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Cornering in sand...

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...I suck at it. I can handle the rollers and stuff just fine (being as tall as I am helps a lot), but whenever I try to corner in sand one of two things always happens. Either the front plows in a way that would make the amish proud, or the rear comes around and I end up having to make huge corrections to stay headed in the direction I want to go.

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What Heavy Rotation said. I also suggest checking your sag and making sure your forks aren’t too soft or moved up in the triple clamps (lowering the front of the bike). If your sag number is too small (tall rear stance), or your front too low your bike will be more prone to knife in the corners, as you describe.

Good luck!

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+1 to previous comments add not to get up on the front to far in sand. Stay to low side of the berm. One of my local tracks is pure sand, only clay on faces, has a sweeping 180 about 3-4 lane arc. This is where I learned to stand completely through the turn. Keep riding it will come.

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Sand is easy.  Stay on the power and get aggressive.  I prefer it by far over dry hardpack. 

Where do you ride out here?  If you're around Abq or Rio Rancho I'd be obliged to offer some instruction and demonstration.

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I'll have to pay more attention to what I'm doing with my eyes. I keep my forks fairly stiff for my speed since I tend to ride over the front of the bike, so that's not the problem. I may need to increase my sag since I'm still running what I was when I lived in Missouri where we didn't have sand. Changing body position didn't seem to make much of a difference. I haven't been able to find a happy medium with fork height either. I've played with when I get on the throttle too.

On 1/11/2018 at 9:48 AM, turbo dan said:

Sand is easy.  Stay on the power and get aggressive.  I prefer it by far over dry hardpack. 

Where do you ride out here?  If you're around Abq or Rio Rancho I'd be obliged to offer some instruction and demonstration.

I'm right by where Coors and I-40 cross. When I get my truck running I may take you up on that offer.

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Grab throttle until the back end starts trying to come around to the front and then back off a tad. That's your sweet spot. Stay loose and look ahead.

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Grab throttle until the back end starts trying to come around to the front and then back off a tad. That's your sweet spot. Stay loose and look ahead.
Off subject here, but I'm interested in learning how to survive whoops in the sand ...and packed dirt.
I'm old (56), only been off road riding 4 years and not trying to pretend I'm 20, but never have learned how to ride whoops and I would like to feel comfortable when I come around a turn at 30 or so and have to go through a section of whoops?
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Entry speed is important.  Not too fast but you want to be moving.  Also make sure you're squared up with them, finish the turn and hit them straight.  The correct body position would be standing up, weight toward the rear but not so far back that you can't keep your elbows bent.  Enter under power and stay on it all the way through.

You have to develop the reflexes to counteract swapping the hard way.  Using the bars and your legs you can correct almost any swap before it happens if you realize its happening before it gets out of hand.  You have the initial kick, the swap to the opposite side and then usually a swap back in the other direction that throws you off.    Each step increases significantly in magnitude.  The key is getting it under control at the initial kick out of line.

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Since you say sand and whoops in same sentence I assume you mean rollers. Besides basic sand suspension setup, lean back a bit and time throttle blips to touch front to tops of rollers. So basically a series of wheelies to singles. Again another example of speed being easiest way through sand.

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Also, never forget to squeeze with your knees in whoops of any kind. Knees and entry speed are the two most important things in whoops.

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Anybody want to throw out a guesstimate for hours needed to make sand not suck anymore? I'm about 3 or less hours in. I grew up on red dirt and avoided sand all my life but my son is pursuing racing so we have to get good at it. First few times have not been fun for either of us. Trying the tips but I think I need more time in it. My son is progressing fast because he doesn't know any better. I'm not a fan of surfing on a motorcycle. Wobbles and flows of ruts in traights are fine now but the corners still suck. Berms are not bad and firm ruts are ok.

 

I really struggle on flat turns. Feels like the front might wash but I think that's just my brain and the sand will pretty much keep your front from sliding out. At least so fast that you can't correct it? I see the car guys blowing through them making their own ruts so i know it's something else.

 

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On 2/5/2018 at 2:20 PM, gduck24 said:

Anybody want to throw out a guesstimate for hours needed to make sand not suck anymore? I'm about 3 or less hours in. I grew up on red dirt and avoided sand all my life but my son is pursuing racing so we have to get good at it. First few times have not been fun for either of us. Trying the tips but I think I need more time in it. My son is progressing fast because he doesn't know any better. I'm not a fan of surfing on a motorcycle. Wobbles and flows of ruts in traights are fine now but the corners still suck. Berms are not bad and firm ruts are ok.

 

I really struggle on flat turns. Feels like the front might wash but I think that's just my brain and the sand will pretty much keep your front from sliding out. At least so fast that you can't correct it? I see the car guys blowing through them making their own ruts so i know it's something else.

 

It's impossible to estimate how many hours an individual needs, this can be dozens of hours. But the very 1st thing is the bike set-up. Elevate the front and run a bit more sag than normal. Reducing the rebound speed with a couple of clicks helps too. Lower your tire pressures to an absolute minimum to get bigger foot print and don't use the wrong tires. These measures will make sand riding and flat corners so much more predictable and enjoyable. Especially for beginners in the deep sand it's best to go off the gas more gradually than normal, keep tension on the chain not to nose dive. 

Edited by deanevo

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I usually go a different way with tire pressures.  In general I don't compromise bike setup for specific terrain since it varies so much out here, I just ride the same bike on everything with no adjustments.  I have no issues with 15 psi front and 17-18 rear.  I suspect that lowering tire pressures may exacerbate handling issues since the tire will be more likely to roll around on the rim.

Ideally you want the front tire to work like a rudder.  Trying to ride on top of the sand is futile.  Dig into it and push it around.  Its like the difference between skiing on hard packed and icy snow VS soft, powdery snow.  You can be much more aggressive with sand.  Don't worry too much about minor deviations in your path, the bike will tend to wander somewhat.  Stay loose and stay on the power.

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47 minutes ago, turbo dan said:

I usually go a different way with tire pressures.  In general I don't compromise bike setup for specific terrain since it varies so much out here, I just ride the same bike on everything with no adjustments.  I have no issues with 15 psi front and 17-18 rear.  I suspect that lowering tire pressures may exacerbate handling issues since the tire will be more likely to roll around on the rim.

Ideally you want the front tire to work like a rudder.  Trying to ride on top of the sand is futile.  Dig into it and push it around.  Its like the difference between skiing on hard packed and icy snow VS soft, powdery snow.  You can be much more aggressive with sand.  Don't worry too much about minor deviations in your path, the bike will tend to wander somewhat.  Stay loose and stay on the power.

True on that, this is a mx track riding topic, yes.

Edited by deanevo
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On ‎1‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 9:33 AM, Red800rider said:

+1 to previous comments add not to get up on the front to far in sand. Stay to low side of the berm. One of my local tracks is pure sand, only clay on faces, has a sweeping 180 about 3-4 lane arc. This is where I learned to stand completely through the turn. Keep riding it will come.

I'm out in ABQ and looking for folks to ride with. I'm more doing trails than MX though.

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