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Braking in Sand?

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Noob here trying to figure out how to improve my cornering in sand and wanted some input. Riding desert terrain in Northern NV so getting lots of practice, but still struggling. My challenge is with the front end diving into the corner and wanting to wash out. I've heard speed and leaning back is what you want in sand, and that is working great in the straights, but with tight washes often times you need to brake for sharp corners and that's where I get all out whack.

In all other terrain I have heavy bias towards front brake, this is most likely due to my MTB background, where I learned to get braking done before corner when front tire is vertical then carry momentum through corner. This doesn't work at all in sand as the front end just plows. So been experimenting with using rear brake, but I'm still finding the front dives as soon as I'm off the throttle. Yesterday I started to apply rear break while on the throttle, then let off throttle and found this didn't upset the front end.

Is this a technique others use? What's the best way to slow down before sharp corners in the sand?

 

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Noob here trying to figure out how to improve my cornering in sand and wanted some input. Riding desert terrain in Northern NV so getting lots of practice, but still struggling. My challenge is with the front end diving into the corner and wanting to wash out. I've heard speed and leaning back is what you want in sand, and that is working great in the straights, but with tight washes often times you need to brake for sharp corners and that's where I get all out whack.
In all other terrain I have heavy bias towards front brake, this is most likely due to my MTB background, where I learned to get braking done before corner when front tire is vertical then carry momentum through corner. This doesn't work at all in sand as the front end just plows. So been experimenting with using rear brake, but I'm still finding the front dives as soon as I'm off the throttle. Yesterday I started to apply rear break while on the throttle, then let off throttle and found this didn't upset the front end.
Is this a technique others use? What's the best way to slow down before sharp corners in the sand?
 

Yes, street bike riders trail rear brake in lots of situations to prevent weight transfer upsetting the fork, mostly on tight hairpins and in parking lot maneuvers. If you're riding on sand a lot the solution to your problem is more preload in the fork or reducing your compression damping a bunch or drop your forks a bit in the clamp to bias weight a bit to the rear of the chassis. Have you set your sag? Are your springs enough for your weight?

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I'm still working to dial in my suspension. 180lbs on a 2015 WR250F, so think stock spring rate is ok. I have set sag to 108mm and been playing around with different compression settings. Found that in all other terrain I am faster with compression and rebound 2 clicks softer than stock, so figured it was my technique in sand that needed improvement.

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Yes stiffer fork settings help a lot and get used to using less brake, riding over the back of the bike and don't sit until halfway through the turn.  You can take sand turns faster than normal but that takes getting used to.

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6 hours ago, 2planker said:

Noob here trying to figure out how to improve my cornering in sand and wanted some input. Riding desert terrain in Northern NV so getting lots of practice, but still struggling. My challenge is with the front end diving into the corner and wanting to wash out. I've heard speed and leaning back is what you want in sand, and that is working great in the straights, but with tight washes often times you need to brake for sharp corners and that's where I get all out whack.

In all other terrain I have heavy bias towards front brake, this is most likely due to my MTB background, where I learned to get braking done before corner when front tire is vertical then carry momentum through corner. This doesn't work at all in sand as the front end just plows. So been experimenting with using rear brake, but I'm still finding the front dives as soon as I'm off the throttle. Yesterday I started to apply rear break while on the throttle, then let off throttle and found this didn't upset the front end.

Is this a technique others use? What's the best way to slow down before sharp corners in the sand?

 

In my experience the same theory still applies "braking done before corner" Just in a different manner and a phrase comes to mind "The answer is in the question" .
In sand once you let off the throttle that front is going to grab a hand full of traction and slow down  ,no need to manipulate the front brake to achieve that ,in fact your going to combat that  by getting on the throttle in the turn  and using the the rear to do the turning or a combo of both but definitely need a control on the throttle IE to much will throw you down in a turn and not enough you won't make the turn .

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On 3/29/2017 at 9:59 AM, 2planker said:

Noob here trying to figure out how to improve my cornering in sand and wanted some input. Riding desert terrain in Northern NV so getting lots of practice, but still struggling. My challenge is with the front end diving into the corner and wanting to wash out. I've heard speed and leaning back is what you want in sand, and that is working great in the straights, but with tight washes often times you need to brake for sharp corners and that's where I get all out whack.

In all other terrain I have heavy bias towards front brake, this is most likely due to my MTB background, where I learned to get braking done before corner when front tire is vertical then carry momentum through corner. This doesn't work at all in sand as the front end just plows. So been experimenting with using rear brake, but I'm still finding the front dives as soon as I'm off the throttle. Yesterday I started to apply rear break while on the throttle, then let off throttle and found this didn't upset the front end.

Is this a technique others use? What's the best way to slow down before sharp corners in the sand?

 

Road my favorite sand track today. Your comment of "front dives as soon as I'm off the throttle" sounds like compression damping is a little lite for sand. Both my buddy and I will stiffen compression on the forks when riding the sand tracks. All the other comments above also play. E.g. maybe a little less preload on the rear shock to increase sag.

