't get good footing on the stuff. Hard packed pea gravel is better than 3/4 inch stuff but if there is a layer of loose stuff pea gravel is better. The larger the gravel to more violent one piece of gravel can change your direction. Not something I'd recommend a new rider to practice on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
943 Posts
A great deal depends on the nature of the gravel road. Here in rural Manitoba the gravel is usually quite small, like 1/2" and down, with lots of fines so it is pretty stable. When the grader has been through, the loose stuff will be a little deeper and your bike will wander around more - same on sandy roads where there is loose sand and very little stone.

Take it easy and slow, expect the bike to wander around, and make gentle/slow corrections, and you will be fine. Riding in gravel is GREAT practice! If you can ride gravel with confidence and remaining relaxed, the pavement is a breeze!

(I am 5 miles off pavement and actually prefer travelling on the gravel roads where I can travel slower and enjoy the scenery and lack of traffic.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
699 Posts
Best advice I was given, and now use, is:
Stay loose on the grips. Let the bike wander a little under you.
Be in one gear higher than you think you need to be.
Use back brake for slowing and stopping.

Ive ridden quite a bit of gravel roads recently. The above advice works.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
A great deal depends on the nature of the gravel road. Here in rural Manitoba the gravel is usually quite small, like 1/2" and down, with lots of fines so it is pretty stable. When the grader has been through, the loose stuff will be a little deeper and your bike will wander around more - same on sandy roads where there is loose sand and very little stone.

Take it easy and slow, expect the bike to wander around, and make gentle/slow corrections, and you will be fine. Riding in gravel is GREAT practice! If you can ride gravel with confidence and remaining relaxed, the pavement is a breeze!

(I am 5 miles off pavement and actually prefer travelling on the gravel roads where I can travel slower and enjoy the scenery and lack of traffic.)
That is what it is like here, the road I will ride (I have a choice of two) sees absolutely no traffic. I can read a gravel road really well as I have been mountain biking gravel for years, so I get the whole idea of staying loose. Maybe I should have been clearer that these are prairie gravel roads.

I would likely turn around if the grader came while I was gone. That would be misery.

I know riding on gravel is part of the course I'll be taking in May and the instructor does take the class out to gravel.

Thanks for all the replies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Every move on gravel must be like slow motion. And if your roads are anything like here, just a very small amount of moisture will turn them to slick slop. Dropping your bike is highly likely but picking it up may be a challenge dry or wet. You can't get good footing on the stuff. Hard packed pea gravel is better than 3/4 inch stuff but if there is a layer of loose stuff pea gravel is better. The larger the gravel to more violent one piece of gravel can change your direction. Not something I'd recommend a new rider to practice on.
They're not. Private roads here are like that, I know exactly what you mean.

The roads I run will dry really fast, but I would't run them in the rain though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Best advice I was given, and now use, is:
Stay loose on the grips. Let the bike wander a little under you.
Be in one gear higher than you think you need to be.
Use back brake for slowing and stopping.

Ive ridden quite a bit of gravel roads recently. The above advice works.
Thanks, good advice
 

·
Shaper Of All Things Metal
Joined
·
2,799 Posts
If I avoided gravel roads I just as well get rid of my bike. My early years of riding were at best half gravel and half paved. Mostly street bikes with street tires. It's something you have to develop a feel for. Are dirt bikes better? Darn toot'n, but gravel doesn't have to be avoided, just respected.

Since you've been mountain biking on gravel you already have a sense of 'feel' for gravel and you've shown you're aware of needing to be cautious.
 

·
Justa anutta Human......
Joined
·
728 Posts
I have a couple friends who live on gravel roads....
When visiting them i have to ride about 2 miles on that...
I've tried a few different ways to do this...but...
Even with street tire i find i do a much better job on dirt...
Driving like i'm driving a dirtbike....which i've owned most my life...
I don't go overboard, but find i'f i drive aggressively like i would a off n on,
I have much more control......
A bit of a soft sandy spot i give it some n plow threw it easily.
I'f i went slow like most would i'd go down 4 sure.
Riding a dirt bike many years sure helps with the knowledge of how to ride in dirt.
I wished i could find knobbies for my Ninja 650.....
Then i'd really have a bike....LOL
But i'd probly wreck it n then have no bike at all....
Guess i'll stick with the street tires.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
336 Posts
I ride gravel a lot but on a dirt bike,I just hold the grips loosely and let it do it's thing as long as it doesn't go too crazy.If I have to correct I do it very gently,jerk it and most likely you will eat it.
 

·
American Legion Rider
Joined
·
23,527 Posts
Best advice I was given, and now use, is:
Stay loose on the grips. Let the bike wander a little under you.
Be in one gear higher than you think you need to be.
Use back brake for slowing and stopping.

Ive ridden quite a bit of gravel roads recently. The above advice works.
Being in one gear higher is probably a very good idea for a noob. Just let the bike "dance" around under you is hard to do when your every instinct is to correct it but you must let it wonder and just "suggest" the direction you want to go. But It does sound like your roads are much better than the junk we have. They just dumped a load in front of me one day coming home. About 4 inches deep and they was still grading it down to 2 inches. I saw one narrow tire width path on the on coming traffic side. I shot the hole but if you find that situation, turn around. It's not worth it. New stuff will dump you in a heart beat.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top