Sand and the XR650L

57 replies to this topic
  • Brad Broadus

Posted March 15, 2007 - 08:54 AM


Get yer butt out over that rear fender and carry as much speed as possible.

  • Hondathumper450

Posted March 15, 2007 - 11:40 AM


I have rode in the sand dunes all my life especially when I was younger. Everything from an XR75, three wheelers, 125 and 250 2 smokes, quads and big 4 strokes. The CFR450R I had before the 650 cut through the sand like a knife and was a blast to ride. The XR650R I now have you can definatly feel the weight but still posed no problem but then all I use to ride in was the sand. I just sit back and punch it! Let the front float above a bit and do not fight the front steering. It's easy for me but as I said I grew up running in the deep sand with my bikes.

  • Razta

Posted October 16, 2007 - 12:15 PM


Just adding to this old thread.
I live in Yuma and have been practicing in the loose sand. I have a 2006 XR650L with stock gearing, airbox/desmog/rejeted mods, running pirelli MT21 in the back.
I find its just practice. I used to be very uncomfortable in the sand. Now I live where there is nothing but loose sand. I find the sweet spot in the sand is just getting into second gear. Once there the bike just glides on top. Its a wierd sensation when you sit on top of a sandy hill stopped and you have to gas it to get down to the bottom.
I did try the other day to take the air out the rear to lower than my cheapo gauge could read and it seemed to be a bit better. Got on top of the sand quicker.

I think im ready to go to Glamis. I am looking for a paddle tire right now.

  • natey

Posted October 16, 2010 - 03:33 PM


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

While I agree it's not the bike as much as the rider, I also have a friend with a KLR and there is a significant difference in the rake of the forks. Where the XRL is steep angle forks, the KLR looks more like a chopper by comparison. For deep sand riding where the XRL's steep forks are pounding the front wheel into the sand, The KLR's forks have an inclination to ride atop the sand regardless of the pressure.

My friend also rides those "shitty Kenda tires" and they do sqiush and squirm on a hard surface and this can be disconcerting until you become used to it; however these hard surface deficits become assets in the deep sand.

not to discredit that particular KLR rider, but I believe the front geometry and the kendas served him well in the deep sand, and that if bikes were switched he may not be able to keep up so easily.

  • billder99

Posted November 29, 2010 - 06:30 PM


This is a great series for deep sand, and I have been having a world of trouble trying to deal with it on my Piggie. I laughed out loud and a couple of posts here, EXACTLY my experience... lots of drops, lots of lifting, fooking bike is HEAVY in deep sand. Now I can't wait to get out and try some of the techniques described here. Also going for a fork brake... sounds like the shnizzit.

EDIT: For you sand and suspension wizards... please take a look at Post #28 of this thread in regard to a binding problem with a fork brace. Any tips on how to resolve his issue? Any recommendation on best fork brace for BRP in deep sand?

  • Chorbelt

Posted November 29, 2010 - 07:04 PM


Just adding to this old thread.....
I find the sweet spot in the sand is just getting into second gear. Once there the bike just glides on top. Its a wierd sensation when you sit on top of a sandy hill stopped and you have to gas it to get down to the bottom.

Old thread is right - and then Natey digs it up three years later again:lol:

I ride dunes a fair amount with the quad guys, 1st is just way too low, I start in 2nd and keep it pinned. WFO, use your body, weight the pegs to turn. You're not gonna spin it on a dime, but you'll be able to carve some arcs pretty tight if you steer with the rear.

  • Captain Midnight

Posted November 29, 2010 - 11:36 PM


I ride the sand often and my XRL does great. I've done 87MPH on the flat.

  • akarob

Posted November 30, 2010 - 06:03 AM


With the right set up, sand is fun. A nice wide front tire is a huge help. When you find a good knobby for the sand, you'll know it.

I tend to get bounced off a lot in sandy woops though. It takes a good set up and lots of practice.

  • DerHossMeister

Posted November 30, 2010 - 06:04 AM


Riding sand is equal parts suspension/tires/speed.

Suspension needs to be set for your weight and have your sag properly set as well. Without doing this, your bike will be out of balance (front to rear) and can cause major handling issues. Too much sag and your bike won't stear for crap because most of your weight is shifted to the rear (especially true when a heavy rider is riding a bike with stock suspension). If your too light for the bike's suspension, you won't have any sag, causing the front to become very erratic/twitchy and hard to control. really need to have the tires aired down to 10-15psi front and rear as a bare minimum. If possible, equip your bike with soft terrain tires as well.

Getting your tires and suspension properly setup will give you the confidence you need to be able to get the speed you need. You have to keep your speed up to keep from plowing into the sand, with speed you sail over the top better.

Just my .02

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  • Kyron

Posted November 30, 2010 - 06:30 AM


"shitty Kenda tires"

Naw, its the rider :thumbsup:

  • xr650lridecrf450race

Posted November 30, 2010 - 08:07 AM


The only way to get this pig through sand is to pin it and roll off the throttle a little to turn. But NEVER back completely off the gas.

  • danthman

Posted December 07, 2010 - 10:27 AM


i once had a kid ask how i ride in the sand. he just couldnt figure it out. i told him to put his weight back and just go. it worked. alot of people ride in the sand like they would ride in regular hard dirt. treat it like whoops, put your weight back and float...

  • WR TOM

Posted December 07, 2010 - 05:18 PM


For me it's tires on this bike. I just went from a Maxxis 110/100 Desert IT to a Dunlop 606 120/90. Big mistake:banghead: Night & day worse in sand:busted:

  • alrxl600

Posted December 07, 2010 - 08:23 PM


I've always had a Kenda TrakMaster on front and love it in everything including the sand. I switched to the 606 in back from the Cheng Shin but haven't got to try the sand yet (Saturday I will). I keep 14 psi front and 16 in the rear. I couldn't tell you what the suspension settings are though they feel fairly stiff. The heavy throttle and ass on the back fender has worked great for me too.

Edited by alrxl600, December 07, 2010 - 08:23 PM.

  • pwrpapa

Posted December 08, 2010 - 09:31 AM


Don't let off the throttle, you have to keep it hammered.

  • alrxl600

Posted December 11, 2010 - 10:27 PM


Just went out today and tried out the Dunlop 606 in lots of sandwashes around Sahauro Lake and it worked fine as long as I kept my weight back and the throttle cranked! It also was awesome in rock and other crap.

  • Captain Midnight

Posted December 12, 2010 - 12:13 AM


My XR650L has no problem in sand, it flys.

  • natey

Posted December 17, 2010 - 12:16 PM


EDIT: For you sand and suspension wizards... please take a look at Post #28 of this thread in regard to a binding problem with a fork brace. Any tips on how to resolve his issue? Any recommendation on best fork brace for BRP in deep sand?

I ran my fork brace too tight for a while and didn't realize that that was a problem, esp since I don't generally over crank bolts. I decided to change fork oil to see if I could get it to handle better on the road because it was prone to headshake on highspeed turns with irreg surfaces. I had the front end off the ground, fork caps off and I compressed the suspension to squeeze all the oil up and the forks stuck in the compressed position. I couldn't understand what was going on until I released the fork brace on the left and the forks sprung down so hard it scared the piss out of me.

When I re-ightened it up again, it once more stuck a little, so I had to back it off more. The solution is put teflon tape or locktight on the threads and don't tighten too much, then you needn't worry about it coming loose. Check before you put oil in it if you can because you will be more likely to feel stiction.

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