Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Tech

Tech ALL bikes: "Generic" tech questions and answers. Maintenance, general discussions etc.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 1 Jul 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Leicestershire
Posts: 13
Hill with a camber taking off


I have not done any off roading before. Im hoping to head off round Europe soon but at the weekend dropped my bike for the first time and realised I would do the same again in the same situation. I was on a rutted grassy hill with a side camber.

Any tips for taking off when on a hill with a side camber?

If Im on a steep hill going down and also rising to my left I can put my feet down just enough not to topple over, but even if I lean the bike to the left, when I put my foot on the back break I will topple over. So I cannot let go of the front break but If I can not let go of the front break how do I turn the throttle to take off???

Ive got a feeling Im being a bit stupid but having a block and reservations on my riding skills for the first time.

I also cannot lean the bike at too much of an angle as Im pretty tiny and the bike is huge!!!! just looking for some tips really to get my confidence back.

Last edited by Lolo; 1 Jul 2010 at 22:02. Reason: adding info
Reply With Quote
Old 1 Jul 2010
beddhist's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Whangarei, NZ
Posts: 2,227
Interesting. I grew up in Germany and don't recall ever having been in that situation. OK, in Germany you can't get off the road.

I see two options:

1. you stay on roads, or at least formed tracks and you will never be in that situation.

2. you want to do some 'off-road' riding. Do a training course. Take your bike with you and show it to the trainer.

Europe to NZ 2006-10
Reply With Quote
Old 1 Jul 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Leicestershire
Posts: 13

I didnt plan to off road it was the camp site.

There are also a lot of roads that have hills with very steep cambers in England. I came accross one in the Derbyshire hills recently, but had some male friends with me who kindly turned my bike around and moved it down the hill so it was in a flat part, and only facing up hill with no side camber.
Reply With Quote
Old 1 Jul 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Mid Wales
Posts: 100

Have you looked at ways of lowering your bike or the seat foam to help?

Because my choke won't stick out I'm quite often in a position of holding the front brake with one finger whilst revving the bike, I think I've used the same technique off road at times.

Best of luck and have fun learning.
Reply With Quote
Old 1 Jul 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Chester, UK
Posts: 139
All fun and games mate

For front brake and throttle: Use the palm of your hand/base of your thumb to hold the throttle open and hold the brake lever in with your fingers. Open the throttle to a point where you know the bike wont stall and keep it steady at that amount of revs - the aim is to keep a steady throttle. Now you can feather out the clutch slowly until you feel the biting point (bike will pull you forwards a little) then slowly release the brake whilst letting out the clutch. It's just clutch control but using the front brake to hold the bike back until you have enough revs to let it go. Once you are moving remember that you will be going uphill, so you need to progressively give it more throttle.

Alter the technique as you feel comfortble using more fingers to control the throttle as necessary. Dont worry about revving the bike hard at first or about using too much clutch; you will get the hang of it quickly enough (but if it takes a while, give your clutch a break every now and again to let it cool down). Dont touch the rear brake - use both feet for balance and paddling along if necessary.

Check to see if your brake lever is at an optimum position for your hands and adjust angle and slack as desired (your manual will have this information in it).

Practice on flat ground, then practice some more, and then some more!

Hopes this makes sense and I will qualify this with a statement that I have not been trained in any way. This is just how I do it.

And yeah, the above advice about training schools, lowering the bike and maybe getting a smaller bike is all good stuff.

Nail it next time amigo.
Reply With Quote
Old 2 Jul 2010
Mickey D's Avatar
Moderated Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: California
Posts: 514
Best not to stop on off camber downhill sections (or up hill either) Wet grass is tricky. I suggest knobbies at a minimum. Street tires will slip and have you off.

Smaller bike is always best.

When riding Down hill, with hill side going UP to your left, keep your weight on right side (downhill) peg. Of course you are standing up, right? This seems counter intuitive but is correct.

Starting out, Head a bit down hill to minimize camber, stand up, weight outside pet, look where you want to go. Very gently throttle input, no brakes. Now straighten up and
re-take your line.

Pretty much same technique for going up hill with off camber.

A heavy street bike with street tires is not meant for wet grass with mud under. Don't start or stop on off camber sections. Push on to flat area. Maintain enough speed so as not to topple over.

