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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all you knowledgable ones,

I have yet to do this yet, but I have some gravel roads around me and see myself at some point traveling on these gravel roads. Which leads me to ask you all, how is the 650's operational stability on gravel roads? Can I expect some fish-tailing? Or alot of jitteriness in the front suspension?

Thanks
 

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My limited experience was slow down and expect it to fish tail if you goose it. Tires are real street tires and aren't all that suited to lots of loose stuff.
I haven't had any problems but I have learned to respect the surface and try to be as smooth as possible.
 

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Dirt Roads

My wife and I rode the 650 up "Buzzard Canyon Road" and were
disapointed to find that the upper 10 miles of it was hard packed
dirt with some gravel and 4 sand pits.

At the time, I was going along about 14 mph, actively seeking
out the better paths. It was easy to bottom out the burger on the rutts. I tried to avoid them. Actually, at the time, I was fairly impressed
by the the handling. The 650 was doing better than the touring bike
I took on a dirt road once. Perhaps the weight being lower to the
ground helped.

When I saw branches in the road, I remembered reading that people
will hole their radiators. I became more concerned. The burger
has it's radiator right down behind the front tire. You don't want
to get stuck 30 miles out in the country with no cooling.

I think the most dangerous aspect of riding on dirt roads is finding
the occasional 2' deep sand wash. They're hard to see and the bike's
front tire will dig in, making you endo. This is not fun.

I hit 4 different washes (I was freaking) and was surprised that the bike went right through them, without the typical front end plowing.
At the time, my tires pressure was a little low, and I understand this helps in these situations.

In summary, the bike is not designed for this kind to terrain, but did
an adequate job with it's limited ground clearance, exposed radiator
and smooth tires.
 

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I had a paved road turn into gravel once last here when I was doing about 60 mph. The joys of living in the mid-west.... I just slowly backed off the gas and let the engine compression slow me down to where I could gently brake it to a stop. Then I turned the scooter around and headed back to pavement. No drama at all as far as the handling went.

The main reason I avoid gravel roads on the scooter is due to the extreme amount of dust that gets kicked up. Out here, when you see a pickup truck running down a dirt road it looks like it has a forest fire chasing it... The CVT filter is located very low on the right hand side of the scooter, and I don't think that subjecting it to that volume of airborne dust and dirt is a good idea.

If I did want to ride the gravel and dirt roads out here, I'd buy a used Kawasaki KLR650 or similar bike - something that leans toward the off road side of dual sport in design. But if you get into a position where you have to ride a stretch of gravel to get where you need to go, the Burgman will do OK as long as the road is relatively smooth. It does not have the wheel size, tires, ground clearance or suspension travel to handle deeply rutted roads.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thank you all,
I forgot about that CVT filter and I agree with limiting the amount of dust that the bike has to travel through. Thanks for all of your thoughts and experiences.

Which leads to another question... having a CVT filter that low... how does puddles and wash up impact the filter, and thus the bike's performance?

It has been drought here for a long time. But I remember vividly riding the Honda Helix in the rain would lead to "flooding". It would get too much water vapor into the air-intake which was down low. If I recall it was down low behind the foot rests near the engine
 

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captainfish said:
Which leads to another question... having a CVT filter that low... how does puddles and wash up impact the filter, and thus the bike's performance?
We do have members that ride in the rain a lot. The main issue with that appears to be early wheel bearing failure, rather than transmission problems. We have one member who claims to have ridden through a flooded intersection with the water up over the floorboards! The engine air intake is up high in the front fairing.

Of the two evils, I'd say dirt and dust is the worse. Water will soon evaporate - dirt won't.
 

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My only experience with a gravel road was not plesant. I was coming out of a dirveway turning up hill onto a loose gravel road. The front tire dug in and the rear tire quickly dug itself into the loose gravel. I was diagonally across the road and couldn't go backwards or forwrds. Finally, the scooter laid over towards the downhill side getting many gouges in the paint from the gravel. I tried picking it up but due to the steepness of the hill and the age of the driver I couldn't budge it . I had to get my 4x4 pickup and haul it upright with a tow rope. Once it was lined up with the road it climbed the hill with only a little slipping. However, since then I avoid gravel in any form.
 

