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post #1 of 27 Old 07-12-2013, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Tire Pressure?

I have had my KLR for a number of years and enjoy riding it but it has mostly been around town and hasn't seen more than 100 miles in any single trip. A fellow coworker has an 04 and has used his in pretty much the same way. We decided we were going to remedy that and so next week we are taking our first trip. I live in Alaska and we have decided to ride the Denali Highway. Leave Fairbanks and head south down the Parks Highway to Cantwell. Turn east across the Denali Highway to Paxon and then north on the Richardson Highway to Delta Junction and back to Fairbanks. This is going to be approximately 430 miles. We are going to do this in a single day.(lots of sunlight) This brings me to my question. Approximately 100 miles of the 130 mile Denali Highway is unpaved. What kind of tire pressure do you guys think I should run that will be good for the pavement as well as the gravel on the Denali? I don't want to have to air down and then back up again. The Denali is gravel with the possibility of pot holes and rocks and wash board and wash outs and if it rains can be muddy and slick. Thanks for your help and experience.

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post #2 of 27 Old 07-12-2013, 12:49 PM
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I think it depends a lot on what kind of tires you have. They're all different in regards to what pressures work best for them under different conditions. That being said, in my experience, airing down your tires gains you nothing on a gravel road (and could instead make things worse) and won't help you much if it's truly muddy and slick.

If you're not interested in taking along a small compressor to see if any experimental changes in tire pressure are more suited to changing conditions, I'd just keep them at whatever you usually use on the pavement.

Based on your post, I would assume you haven't logged much time riding on gravel? If that's the case, I would seek some out and get some practice beforehand. It just takes some getting used to.

As noted, it depends on what tires you're going to be riding on. If you could let folks know what you've got, maybe somebody with more first-hand experience with those particular tires could provide more useful information.

Sounds like a great trip! Hope it goes good for you guys.



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post #3 of 27 Old 07-12-2013, 01:01 PM
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Sorry to disagree with your comment that airing down doesn't make any difference. I find it makes a huge difference, sorry. If you run your tires at tarmac pressures when you hit the gravel the tires won't absorb the gravel as they could if you air down even 5 pounds. Your tiresd will simply bounce off each piece of gravel like ball bearings making for a white knuckle ride from what I have found.

I do agree it also depends upon what tires you run normally and at what pressure. It's the pressure you run that will make or break the experience imho. for reasons stated above.

I run as my street type tires Kenda 761's at 32 psi front and rear. If I know I will ride for miles on gravel I will drop that pressure down as low as 20 to help with the ball bearing feeling. BUT, I always air them bck up as low tire pressure on tarmac will destroy your tires sap. It's called scalping and it happens fast on the front tire. Once it starts it is al but impossible to stop.

Just take a small air compressor and do the airing down and up thang.....it's best imho. It takes a few minutes and you will be happier.

I ran the Dempster with 15 psi and had zero issues but that was a bit too low.

My gravel or off road tire is the Kenda 270......same rules apply for that tire in my experience when riding long distances on gravel.
For street long life I run 30 ront and 24 rear for these tires. I got across Canada on them using these pressures fully loaded last year. I installed them in Dawson City , rode the Dempster, down to Victoria, back up to Edmonton and then home to Toronto area and still has 1/8" tire left on the rear. The front was much better.

To each their own.....try it you may like it.

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post #4 of 27 Old 07-12-2013, 01:18 PM
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If I had to air up and down every time I transitioned from gravel to pavement and back to gravel, I'd just ditch the KLR and get a Harley. Riding on gravel is 95% psychological.



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post #5 of 27 Old 07-12-2013, 01:25 PM
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IM FROM Alaska AS WELL AND DONE THE SAME TRIP LAST YEAR DEPENDING ON THE CONDITION OF THE ROADS ACROSS DENALI HIGHWAY IF ITS WET AND ROCKY ID RIDE AROUND 32 REAR AND 22-25 FRONT IT CAN GET SLICK AND ROCKY IN SECTIONS ... ON DENALI SIDE IT CAN GET SOFT WITH LOOSE SAND AND GRAVEL .. I WAS JUST BEHIND A GRADER LAST TIME AND LEFT HUGE RUTS AND WICKED SAND BERMS ..WE HAD A BLAST ..


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post #6 of 27 Old 07-12-2013, 01:37 PM
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Dang, Wayne, why are you YELLING?
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post #7 of 27 Old 07-12-2013, 02:01 PM
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I agree with airing down, especially if gravel is a new challenge. I am fortunate enough to have friends with small pumps.

If I was going to decide on ONE air level for the whole trip, I'd probably go with the 28/21 Kawi recommends.

Gravel is tricky stuff.




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post #8 of 27 Old 07-12-2013, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by planalp View Post
If I had to air up and down every time I transitioned from gravel to pavement and back to gravel, I'd just ditch the KLR and get a Harley. Riding on gravel is 95% psychological.
My experience is the same. If the road is as hard as a paved road, ride at paved pressures. The addition of scattered, loose gravel on a hard pack surface won't be helped by airing down. Depending on your suspension's capabilities, you may have to slow down from paved speeds

This road is like that, and the RT did just fine at 50mph, no airing down and no knobbies required. Isn't the Denali similar in construction, only wider?


If the road is loose with infirm gravel or with sand, then airing down helps. You can't run at paved speeds, but keep your speed up as much as possible.

T

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post #9 of 27 Old 07-12-2013, 02:08 PM
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I'm not sure we all define gravel the same way. Or I'm a coward. One of the two. Or both.




"In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV." R. Pirsig

PPMC #1.
Soon, we ride.

AKA JD Mader or you can call me "Dan" just not early for dinner.

Click my handle for a link to my homepage/blog...which has nothing to do with MCs. Free literature and music! Viva La Revolucion!
-------------------
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post #10 of 27 Old 07-12-2013, 02:56 PM
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denali is narrow in places and rocky in the hills only paxson side past the lodge on the lake to delta . closer to denali park it all dirt .. we had hit nasty clay in some turns ...

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