The problem with gravel is that, unlike most paves surfaces, it's all different. Even a surface you're familiar with can change from week to week depending on rain, 4-wheeled vehicle traffic, etc. I ride down some roads where the composition changes every 1/4-mile or so. Most high-traffic gravel roads around here are covered with 1" rock that's somewhat "round." Some of the seldom-used roads get a gravel dump that's more in the 2-3" size and it's pretty sharp and jagged. Some are deep and some are pretty much like pavement with a light scattering of small rocks on top. Some look fine, but when you start down them after a rain, you find out the gravel isn't that deep after all and the next thing you know you start sliding in the muck, packing the area at the top of the swingarm full of a concrete-like amalgam of clay and large rocks.
I think a large part of the feeling folks get riding the KLR on gravel is just because it's so tall and you're sitting up so high. The somewhat underwhelming factory suspension setup probably doesn't help matters, either.
This time of year around here, they're "maintaining" the roads with graders, dragging all kids of sharp sticks, larger rocks, clumps of mud, weeds and other debris up off the "shoulder" and scraping it back up onto the road. Rides this time of year can be interesting. Riding on them at night is even more interesting because it's much harder to "read" the surface.
Add to these variables the fact that we all run different types and brands of tires and it's pretty much impossible to reach a consensus on how best to deal with riding on gravel roads. I don't think you can go wrong with the opinions of: keep your speed up in a straight line, look further ahead down the road, slow down on the curves and let the front end do its thing.
Another theory with perhaps no credence to it at all. With every other dualsport motorcycle I've ridden, the dash/vestigial "windshield" turned when the bars did. On a GenII KLR, it took me a long time to get used to the sensation of the front end/handlebars moving while the dash and fairings didn't. Just me, perhaps.......
No matter how crazy or loose the surface was, I have never seen anybody lose control of a motorcycle and dump it going in a straight line down a gravel road. Now curves, that's another story.......
Last edited by planalp; 10-24-2012 at 12:35 PM.