Rampart Range on KLR... long but funny - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:12 AM
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Hellbilly Hellbilly is offline
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Default Rampart Range on KLR... long but funny

Okay folks. I am a very inexperienced off road rider and yesterday I managed to prove how inexperienced I am.

Woke up and decided to take a ride out to Rampart Range to see what all the hoopla is about. On the way there I followed 5 BMWs (2 800's and 3 1200s), so I figured I must be heading in the right direction, and I also figured that I could follow these DS guys as they have the same type of bike (kinda) and they would know where to ride. However, when we get to Rampart Range Road, they keep going.

I turned off on the road which became a dirt road after about half a mile. The place is packed with trailered dirt bikes and ATVs, but strangely I'm the only DS machine along the access road... (first warning).

Follow the road along for a couple miles looking for a Green (Easiest) Trail and finally pull over to one that looks promising. I think it was Trail 686, not sure. First thing I notice is 4 pickups with motocross guys all over the place. I ride past them and go through the gates to the trail. As soon as I turn the corner inside the trail I come to a dead stop. It appears from my perch that the trail goes STRAIGHT downhill!! Of course it doesn't but sure seems that way to me. No problem, back out and go somewhere else. Can't. Trail already too steep and no place to turn around. Let brake off and figure I'm stuck going down the trail and go for it. I let the bike roll 5 feet, PANIC, hit the front brake, front end starts to wash out, try to hit the back brake but can't find it with my foot. PANIC! Roll about 5 more feet and find the rear brake and stop. BACKUP! CAN'T! CRAP!

Sit there and think for a second. "What are you going to do?" DON'T HAVE A CLUE! Go for it. I manage to SLIDE the rear wheel all the way down the hill into what looks like sand and pea gravel that's very loose and slippery. Look for a place to turn around and get out of here. No way. Trail is only about handlebar wide so I'm forced to continue. I ride a couple miles through very loose crap, front end keep washing out and tire is sinking into the stuff. No place to bail if I get into trouble. I'm screaming along at 3 miles an hour.

There's a BIG FRIGGIN ROCK in the middle of the trail! Too bad, keep going. Ride up onto the rock to find that it's about a 1 foot drop back to the trail on the other side of the rock. CRAP!. Front wheel off the rock, sinks into the sand, back wheel powers the bike forward, back end catches air, front end stops, back wheel falls back onto rock under power, bike jumps off of rock and stops dead in the loose stuff, engine stalls. CRAP!

Go another mile and find that the trail splits into 2 new trails. COOL! Trails are Blue, "More Difficult". CRAP! Turn around. What about the ROCK?! Don't know.

Slowly power back up the trail. Loose stuff, I stall the engine twice. There's that rock. Stop. Think. "Who came along and put the little lane around the rock??!! CRAP! Go around the rock.

Back up the trail a tree branch snags my goggle strap and tries to decapitate me. Stop. Fix goggles and helmet. Curse out loud at tree.

Get to bottom of the original hill. Stop. Wishing I could crap a Cub Scout to tell me how to get out of this mess. On the power and go for it. Half way up the hill the rear tire breaks loose. Bike stops, rear wheel spinning, back off the throttle, bike stalls. CRAP! Restart bike, let out clutch, back end "swimming" but manages to find a way to power me forward. Back wheel catches and launches the front tire off the ground. Let off throttle, stop, stall engine, bike starts backward down the hill. SHIT! PANIC! Hit starter, bike starts, nail throttle and let clutch out, rear wheel spins, front end stays on the ground and slingshot's me up the hill.

I made it. Might have a heart attack. Motocross guys are laughing. Tell me my bike is too heavy for that trail. I say "No shit."

Get back on access road, ride home to Parker, get VTX out of garage and ride on PAVEMENT the rest of the day.
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:21 AM
TheWanderer TheWanderer is offline
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Tell you what... sounds like you did quite well for being an off road newb to keep the bike up in so many challenging situations. ATV parks may label their trail difficulty, but it's based on what dirt bikes with knobby tires can do, not what a DS can do. But you'd be surprised with some experience what the KLR can do. Of course, experience won't help a KLR move any better when the trail is sand or pea gravel either.
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by TheWanderer View Post
Tell you what... sounds like you did quite well for being an off road newb to keep the bike up in so many challenging situations. ATV parks may label their trail difficulty, but it's based on what dirt bikes with knobby tires can do, not what a DS can do. But you'd be surprised with some experience what the KLR can do. Of course, experience won't help a KLR move any better when the trail is sand or pea gravel either.
Thanks. It was a mental challenge most of the time. I was worried I'd be leaving the bike in the forest and walking out looking for someone who knew what they were doing to go get it out for me!
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Old 05-30-2010, 07:54 PM
johnk8080 johnk8080 is offline
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Went to an off road park in central Texas that had many of those challenges and it was my first real time off road on the KLR. I was impressed with the power and could climb any of the hills. It did get skitzy many times but managed to never lay the bike down. Practice just comes with each time you ride, weather on road or off, I seem to learn something new every time.
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:36 PM
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Great story man.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:10 PM
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Hellbilly you crack me up, I spent a day at Rampart a few weeks ago. Luckily I managed to miss that route. How about we meet up and ride sometime soon? You doing the RTE to Dillon this weekend? We could plan a ride..I really need to find someone to ride with, getting into deeper stuff I could sure use someone to laugh at me, sounds like you could as well..
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:25 PM
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Hellbilly you crack me up, I spent a day at Rampart a few weeks ago. Luckily I managed to miss that route. How about we meet up and ride sometime soon? You doing the RTE to Dillon this weekend? We could plan a ride..I really need to find someone to ride with, getting into deeper stuff I could sure use someone to laugh at me, sounds like you could as well..
Sounds like a plan NoBull. I am going to try to get to the Dillon RTE. It all depends on work. You ST guys will allow a VTX rider in the mix, yeah? Not sure I did the right thing getting rid of the ST for the VTX. It's a great bike but not what I thought it would be. Who knows, I may have another one if this doesn't work out.

I must tell you, I'm just getting my dirt legs under me. Almost no experience and I lose a lot of confidence when the front end starts dancing around in the sand. That, along with a severe crosswind, is what broke my knee in April. After that I seem to be pretty gun shy off road.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:30 PM
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Perfect, you should show. I too am just getting my offroad legs back. I havent ridden much since highschool, offroad anyway. Try Dakan Rd off Hwy 105, keep going left at intersections and you will end up at Rampart Range Rd. I have been going to The Yankee Hill area just west of Central City, little more Dual sport friendly. Im hoping the road to Kingston pass is clear of snow by this weekend, I really want to see the top.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:08 PM
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Sounds like you did great. That's why they call it an adventure.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:23 PM
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Sounds like you did great. That's why they call it an adventure.
But I think I used up more heartbeats than I was allotted for that particular day!
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