Sand and the XR650L


57 replies to this topic
  • rokklym

Posted December 06, 2005 - 04:49 PM

#21

Yeah, That tube is a tool carrier made out of 4" PVC pipe with caps on both ends. Works pretty slick but you gotta remind yourself to check them occasionally..it would suck to lose the tools! The reason I made it was twofold. First, I have the stock honda tool kit and I added a bunch of stuff to it, so its kinda heavy, so why not keep that weight low! Second is I added the pro-moto billet rack so I lost my tool bag.

My bike was loaded down with 5 days of camping equipment and was quite top heavy so once it would start to go, there was no saving it. It got old real quick trying to pick that thing up. I think I dumped it 3 times in 2 miles in those pics.

  • prairiedawg

Posted December 06, 2005 - 05:20 PM

#22

I've never owned an XR650L but I've had a few XR600's and they worked best in sand when pinned wide open. Get your weight back and stand as much as possible. Your front end should feel kind of light. That lets you know your doing it right. You don't really need brakes in the sand you just back off the throttle some and believe me you slowdown fast. Try some straight gullies to test out what I wrote, you'll be amazed at just how much going faster helps in this particular ground surface. pdawg :applause:

  • J_Daniels

Posted December 06, 2005 - 06:22 PM

#23

Running with very low air in the tires really isn't an option for the places I ride. I go from sand, to rocks and back.

I thought that might be the case. I do know the feeling you are describing, as I have run some mixed terrain as well. The 'R' bike I have has real stiff forks compared to the 'L' and it's still a big problem. Some bikes just don't "DO" the sand. Ever watch the Paris-to-Dakar race? Those guys are doing everything they can just to stay upright in the desert dunes. Most of it is the bike: weight and head angle can make it a crappy chore in the sand.

  • ztsd

Posted December 07, 2005 - 10:37 AM

#24

I do OK on straight sections. There I can gas it, keep my weight back, and let it float around. What's difficult are turns where there's a big berm of soft sand. I can't stand, because of the turn, and I can't really just blast around the berm the way I would on dirt or hard-pack, because the front wheel wants to plow in the sand.

I am interested in seeing what kind of difference a fork brace makes. I'm going to try the ones from rswracing.com. Running with very low air in the tires really isn't an option for the places I ride. I go from sand, to rocks and back.


I use to run the widest knobbies I could, that helped a lot. Also, why can’t you stand and turn? Experiment with turns on the straights while standing and get a feel for it... Experiment with rolling the bike under you from side to side.

It also helps to have the bars high enough to be able to stand comfortable without being bent over, which allows you to adjust your weight back and forth as well... I was able to get my head over the front axle and could also get my butt over the rear axle as conditions dictated.

Back in the old days, we pretty much rode standing up all the time... 3~4 inches of suspension travel. I don’t remember sitting down much except for sections where we could flat track.

We use to spend hours in this really huge sandpit. It was shaped like a big cone and we could ride the rim of the cone sideways and it felt like banking in an airplane. We found we could jump the bike as well as when we were on a level surface!

We’d also clime the bank vertically. At the top, there was a lip where the topsoil would stick out over the sand that had undercut it. The trick there was to wheelie the bike at the top and just barely ‘kiss’ the front tire off the bank with the throttle full open... Then let the rear wheel hit the lip and snap the throttle shut. On flat jumps this would cause the bike to land on the front wheel but on the pit, the bike would land flat on the top. Great fun... The pit was so steep, the minimum power to clime to the top was a 250 MX and we used this hill to compare and rate various bikes...

Tips for steep sand hills... If your NOT gonna make it, don’t wait till ya stop! With the throttle wide open, hit the clutch to get the RPM high then dump the clutch as the bike comes to a stop to spin the rear tire and ‘dig’ it in... Otherwise, the bike will stop then come down the hill backwards and there’s almost no way to save that...

When you get better, as soon as you know your not gonna make the hill and your still going fast enough with high enough RPM you step off with one foot, ‘take a dab’ and flick the bike around and ride back down without stopping... This is the best way, but you’ll probably ‘PAY’ to learn the technique...

When going down near vertical hills:

1) Always check the run out at the bottom otherwise it’s like running into a brick wall. If there is a good run out at the bottom, you can make it down hills that are even vertical at the top. If there’s a lip at the top, just wheelie off the top so you don’t high center the bike. If the lip is ‘crumbly’ enough, you can go off VERY slow and let the plate collapse the lip as you go but the safer and classier way is to wheelie off. If your back far enough, you can do a SLOW wheelie of any lip and the bike won’t loop even though you think it would. Just be ready for a really fast rotation as the rear wheel lands and don’t let it jerk the bars out of your hands...

