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Riding in sand dunes......

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Dune season is coming up quickly and I for one could use some help. I Have only had a bike at the dunes once and didnt ride it much. This season I plan on riding it alot more. Does anyone have any tips, tricks or techinques on how to ride in the dunes? for example aproaching a dune, crossing over a dune, turning in the sand? I could really use all the help I can get. Thank you all for your future input. By the way I ride a 2007 KX450f.

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Speed is your friend in the dunes. Keep the front end light by keeping your weight at the rear of the seat.

When I approach a dune I will lean back and blip the throttle to make sure the front end is light or a little off the sand. I ride Glamis and the farther you get out the softer the sand is...lawn dart comes to mind. Some of the dunes on the way out to China Wall are soft enough at the base to swallow the entire front wheel of a bike and sending you over the bars.

Same body position when turning...keep front end light. You DO NOT want to dive in, weight on the tank and jam the front brakes. In the dunes I use the throttle more to steer. When I'm carving the crest of a dune I will ride the bike like a 2-stroke...come in hot, weight to the rear, clutch, lean, foot out, 3/4-WFO throttle and dump the clutch.

When cresting a dune you never want to go straight up and over...more of a safety issue with heavy traffic and big arse sand rails that you will always loose to in a collision. When transfering get close to the top check if the next bowl is clear lean back, throttle and steer up and over and continue on.

Bike and suspension set up is key. You have enough bike for the job, Im currently on a CRF450R that has many dune trips under it's belt. Paddle tire is obvious and a must, low tire pressure, experiment but I'm usually in the 8psi range, and you want a pretty ridged suspension set up out there with quick rebound. Check out the suspension forum for sand set ups. Anothe rthing that comes to mind is the air filter. I run a filter skin over the airfitler as a pre filter. Sand gets everywhere and the last place you want it is in the engine.

Lastly, HAVE FUN!

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thank you for the advice! im going to glamis. When riding through a bowl do you want to keep your weight on the upside peg and lean up like going through a turn or do you want to stay centered on a bike.

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Through the bowl you'll pretty much want to be centered on the bike. Weighting the outside peg will help with the flat and off camber turning. As was said, you will want to be a little farther back than normal to keep the front wheel light. It'll come natural to you in time. Play with body position to get a feel of what the bike does. Momentum is your friend in the sand. Have fun out there.

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Little weight to the rear of the seat, weight on the outside peg and WFO throttle. Careful when coming down and "exiting" the bowl/dune. It's usually these spots that get whooped and chewed up from the big horsepower rails. If you are wide open going up, around and then down a bowl you will pick up some speed 50-60mph and it can be a little hary hitting a g-out and then a set of whoops at this speed it you aren't prepared. You will see what I'm talking about after an hour of riding.

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Also watch out for razor backs and drops! When riding in the middle of the day, the sun is glaring all the sand looks the same and you COMPLETELY lose depth perception. You may be riding along one second and find yourself flying through the air and landing in a hole you didn't even see. Its even worse if its windy and the sand is moving.

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i dont think much advice will help in the sand. i remember when i first started sand was my enemy. it just felt really weird to have the bike feel so unsure. i tried it probably 3 or 4 times and then it just clicked. sand is no big deal you just have to have it "click" for you by steping out of the comfort zone and be willing to go down eventually. at least its softer than hard pack!

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well ive ridden the dunes all my life so I know how to read them. I have just never ridden a bike out there before

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Another tip to help read the dunes is to pay attention to the direction of the dunes. One direction will have rounded off dunes and the other direction will have razor back. Then there's the occasional witches eye. Watch out for those. After a while you get a good feel for what the other side of the dune will be like. Like someone mention above, take the crest at an angle and watch out for sand rails. Also look far ahead as you ride because you will usually see rails in the distance and know to look out.

As for riding tips, keep the weight off the front time and WFO. Gradually let off the gas so the weight doesn't transfer quick, then when you can, WFO again.

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well ive ridden the dunes all my life so I know how to read them. I have just never ridden a bike out there before

I switched from riding atv to bike in the sand - piece of cake. Enjoy the fact that you actually have good suspension now.:thumbsup:

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Two things I haven't seen mentioned on this thread:

Run low pressure in your front tire, it helps a lot with stability and preventing knife-in. I run about 3-5 psi depending on the sand type; here in Oregon it's a lot more coarse, so more air. I have been to Glamis, and true enough the sand is like flour- I run 2 psi there and the bike works great.

The mudflap that protects the rear shock will most likely be ripped off by the paddle. To prevent the shock rod from getting pitted from all the sand the tire is slinging, use a shock cover.

Also, I use panty hose on the air filter- it seals the sand out perfectly.

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Steer with the throttle!! It's all about keeping that front wheel on top of the sand and flowing well. I like to stiffen the compression a bit and keep your weight back. 20 min and you'll have a feel for it. Take it easy for a bit then rip it up!

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I learned about the mud flap the first trip i took it out there. shattered within the first 5 minutes of riding. I leave thursday for the dunes so i will put your guyss advice to use and hope it works. thank you everybody for the input.

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