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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 18 Apr 2007
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Off road make you a better rider

I have been driving for over 20 years and after travelling accross most of Africa ,Europe ,Asia,SA,NA ,I discovered Off road riding , I travelled accross many countries Sahara,Africa... and always on pretty heavy loaded bike but in the past two years I have been more involve with riding off road ,even MX. I was thinking that I was a descent rider but since my discovery of real off road ( no big bike ) I actually feel much more in control with my street riding and my reflex are now more accurate, sliding down a sandy curve at 65miles/H is now a normal ride ( no more swearing in the helmet)even learning to lay down my bike in extrem case is something good to know.I advise a friend of mine which is an excelent rider to train off road with me and after few days he thanks me and discover that what was before a stressfull situation is now just a new challenge.
Just a peace of advice ,don't do it with your GS or Stroom, I started on my KLR but then switch to my XR650R and now to my KTM 450SXF.

Hope this can inspire other before some long ride.


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  #2  
Old 18 Apr 2007
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Talking Get on those pegs!!

I agree with you 100%! Learning to ride off-road gives you a sense of how the bike handles when it gets squirmy, like in mud, sand and gravel. It gives you confidense when you have to jump your bike over the curb because you made the wrong turn, or have to enter the ditch because some psycho bus-driver forces you off the road, and especially, it teaches you to ride on the pegs. I spend a lot of time on the pegs, everytime i need to preform a tricky maneuver or if things get dicey, even at speed, i'm up on the pegs without a secong thought. I would sugest to anyone planning to travel overland to get some practice off-road to get a good feel for it....it pays off in the longrun, making your trip much more enjoyable and less limited.
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Old 18 Apr 2007
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ok, it is nice to improve riding capability/ability and has fun inside.
But for the ones who likes to travel to long distances, seeing and photographing new places, meeting new people, learning new things is something else and is not comparable with off-roading, imho.
May be some years later (15-20), if I feel I still have the energy and feel bored to go long distances... give a try.
Enjoy it
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Old 18 Apr 2007
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I absolutely agree it makes you a better rider. I'm not into off-road through choice, but living where I do, a lot of houses are at the end of dirt tracks so I was 'forced' to ride off-road. I started riding the tracks on a Tricker 250 (not sure if these are available in the UK) through mud, on gravel etc. You quickly learn how the bike will react under different conditions which can only improve your road skills. I take my XT600 down some of these tracks now so I've gained not only better riding skills, but more confidence in knowing that I have more control of the bike in different situations.
My dad told me when I was learning to drive a car that any monkey could drive in a straight line down a motorway, but the real skill was learnt in being able to control the car in all situations, and that is also true when riding bikes.
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Old 18 Apr 2007
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I would totally agree that it makes you a better rider. The first time I locked the back wheel up going into a corner too hot and dropping gear would probably have been terrifying if I hadn't been forced to corner with the back wheel locked and then spinning out on sand whilst overlanding.

I would disagree that you need to learn how to ride before you go on a long trip - before I went on my overland trip last year I had never been on a bike, but riding from Europe East the roads gradually get worse, so by the time I was in proper sand and gravel territory I had already covered a few thousand km's of variable terrain and felt fine.

The first time the tarmac ran out I'll admit to feeling a bit gripped, but if you stick to the advice (stand up and twist the wrist!!) you'll be fine. You do actually just ride over the top of everything at speed, and in some ways riding corrugated hardpack is a lot smoother than riding on poor tarmac. It's a sensation that now back in the UK I am having trouble living without...
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Old 18 Apr 2007
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off road training

I was not saying that you have to do some off road in order to get ready for a long travel on bike ,but the fact to already have experience the feeling of loosing control on sand or gravel with a lighter bike help you to better control your now fully loaded motorcycle, going down hill on a gravel trail is mor fun if you do know what to do and more important what not to do. Better have to fix your bike or yourself before your trip that get hurt or stock while on the road far from a good dealer or doctor. I only talk for myself but I realised that now I can access more remote places without taking more risk.

My 2 cents.

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Old 19 Apr 2007
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I have often said, you cant beat riding a bike around a field or similar. being able to 'feel' what the bike is doing is a necessary skill to riding safely. Try riding as fast as you can, and as slow. learn to balance it. I confound people following me sometimes when i just stop with no feet down, On a good day i can even do it on my overweight high centre of gravity bmw..
incidentally my offroad bike was a 350 enfield ( a real one from in the early sixties )
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Old 19 Apr 2007
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Ural

My first motorcycle driving lesson was off-road.
When I was 18 (the legal age to drive a motorcycle in the Netherlands), I bought an old Russian Ural 650cc boxer.
My uncle drove it to a building site and handed it over to me. He told me that I should first learn to drive here. If I could handle the bike here, I would be able to handle it on the tarmac too.
It was fun and a good lesson.
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Old 19 Apr 2007
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Ride the dirt before the blacktop

I always advise friends considering taking up road riding to get a dirt bike before they tackle the tar. The skills you learn in the dirt stay with you forever. The softer offroad learner crashes are mostly easier on the body too.

Relate it to race car drivers, Rally drivers find the transition easy from dirt to tar, Try the other way around and they always struggle.

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  #10  
Old 19 Apr 2007
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better riding

if you can handle off-road muddy conditions, then road riding is easy. i've certainly improved since doing some riding on un-surfaced roads here in the uk (known as green-lanes).

you'd learn more bike control in an hour off-road than 20'000miles on road. if you slide the bike on tarmac, you're probably about to fall off. off-road you can slide and get used to the feel of the bike.
this can then be transferred to whatever bike you ride, on whatever surface.

best of all its fantastic fun, and can be done very cheaply.

i use a 350 enfield bullet off-road. £600 for a bike that you can power slide and drop 100 times without breaking. these roads are all over the uk, just get a local ordnance survey 'explorer' map and there they all are.

if anyone wants to start off-road riding on legal roads in the uk drop me a line and i'll let you now how to go about it.
one of the lanes i use is about 1/2 mile from the m25!

rdjc

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Old 19 Apr 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdjc-GB View Post
you'd learn more bike control in an hour off-road than 20'000miles on road. if you slide the bike on tarmac, you're probably about to fall off. off-road you can slide and get used to the feel of the bike.
this can then be transferred to whatever bike you ride, on whatever surface.

best of all its fantastic fun, and can be done very cheaply.

i use a 350 enfield bullet off-road. £600 for a bike that you can power slide and drop 100 times without breaking.
rdjc

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Yes the Enfield is vastly underrated bike. on rough roads it is easy to see why the Indian Army chose them. I had one back in the early sixties for offroad, but always used Triumphs for touring/racing.
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