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DR650 in the sand

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Took my DR down to robe a few weeks back. Made a compilation of some dune runs on the DR. My buddy is filming me on his KLR which unfortunately struggled for much of the trip.

 

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I've intentionally never lived in a sandy environment. I rather like mountains, clay and diciduous trees. So, I don't do sand unless there's no other choice. Gravel, mud, rocks, roots, ruts, wet leaves are all okay but sand is just not my idea of fun. In fact, if the only off road riding available was soft sand dunes as in the video, I'd probably sell the bike. :(

Edited by TN2Wheeler

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lol yeah I know a lot of people who wouldn't choose a DR for sand duties. With the right set up though riding the DR650 in the sand is great fun and for the most part not strenuous. When you get stuck it sucks but it's a rare occurrence with the right set up. The MX bikes you see at the start were actually getting bogged on dunes I had no trouble getting up on the DR. They were running much higher tire pressures though. Twin rim locks on the DR and running 0-5psi makes all the difference. The reason I love sand is that once you get the hang of it it's a actually a very predictable surface and forgiving if you do fall. I've had some horrible stacks on the dirt and sand has treated me much kinder for the pace I like to ride at.

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Eazy e, would you like to share with the class what your setup is that makes sand so easy besides rim locks and flat tires. I had over an hour back road trip to get to the badlands off road park here in IN so I was afraid to run that low of pressure. Stock tires didnt help me either. Badlands is more of sand and gravel mix. It was a rough day

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I'm no expert by any means when it comes to sand riding, but having said that I've put a lot of hours in on the soft stuff. Airing down tires is by far the most effective way to increase traction/flotation and the effects are dramatic. If you don't air down it just isn't going to ever be enjoyable on a heavy DR. The following vid is of my DR and a mate on his DRZ400e climbing a small dune. Tire pressures made it a piece of cake for the DR. If he'd done the same on the Z he'd have rocketed up that dune.

 

Like with anything it comes down to practice. When I first started riding my DR on the sand I got severe arm pump as I spent so much time fighting the bike. It takes time to get used to the fact your riding on a surface that is constantly moving beneath you and I'll admit this isn't the fun part of the learning curve. When things get wobbly on the sand you have to GAS it not back off the throttle. It's hard to train your brain to do this. With persistence you automatically begin to loosen up and also learn to read the sand. This is when the fun really starts as you're able to relax and go with the flow.

 

My mate on the KLR you see at the start of the video absolutely hated sand riding. He had almost no off road experience at all the first time he took the KLR on the beach. Fell off a hundred times on his first sand ride (I helped him lift the bike) and was so sore he couldn't walk straight for a few days. A couple more reluctant trips to the dunes and his frown turned upside down. You'd be lucky to see him fall off on a day out on the dunes now. Unlike other surfaces sand is one that really can't be enjoyed from the get go which can be frustrating.

Edited by Eazy-E

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 Yup, sand definitely takes some practice, and trial and error to find a setup that works for you. The videos in this thread wouldn't be believed by some over at ADV Rider. Some of them think that the big DR can only handle dirt roads. :rolleyes:

 

 Most of our trails in FL are sand, even the tight ones. With just an aggressive front knob, a fairly-stock DR doesn't have too difficult a time in the pillowy stuff. Improving power, gearing, tire pressure, and the rear tire too can make it run sand pretty nicely, IMO. Just stand up, get your weight back, give it the gas, and weight the pegs to travel in a fairly straight line. When you want to turn sharply, just ease off the gas, sit down way forward and kick the inside leg forward with your toes up and knee slightly bent, cut the front wheel over, and give it the gas. If you get unstable, give it the gas. A little speed generally makes sand easier.

Edited by Kommando

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Nice work Kommando you know you're stuff about sand riding. If you weren't on the opposite end of the globe I'd be keen to head out for a ride with you. My brother in law on the KLR was having a hard time getting through a lot of the tougher stuff. Here's a clip of some very soft quicksand he got stuck in mainly because his riding technique was poor. Yeah, I'm the one pissing myself laughing the whole time but in all fairness he'd have done the same to me had i been bogged down there. :lol:

Edited by Eazy-E

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Nice work Kommando you know you're stuff about sand riding. If you weren't on the opposite end of the globe I'd be keen to head out for a ride with you. My brother in law on the KLR was having a hard time getting through a lot of the tougher stuff. Here's a clip of some very soft quicksand he got stuck in mainly because his riding technique was poor. Yeah, I'm the one pissing myself laughing the whole time but in all fairness he'd have done the same to me had i been bogged down there. :lol:

 

Well, at least when he parks it with the back wheel into the sand like that, he's reducing wear and tear on the sidestand. :D

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Eazy e, would you like to share with the class what your setup is that makes sand so easy besides rim locks and flat tires. I had over an hour back road trip to get to the badlands off road park here in IN so I was afraid to run that low of pressure. Stock tires didnt help me either. Badlands is more of sand and gravel mix. It was a rough day

 

 I've never ridden the Badlands on a moto, but that place was a lot of fun in a Jeep...well worth the 2hrs or so from Chicago. They had a lot of varying terrain there...mud, rocks, hills, creeks, culverts, roots, sandy gravel, etc. I'd love to go by there with the DR on one of my visits back north.

 

 Carry spare tubes and a mtn bike pump. Eazy-E has the right idea with rimlocks too. I haven't torn a stem out on the dirt yet, running 16-18PSI without rimlocks, but I've seen some tire shift on the rims that got pretty close. Being able to go WAY down in pressure is a definite plus.

 

 Also, order a cheap AMS Sand Snake MX front knobby to throw on when you get there. Motorcycle Superstore usually has them for around $22, and it made learning in the sand a bit easier for me until I got the confidence to speed up. The front tire usually swaps pretty easily too, if you've practiced tire changes. I can ride a milder front tire in the sand now, like a worn Shinko 244, but the aggressive knob up front helped to get me to that point. If you don't want to swap front tires when you get there, you could try a DOT knob like the MT21 or IRC TR8. A lot of people around here also like the Pirelli XCMH or XCMS. I ran the Sand Snake on pavement and got 5K miles out of it. It's squirmy in paved turns though. I currently run a front IRC TR8, and it's much better on pavement while still grabbing decently in the soft stuff. I haven't tried the TR8 in mud or clay yet though.

 

 I run a K270 rear, and it's adequate in the sand, if not ideal, but I'm on a budget and ride 2up on pavement a lot. I needed a cheap all-around rear tire that would last. Once up to speed, I don't notice much difference in rear knobs anyway. Accelerating from slower speeds with a mild rear tire can be interesting though. You may be able to run a rear with more "paddle" to it, like a Michelin Desert or something.

Edited by Kommando

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