2) Keep you’re butt well back over the rear tire to keep the front tire as light as possible so you can steer.

I didn’t do #1 above once and spoke at a much higher pitch for a week...

  • cheff

Posted December 07, 2005 - 04:34 PM

#25

Get a fork brace. It did wonders for my L, both on the road and on the dirt/sand. I ride sand all the time and have never had problems. It wondered a bit before the brace, but I never felt out of control. With the brace there is no wondering.

Also (on the L anyway) keep your weight back and when it wanders give it some gas.

  • sgifford

Posted December 26, 2005 - 02:44 PM

#26

I got the brace from rswracing.com installed today. It looks nice. Shipping was very fast. I plan to go riding later in the week in an area that has a lot of sand. I'll report feedback after that.

Even just riding around the street and my backyard track, it feels like a lot of flex is gone from the front-end. Putting the front wheel against a tree and twisting it right or left feels very different. Before there was a great deal of flex. Now it just feels 'solid'.

I'm real interested to try it out in the sand and on the trails

  • jamesp

Posted December 26, 2005 - 04:15 PM

#27

It's not all weight, but weight distribution and weight shift play a part. A big guy on a lighter bike can move his weight further back while braking into a turn and shift it forward at the right time. The problem with the L is that it carries most of its extra 100 lbs up front (tank, wings, instrument/ignition, headlight, horn, big engine/starter, smog stuff, handlebar switches) and to ride in sand, the front needs to be light. In the turns, all of that extra weight is pushing on the same skinny front wheel/tire that 100lb lighter bikes with better weight distribution are using. I have fallen on my face many times trying to ride a 650l the same way I would an XR400 or CR250...front plows or washes out.

It's not exactly a powerful bike for its size either, and that makes staying on top of the sand harder.

I just re-read the thread and noticed XR650L Dave mentioned weight distribution also. I agree with him.

  • sgifford

Posted December 26, 2005 - 09:41 PM

#28

I noticed after riding a bit that the front suspension was very harsh. Getting off the biking and pushing down on the front forks, I could tell that they were binding. When I loosened the allen bolts that clamp the braces to the sliders, then the fork up/down movement returned to normal.

Any of you with rswracing braces (or any others) experience this? Is the placement of the braces on the sliders critical? I have them about 1" down from the top of the sliders.

  • whitcher

Posted December 26, 2005 - 10:10 PM

#29

Let's face it, the 650L sucks in sand. To heavy in the wrong places. A shame really because it does well everywhere else other than sand considering size and weight. I rode mine on really challenging single track and kept up with an XR 400. Damp sand was OK, but I couldn't stay on the bike in loose sand.

Let's face it, the 650L is a compromise, better suited to fire roads and hard pack. maybe a mild trail or two.

Someone needs to make a serious dual sport trail machine. I have a DRZs with all the stuff and it has serious shortcomings too, like no torque and excess weight.

I'm going back to green sticker riding. Forget this dual sport stuff.

  • FZ1426

Posted December 27, 2005 - 02:01 PM

#30

Let's face it, the 650L sucks in sand. To heavy in the wrong places. A shame really because it does well everywhere else other than sand considering size and weight. I rode mine on really challenging single track and kept up with an XR 400. Damp sand was OK, but I couldn't stay on the bike in loose sand.

Let's face it, the 650L is a compromise, better suited to fire roads and hard pack. maybe a mild trail or two.

Someone needs to make a serious dual sport trail machine. I have a DRZs with all the stuff and it has serious shortcomings too, like no torque and excess weight.

I'm going back to green sticker riding. Forget this dual sport stuff.

Been there done that. :applause: Now my idea of "Dual Sport" means one bike for Supermoto, and one for the dirt. :bonk:

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  • xbreaka

Posted February 22, 2006 - 11:33 AM

#31

heh, i ride in pretty deep sand all the time, probably about a foot deep soft cape cod, sand my pig even with stock tires and no steering damper, or fork braces absolutely kicked ass, sure my rear end was going all over the place and non of my buddys wanted to ride near me, but i was doing like 40ish over the deep sandy whoops, and wasted my friends on the sandy hillclimbs. Daves method really does help, trying to go straight in sand just doesnt work with the pig :thumbsup:

  • dukeryder

Posted November 01, 2006 - 05:03 PM

#32

I did some sand riding last weekend.

