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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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Old 27 Jun 2010
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Off-Road experience

Hi All

Was just wondering how much off-road experience everyone has before they set off on a big trip?

Do you do a lot of green-laning or go on off-road training days before starting these big trips?
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Old 27 Jun 2010
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Before my trip to Morocco last year, I rode along the Ridgeway... once. Fell off a couple of times and nothing got bent so figured I was good to go!
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Old 28 Jun 2010
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off road

experience is always a plus but if you are smart enough to take your time and not overload your vehicule you can go pretty much every where, I myself didn't much experience before i went across africa and still made it OK , if possible use the right tires for the job ( help alot )
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Old 28 Jun 2010
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Find a quarry and ride in it. Practice hill climbs etc, you don't need to race but knowing how to go over obstacles helps. It's not uncommon to come across a blocked road or have to cross through a shallow river without your feet getting wet.

In regards to tyres I find the Pirelli Rallycross fantastic for both on-road and off-road.
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Old 28 Jun 2010
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Learn to lower the front tyre to around 20psi when riding dirt, this gives better control. Tale a small compressor(Slime) and a pressure gauge, practice using it to inflate and deflate your tyres.

Drop the back tyre 10psi lower than you have it for on road

You don't need experience like a motocrosser, but any type of dirt riding where you are now with freinds and family around is certainly going to help in the long run. At least you will have some idea of what the bike can do when it is on loose gravel. Ride slow and don't get overconfident, it will be your downfall.

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Old 28 Jun 2010
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yes.. to learn and training to rid some gravel road and soft wooded lanes is contrast gives you the confidence you need... I think most important is... get use to ride and control your bike standing on the foot pegs... to steer the bike with your knees taking the strain of your wrists, doing all the hard work and balance with your hip instead, gear down the sprockets a bit so you can ride slower without to stale the engine every time, toque is more important than speed you want grunt.
most standard sprocket gearing stetup for bikes are for fast lanes and is way to high for cross country needs. a good compromise is 16/45 all steel sprockets for a 600cc type bike, good for average travelling and ok for riding most unpaved lanes. additional I carry a 15-front sprocket to swoop just in case the 16 is to fast.

yes.. go having fun on small unpaved lanes on weekends to get use to your bikes behaver and you will be ok if fully loaded up.

may take a few weeks journey to Scandinavia first before hitting the harder stuff across else where, lots of long unpaved gravel roads all over the place, soft and slipy if wet, hard and dusty as concrete if dry.

don't worry, take your time and you gona be fin...
The trouble is that he was talking in philosophy, but they were listening in gibberish.
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Old 1 Jul 2010
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I practiced off-road on my 650 before the trip, so I had some experience, but I wish I had spent more time really training on a smaller bike.

I got back just a few months ago and have had a chance to do proper off-road enduro riding on a little 230cc bike.
My skills have gone WAY up because I've learned to safely push the limits of my skills. I'm much more comfortable and confident on the big, fully-loaded 650 now that l've practiced on the little bike.

I can go places now I wouldn't have touched when I was on my big trip.

Lots to learn still!
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Old 1 Jul 2010
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Being confident is half the battle. There are plenty of offroad training, enduro rides etc etc that you can go on ! They will teach you a lot !

It will be a lighter, fun and forgiving bike on the day and not handle like an overloaded travel bike but it will give you CONFIDENCE and show you what you can do with a little bit of coaching.

Don't forget, having a LIGHT & MANAGABLE bike will help you far more offroad than suspension tweaking and riding down ungraded roads on your way home from work before your trip.

Think twice before bolting on that useless folding travel shovel and touratech soap dish !

I can't stress this enough... REALLY !! Avoid heavy aluminium luggage and frames, packing laptops and power drills etc etc.

You don't say what bike you have ????? You can obviously throw around a DR350 more than a Pan European !
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2001 NX650 Dominator.

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Old 1 Jul 2010
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I now tell people to buy a cheap 250 (TTR, XT, DR) trail bike a year before they leave and muck about in the bush. Do some slide turns etc. Than slowly try a few things on the bigger big but don't expect it to behave the same. It'll do it much quicker with much smaller margins but at least you know the feeling and you know how to separate your weight from the bikes weight.
Doing this will also make you more likely to keep your setup light as well, as you find how much more fun it is to ride that stuff with a reasonable weight.
You can sell it again when you leave without loosing much if any.

Wish I did this on my first trip.
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