PNWDS - PNWDualSport

A Place to Share Your Dual Sport Passion

Established Jan 03, 2009
 
HomeHome  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 Are wider tires better for gravel?

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
hoffnasty

avatar

Posts : 39
Join date : 2010-01-15
Age : 47
Bike : 09 klr 650

PostSubject: Are wider tires better for gravel?   3/23/2010, 9:58 pm

I just spooned on a mefo stonemaster to the rear of my klr and the recommended mx master to the front. While putting the tires on I was excited to see how they would help the off road handling, especially after riding with true off-road riders and their " real dirt bikes". But after trying them on gravel, dirt, and street. I think the skinny mx master on the front needs to come off as quick as possible. It feels worse in gravel than the bald stock tires I had on. I ordered a kenda 270 for the front that same day because kenda has the widest 21''rim sized tire  I could find. My theory is that the fat tire will make my klr ride like my big red 185 atc on gravel .Anyone have any ideas, I noticed big jer or his cousin had a dual sport tire and they climbed lots of scary sheeettt.
Back to top Go down
griz901

avatar

Posts : 931
Join date : 2009-02-20
Age : 52
Bike : Honda XR650R

PostSubject: Gravel riding   3/24/2010, 9:51 am

grab a cup of jo, you're gonna need it...

Let's set some parameters to operate in first: I am not an expert on or off road rider, but I recently had a bit of experience trying to sort out myself and my bike for loose gravel riding. Secondly, choosing new tires because you had one negative experience (?) will cost you a lot of $$$ in the long run.

Let me explain and I hope some of the other riders chime in too, because this subject is right up there with "what oil is best." But I believe there are at least two components to dirt riding that can help save you from a faceplant and almost certainly, improve your riding experiences.

You would think my mighty XRR, or anyones KLR, EXC, BMW, Adventure etc would be great on something like this.... Wouldn't you?


Well lemme tell ya, in this picture my bike has 30psi in the tires for street duty. The fact of the matter is going in a straight line down this road with that much pressure in the tires can be quite unnerving. Why? Because the bike is constantly squirreling around under me, a lot.

Which brings me to the first and most profound gravel riding tip, lowering the air pressure in your tires! Lowering the air pressure to the same as dirt riding will allow your tires to conform to the road bed a little better, provide a better contact patch to the graveled surface and should give a better "planted" feeling.

Tire pressure alone will not solve getting squirrelly on gravel and you should not think street skills will keep your wheels under you. HOWEVER, with that said you can save yourself some money by messing with tire pressure first. It sucks for us dual-sports because if you are 50/50 then you could potentially be taking out and putting air pressure back in depending on how often you feel the need. Keep in mind low air pressures meant for dirt/gravel can be dangerous for a heavy bike on the road. Thus my reluctance to say specifically how much air to try.

I have ran my Pirrelli MT21's (DOT knobbies) at 28psi and scared the shit out of myself within 100 yds of a asphalt to gravel transition. Lowering my psi to 13-15 makes a HUGE difference in how MY motorcycle feels under me when I'm on gravel. And this leads me to the second thing I consider most important.

Rider's skill level. Rider's skill level. Rider's skill level. Rider's skill level. Did I say it enough? As part of your own skill level, I would suggest you will find great pleasure when riding on gravel if you are not concerned with how fast the other guys are going, but rather how safe and comfortable YOU feel going. Gravel is like this mystical magical thing when it comes to riding. As your skills improve it becomes easier, more fun, and you feel more confident when increasing your speeds to match your skills.

Last year my main path into a riding area was graded and had odd sized gravel laid down about 2-3" thick. The base was hardpack. The two combined was a nightmare. I've made a point of lowering my pressure, and experimenting with standing on the pegs (to lower center of gravity), keeping the motor revving a little to create gyrocopic forces (not completely sold on this one), and my seating position (forward on the tank so the rear can move around without upsetting the operator - me).

