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RIDING IN THE SAND


italiano

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WHEN DRVING IN BACK ROADS IN MEXICO I OFTEN DRIVE ON UN PAVED ROADS, AND ALL IS FINE UNTIL I MEET SAND ROADS. I AM RIDING IN A 1200 RT WITH ROADTEC MEZELER. IF I WERE RIDING IN A GS CAN I FEEL SOME DIFFERENCE. OR THE ONLY GAIN IN CONTROL IS BECAUSE OF THE TIRE PATTERN?

I AM VERY HAPPY WITH MY RT, BUT I FEEL OUT OF CONTROL WHEN I MEET SANDY ROADS.

OTHER THAN MORE SUSPENSION TRAVEL I DO NOT SEE ANY OTHER DIFFERENCE ON THE MOTORCYCLE AND THE RT FEEL MUCH BETTER ON CURVED ROADS.

 

 

 

 

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italiano, be aware that this thread may be moved to "Ride Well" but in the meantime, riding in sand on an RT or GS is terrible!!!!! What you need is a large footprint (reduced air in tires) and light weight. A GS is better than an RT just because of the weight but almost all bikes are bad in the sand. Something like a Yama TW200 with 10 lbs of air may work out the best. Just stand up, stear with your feet and hope for the best.

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Stand up, shift weight back and add a bit a speed to keep the front tire from sinking in the sand. Let the bike wiggle and wander under you, don't fight it. Prepare for going down though. Take the bags off and other things that might be damaged if you drop the bike.

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I had a nearly disastrous encounter riding through some deep sand drifts at Point Reyes. Dirt roads are one thing, but these things bog down in deep, loose sand.

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Weight distribution makes a big difference in the sand. The RT and GS both have a lot of weight up front hurts stability on loose surfaces. The fornt wants to dig in. You want the front on the surface, but the rear to hunker down a little for traction.

 

The GS should be a little better than the RT, because the front wheel is a larger diameter, and the rear wheel is a little narrower, but there's still a lot of weight up front.

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WHY STAND UP IS BETTER ?

I THINK WHEN YOU ARE SITTING THE WEIGHT IS BACKWARD THAN WHEN YOU ARE STAND UP. BECAUSE YOU MUST BENT FOWARD IN ORDER TO REACH THE HANDLEBARS.

THERE IS ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GT AND A GS ON OFFROAD CONDITIONS MORE THAT THE TYRE PATTERN??

 

I WHANT TO BUY THE GSA BUT I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF I AM ONLY BUYING A DREAM BIKE OR I CAN REALLY GET THAT PLUS ON OFFROAD CONDITIONS?

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Standing up is sometimes better because it allows the bike to move around under you without freaking you out. Whenever you ride in sand, you will always have that out-of-control feeling, and must trust that all will go to plan, inspite of how things feel in the seat of your pants. Standing disconnects the seat of your pants from the motorcycle. That being said, moving your weight to the rear of the seat will help as long as you don't mind the movement of the bike. And, gas-gas-gas, the throttle is your friend.

 

Riding an RT in deep sand doesn't even rank in the top 1,000 things I'd like to do. If this is a regular feature of your riding, I'd seriously consider switching to a motorcycle more suitable for the terrain. When comparing the RT or GT to the GS/GSA for this type of riding, the GS/GSA will perform better. But, they're still pretty heavy for an off-road bike and they won't perform in deep sand as well as many other's (KTM 950 for example) which are better designed for that purpose. Your best bet is to try a few of them out and see what you like.

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WHY STAND UP IS BETTER ?

I THINK WHEN YOU ARE SITTING THE WEIGHT IS BACKWARD THAN WHEN YOU ARE STAND UP. BECAUSE YOU MUST BENT FOWARD IN ORDER TO REACH THE HANDLEBARS.

THERE IS ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GT AND A GS ON OFFROAD CONDITIONS MORE THAT THE TYRE PATTERN??

 

I WHANT TO BUY THE GSA BUT I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF I AM ONLY BUYING A DREAM BIKE OR I CAN REALLY GET THAT PLUS ON OFFROAD CONDITIONS?

Sitting on the bike makes you part of the high CG weight and mass the bike has to move as it wiggles and wanders on the loose surface. Standing on the pegs allows the bike to wiggle, shift and wander more easily since it isn't fighting the mass of the rider. Sit down while riding in sand, you go down.

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Italiano,

 

I too have ridden those Mexican "sand" roads. Doing it on an RT is something I would not do. It was bad enough on the GS with fully loaded touring bags. Standing will help a lot as it lets the bike move underneath you. Keeping power going to the rear wheel helps too, until you have to slow down. I would ride something other than an RT if you're going to keep doing this.

 

 

Here is one of the roads where we stopped when the sand wasn't too deep

sand_riding.jpg

 

Then it turned to this:

 

sand_riding2.jpg

 

But it was worth it to get to this

 

sandriding3.jpg

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How deep of sand are we talking about here? Also what kind of speed are you trying to maintain? I race desert on a 500cc 2 stroke motorcross bike with aftermarket race suspension and scotts steering damper and the bike only weighs around 240 lbs. With all of that, on roads suitable for 2 wheel drive and a bit of sand (inch or more) I might get some wiggle above 70mph or so. With no damper you might start to notice it around 40mph or 50mph or so. In deep sand I have my damper cranked up to control it at slower speeds. I could not even fathom taking my RT out for that kind of a ride. You for sure want to be off your seat and ready to tuck and roll for a crash on a RT. Riding in sand is a balance of bike weight, rear tire width (wider), front tire width (narrower), tire diameter (larger front than rear) and speed. Then learn to know when the wiggle is too much. If I wanted a BMW for both on and off road it would be the X Challenge.