Here's the driveway to the campground (This GS came out and rode some DEEP sand despite barely making it in the driveway)
Posted Image

Here's one of the "Trails"
Posted Image
Posted Image
Here's an idea of how deep the sand was
Posted Image
Notice the Kickstand is UP on the EXC!!! :mad: (and this wasn't even close to the deepest sand we rode!)

I rode my L on Friday and Saturday about 25miles each day in the Ocala National Forest with some other bikes, the fastest guys I rode with were on an 83 XR500 :mad: Holy Shit could that guy ride fast on that old bike and another guy on a 06 KLX250S were really hauling in the sand.

I was in a middle group with other heavy Dual Sports behind the plated dirt bakes and infront of the real heavy pigs like the GSs and KTM 950s. But I found as long as I kept the speed over 25mph in the deep stuff with my ass over the rear fender and feet on the pegs the bike did fine. Slow down and it was all over. I think I dumped it about 3 or 4 times; the sand was so soft it didn't hurt going down.

I was running the MT-21 Pirrelli tires @ 19psi.

  • adam574

Posted November 01, 2006 - 06:38 PM

#33

wow 19psi.... i never ride anything over 14. obviously for the street i up it way more. pretty much you just can't lay of the gas in the sand and you will be all set. you also just gotta get used to the bike wallowing around a bit.


if i am riding soft sand with no rock i usually run 11psi. but with most trail rides a rock will come up somewhere so to be safe i just always run 14. however at southwick i will run 11.

  • wheelnut46

Posted November 01, 2006 - 07:14 PM

#34

Is this what your talking about?
http://rokklym.smugm.../30271015-L.jpg

http://rokklym.smugm.../30271016-L.jpg

http://rokklym.smugm.../30271018-L.jpg


I don't envy you having to pick that thing up. That's the only part of off roading that I don't like - picking up the pig.

  • dukeryder

Posted November 01, 2006 - 09:18 PM

#35

wow 19psi.... i never ride anything over 14. obviously for the street i up it way more. pretty much you just can't lay of the gas in the sand and you will be all set. you also just gotta get used to the bike wallowing around a bit.


if i am riding soft sand with no rock i usually run 11psi. but with most trail rides a rock will come up somewhere so to be safe i just always run 14. however at southwick i will run 11.


Whoa an L at the Southwick MX track!!! :mad:

I was probably runnin' the lowest PSI of our group of 30 bikes. The KLR I was hanging with on Sat was running over 30!!! We hit the pavement for a few miles from time to time at 60+mph so running real low would get scary real fast on the pavement.

  • adam574

Posted November 01, 2006 - 09:44 PM

#36

no no no no.... let me clear that right up. i never rhode an l at southwick. i have raced many bikes at the track just not the l. i was just giving a idea of what a low psi with a safe environment is. i wouldn't wish riding an l at southwick an anyone, especially a late moto in the race order.

  • squatpuke

Posted November 02, 2006 - 12:57 PM

#37

I noticed after riding a bit that the front suspension was very harsh. Getting off the biking and pushing down on the front forks, I could tell that they were binding. When I loosened the allen bolts that clamp the braces to the sliders, then the fork up/down movement returned to normal.

Any of you with rswracing braces (or any others) experience this? Is the placement of the braces on the sliders critical? I have them about 1" down from the top of the sliders.


bump.

  • nexrace

Posted November 02, 2006 - 05:46 PM

#38

.
.
.

Dan in the sand



.


I agree with the whole leaning back thing. The sand is tough on heavy bikes. But what do I know. I ride a crf450 w/a paddle. Thats like cheating right?
Here is a link of a friend of mine in Mexico w/me riding his 650L if it makes things better.

James in the sand on 650L



  • thumpin hard

Posted November 02, 2006 - 08:07 PM

#39

ok,now my 2 cents worth..lol. lightening up on the front is the key,so yes to a brace,but less air,weight back,and i added a lowering link and loosened up the rear shock and increased dampening in the forks to keep the front end from diving when it gets thicker suddenly..big difference! it still is hard work though for me..i am going to try about 7 psi next time.

  • dukeryder

Posted March 14, 2007 - 08:00 PM

#40

I just got back from a week of Sand Riding in Florida (mostly Ocala NF) and my L kicked some serious ass this time out. I re-sprung the bike since my last time out, dropped the tire pressures and I was screaming along with a 525EXC, XR600, CR250X, TE-610, and a bunch of other "Faster" bikes than my L.

There was a guy keeping up with 35psi in his KLR with shitty Kenda tires, it's not the bike it's the rider! I was lovin' my L this past week out there. I even topped out 5th gear on some of the fire roads :woot





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