XR650L and deep sand?

I've been having major issues with riding my bike through deep sand. I can't recall all the times I've laid the bike down in the deep stuff, and its getting pretty old ( and expensive ).

We compared my bike to a DRZ400 and the ergonomics are way different. On the XRL you sit alot closer to the front of the bike, and the DRZ is more centered.

Anyone else have problems with this?

What would help fix it??? Fork brace and steering dampner?

Maybe an aftermarket seat that was a little flatter or shaped different would help.

I'm running a Dunlop D606 on it right now.

This is a tough bike in the sand.

You need

-Aggressive tires

-Get your 'nads way up on the tank

-Inside foot way in the air, all your weight on the outside peg, your butt 1/2 inch from the seat

-keep it pegged WFO and steer be chopping the throttle or by sliding the back end out.

If you have a teraflex, do all this with the front wheel in the air.


The beloved L is a heavy beast and it really makes itself known in the soft stuff. It's amazing how squirrely these big rigs can get in sand.

Airing down the tire pressure is really the only obvious option. Just don't load up the front end too much or it'll (always) wash out. :applause:

A steering dampner would be a good call, or maybe a lighter bike... :eek:

lean back, twist, point and shoot let the front end go where it wants. steer with the ass end

Smoke said it best. Sit all the way back on the seat and keep the weight off the front tire. Stay in the gas and hold on. Almost all the trails here in southeast NC are sand. I miss the mountians!!! The best type of tire for the the sand is one with a wide knobbie in the center.


Yes, back on the seat but, the most important thing is to look as far ahead as you can. Looking down where the front tire is going is the worst. Don't worry about the front tire, look where you want it to go way out in front.

Here are a few pics of me in deep sand


I tried everything, from sitting on the front to sitting way back, or as far back as I could on a loaded bike. Of course, I was loaded down, and the weight was high, so when things got crazy, there pretty much wasn't any chance or recovery.

there seems to be something about the front end of those XRL's that make them lose it in the sand. I know they have scrawny little fork legs, so that is where I think a fork brace would help. I dumped my bike pretty hard once and the bars got bent and the front end got tweaked, so much that the front fender wasn't even close to lining up with the front tire. I managed to get things straightened out by reefing on the bars.

This one time, I got stuck in the mud,and the mud was over the front tire and quite sticky. I could turn the bars quite a bit, and the front tire didn't move..so that tells you how stiff the front of these bikes are.

overall, these are great bikes, but it would be nice to get it set up better for the soft stuff.

Anyone have a stering dampner on their XRL?

Try running a different front tire. I was running the D606 up front for awhile and it was great on the pavement and wore like a brick, but felt like a roller skate on sand. I put on a MT-18 Pirelli and rode the Big Bear Dual Sport Ride and few weeks ago and it worked a lot better, but not great. After pounding rocks for 180 miles it still is in good shape. I am going to try out different front tires and see which one works the best for SoCal / Baja riding.

I'm running a Dunlop D-606 rear & a Pirelli MT-18 Heavy Duty front on my XRL. I can really drop the air pressure (10 - 12 psi) for the soft stuff since they both have really stiff sidewalls.

No complaints & they are lasting longer than I expected. Definitely a good combo for So Cal DS riding, even in "some" sand.

I can only say what works with my 650R, sit back go one gear higher than you think you should and twist the throttle, I find it spins less and unloads the front end better.

Yes, back on the seat but, the most important thing is to look as far ahead as you can. Looking down where the front tire is going is the worst. Don't worry about the front tire, look where you want it to go way out in front.

look around the next turn...thats what my pops always tells me... :applause: i wanna ride with you someday BWB...someday ill "hang" with the big dog

Getting up front on the L helps the digging-in, just remember to keep it pegged.


The front end washes out because the rear tire is tracking better than the front.

I do what Exactly XR650L_Dave does!!!


Because if you sit back on the seat, especially when going slow, The rear tire is tracking far better than the front. This causes the front tire to plough the sand rather than steer..

I get as far forward as I can, put one foot up close to the forks, and stay on the gas!!

Think about it:

The XR650L has a 150lb muffler, 90lbs of tools, 300lbs of battery and battery box, 70 pounds of stadium lighting equipment hanging off of the 45lb rear fender. :applause:

The arse of the 650L is just plain heavy!! The rider must move foreward, as much weight as he/she can, in order to make the front tire track at least as well as the rear!!!

...and get ON THE GAS!!! :eek:

Once I get a new front tire I'm going to have to get out and try some of this stuff.

If you're riding slowly through deep dry sand and things are squirley, try standing on the pegs in various positions (straight up, attack, etc). You'll find that body position has a lot to do with stability while riding slowly through dry sand. You'll soon find what works best for you. Speed definitely helps, but there are times when you must go slow. Turning up the compression clickers a few clicks can further minimize the front end from diving and washing out in the slow deep sandy stuff. Riding in a taller gear helps to minimize engine braking which in turns minimizes the front end from diving, plowing and washing out. Tire selection and lower inflation pressures also help. The next time you're riding in deep sand, try standing in various positions and let us know how it works out for you. I'll bet it will significantly help you while riding at slower speeds or in slower technical deep sandy sections.

I can second the standing in the slow stuff.

It lets you move the bike around much quicker than when your body needs to move with it.


Here in East Texas we ride sections of very deep loose sand. I’m talking sand that if you stop and spin the tire you will burry past your rear axle in about two seconds and need help to get out. With weight up front, the front tire plows and takes it’s own direction. The slower you go, the worse the effect. The only technique that I have found to allow control (with advice from more experienced Texas riders) is weight back as far as I can get it which means standing unless in a tight turn. In tight turns sit as far back as possible. That allows the front tire to float on the sand rather than plow. 12 to 15 lbs of air pressure, a soft suspension setting, and maintaining as much speed as possible also helps.

I used to hate sand. Now, I only dislike it. Someday, I hope to enjoy it.



The best way that I have found (Esp. sence I got the 4.7 gal tank) is to avoid them when ever possable. If you have to go through them keep it pinned and sit back to center on the seat.

I also agree with Smoke, I ride nothing but sand on my big 600R, even at Pismo Beach, like smoke said, air down, sit or lean way back, let the front "dance" over the sand, and trust me, the faster you go in sand, the better the control, if you are cornering, keep the speed up and treat it like a berm and blast it, if you let off, you will go down, it takes a lot of practice and I have broken a few bones in the process, but I fall off a lot less now that I know a little more on how to ride sand.

Good Luck


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