Finally went to the Thomaston Dam trails in Connecticut -Real Deal...
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Thread: Finally went to the Thomaston Dam trails in Connecticut -Real Deal...

  1. #1
    Senior Member ToolmanJohn's Avatar
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    Finally went to the Thomaston Dam trails in Connecticut -Real Deal...

    Met with my riding bud last night at 5pm at the Thomaston Dam. This location is legal for registered OHV (motorcycles only) and plated motorcycles. No street bike would make it more than a couple dozen feet in here.

    I was on the TW200, and my bud on his Husky TE610 Enduro. In we go, he's leading, because I have no clue where to begin or jump into the trails from the paved access road.

    As soon as we took that first left, I was a bit freaked out because of how technical, loose, and rocky, and rooty the trails are. Also they are steep and undulating in the woods. Not a whole lot of room to choose lines. All of the lines were technical, but some slightly less so, and I chose those as much as possible when I wasn't being bump steered into crap, which happened too often. I watched the lines my pal was taking in front, and decided accordingly what line I should take. He is a much more experienced off road motorcycle rider than I am.

    The big problem following someone faster than you is you lose sight of them pretty darn quickly and are left wondering if you're going to dump the bike, make it up that hill, make the next steep decent or just plain survive another 120 minutes . HARD WORK!! Started feeling it bad in my legs at the half way point.

    The good news is I only dumped it one time, uphill, on grease, I mean wet slippery section with berms. That stunk, but I gracefully dismounted to the right, like Superman, and the TW landed on my left foot but didn't hurt me. Got back on in about a minute.

    I give Monster credit to the traction of the TW200 rear tire and Shinko 241 front. Damn that rear tire can HOOK UP at 12 psi. And I also ran the Shinko at 12 psi. I had ZERO problems climbing steep sections. The only tough issue I had was traction because of the suspension quality, which is to say the TW suspension is not quality. I found the limits an exceed those very quickly and often.

    The TW does NOT like "whoops", so I rode it like mountain bike to save my ass, using all of my leg extension to let the TW dive into and out of the holes. Fun for a while, then tiring.

    At 12 psi the tires are AWESOME at eating anything less than 2 inches in size, rocks, roots, gravel, excellent. I had forgotten to air down the first 5 minutes, then stopped to air out the tires with a 12 psi deflator. VERY quick to do both under 5 minutes and riding much more comfortably and safely after that.

    We rode about 11-12 miles, not certain of exact mileage because neither of us had looked at odometers.

    The only serious damage I took was a bent left foot peg bracket. An immovable rock at the top of a climb jumped out and clobbered the bracket, but spared the foot peg (I was just barely smart enough to see the rock coming straight at me and lifted my left foot , ha ha). The entire TW went right a few inches and I felt the bang through my body. After regrouping. The foot peg looked bent back about 20 degrees. Dang, but it felt no different and the shifter was spared. I fixed the bracket at work today with a bench vise , adjustable wrench, and a huge lever to bend it. Looks like new-ish again.

    Still have to hose the TW off, loads of mud. One puddle hole was about 12 inches deep. What a splash!! Forma boots are water proof I can attest too it, my feet stayed dry, but my pants were a wet mess up to my knees. At least I didn't drop my TW in the muddy berms 3 times (ahem - someone else DID, ha ha.) It pays to go slower and have traction and time to react.

    NEXT up on the list.... INSTALL the 55T sprocket!!! I desperately wanted to be in 2nd for many of the tight trails and climbs, but the TW would have none of it. I was in 1st for 90% of the time I was in there. Just so much climbing, and turning, no where to go fast all.

    And YES, I will go there again. It's less than 20 minutes from my house. We did not explore everything. Have got to figure that place out and get familiar with the off road aspects of riding before hitting up the Hatfield McCoy trails later this year, and MOAB 2018 next year.
    SpeedyTide, bad luck, Ken and 6 others like this.
    2017 Beta Xtrainer 300 - Suspension modified for height
    2013 Yamaha TW200 (Sold but not forgotten, possibly in the future when space permits)
    2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650R (sold) Fun for a year, then mega garage DUST collector
    1985 Honda CB650SC Nighthawk (sold) FUN - but became a dust collector
    1984 Honda CB450SC Nighthawk (sold) Primary transportation for almost 5 years
    Various other 2 wheel rolling junk not worthy of mention....

  2. #2
    Super Moderator littletommy's Avatar
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    You did great bro!!
    Quote Originally Posted by ToolmanJohn View Post
    Met with my riding bud last night at 5pm at the Thomaston Dam. This location is legal for registered OHV (motorcycles only) and plated motorcycles. No street bike would make it more than a couple dozen feet in here.

    I was on the TW200, and my bud on his Husky TE610 Enduro. In we go, he's leading, because I have no clue where to begin or jump into the trails from the paved access road.