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Loose gravel and hardpacked gravel are completely different situations. Loose gravel requires very slow speeds and extreme concentration - and it is best avoided if at all possible. I had to park in a motel parking lot that was loose gravel when I went to the Black Hills. I managed to get the 650 in and out without mishap, but I did not enjoy the experience at all. I would not stay there again when touring by scooter or motorcycle.
 

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One of the local stores has a gravel parking lot. I end up parking the 400 in it at least 3-4 times per week. Was sorta nervous the first time. I've just been careful and not had any mishaps. I've also driven several miles over gravel roads. I just slow down (considerably) and ride carefully. The only dirt road I've turned back on (so far) is one that required crossing a low water bridge. Wasn't about to take the 400 swimming if I didn't have too.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hahahaaha, Billmeek,,
one wet and soggy cat that would have been.

Yes, the gravel roads around here are very loose gravel, or should I say, small to medium sized rocks. I guess they had to have something to fill up the wetlands.

Thank you all for your experiences. I will take the long way around. But then, when riding the Burgy, nothing wrong with that.

:)
 

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captainfish said:
Hahahaaha, Billmeek,,
one wet and soggy cat that would have been.
As brisk as the stream looked and being the color of mud rather than clear, there's a good chance I'd ended up being a U-boat captain.
 

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I don't know how much you should take my response into consideration, because according to the Poll taken earlier, I'm one of the youngsta's on the board at a measely 35 years old. Most of my motorcycle experience in my life has been down and dirty on the trails of sand, rock, mud, logs, burms, jumps, etc...

I probably have a total of 100 miles of gravel road (I call 'em dirt roads) riding on my Burgman which has a total of 3000 miles on it. I think it does surprisingly well in the dirt. I have my springs set on 4 and have indeed have had self induced fish-tailing on the bike. (Hope my old english teacher isn't reading this.)

Ran into a big-o-patch of sand once at about 35 miles an hour with the scooter.

After doing an endo in the sand, as described above by Craig, some 25 years ago, I decided never to endo again. So after endoing in the sand another 40 or 50 times, I figured out how to get out of a situation like that.

Don't try this at home, I'm a trained nutcake; put all your weight on the extreme back of the bike, and gun it! It's all or nothing here. It would have probably been pretty funny to watch myself jump up off that big fat seat, land on the passengers foot rest and twist that throttle like there was no tomorrow. Of course, you must remember, that action also causes the bike to fish-tail, so you need to deal with that whilst trying to get out of the sand pit. :D After fifty gabillion falls in my life, you start getting tired of falling, and start learning about "Steering Geometry". All bikes have a self correcting design to compensate for any lean at any speed (Except slow) and remain standing straight up, moving in a straight line. It'll do that with OR without you on the bike. (This is where all the engineers jump in and tell me I'm wrong, there's way more to it than that... and there is, but that's it in a nutshell) If you can figure out how to always stay on your bike, and not let go, and have enough room to go straight forwards, you'll always come out fine if you're not going too slow. We normally wind up in trouble because there's not enough space to go straight forwards... Usually a guard rail, or sign, or building, or automobile, or boulder, or that stupid 8 inch tree branch we won't talk about. :shock:

Of course a 550 pound Burgman is not the bike to learn this type of stuff on. I started riding a 80cc dirt bike many eons ago. I think those bikes weigh 150 pounds give or take, and you can throw these bikes around like a paper plane and can literally beat 'em to pulp, and they'll still keep running. (Ahhh, what fun that used to be!)

But back to the question at hand... I think the Burgman does absolutely fine on maintained dirt roads. You might not want to take it down the road if it looks seriously degraded, and/or freshly grated. Newly grated roads are fun to drive on ONLY if ya like to fishtail a lot. Go around bumps, and keep your speed down. (This paragraph is one of those, "Do as I say, not as I do." type of things.) And by all means, if you don't feel comfortable in any way, shape, or form, turn around, it's not worth getting hurt, dying, or worse... Scratching your Scooter!

I have yet to bottom out the bike, I do go around the big holes, don't drive that fast, I don't drive as crazy as you probably think I do, and as much as I've wanted to, I have kept the scooter off the trails.

Always ride safe!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
ummmmm. yeeeeaaaahhhhh.... ok....... ummmmm.

Mommy he's scaring me!!

heee, Thanks Kias. Riding experience does play alot into ones comfort in different riding circumstances.