Practice practice practice!!! (get a Trails Bike)
Reply With Quote
Old 2 Jul 2010
MikeS's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: KL, Malaysia
Posts: 1,151
If you're stuck going down a pretty steep section, a useful tip I was shown is to keep the bike in gear, turn OFF the ignition and walk it down slipping the clutch and also using front brake for control if need be. That way you can keep both feet on the ground.

My little Vid: India/Pakistan

Suzuki DR650 SE: Ride it like ya stole it. Oh, somebody just did...
Reply With Quote
Old 2 Jul 2010
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Rockhampton, Australia
Posts: 889
Being short with a heavy bike myself (DL650) I am always aware of where I am going, what the terrain is and where potential problems lie.

I NEVER park on a hill if I have any choice in the matter, because it usually involes trying to turn or back around balancing the bike with one foot off the ground, a sure recipe for a dropped bike.

If I am riding up or down one of those horrible roads, it is in first gear on the pegs.

I am trying to visualise your situation and I can honestly say I would never have been stopped there in the first place. Not with my bike and the gear I carry, I would normally have found a location that was level(no left to right camber) before stopping with, hopefully, both feet able to touch the ground. Mind you, I have been and done that and had one foot slip on the dirt or mud and the bike went down anyway.

Practice constantly looking ahead for a flat spot to park, I always do this as it allows me to get off for a photo or something.

I hope that helps in some way

Reply With Quote
Old 2 Jul 2010
oothef's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: york
Posts: 265

There's no substitute for experience, get hold of a small off-road bike and somewhere challenging to ride it, it's surprising what you can do on a bike with practice and an increase in confidence.
Can you adjust the span to the brake lever so you can get two fingers on the lever and the other two gripping the throttle?
In a dodgy situation its often best just to GO, that way balance comes from the moving bike not you putting your feet down.
As others have pointed out, avoid situations you're not comfortable with. Have you thought of a smaller bike? Serrow springs to mind, there were some well fettled ones at Ripley ridden by enthusiastic, helpful folk.

The worst mistake to make is to not learn from them.
40+ years riding and still falling off(I just try and do it with a bit more grace and panache)
Anything can happen in the next half hour
Reply With Quote
Old 2 Jul 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,520
A lot of modern bikes are just too tall. This is often because they use wet sumps a lot these days which raises the engine several inches. One of many reasons for me to trade in my BMW and get an Enfield. The Enfield will go anywhere, even with street tyres it is fine on wet grass. I fell over once on the BMW as I had stopped to get petrol and when I went to pull away my right foot dropped two inches into a pothole I did not realise was there. Seat height was really too high for me. I could manage it for 95% of the time but not always easy. Always had to keep an eye out for gradients and potholes at junctions.

Think maybe you would do well to get a smaller ( ie lower bike) as soon as enough people avoid the stupidly tall ones they will stop making them. I forget which bike but one "offroader" has a 38 1/2" seat height. In 1971, Triumphs were so badly criticised for too tall 32" seat height of the oil in frame bikes they had to stop production until they had been redesigned.

Last edited by oldbmw; 4 Jul 2010 at 22:49. Reason: missed abit and meaning was not clear
Reply With Quote
Old 2 Jul 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Leicestershire
Posts: 13
Thanks for all the feed back.

I have bought a serrow and am in the process of doing it up. Was inspired by Lois a few years ago

Yes my bike is a stupid size !!! R1200GS and Im slight build and 5 Ft 2" but I love it to bits. Its the easiest bike I have ever ridden.

I dropped it at the horizons camp meeting last weekend in Derbyshire on the camping field (along with 5 other people so don't feel too bad)

I always check out where Im going to stop and plan ahead but on some occassions there is no choice due to traffic in front stopping.

I will try the throttle moved with two fingers on the brake. I just need to be quicker I think taking off, I like to take my time but on these occassions I need to have a bit of boy confidence and just go for it


Reply With Quote
Old 4 Jul 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Dorset UK
Posts: 398
Just a note - its best to try and tackle cambers/slopes direct - eithe straight up or down, and avoid traversing it (diagonally) where possible, then if you stall/stop, its a bit easier to control
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tan Hill from the North Laura Bennitt Ride Tales 4 11 Dec 2008 14:10
Tan Hill: Notes From a Big County. Birdy Ride Tales 11 2 Dec 2008 04:10
India, Coonoor (hill station) the celt Bike Friendly, Southern Asia 0 27 Mar 2008 17:59
Hill climbs simmo BMW Tech 7 18 Mar 2005 02:24


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 17:35.