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Took the TW out for another gnarly trail ride today. I was really pushing my limits, and I dumped the bike four times, dinged the skid plate once. I credit my Alpinestars Bionic compression jacket for the only breakage being mechanical rather than organic! In retrospect, I really should have sprung for some good hanguards before tackling more challenging terrain.



Sorry brake lever!





Who would have thought that such hazards might be lurking in this idyllic landscape.





There were several stretches where the trail followed sandy washes. I've found that I can keep the bike up pretty well in sand by keeping on the throttle and just letting the bike go where it wants. On the way in this strategy worked well, but on the way back the bike wanted to go into a 2 foot boulder, that was one of the dumps. From the looks of the boulder though I can confidently say that mine was not the first motor vehicle to make its' acquaintance!



This is a stretch of the wash.





The real story of this ride was one epic descent. The steepness of it freaked me out a little and I dumped the bike twice on my way down. I've learned that I can control my descent much more effectively by engine braking in first, but my apprehension got the best of me and I grabbed the clutch a couple of times. Big mistake on both counts!



Here's looking down:





If you follow the topography there, the bottom of this hill is where all of those ridges come together at the bottom.



I hopped off to scout my route on foot and snapped these from halfway down.









I took a much needed break a few minutes later and took this one looking up from the bottom.





The funny thing is, even though I dumped twice coming down and dinged the plate once that's not where I bent the brake lever. About 100 yards down the trail I came to a fork and went the wrong way. Stuck in a dead end on a steep lateral hill I tried to back down to the side enough to make a u-turn. I maintained backing down, but lost the bike halfway through the 180 and it fell hard, basically inverting the bike on a steep incline. Not surprisingly, this completely flooded the carb and the bike wouldn't start for several minutes.



I should have snapped a few pics, but at the time this ride report was not foremost in my mind!



After the fuel stopped dripping, I was able to get it started and rode back out without any trouble besides that 2' boulder in the wash.



Despite dropping and damaging my bike, this was a hell of a fun ride and I learned a valuable lesson about trail riding that I should have known already: Don't stop on a hill!



I'm gonna try to just bend the brake lever back into place, but I guess I should plan on installing some handguards before heading back out. I know I was lucky that my clutch and brake controls kept working after 4 hard spills. This day could have gone much differently if the mighty T-dub wasn't such a glutton for punishment!
 

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Hand guards don't always work. I have them and still have managed to break two levers. Also I find controlling your speed going down hill is very important in that slowing down is next to impossible when the traction is poor.



Looks like great riding country that extends for miles and miles. Great weather too. Levers are designed to break and bend first thereby avoiding more expensive damage.
 

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Ive dropped my bikes many times..even just unloading it! the first spill on the tw was off the back of my truck, bye bye brake lever. Ever since then i put on some hand guards and they save me every fall.
 

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Levers are about $10 each on ebay. I carry an extra clutch lever in my bag. don't get the cheapo handguards, plan on spending $60 or more for a decent set with aluminum frames that go into the end of the bars. My WR came with the cheapie acerbis with frames that sell on ebay for about $30 and they turned to shit after a dump on each side. took levers with them. I now have the tusk Z-Flex and they seem sturdy. The downside to these is that if your arm goes between the bars and guards during a fall, it may break your arm. remote chance but still.....
 

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One technique I have learned in REALLY STEEP and ROUGH descents where you are sure you will have to put a (right) foot down is to kill the engine in first and then use the clutch as a back brake by letting it in and out of the friction zone and going as slow as possible, often with both feet down. It ain't pretty and makes you look like a doofus, but it works.
 

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I need to remember that technique for REALLY STEEP AND ROUGH terrain. Thanks for that info.



Glad to hear it's only the lever that broke. That looks like some challenging trails.
 

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DB, You (we) sure do learn how to ride when we have too. Sometimes we try it again, and sometimes we say it ain't worth it. Different for everyone. I think you did a good job at capturing the grade on this rocky steep section. 8 years ago I wouldn't have attempted it, but I'm a better rider now and wouldn't have a problem, or nat as much as 8 years ago. Great scenry, I think I would enjoy riding in this area.



Rocky, You've mentioned a technique I've had too or wanted too use. Here is a video and at 7 minutes in, you will notice that all of us TW riders used the technique you mentioned. Engine off, 1st gear, feet dragging.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BURHUAMSNIw



One technique I have learned in REALLY STEEP and ROUGH descents where you are sure you will have to put a (right) foot down is to kill the engine in first and then use the clutch as a back brake by letting it in and out of the friction zone and going as slow as possible, often with both feet down. It ain't pretty and makes you look like a doofus, but it works.
 

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DB, You (we) sure do learn how to ride when we have too. Sometimes we try it again, and sometimes we say it ain't worth it. Different for everyone. I think you did a good job at capturing the grade on this rocky steep section. 8 years ago I wouldn't have attempted it, but I'm a better rider now and wouldn't have a problem, or nat as much as 8 years ago. Great scenry, I think I would enjoy riding in this area.



Rocky, You've mentioned a technique I've had too or wanted too use. Here is a video and at 7 minutes in, you will notice that all of us TW riders used the technique you mentioned. Engine off, 1st gear, feet dragging.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BURHUAMSNIw




The actors in that film sure remind me Of my friend Larry and I this summer as we road with the Admiral up out of Bender Creek. That ride broke Larry's footpeg off and he road the rest of the day using a visegrip for a peg on that side. It did come off on occasion but it was easy to retrieve and reinstall.



I do have a good pair of brush busters on my bars and since I put them on I have not broken a lever. It looks like the bent lever is on the right brake side. I actually cut that lever short so I can on only use 2 fingers to apply braking pressure.( It is tough to steer when I use to much front brake.)



If you are using the stock skid plate, You are lucky that you did not knock a hole in your case. When I first looked at the stock one I thought the only way to make them any lighter would be to just paint the case with alum. spray paint.



Larry and I have both purchased a heavy duty one from Happy Trails and it has have saved our bacon several times. We both have hit rocks so hard that in stopped us dead in our tracks. Once Larry was stopped so suddenly that he launched over the bars. He is sure that the only thing that kept him from breaking ribs when he hit the ground was his MX Chest protecter.



Happy Trails All



Ron in Boise
 

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If you are using the stock skid plate, You are lucky that you did not knock a hole in your case. When I first looked at the stock one I thought the only way to make them any lighter would be to just paint the case with alum. spray paint.


Too true! I have the TCI with engine guards installed. I haven't field-tested the engine guards yet, but I'm sure I'll get some AZ Pinstriping on them soon. I definitely had a few near-misses. The plate itself appears to have sustained no damage this time, but like I said I just dinged it coming down a little ledge.
 
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