    As soon as we took that first left, I was a bit freaked out because of how technical, loose, and rocky, and rooty the trails are. Also they are steep and undulating in the woods. Not a whole lot of room to choose lines. All of the lines were technical, but some slightly less so, and I chose those as much as possible when I wasn't being bump steered into crap, which happened too often. I watched the lines my pal was taking in front, and decided accordingly what line I should take. He is a much more experienced off road motorcycle rider than I am.

    The big problem following someone faster than you is you lose sight of them pretty darn quickly and are left wondering if you're going to dump the bike, make it up that hill, make the next steep decent or just plain survive another 120 minutes . HARD WORK!! Started feeling it bad in my legs at the half way point.

    The good news is I only dumped it one time, uphill, on grease, I mean wet slippery section with berms. That stunk, but I gracefully dismounted to the right, like Superman, and the TW landed on my left foot but didn't hurt me. Got back on in about a minute.

    I give Monster credit to the traction of the TW200 rear tire and Shinko 241 front. Damn that rear tire can HOOK UP at 12 psi. And I also ran the Shinko at 12 psi. I had ZERO problems climbing steep sections. The only tough issue I had was traction because of the suspension quality, which is to say the TW suspension is not quality. I found the limits an exceed those very quickly and often.

    The TW does NOT like "whoops", so I rode it like mountain bike to save my ass, using all of my leg extension to let the TW dive into and out of the holes. Fun for a while, then tiring.

    At 12 psi the tires are AWESOME at eating anything less than 2 inches in size, rocks, roots, gravel, excellent. I had forgotten to air down the first 5 minutes, then stopped to air out the tires with a 12 psi deflator. VERY quick to do both under 5 minutes and riding much more comfortably and safely after that.

    We rode about 11-12 miles, not certain of exact mileage because neither of us had looked at odometers.

    The only serious damage I took was a bent left foot peg bracket. An immovable rock at the top of a climb jumped out and clobbered the bracket, but spared the foot peg (I was just barely smart enough to see the rock coming straight at me and lifted my left foot , ha ha). The entire TW went right a few inches and I felt the bang through my body. After regrouping. The foot peg looked bent back about 20 degrees. Dang, but it felt no different and the shifter was spared. I fixed the bracket at work today with a bench vise , adjustable wrench, and a huge lever to bend it. Looks like new-ish again.

    Still have to hose the TW off, loads of mud. One puddle hole was about 12 inches deep. What a splash!! Forma boots are water proof I can attest too it, my feet stayed dry, but my pants were a wet mess up to my knees. At least I didn't drop my TW in the muddy berms 3 times (ahem - someone else DID, ha ha.) It pays to go slower and have traction and time to react.

    NEXT up on the list.... INSTALL the 55T sprocket!!! I desperately wanted to be in 2nd for many of the tight trails and climbs, but the TW would have none of it. I was in 1st for 90% of the time I was in there. Just so much climbing, and turning, no where to go fast all.

    And YES, I will go there again. It's less than 20 minutes from my house. We did not explore everything. Have got to figure that place out and get familiar with the off road aspects of riding before hitting up the Hatfield McCoy trails later this year, and MOAB 2018 next year.
    bad luck, TopPredator and Ken like this.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member scotti158's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToolmanJohn View Post
    NEXT up on the list.... INSTALL the 55T sprocket!!!
    No...next on the list is, buy a camera and TAKE PICTURES!!!
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  5. #4
    Senior Member lugnut's Avatar
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    Hatfield McCoy, what a great place to be! Thanks for the heads up on the 12 psi.
    Ken, littletommy and SpeedyTide like this.

  6. #5
    Senior Member ToolmanJohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scotti158 View Post
    No...next on the list is, buy a camera and TAKE PICTURES!!!
    Yes I know. I have an OLD Contour 1080HD somewhere in a drawer. I don't know if the battery is any good now (circa 2008). I never had a real chance for taking out the camera either, We always stopped for a break on the pave road, then jump back in for another go. I'll have to find the Contour and see if it works.
    Last edited by ToolmanJohn; 06-10-2017 at 05:18 AM.
    2017 Beta Xtrainer 300 - Suspension modified for height
    2013 Yamaha TW200 (Sold but not forgotten, possibly in the future when space permits)
    2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650R (sold) Fun for a year, then mega garage DUST collector
    1985 Honda CB650SC Nighthawk (sold) FUN - but became a dust collector
    1984 Honda CB450SC Nighthawk (sold) Primary transportation for almost 5 years
    Various other 2 wheel rolling junk not worthy of mention....

  7. #6
    Senior Member ToolmanJohn's Avatar
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    Some pics of the aftermath- Saturday Cleanup

    Before-After cleaning. Luckily it all hosed off relatively easily, and a quick wipe down of the plastics and seat with a shop rag.