Guess I need to get a few years under the belt of the beast before I attempt those 8" tree limbs, like my new favorite hero, kias. :)

thanks
 

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I'm much more comfortable on a nice groomed dirt road where there's just me, the bike, dirt underneath, and a LOT of 8" branches on either side of me.

I hate Freeways, I'm always thinking the worse is going to happen. Which might not be a bad thing, as I always make sure I know what's going on around me. And that thought of someday needing to go off the road into the dirt/grass to avoid something at 60-80 MPH doesn't help me one bit.

I'd rather be in the dirt at 10-40ish miles an hour, as that's where the majority of my experience is. On the flip side, if the vast majority of my experience was on the pavement, I probably wouldn't be talking like dirt was the best thing since sliced bread.

8" branch story in a nutshell.
  • Well known dirt trail.[/*:m:3r25rjc5]
  • Day after big thunderstorm. (Shoulda been a big hint)[/*:m:3r25rjc5]
  • Hairpin turn in forest.[/*:m:3r25rjc5]
  • Brand New Obstacle!!![/*:m:3r25rjc5]
  • 8" Branch exactly at Forehead Level during a hard lean.[/*:m:3r25rjc5]
Remember my statement about the bike wanting to stay straight up and go forward with or without you???

...without

Ever seen a helmet crack in half?

Woulda been dead without the helmet...

The only damage was some scuffs on my suit, cracked helmet, and some more racing stripes on my bike. Well, some call them scratches, I call 'em racing stripes when they're on a dirt bike. :twisted:

I would love to get back out in the trails, but I can barely get out of bed in the morning now without every bone in my body complaining about it. Don't know what I'd do if I actually fell down on the trail. Probably wouldn't be able to get back up!!
 

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Kias said:
Remember my statement about the bike wanting to stay straight up and go forward with or without you???

...without
:sign5: Thanks for that. That's the hardest I've laughed in weeks. :sign5:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Oh that's funny Kias. (ahem, no sorry, I am glad you are ok after that)

umm, sorry, :D :D :D :D :D :D

can't help it, it keeps :D :D coming :D :D :D out !!!

:D :D :D :D

haaaaaa, ok, better now.

Kias, I can relate. Road a bike up a trail in NE Oregon Blue Mountains. And it to was right after storm. Came around a corner and SURPRISE... nature left a speed bump. Took an emergency right turn through the soft stuff. Made it through fine but was a little jittered. A few twists and turns later came to a man-made log-span that crosses a boggy area. Brianiacs in the forest service put mud in the center of the two logs that formed the "bridge". Yep, hit the mud ,, wiggle and a wobble,, and I did the ENDO butterfly swim.

But, it was better than a gravel or asphalt slide. Only injury was my pride.
 

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Part II

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness...

No wait, that's not my story!

I was out beating the trails into submission, and I hit this jump which takes you up into the air about 15-20 feet depending on your speed. Right at that apex of the jump I start thinking, "Hmmm... Such the quandary I'm in right now. I would have wagered the equity of my farm that I propelled to my current postion on a motorcycle, and yet searching high and low I see no such vehicle. Now it appears I'm in a dilemma at which I have come to an impasse of any elucidation this calamity requires, which is improbable to unveil in the accessible time left for this particular predicament."

I don't know why we keep coming back to; "Remember my statement about the bike wanting to stay straight up and go forward with or without you???"

...without

I eventually found the bike... After about 10 flips, it stood up straight and kept on bookin through the field until it slowed down and tipped over. I, on the other hand, did absolutely zero flips, and landed smack dead on my back. I might of rebounded off the earth a bit, I don't remember much, as I was having a real hard time getting my lungs to inflate to a proper level that would sustain life for about a minute or two after I came to a rest.

How I ever made it 35 years without a single broken bone, I'll never know. No, scratch that, I just had a birthday yesterday, make that 36 years.

Did I mention I think the Burgman does absolutely fine on dirt roads?? :shock:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Yep, its your pain that cracks us up!!

HAHAHAHAAAA

Our mother's have often wondered how us motorcycle riders would ever make it to adulthood.......

You crack me up Kias. I was laughing so hard. I had to share this whole page with some other friends of mine. You never know, you might become famous. Ever thought of a video series?
:D
 

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It's true! "It's never funny 'til someone gets hurt." :D

I don't ride the Burger on gravel. Just don't do it. That's why I kept the DR. I go out of my way to find gravel on that one! 8)

Steve
 
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