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I'm no expert, but I think I can offer a little help.

 

When you stand you can put your weight back, your legs will be bent, but low over the rear seat, as far back as you can get.

 

Don't think about steering but LOOK way down the road. You will go where you look, eventually.

 

Your problem is what we all face here too. Great fun on the RT on the curves, but not so good for any but the best of dirt.

 

A few more differences on the GS: The gearing is a little lower, allowing a little better control, the ABS can be turned off, it is built to drop... costs a lot less than dropping an RT.

 

Ride Safe!

 

Jan

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I end up on sand now and then with my 1150RT. It's definitely not designed for it. I also don't have a lot of experience with lighter off road oriented bikes on sand, so I don't have that to go back on. I've done a lot of riding on gravel roads with my various motorcycles over the years, as a result, I get on soft stuff now and then. I don't like soft sand, but I'm not afraid of it. Here's what I find works, which differs from what's been explained above. It does work, for me, with the RT and other street bikes including a K100LT, R80RT and other motorcycles I've owned.

 

I stay seated, and I keep weight on my pegs but don't stand up. I clasp my knees to the tank, to stabilize the bike from rolling left and right. My knees, feet, and butt are stabilizing the bike - a critical component to my seccess. Weight on my feet to keep the center of gravity lower - something I'm consciously thinking about as I cross the sand.

 

I also keep my arms somewhat reinforced in order to keep the steering from swaying left and right in the sand. Since the front wheel acts more like a rudder, I try and keep it pointing straight as much as possible. My elbows are close to or against the side of my chest, but my elbows are not locked. Again, I'm trying to keep the steering straight. My reinforced arms works in conjunction with my body position on the bike, namely keeping the motorcycle rigid, moving straight despite the soft road surface, and staying vertical.

 

The last issue is traction and forward movement. I keep the throttle low, with the engine fully engaged. I'm not slipping the clutch. I keep my speed low, and I don't accelerate quickly. I use a smooth throttle, but not so low that I'll stall the engine. When I start to bog with my rear wheel, I will give it some light throttle, but not so much that I loose traction in the sand. I want to keep my speed low so the bike won't be thrown left and right hard enough so I can't control it with my body position. Again, I'm not accelerating as I cross the sand, but instead I'm keeping a constant throttle, with light throttle added if my rear wheel starts to bog in deeper sand.

 

I've been through soft sand sections on roads at least eight to ten times this way over the years, along with wet slime on up and down grades, and this approach seems to work the best for me on a heavy street bike.

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I THINK THE RIDING IN A BIG MOTORCYCLE IN THE SAND MUST BE VERY DIFFERENT FROM A LITTLE ONE. MY FRIST MOVIMENT THAT I MADE WHEN I AM SLIPPING SIDEWAYS IS ALLWAYS TRYING TO LOWER ONE FOOT, THEN I REALIZED THAT YOU NEVER PUT THE FOOT DOWN IN A 500 LB MOTORCYCLE AND IT GOES BACK TO THE PEDAL. I WILL TRY NEXT TIME TO PUT MORE WEIGHT ON THE FOOT BUT I THINK THAT DOES NOT CHANGE YOUR CENTER OF GRAVITY (YOUR ASS IS IN THE SAME PLACE). I TOO FEEL THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TURN THE WEEL SIDEWAY BECAUSE YOU ONLY MAKE THING WORSE. NEXT TIME I WILL STOP AND WITH BOTH FEET DOWN I WILL TRY TO MAKE CHANGE OF DIRECTION.

BY THE WAY TODAY I TOOK DELEVERY OF A NEW GS 1200 ADV. I FEEL VERY DIFFERENT FROM MY RT 1200. MORE ALIVE. SO I THINK IT WILL HANDLE THE SAND IN A LESS PASSIVE WAY THAT THE RT.

I WILL TELL I A FEW WEEKS.

 

 

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I am new to this site and to my new 2004 R1150 RTP with 109K.

 

I had an adventure yesterday with an alley way on W El Camino Ave, Sacramento, in which the people added there own very loose and deep gravel in a spot about 10 - 15 feet.

 

The alley was pretty rough but mostly solid dirt. I was moving about 10-20 mph thru this alley when I hit the fresh gravel.

 

Very similar to sand that I have ridden thru with another bike. I was standing on the pegs as I drove - but when I hit this patch of gravel I came to an immediate stop and my back wheel sunk instantly to about 6" to a foot.

 

I had to place my feet on the ground and use slow gas and lift to get thru the area.

 

No real problems other than peeing in my pants (lol) when it did the dead stop and reminded me of another time I was riding a 250CC Enduro, about 250/300lbs, thru a creek bed and when it sunk all the way up to the seat in underwater sand. I spent about 4 -6 hours digging it out and blowing the water out of the cylinders to get out of the woods.

 

It is one thing when the bike starts sliding all over the place but when it just buries itself, standing on the pegs doesn't really seem to help, from what I have seen. Lowering the rear tire pressure can help.

 

I think that each adventure needs it's own solution and they are not always what has been taught.

 

But then again, I am a very slow learner.

 

 

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A couple of months ago, we had do some police work in area that you could get too, by a dirt roads only. Well, Florida deep deep sugar sand. It was a MF, let me tell you.

 

I survived by, and I am no expert in the sand, sitting in the saddle, moving the hand bars back and forth, and using my legs as skids. That front tire in the deep sugar sand had its own mind and the rear tire had another. To control it I would use my skids, (my legs) whatever side the motorcycle was going would drag my heel in the sand like a rudder. That kept me stablized and blew the other two motors out of the sand. :thumbsup:

This was only done in deep sand and most the time the feet were on the pegs and rear in the saddle.

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