Riding the slippy stuff - how do you do it and what do you use??

Today, I was on a rideout with some fellow bikers in very sticky mud with me on an XR650R, someone on an XR600 - XR400 and a DRZ400.

What I found is that the blokey on the DRZ400 could stand on his pegs point his bike and the rest of his bike would follow.

Whilst behind him, I tried to follow his path and his bike (and his skill??) would take him out of the ruts when it allowed but if i tried to follow the same path my front tyre (tire) was having none of it and would literally slip back into the rut.

This type of slippage occurred all over the place to the point that I was becoming so frustrated it began to ruin my day out.

My question(s) really are these:

1. what is the best tyre for this sort of terrain? (I currently have Pirelli MT21's)

2. Is this behaviour a fault of the bike as it is designed for sand and not mud?

3. Does my riding style suck?? (I do try to keep my weight over the front axle - but i find i am leaning fwd so much that this surely cannot be the right riding position)

input greatly appreciated.


Any bikes have a steering stabilizer, and/or fork brace?

I think the DRZ has large-diameter fork tubes as compared to the 650R, plus its weight is less, which compounds the flex issue even more.

Can you trade bikes next time, if even for just a section or so? Rider skill is definitely a factor and by trading, you could help narrow the possibilities down.

The DRZ does have 49mm conventional fork but, the main problem(s) are you using a hard terrian front tire in the mud. You are way to far forward. The weight should be on the back axle and you should be looking where you want to go, not where your going or where you are. If it is duel sport riding then you will have to compromize on the tires. For mud/sand I would have a IRC M5B 140/80 on back and a IRC M1A or IRC IX07S, Pirelli MT44 or Pirelli MT410 for duel sport, If you are not going fast throught the whoops then a Tera Flex for the mud is great in back. A fork brace does help the tire track straight. I have one on my bike.

Getting hold of a TeraFlex is quite difficult in the UK - its 60 dollars for buying the tyre and 90 dollars to ship it to the UK!!!! - and that is per tyre..so no saving on bulk buy!

I did have a go on the drz for a short section - the apparent lack of grunt was very obvious - which did make it somewhat easy to control....maybe i have too much power at my wrist???

As to sand...my beloved XR650R is never ridden in sand at all....most of its work is on fireroads/slippy mud/lots of water..........

I think i may import a TeraFlex just to see how it performs....but i will need a decent front tyre to match it too.........any recommendations?? Please assume that I will not be doing any sand riding.



just airing down a bit will inprove things, and softening you susp. will help tracking.play with both and see what happens.

I have never yet ridden on a MT21 but I can tell you that my bike is so much better than it was since I switched to a MT18. I had the stock Trailwing and was losing front traction all over the place in woods riding and some mud - downright scary. I switched to the MT18 and it actually tracks and bites and goes where I point it. It's much more aggressive looking than the MT21 but it's wearing well even with all the street miles.

Be warned it's horrible in soft sand. And I have no skill to compensate for bad tires.

MT21's are horrible in the mud. It is the MT21's big weak area. If you must have a street legal tire, a Dunlop D606 would be a better choice.

Thanks for the suggestions...i have a spare set of off-road wheels that were given to me in a very good deal I made - so I will try a different set of tyres.

I will also try, as suggested to adjust the front suspension slightly - however, I am very tall (2m = 6ft6") and 20 stone so I dont want to be backing the suspension out too much......

Will adjust and play...



... however, I am very tall (2m = 6ft6") and 20 stone so I dont want to be backing the suspension out too much......

20 stone equals 280 lbs

Agree that the main problem is tires, the MT21s are pretty much ineffective in the mud. Put on a set of Michelin S-12s and see a huge difference.

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