    I'll be doing the 55T rear sprocket later today. It may be to hot (91°F) Sunday to go riding with the gear, which is a requirement at Thomaston Dam, too many things to run into.
    IMG_3309.JPGIMG_3308.JPGIMG_3312.JPGIMG_3311.JPGIMG_3310.JPG
    admiral, Ken, jtstdub and 1 others like this.
    2017 Beta Xtrainer 300 - Suspension modified for height
    2013 Yamaha TW200 (Sold but not forgotten, possibly in the future when space permits)
    2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650R (sold) Fun for a year, then mega garage DUST collector
    1985 Honda CB650SC Nighthawk (sold) FUN - but became a dust collector
    1984 Honda CB450SC Nighthawk (sold) Primary transportation for almost 5 years
    Various other 2 wheel rolling junk not worthy of mention....

  8. #7
    Senior Member ToolmanJohn's Avatar
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    Here I go again... A little mud swimming, but all is well

    Went to Thomaston Dam again this morning, and because it rained the other day, there was significant mud (again) at the lower trails which are MUCH easier in comparison to the northbound high line trails.

    Went through a few very deep holes (no choice) and one a particularly wide and long one, I was hoping/expecting it to be shallow.. Well I was wrong, and my low speed set me up for some sliding and I dumped the TW on it's ride side almost fully in the mud. Managed to jump off, reach down and kill the engine. Took a few moment to sigh in disgust and then stand in 8 inches of mud and lift it up. Good news is I didn't fall in the many other mud holes I had to plow through.. SO I am still winning I think.

    FORMA Adventure boots are waterproof!!! I guess this is the upside silver lining of my ride! My feet stayed dry as a bone. I even hosed the boots off while wearing them at home while cleaning the TW. NICE!! Also, the 55T sprocket is a definite MUST if you are climbing a lot of hills, or even just jouncy terrain and keeping it in first to prevent engine bogging. It's a big improvement from the stock 50T.

    This place scares me a little. The TW suspension is NOT made for Thomaston dam at all. I had to pull over on a few occasions and let other riders cruise on my in technical trail sections. I could hear them coming because most of them were 2 stroke woods machines. But I got some smiles back too because I would always manage to catch up to those guys when they stopped at intersections to decide which way to go. They knew I was making the same climbs they were, just slower.

    My pictures don't show the actual mud hole I was in. I had to get out of there for fear other riders would come out around the corner and I would be blocking the trail.

    20170709_110846.jpg20170709_110831.jpg20170709_110824.jpg20170709_110815.jpg20170709_110803.jpg
    Dryden-Tdub, Ken and SpeedyTide like this.
    2017 Beta Xtrainer 300 - Suspension modified for height
    2013 Yamaha TW200 (Sold but not forgotten, possibly in the future when space permits)
    2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650R (sold) Fun for a year, then mega garage DUST collector
    1985 Honda CB650SC Nighthawk (sold) FUN - but became a dust collector
    1984 Honda CB450SC Nighthawk (sold) Primary transportation for almost 5 years
    Various other 2 wheel rolling junk not worthy of mention....

  9. #8
    Senior Member mountain yawp's Avatar
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    Sounds like a fun riding area.
    Ken likes this.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Leisure Time Larry's Avatar
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    Nice report John! Nice riding too. I echo your sentiments because it has been what I've been doing for years.... as one of the first to try and push the 241 for the TW, I've also been running 10-12 psi offroad, 14-55 is a good setup for more torque and stability on the trails, I am now trying 13-54 with enjoyable results. I also hear your complaints about the suspension, which is why in the off season before Moab I installed emulators and Pro Cycle springs in the front and installed a Works rear shock. The emulators really make an amazing improvement for the $, and springs are a must if you are in a weight range like I am where you need them to get the correct sag. Getting rid of the harsh dampening of the stock forks is amazing. The rear shock is also amazing, but I realize it's a lot of money that many with this bike aren't going to shell out for.

    I just returned from some north Idaho mountain riding during the holiday week, so your report hit home. Happy riding, and I look forward to more.
    Ken and bad luck like this.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member ToolmanJohn's Avatar
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    If anyone in the vicinity, TW200, or otherwise, would like a tour of Thomaston Dam, please don't hesitate to ask me. I am happy to lead people around there now. I know my way through pretty good and can bypass the 4 hero climbs that I usually bypass myself. All the rest can be ridden slow and carefully, or as fast a rider is willing to risk. It's an 11-12 mile loop, I am doing it twice when I go plus I loop back into fun sections to either practice slow climbing in rocky terrain or flowy sections that require body position to be smooth.
    A whole loop takes about 1 hour to 1-1/2 hour maybe more or less depending on breaks. Nice thing is I only have to take a couple liters of water , and I can get more at the car in the parking area. There is also a potty at the entrance. Decent place to go when you live close by. Lots of varying trail to practice on.
    Dryden-Tdub, Fred and bad luck like this.
    2017 Beta Xtrainer 300 - Suspension modified for height
    2013 Yamaha TW200 (Sold but not forgotten, possibly in the future when space permits)
    2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650R (sold) Fun for a year, then mega garage DUST collector
    1985 Honda CB650SC Nighthawk (sold) FUN - but became a dust collector
    1984 Honda CB450SC Nighthawk (sold) Primary transportation for almost 5 years
    Various other 2 wheel rolling junk not worthy of mention....

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