You can check out my plea for help here: Be right back!
Back to top Go down
XCR500Rider

avatar

Posts : 192
Join date : 2009-02-24
Age : 44

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   3/24/2010, 12:50 pm

I would say, air pressure and experience are the biggest factors. On slipery surfaces you want to hand on tighter with your knees. A lower air pressure in the front will offer better straight line stability but it will also hinder in other aspects, such as pinching tubes on square edge hits. My self I run alot in the front due to airtime, and alot of time spent laid over in corners and I dont want the tire "rolling" out from under me. On the straights though it wobbles pretty good, but I compensate by holding the bike tighter with my legs.
Back to top Go down
griz901

avatar

Posts : 931
Join date : 2009-02-20
Age : 52
Bike : Honda XR650R

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   3/24/2010, 1:36 pm

Ok, I'm back. Who cares, get on with it. Stop talking to myself. Ok. What!?

Crazy internet people, gotta love us.

So as I was saying, standing on the pegs gave me the most "control." This is to say it lowered my center of gravity to the pegs, allowed the motorcycle to move around under me without inducing the panic "need to control" feeling of like when you sit and the bike gets a little whacky under you. XCR also gives good advice about keeping your legs/knees tight against the tank when sitting. If you were to watch me ride into a gravel section, I try to wrap myself around the bike like some kind of octopus. You'd be surprised how much effect letting your knees dangle has on the balance.

Over the past two years I've increased my gravel comfort speed two fold, and that's not saying much. 35 mph on loose gravel with hard, fully inflated tires will give you a pucker factor of 9.9 on the rectum scale.

The other thing, as XCR mentioned, is experience (or practice makes perfect). I shit you not, I go out and find a section of gravel like the road I pictured above and will just go back and forth practicing to get a better bond between me and my bike. I do slaloms at low speed, stand, sit, braking. I'd say after the first five times of making myself practice what had previously unnerved me, I felt twice the confidence.

Here's that linky with some more opinions. Sorry for all the links, but I think I probably have experienced that horrible feeling that has you trying to fix it with tires. Maybe just step back, take a deep breath, lower the psi, go out and practice some of these techniques and see if you can find something that works for you Chaos-in-mt here has a 08 KLR and can ride it like nobody's business. He is a iron butt rider and could also offer some specific advice on what tires he's used. Maybe PM him.

Hopefully, in the end, you'll settle in and avoid a negative experience or even an accident that turns you off of riding. Don't be so hard on yourself or your bike, and once you find a balance it'll be pure bliss and no worries man...

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=341757

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=341757&highlight=riding+gravel

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=451705






http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=269467
Back to top Go down
griz901

avatar

Posts : 931
Join date : 2009-02-20
Age : 52
Bike : Honda XR650R

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   3/24/2010, 1:39 pm

And A LOT of people use the Kendas. The 270 will be my next set of tires because I can't afford the SUPER INFLATED WHAT THE HECK price of Mefo Explorers!
Back to top Go down
XCR500Rider

avatar

Posts : 192
Join date : 2009-02-24
Age : 44

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   3/24/2010, 2:15 pm

I forgot to mention too, that inpropper susupension setup, will cause alot of uneasyness and unstability. Mostly in the forks is where this is most important. Too stiff=unstable, too soft=unstable and serious bottoming, the key is to find the happy medium.
Back to top Go down
Inspector
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 1654
Join date : 2009-01-23
Age : 46
Bike : Beta 400rr

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   3/24/2010, 6:47 pm

I think Griz answered very nicely and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't change anything.

I will add thou, if you ARE looking for a yes or no answer...Yes, wider front tire will give you more stability in the gravel on those straights. Hopefully this doesn't encourage you to get ride of the tire if that is still an option thou. I could go on, but everyone else pretty much covered everything.