I don't like "not using front brake at all". Rather I like to just pretend to use front brake - hahaha. The reason is I don't like getting into the habbit of not thinking about using both brakes. But with sand you almost don't need any brakes, front or rear, as just back off throttle is usually enough to slow you down; notice I did not say shut down throttle as I find some throttle will keep the front from wanting to dive as much. When engine braking is not enough I like to mainly use just the back brake. 

You say "brake for sharp corners and that's where I get all out whack". Today around the sharp 90 I was having fun occasionally taking the inside where there was no rut when someone was running on the outside on the berm. Sand was a bit soft so the guy on the berm was going slow looked pretty noobish so I did not want to be "that guy" and took the sharp inside; I did do some serious roosting exiting that corner (hahaha).  I use the back brake to "back in the rear tire" and then throttled out. Sand was soft and fluffy (haha) in that corner so basically had to just leave the front alone and steer with the rear end. 

Although you always want to "stay centered" on the bike, I find "centered" in sand is a little more on the back end to keep the front wheel floating. Another thing is to keep both feet on the pegs as much as possible. For a sand sweeper I try to not take the inside foot off the peg at all. A sharper turn when I may need to dab, I keep on the peg as long as possible going into the turn and get right back on the pegs ASAP.

"apply rear break while on the throttle, then let off throttle and found this didn't upset the front end" - I guess that is pretty much what I do going into the sharp corners but I don't think about it. I pretty much rode the sand track in just 3rd gear, slipping the clutch and using throttle to steer; using the rear brake in the sharper corners when I wanted to back the rear tire in.

God, sand is sooooooooo much fun!

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Engine brake and rear brake in sand. Front Brake only if it's a tap to scrub speed. Stiffen compression on forks. I'm a sand rider, those are key to having fun and not fighting. 180 on a wr 250f....you need new springs.

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Thanks all for the advice and tips! Got out and put in some more practice last weekend. Stiffening up the front compression did help. So did talking myself into carrying more speed into the turns. Bit unnerving at times but started to feel more comfortable with the speed at end of the day. Certainly helped to focus on thinking about backing the bike in with rear brake.

 

On ‎3‎/‎31‎/‎2017 at 6:26 AM, hondaman331 said:

Engine brake and rear brake in sand. Front Brake only if it's a tap to scrub speed. Stiffen compression on forks. I'm a sand rider, those are key to having fun and not fighting. 180 on a wr 250f....you need new springs.

looking at race tech website, it recommends a lighter spring in front and stiffer in the rear...

Modifiers:
Riding Type: Desert
Age: 30-44 Years Old
Skill Level: Novice/C Class
Height: Standard Height
Gas Tank: Standard Gas Tank
 

FRONT FORK SPRINGS

Recommended Fork Spring Rate: 0.426 kg/mm (use closest available)

Stock Fork Spring Rate:.45 kg/mm (stock)

REAR SHOCK SPRINGS

Recommended Spring Rate:5.7 kg/mm (use closest available)

Stock Spring Rate:5.5 kg/mm (stock)

 

...which seems backwards, unless I am just confused which is very likely, haha

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Thanks all for the advice and tips! Got out and put in some more practice last weekend. Stiffening up the front compression did help. So did talking myself into carrying more speed into the turns. Bit unnerving at times but started to feel more comfortable with the speed at end of the day. Certainly helped to focus on thinking about backing the bike in with rear brake.
 
looking at race tech website, it recommends a lighter spring in front and stiffer in the rear...
Modifiers:
Riding Type: Desert
Age: 30-44 Years Old
Skill Level: Novice/C Class
Height: Standard Height
Gas Tank: Standard Gas Tank
 
FRONT FORK SPRINGS
Recommended Fork Spring Rate: 0.426 kg/mm (use closest available)
Stock Fork Spring Rate:.45 kg/mm (stock)
REAR SHOCK SPRINGS
Recommended Spring Rate:5.7 kg/mm (use closest available)
Stock Spring Rate:5.5 kg/mm (stock)
 
...which seems backwards, unless I am just confused which is very likely, haha

Try factory connection on the rear. Use what they suggest. Keep forks stock then....but I would've thought they'd go up a size....

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I ride in northern Nevada as well, so I'm familiar with that type of terrain. Like what's been mentioned before, I brake before entering the corner and accelerate coming out of it. I start having issues if I allow my front end to dig into the sand. Accelerating out of the corner brings the front wheel up so I can move faster through it.

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My guess is you are miss timing your standing to sitting transition. In sand you need two things, entry speed and lean. 

You should be standing in the higher speed section leading into the corner. Stay standing as you start to brake, this is the only time you will want to get have your weight back at all. As you get close to the apex you will start braking less and leaning more. Just as you let off the brakes you transition to sitting. Sit as far forward as possible, up against the tank. Sitting and being forward will allow you to pull the the bike down and get it leaned over as much as possible, and puts you in the right position to roll on the throttle smoothly and accelerate out of the corner.

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