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Thread: First trail/dirt-ride Advice?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mr.Paynter's Avatar
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    First trail/dirt-ride Advice?

    Hey guys,

    So I have never ridden off-road at all, and am definitely street-biased, having only ever owned road-bikes!

    Later this year I will be going away and am considering trailering my trusty Dub (Im sure I could ride the 130 miles but my girlfriend would come in a car anyway so am considering trailering it and saving some time) with me to ride Sani Pass.
    The pass isn't hectic according to friends who have done it, despite Wikipedia's dramatic description, as some friends have done it on scooters. More a rugged dirt road than a trail, but it is beautiful, one of those things people here SHOULD do and the "Highest pub in Africa" is on top for a frosty bevrage at the end, so I am keen.

    You can read about Sani Pass here:
    Sani Pass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Here are some (cool) pictures to give you an idea:
    e99dd626ae-large.jpgSani Pass into South Africa.jpguntitled-1-copy.jpg
    and a closer look at the roads ruggedness:
    p1060289.jpg

    So, having never ridden dirt at all, I am wondering what your advice may be?
    Also, will my Dub handle the altitude changes as I live at sea-level and she is tuned for coastal living.
    Last edited by Mr.Paynter; 05-21-2014 at 02:34 AM. Reason: Spelling
    Finally picked up a Tdub...

  2. #2
    Super Moderator littletommy's Avatar
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    I'd start getting a little practice where ever you can on dirt and small rocks. For the trip, you will want to air down the tires some for better traction and take your time going over. For the altitude and carb, most carbs tuned in their area are good for 5 thousand or more feet altitude. No way of really telling till you try it. So sea level to 5 thousand feet, you will be ok, after that you may notice some lack of power though.
    Last edited by littletommy; 05-28-2014 at 05:56 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Borneo's Avatar
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    Get some practice as Tommy says. Ruts, rocks and runnels. Learn how to handle them. I lived in the bush in S.A. (east of the Drakensburgs on tribal lands outside Kruger) for a month picking up some guiding/tracking credentials, some of the bush roads can be rough. You can pretty much ride the route virtually with all the videos on youtube. I think you will be fine. Actually, I think you will have a blast. Looks fun.
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  5. #4
    Senior Member Mr.Paynter's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I will try get some dirt roads under my belt along the coast through some sugar cane when I get a chance.
    I am really looking forward to it.
    Finally picked up a Tdub...

  6. #5
    Senior Member sp_cache's Avatar
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    Great advice above. Get some practice in on off-roading. I'm also a firm believer in off-road riding boots. They are uncomfortable at first, but once they are broke in they offer great protection. I live at 1100ft, hauled my 2014 TW to New Mexico at 6500ft. Rode up to Capitan peak which was 10,000ft. It was a steep SOB. There was some loss of power, but I did not make any adjustments. Looks like you have a great adventure coming up. Take lots of pictures, and post them when you can.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Mr. Paynter,

    Good advice above for lowering tire pressure, possible carb re-jetting, and riding gear.

    Couple things I can think of to add.

    - After seeing the photo's of the road, you may want to use dual-purpose tires rather than street oriented tires.
    - If re-jetting is not easy for you, you may want to turn up your idle adjustment as you gain elevation.
    - If running stock gearing, if you can, you might want to change your spockets (rear is easier). Here stock sprockets are 14/50 and I use 14/55 because I ride in the mountains a lot. Other forum members have also changed their front sprocket to 13 for a similar affect. Different gearing will help up and down the pass.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member Mr.Paynter's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot guys!

    @sp_cache : I think off-road boots would be a good idea, I don't think budget allows at this point, but I may be able to borrow a pair off a friend so I'll look in to that.

    @admiral: I have the stock knobbly tyres on, so other than a little concern at the front after reading some other peoples' findings, I feel like I should manage!
    I think the idle screw is a good idea, as I was feeling a little dubious about re-jetting on the go, thanks
    I also don't have the budget for re-gearing right now, but I'll definitely keep that in mind for the future.
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    Finally picked up a Tdub...

  9. #8
    Senior Member Borneo's Avatar
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    With budget constraints, just use the Borneo method. Positive attitude, run what ya brung, wear a pair of work boots if you got em. And most important use the time, which everyone has in some degree, to learn the skills to let you accomplish your goal in style and safety. Have fun.
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    Senior Member Xracer's Avatar
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    At least get some basic riding gear. A set of strap on knee and elbow pads or better yet a padded jacket can save you from much pain and the trouble of " Now how do I get out of here".

  11. #10
    Senior Member Borneo's Avatar
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    Aren't carhart jackets and double knee blue jeans basic riding gear?
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