*edit. I didn't click on any of the links...sorry. peepwall
Back to top Go down
hoffnasty

avatar

Posts : 39
Join date : 2010-01-15
Age : 47
Bike : 09 klr 650

PostSubject: wider tires   3/27/2010, 3:53 pm

I just tried the kenda 270 after removing the mefo Mx master and it's awesome, even better than stock. The mefo is just to skinny and hard for the klr.
the kenda was a lot softer like a flotation tire. I will leave the stonemaster on the rear and see how it hill climbs.
Back to top Go down
griz901

avatar

Posts : 931
Join date : 2009-02-20
Age : 52
Bike : Honda XR650R

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   3/27/2010, 7:34 pm

hoffnasty wrote:
I just tried the kenda 270 after removing the mefo Mx master and it's awesome, even better than stock. The mefo is just to skinny and hard for the klr.
the kenda was a lot softer like a flotation tire. I will leave the stonemaster on the rear and see how it hill climbs.

Sounds like the difference was what you were looking for. That's all that matters
Back to top Go down
Mechanically Declined Cuz

avatar

Posts : 6
Join date : 2010-03-13
Bike : XR650L & 990 KTM

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   3/30/2010, 6:20 pm

I got avon on the rear, I didnt like it in the lose stuff but on payment works great it is the same tire I ran when we went to AK and it made it from home to Deadhorse and back to the garage.

Big Jer has kenda on front and back. He changes tires like I change underwear.
Back to top Go down
griz901

avatar

Posts : 931
Join date : 2009-02-20
Age : 52
Bike : Honda XR650R

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   3/30/2010, 7:11 pm

Mechanically Declined Cuz wrote:
He changes tires like I change underwear.

I dunno if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I prolly don't need to know...
Back to top Go down
RENO

avatar

Posts : 113
Join date : 2011-03-19
Bike : 07 KLR 650 2012 Cristini AWD 450DS

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   5/26/2011, 9:04 pm

griz901 wrote:
Mechanically Declined Cuz wrote:
He changes tires like I change underwear.

I dunno if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I prolly don't need to know...

now THATS where the term "skid marks" came from :Slaphead:
Back to top Go down
Fast_Ed

avatar

Posts : 60
Join date : 2011-05-10
Age : 49
Bike : 2007 KLR650

PostSubject: Extra Wheels   5/27/2011, 7:20 am

I was thinking about picking up an extra set of wheels for my XR and putting more aggressive off road tires on them. Then putting a set of street legal Dual Sport tires on the other set. My thinking is, when I roll out in the morning that if I haven't decided that I am def going off road, I can just run the Dual Sport tires. But, if I am planning on an off road ride, I can change out to the dirt only set. I was also thinking this would allow me to easily change my gearing for more street/ or more dirt riding. ie: drop teeth on the rear sprocket for the street, add for the dirt. Does anyone else do this? Am I crazy to think of this? It just seems swapping wheels out is pretty simple and doesn't take too long.
Back to top Go down
SpanishFly

avatar

Posts : 36
Join date : 2011-05-16
Age : 50
Bike : '03 GG EC300

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   5/27/2011, 9:21 pm

Fast_Ed wrote:
I was thinking about picking up an extra set of wheels for my XR and putting more aggressive off road tires on them. Then putting a set of street legal Dual Sport tires on the other set. My thinking is, when I roll out in the morning that if I haven't decided that I am def going off road, I can just run the Dual Sport tires. But, if I am planning on an off road ride, I can change out to the dirt only set. I was also thinking this would allow me to easily change my gearing for more street/ or more dirt riding. ie: drop teeth on the rear sprocket for the street, add for the dirt. Does anyone else do this? Am I crazy to think of this? It just seems swapping wheels out is pretty simple and doesn't take too long.

If your XR is tagged and you plan on doing a lot of pavement riding it might be worth it. The XR2-fiddy I had was tagged and, quite frankly, wasn't that great on pavement. With stock gearing you had to wring the snot out of it for anything over 50 mph. Changing the gearing killed the low-end grunt needed for trail riding. If you're just going down dirt roads a pair of knobbies will work just fine. I had good luck with the IRC VE35 f/VE33 r tires on that bike. Worked best with 9psi up front and 10psi in back using Bridgestone UltraHD tubes. They lasted as long as DOT Pirelli MT21's, but cost about half as much.
Back to top Go down
Inconceivable

