Gravel Trouble - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 41 Old 06-29-2013, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Lac La Biche Alberta Canada
Posts: 3,205
Gravel Trouble

Hi Everyone!
Went for a long gravel road ride today. I am having real problems with the front tire skidding around on the gravel. The gravel is about 2 in deep recently graded. Tire tracks from cars were the worst. My front tire wouldn't climb out of 1/2 inch deep tire tracks. Very disconcerting skidding the front tire along a shallow rut like that at 50mph. Very difficult to controll the bike too.
Tried different tire pressures from 10 to 35 psi with little change. Scaled the bike on the way home 265 front 530 rear with me on the bike. I have a Pirelli MT21 on the front and a Mefo Explorer on the rear. Things were a little better standing, but not much.
Looking for constructive input!
Regards....Justjeff

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Last edited by justjeff; 06-29-2013 at 10:41 PM.
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post #2 of 41 Old 06-30-2013, 12:07 AM
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2" deep, recently-graded gravel with tire tracks from cars? That's a tough surface to ride on comfortably, man. I doubt there's really much you can do to make it more pleasant besides just waiting for it to pack back down after it gets some vehicle traffic. When I was a kid I thought road graders were cool. Now I don't care much for them because they mess up my roads!



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post #3 of 41 Old 06-30-2013, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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I am riding on the same roads I did last year, same gravel. Can't figure what changed. I was comfortable at 50mph on this stuff then. I will pull the MT21 off in the morn and put the Mefo on the front and see if there is any difference.
Crap thing about the gravel, they grade the sides up onto the middle so the loose gravel is on top of the hardpack in the driving lane. Like riding on marbles on top of concrete!
Regards....justjeff

It's not a Tractor....It's a LOCOMOTIVE!! Chugga Chugga
Woooo WOOOOO!!!!!

Last edited by justjeff; 06-30-2013 at 12:25 AM.
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post #4 of 41 Old 06-30-2013, 12:31 AM
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I don't know, man. Maybe the tire swap will make a difference. Are those the tires you had last year?



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post #5 of 41 Old 06-30-2013, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah. I had the Mefo's on for about 5000k. The rear developed a defect and while waiting for a warranty replacement I bought and installed the MT21's. That was way late in the year I don't remember any tires on the bike being this squirrley though. Maybe it's not the tires. I was happy how well it handled on gravel last year.
Regards....justjeff

It's not a Tractor....It's a LOCOMOTIVE!! Chugga Chugga
Woooo WOOOOO!!!!!
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post #6 of 41 Old 06-30-2013, 02:55 AM
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i would think an agressive tread with little to no wear is your best option for that stuff i know when the tires start ging bald gravel is like marbles bad. the front washing out is going to happen with fluffed up stuff if it's deep enough regardless of tread. i know this from all the blowsand down here crap piles up to a foot or more in some places. hard as hell to get through that stuff.

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post #7 of 41 Old 06-30-2013, 05:18 AM
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Sounds like your technique is good....speed, gas on, weight rearward. Agree with Planalp and Scrapper but will add the following if you have not already done so.

1) Check the steering head bearings for looseness / binding / tight spots. (free).
2) A fork brace may help. (semi-cheap).
3) Steering stabilizer. (expensive). I've never actually seen one on a KLR.

Is your bike loaded the same as the last time you rode on this?

When you say "Like riding on marbles on top of concrete" I know what you mean. The old stinkter gets as tight as you wish the bike was.

Gray-haired riders don’t get that way from pure luck.

Unknown
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post #8 of 41 Old 06-30-2013, 08:33 AM
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You'll find that here and it sucks - loose gravel on hard pack. MT21 front tire is an excellent tire, so it's not that. Is it possible you're just out of practice? That happens to me.

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post #9 of 41 Old 06-30-2013, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies Guys!
I thought it was being out of practice at the beginning of the year, now I am beginning to think I never knew in the first place!!
I just can't get my head around the front tire skidding along rather than climbing out of a 1/2 inch deep tire track. Went about 50 feet on one memorable skid at speed with the bars turned about 5 degrees while going straight. It isn't like tire track in loose gravel has rigid sides like a dry mud rut. I am sure we have all gotten trapped in those!
Will check steering head bearings today, bike has 10000k on, don't hurt to check!
Regards....justjeff

It's not a Tractor....It's a LOCOMOTIVE!! Chugga Chugga
Woooo WOOOOO!!!!!
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post #10 of 41 Old 06-30-2013, 10:26 AM
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As far as I am concerned they don't make a tire to handle new gravel over hardpack. It is an ass pucker situation no matter what you are running.... I just try to stay in the shallowest groove.
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