How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 16 Old Jul 4th, 2015, 8:04 pm Thread Starter
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How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

I have been held back from riding 2-up to our church in the woods in Okeechobee Florida because the entrance road is a 1/4 mile of primarily packed gravel with the risk of hitting some soft sandy patches. Once past this obstacle, fortunately there is a nice cement pad to park on. I do not want to let the risk of laying her down keep us from enjoying the ride. Are there any tips, strategies, or advice?
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post #2 of 16 Old Jul 4th, 2015, 8:58 pm
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

I've lived a half mile back a dirt road (.2 flat, .3 steep) for 35 years of continuous bike ownership. Varies depending on season, when the frost comes out it is muddy, then it turns damp hard packed (very nice), then it turns dry hard packed and the surface loosens with a gravel topping. Maybe it is my dirt background but you just ride it, if you're hesitant ride it solo several times to gain confidence.

Deep sand, avoid it if you can but otherwise, apply power to at least maintain or increase speed. Don't let off the throttle, don't keep the throttle constant, don't brake. There is tremendous extra drag and all of the above will slow you down and shift weight to the front wheel making it plow, the wheel will turn and down you go. Increasing throttle and blasting thru it will lighten the front wheel and allow it to float. The wheel might wobble a little, just let it, guide it more than steer it.

This is with my VTX luggage loaded 2 up on Daytona, bike alone is about 800 lb with similar size ME880's. The beach drive itself isn't bad but you may know getting out on it is deep soft plain beach sand. You have to hit it going fast enough, keep the throttle on, or you're just going to sink, or fall, and end up getting stuck.

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post #3 of 16 Old Jul 4th, 2015, 10:41 pm
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

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Originally Posted by 2003BMWK1200LT View Post
I have been held back from riding 2-up to our church in the woods in Okeechobee Florida because the entrance road is a 1/4 mile of primarily packed gravel with the risk of hitting some soft sandy patches. Once past this obstacle, fortunately there is a nice cement pad to park on. I do not want to let the risk of laying her down keep us from enjoying the ride. Are there any tips, strategies, or advice?
I am not saying the LT is a dirt bike, but it will go a lot of places if the rider is capable. If you have prior dirt bike experience, you should have no problem. If not, I would suggest getting a little off-road experience to give you confidence.

I rode my LT on the 8 km dirt, gravel and silt road to Meat Cove, NS. If your church driveway is worse than this road, then maybe you need a GS.
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post #4 of 16 Old Jul 4th, 2015, 11:04 pm
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

Since its such a short distance, and from experience.... let your pillion get off the bike BEFORE you start riding on the dirt/gravel section... just tell her/him that walking is good exercise and its safer for them just in the unlikely event something happens.
You'll probably only ride about walking pace anyway if there's sandy patches.

In the blink of an eyelid you can lose the lot if the front digs into a soft spot....
my wife got a broken ankle while we were slowly trying to get up a short dirt track to a rest stop, although I was towing a trailer that exacerbated the issue. Track "looked" OK at the time.... and it wasn't the first dirt road we'd done together. Bike suddenly fish-tailed and flipped on its side.

Better safe than sorry.
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post #5 of 16 Old Jul 5th, 2015, 12:55 am Thread Starter
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Wow! I am always so amazed at the time you all spend to write back and help. I am thankful for any other tips. ?
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post #6 of 16 Old Jul 5th, 2015, 1:03 am
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

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Wow! I am always so amazed at the time you all spend to write back and help. I am thankful for any other tips. ?
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post #7 of 16 Old Jul 5th, 2015, 7:45 am
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

Enduro is right on. I live on a dirt road and it is close to a mile from paved. My roads conditions vary with the seasons as well. Right now the road has been recently graded and a chemical applied by the County to keep the dust down. I can ride the road at 40mph with no trouble. Other times of the year it can get pretty bad. The LT powers through no problem. Whatever the conditions I like to keep the speed at or above 20mph. The bike is way more stable. I am careful not to add power too quikly or turn too sharply. The bike does wander a bit through loose gravel and sand but I just stay on the throttle and look straight ahead to where I want to go. I do not over correct and I just let the bike do its thing. It is a little trickier 2 up but the same principles apply. I like the idea of you doing it solo several times. Go out there some evening and ride it 10 times alone and get your confidence and comfort level up.
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post #8 of 16 Old Jul 5th, 2015, 8:04 am Thread Starter
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Sweet! I will power through it and keep eyes on where to go.
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post #9 of 16 Old Jul 5th, 2015, 2:45 pm
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

Keep a loose grip on the bars as well.

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post #10 of 16 Old Jul 5th, 2015, 4:41 pm Thread Starter
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Update: I was successful at making the trip down the gravel and sand road. Thanks to all of you who gave the great advice. I made sure to hit solid grass or gravel at turns when possible. As the front wheel began to walk side to side, I kept a steady throttle, loose grip and kept it in first gear so as to be able to torque out of any bogging. It was a great feeling to make it safely to the cement river of relief and step off the black beauty with a sense of accomplishment. I stayed 2up and am blessed to have a woman so confident in my riding skills. Ok so it's not like I just won the Moto GP, lol....but it is another advance in skills to enhance the thrill of riding. Thanks again, John
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post #11 of 16 Old Jul 5th, 2015, 7:37 pm
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

Have you ever heard the term BEACHED WHALE, well that is what your LT will be if you ride it into "soft" sand. Packed dirt and gravel, wet sandy roads probably OK, but soft sand or even deep loose gravel will eat her up, they are just to heavy. Only saying this after my 15 years of riding enduros thru Jerseys scrub pine forests with four foot deep sand whoop-t-dos and sandy fire trails on a light motorcycle that was intended for such a challenge. Keeping the bike upright will be the hardest thing you will ever do. I have ridden my LT on several dirt and gravel roads, not by choice, but I avoid sand at all costs. Also just for the reason of poor footing and I can't imagine trying to lift an LT in sand and then trying to get her moving. Take the cage to church.

Good Luck

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post #12 of 16 Old Jul 6th, 2015, 12:02 am
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

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Have you ever heard the term BEACHED WHALE, well that is what your LT will be if you ride it into "soft" sand. Packed dirt and gravel, wet sandy roads probably OK, but soft sand or even deep loose gravel will eat her up, they are just to heavy. Only saying this after my 15 years of riding enduros thru Jerseys scrub pine forests with four foot deep sand whoop-t-dos and sandy fire trails on a light motorcycle that was intended for such a challenge. Keeping the bike upright will be the hardest thing you will ever do. I have ridden my LT on several dirt and gravel roads, not by choice, but I avoid sand at all costs. Also just for the reason of poor footing and I can't imagine trying to lift an LT in sand and then trying to get her moving. Take the cage to church.

Good Luck

Amen! Brother

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post #13 of 16 Old Jul 6th, 2015, 9:52 pm
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

My wife and I just got back from a long Colorado trip. Unbeknownst to us, the last 3.9 miles up the base of a mountain on the type of road you describe... Except it was raining and had been for a while. The "road" was slick and besides my wife on board, we were pulling a trailer.

Best advice I have is SLOW. At one point I thought we were going off the road as we continued to slide around a corner - in 1st gear at less than 5mph. Fortunately when we caught the grass I got enough traction to get it all back on the "road." I don't recall how many times I thought we were going down.

Next advice, stay on the inside of every corner. This normally gives you enough room to make a turn as slowly as possible without running out of road.

On the way down, use the same advice. It took us 15 minutes to go down the mountain when it was dry. Much longer going up.

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post #14 of 16 Old Jul 7th, 2015, 11:10 am
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

look down the road. and when in doubt-give it the gas!
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post #15 of 16 Old Jul 7th, 2015, 5:13 pm
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

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look down the road. and when in doubt-give it the gas!
Your right, unfortunately, 90% of the riders will go into panic mode and do the opposite, which is put on the brake and down you go. There is nothing like riding dirt bikes to get you use to that squirrelly feel and learn that power and body english finesse is the key to keeping you upright when shit is getting ready to hit the fan.

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post #16 of 16 Old Jul 7th, 2015, 9:51 pm
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Re: How to ride my LT a 1/4 mile on sandy gravel?

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Your right, unfortunately, 90% of the riders will go into panic mode and do the opposite, which is put on the brake and down you go. There is nothing like riding dirt bikes to get you use to that squirrelly feel and learn that power and body english finesse is the key to keeping you upright when shit is getting ready to hit the fan.
Yes, I am very glad I learned to ride on dirt. However, there is one bad habit you learn from dirt riding. I discovered that several years ago while riding my Voyager XII in a light rain on a paved road that had been crossed by construction equipment carrying dirt with high clay content. I was traveling maybe 30-35 MPH and hit that wet clay and it was almost like ice. The back end slowly began to slide towards the shoulder due to the crown in the road. Instinctively I dropped my left foot just like on a dirt bike. My foot contacted the road just as I cleared the patch of dirt and got back to wet pavement. Bad idea with rubber soles!

I kept the bike up, but nearly tore my leg off. Nothing broke, but I was sore the next day from my foot to my shoulder. Unless you have steel soles on your boots, don't drop your foot on pavement. Other than that, most dirt techniques work well on the street. Standing on the pegs, using throttle rather than brakes, etc.

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