avatar

Posts : 191
Join date : 2010-06-14
Bike : 2010 KTM 530 EXC

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   5/28/2011, 6:16 am

Fast_Ed wrote:
I was thinking about picking up an extra set of wheels for my XR and putting more aggressive off road tires on them. Then putting a set of street legal Dual Sport tires on the other set. My thinking is, when I roll out in the morning that if I haven't decided that I am def going off road, I can just run the Dual Sport tires. But, if I am planning on an off road ride, I can change out to the dirt only set. I was also thinking this would allow me to easily change my gearing for more street/ or more dirt riding. ie: drop teeth on the rear sprocket for the street, add for the dirt. Does anyone else do this? Am I crazy to think of this? It just seems swapping wheels out is pretty simple and doesn't take too long.

I had a extra set for my XR650L

here is a link to a past thread where I talked about my setup.

http://www.pnwds.com/t935-rate-your-bike

I cant remember exactly but I was 13/50 in the dirt and 15/45 on the street.
Back to top Go down
Fast_Ed

avatar

Posts : 60
Join date : 2011-05-10
Age : 49
Bike : 2007 KLR650

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   5/28/2011, 8:23 am

Thanks! Is it necessary to change the front spocket? I need to weigh my bike after reading that archived thread.
Back to top Go down
Inconceivable

avatar

Posts : 191
Join date : 2010-06-14
Bike : 2010 KTM 530 EXC

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   5/29/2011, 4:47 am

Fast_Ed wrote:
Thanks! Is it necessary to change the front spocket? I need to weigh my bike after reading that archived thread.

The bigest speed change is with changing the front sprocket. I Would drive a section of I-5 where the spped limit was 70 MPH and could take the bike up to about 85 MPH (I did not like to run for any length of time at that speed as it felt like it was really working the motor 75 felt ok). With that tall gearing the bike was worthless off road. The only real problem I had to solve was to make a custom change guide for the dirt setup as that large rear sprocket and small front really changed the chain angle. I bought a adjustable one and ended up customizing it.

Having been there and done that this is my two cents. If you can only afford one bike and need to ride on the street a extra set of rims with street tires is the only way to go. You can have the best of both worlds and should be able to change back and forth in 15 mins or less with pratice.

Where I am now in life (not living on the edge paycheck to paycheck) If I were to start street riding again (I have ben informed by the BOSS jack we all know who that is, that my street riding days are over, way to many close calls) I would buy another bike for what every type of street riding I would be doing.

Front sprockets are cheap and you could buy a couple of sizes to just try out before jumping in with both feet so to speak. If you do get an extra set of wheels you will need to buy a top quality chain, do not skimp on money here, you will need to make the lenght to fit both gearing setups. On my bike I was at each exstream end of adjustment and had to have the chain at one exact length to work with both setups.


Sorry for taking over changing this thread. If everyone has tires/sprocket issues questions maybe we should start a thread for that?

My input on this tire isssue is this Tire pressure and Front end weight. The more weight that is on the front tire equals more problems in gravel/pebbles. My XR650L was very scary in certain types of gravel because it was so front end heavy. I love the Dunlop D606 tires and am almost to the point of taking off my almost NEW tires om my KTM because they do not handle as well as the D606. With that said my new KTM is way faster and much more stable in the loose stuff than my 650. I am no expert but I have a very health respect those roads that have that loose gravel/pebbles and slow down. I run very low tire pressure and run heavy duty tubes and have not had any flats for a very long time.


Last edited by Inconceivable on 5/29/2011, 6:03 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
Fast_Ed

avatar

Posts : 60
Join date : 2011-05-10
Age : 49
Bike : 2007 KLR650

PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   5/29/2011, 5:57 am

Sorry for the hijacking ad well folks. Just trying to get edumacated, since it has been so long for me. And I don't plan on making ling road trips on this thing. Just back and forth to Olympia. As well as capital forest.
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Are wider tires better for gravel?   

Back to top Go down
 
Are wider tires better for gravel?
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
PNWDS - PNWDualSport :: Main :: General Bike Discussion-
Jump to: