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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.jpg Sani Pass into South Africa.jpg untitled-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.
 

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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.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #4
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.
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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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".
 

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I think you will have a marvelous time even without any additional expenditures or changes to the bike. Stock bike is jetted a little lean so while not a powerhouse it should make sufficient power for a 9,000 ft pass. My 2003 handles these elevations with stock jetting without problems.
I wholeheartedly endorse the Borneo Method of positive attitude, take your time, have fun. Since you know how to ride street you have enough skills to not worry about having your girlfriend following behind to pick up the pieces. Your dirt skills will develop quickly if you can avoid an early fall that erodes confidence so go easy at first. Brake, accelerate and turn a bit cautiously untill you are comfortable with handling nuances on dirt.
Fortunately the TW may be one of the easiest bikes available to undertake a novice Sani Pass adventure . You and your Lady will probably be toasting your newly discovered off road skills at the pub while others look on envious of your adventure.
 

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Foot down around turns. Let it rip and give it heck.

Sent from Android for Nook Tablet using Taptalk
 

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Aren't carhart jackets and double knee blue jeans basic riding gear? :D

That outfit worked for years until the ATGATT standard of riding took hold.

All joking aside, protect your body from falls.... you will have them. good gloves and footwear, heavy jacket... the list goes on and has been mentioned already. rollerblading knee and elbow pads will work in a pinch.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks guys!
I will definitely be more in line with the Borneo method, but I do have some basic gear, I have road gear so a proper jacket, gloves and I'll rock some toe-capped hiking boots I have, so hopefully, that'll do!
I am relieved to hear the Dub will handle the elevation without too much strain. I will definitly run through the jetting/ needle-shim threads and try and wrap my head around carbs/black magic with a little more intention

Come September I will hopefully have some cool photos of our little ride!
 

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As someone who had some wicked injuries this winter from a non moto accident, I cant tell you what a bargain safety gear is compared to hospital bills and lost work time.
You can buy a cheap china set of body/shoulder/elbow/forearm pads for like $45, shin knee guards for $75 (FOx), neck collar for$30, and real boots for $110. Using myself as an example, with a relatively uncomplicated set of injuries, I lost a full month worth of work and life and ended up with $4k of hospital bills, and endured a startling amount of pain that lasted a full month as well. Riding a cycle its fairly easy to end up with injuries that can literally complicate or ruin the rest of your life. If youre on a budget, go steal $360 dollars from someone, buy some gear, and pay them back later with money you didnt spend at the hospital, and money you didnt lose by not working for a month. That is my advice for offroad riding. Also buy a decent set of big footpegs off ebay for $12, and a set of taller bars for $30. You will feel way more confident and in control even if youre new to offroad. Cheers and best of luck. Dont forget to have other people take lots of pics and video of you, you can never have too much of that!
 

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I sure hope your ride plan does not include double up with your GF one the rear! TWs with two passengers and a novice in the dirt spells disaster. No problem doing it single and just ride to your own abilities and at a speed you are comfortable with. Blasting around a blind curve only to find ruts going too fast will learn you a lesson quick. The stock front tire is an unforgiving bastard in ruts and rocks so be prepared when it wants to go one way and the rear remains on track. Always hit any fallen sticks, logs or branches at a 90* angle. Hit them on an angle and the front tire will almost always walk and toss you off.

Have a blast but absolutely leave the GF in the hotel.

GaryL
 

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.......
*just looked at your link for more info. Sea level to 9000 feet IS going to require carb rejetting along the way.
I disagree. I ride my stock jetted 2010 (126) from below sea level to 10,000 feet with no real problems except loss of power. It doesn't do well in 5th, but for the dirt roads in 1st through 4th it's fine. Only if I was going to be at that altitude for several days would I consider re-jetting, even though by replacing the bowl screws with Allen heads it's only a ten minute process without removing anything other than the bowl.

I use about 12 lbs front and rear for slow rocky trails, 14/16 if carrying a load. AND YES! Get some good boots!!! You are going to be putting your foot down a lot on rocks.

Edit: Actually I now use about 18/18 most of the time because I ride pavement to and from dirt and I found that 12 psi would cut my top end from 65 to 55. I will go down to 12/14 only if I trailer the bike to a campsite and do only slow rocky trails for a few days.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks guys!

@TinyWheel - Heard and noted! Cheaper gear just isn't as available here and shipping to South Africa can often double/triple my cost on importing stuff but I will hunt around for some gear, thanks for the co0ncern!
@Gary - Definitely 1up for the ride, although a lot of 4x4 vehicles do it so I may ask some charitable soul to take my GF up so we can enjoy the view together but we'll see!
@Rocky - Thanks for the insight, and more specific tyre pressures.

I have heard they may be tarring this road soon which is quite a shame but it makes me want to do this all the more, and ASAP.
 

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Yes, go while you can. Our Pikes peak now is all paved so I missed a chance to check off a Bucket List dream.

Happy Trails
 

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I don't ride any faster than I figure I can survive a crash without injuries. Go slow in the woods, sudden stoppage with a tree or rock will bend your bike, not to mention breaking bones. As a new rider just poke along and enjoy the scenery. As an old timer this is the way I like to go. Always nice to go home with a bike that is not beat up and nothing hurting except some riding muscles and lips hurting from being stretched from ear to ear.
 
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