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Any tips for riding in sand?

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So I finally got my CRF300L out on the trails the other day. Man am I sore today, it's been a couple years since I've done any offroading. Anyway, I went down a couple times because suddenly the trail changed from hard-packed dirt to deep, loose sand. I have no idea how to ride in sand, or if it's even possible with a bike like this. I do know that it really sucks trying to turn around and drag out a 350-pound bike!

I'm planning to go riding again on Friday after work if the weather holds up. I'm thinking of heading for the sand and just going for it until I either figure it out or need to be carried out on a stretcher. So, any tips? Or is sand just a bad idea overall? My tires are brand-new Bridgestones that are basically the stock dual-sport tires. I ride on the streets way too much to bother with a super aggressive offroad tire.

There's a nice perimeter trail I'd like to ride all the way around sometime. But the sand sections just wipe me out.

Edited by mott555

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Sand is tough.  A couple of keys to it.  Get your weight back on the bike.  Slide back in the seat, not forward on the tank as you're used to.  You want to let the front wheel skim as much as possible.  Also, if you know you're going to have a majority of sand to ride, lower the PSI in your tires, that will help with traction.  Keep your upper body and shoulders loose, let the bike track, try not to fight it.  Lastly, remember that in the sand you will slow very quickly when you come off the throttle, so you do need to really give it power if possible and just understand that if you need to slow down, it will come quickly with reduced throttle.

That's my two cents... others might have more to add or even slightly disagree.  YMMV

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Get back, drop tire pressure, increase fork compression or preload or both, slow a bit before you hit the sand then hammer the throttle through it. Relax your hands and arms, you can't steer a big heavy DS in sand with the bars, gotta grip with your legs and throttle steer. Sand is really really fun but very different to ride on. Find a big sandy flat that's wind blown and smooth and practice big circles in third gear until you can go all the way around at full lock counter steered just controlling slip angle with throttle. It's stupidly fun. Good luck!

Sent from my SM-G935V using ThumperTalk mobile app

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"My tires are brand-new Bridgestones that are basically the stock dual-sport tires."

I have found that tires make a big difference too. 50/50 street tires don't steer well in sand, and if you can't steer, you fall down. Once you add good 90/10 knobby tires, sand & mud become non-issues, and fun. :)

I recommend IRC TR8's or Dunlop D606's for better offroad abilities. 

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The hardest part of learning the sand for me was trusting that out of control feeling you have to have. Do not try to steer just kinda point and think in a general direction and trust the bike will get there. In a way it is like driving a boat slow in choppy water.

basically .... use the force ... :lol: 

 

yoda-force.gif 

 

HeavyRotation and rz_racer_69  gave you about the best advice you can get. A steering damper helps a lot too.

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It's that out of control feeling that gets me. The bike starts sliding around and I instinctively cut throttle and slow down. Next thing I know I've stalled and fallen over.

I hate crashing. It's really hard to fight my instinct on this.

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17 minutes ago, mott555 said:

It's that out of control feeling that gets me. The bike starts sliding around and I instinctively cut throttle and slow down. Next thing I know I've stalled and fallen over.

I hate crashing. It's really hard to fight my instinct on this.

It really is a counter intuitive thing to get used to, but you've just got to trust it and give the bike power.  As stated above by HeavyRotation, you use the throttle to control/steer while using the legs.  I'm relatively new to dirt.  I've ridden street for 30 plus years and only this year decided to "get dirty".  I'm really glad I did, but the learning curve from street to dirt (add in all my street riding muscle memory) is super steep.  But, again, you just need to trust it and give it the BRRAAAPPP.

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What they said but emphasis on stay on the throttle to lighten the front , it's my least favourite surface to ride. Good luck!

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Sand with the L is a challenge due to weight distribution, I lean way far back, skim the front tire, knees over tank and lean steer, you move the bars odds on you will eat some sand.  the transition is the usual drop point, hard to soft, your weight will shift forward if you are not set up for entry, when you are about to hit it drop a gear, wrap up power, and lean back till she sumps in, then stay back on it upshift to prevent dig in, and lean turn, try not to move bars.

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that bike ..with those tires...= no fun in sand!  I personally love sand and I'm pretty good in it... but even I would have a hard time with your bike and tires! But if you gotta do it...weight back, keep momentum up (preferably before you enter the sand) , look ahead and don't fight the bike...just keep it going in the right direction.

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youll have a hard time on that bike in the sand - too heavy and too gutless - 31hp & 320lbs - forget it.

 

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14 hours ago, mott555 said:

It's that out of control feeling that gets me. The bike starts sliding around and I instinctively cut throttle and slow down. Next thing I know I've stalled and fallen over.

I hate crashing. It's really hard to fight my instinct on this.

Trust Master Yoda .... wise he is ... hmmmm .... and if your gonna fall anyway what can it hurt ... :lol:

 

5-star-wars-quotes.gif

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12 hours ago, lakeportmike said:

that bike ..with those tires...= no fun in sand! 

I run XCMH's and 13/44's with a 305 BB kit and a Scotts damper ....  she does pretty good in the sand but, I stay out of the sand as much as I can because of all the wear and tear it causes ... :rant: 

Edited by gnath9

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Lots of power. Lots of rear tire. There is a reason sand buggies run 500hp

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Lower your tire pressure, ,,, weight as far back as is comfortable,,,,, look ahead, not down..... power/speed helps heaps,,,, pick your line up the middle or the edges that arent so deep, always look for that type of line.... ride sand after some rain,,, gets way better!!!

 

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Riding in sand is weird, to speed up, upshift and wait, to slow down, downshift, and it's instant, avoid backing off the throttle, no reason to brake, sit on the back edge of the seat, and turn by leaning.  You are never really stable, but if the tire is flinging enough, and the front stays above the sand, you keep going, and stay upright.  Unless you have a compelling reason, or want the challenge, then it's best avoided, sand gets into EVERYTHING, and will dramatically shorten  the life of things like chains, sprockets and bearings, even had tubes get chewed up from peices of sand that must have worked it's way past rims when running low pressure.  I used to take my YZ125 into sand often with friends, I cleaned the crap out of it when I got back, ran dry lube, still wore stuff out really fast, the sand will keep eating stuff even after cleaning unless you pull everything apart to flush/grease it every time you ride in sand.

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