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Thought I’d share my challenging ride on Sunday, not far from Mt. St. Helens. We pushed 60 miles into the mountains and returned at night in the snow and 30-degree weather. The heavily forested narrow trails were full of hazards like deep ruts; slippery leaves, large rain-soaked branches, and mud; wash-outs; heavy fog; a super scary precipice alongside the trail; and eventually slick snow to go with the appurtenant 500 ft. drop. But we were treated to gorgeous dusk vistas, an abandoned campground, and a few beautiful waterfalls.

I laid the bike down on the attached wash-out, and fell at speed in one of the deep mud ruts.

The added gloves I now wear helped greatly. Only a couple bumps and bruises. Time for knee pads. Bike sustained a bent foot peg and broken gear shift lever (still rideable). Thanks so much to my new riding buddy Nick W. for guiding this 53-year old newbie through this; for the beers on the trail; for patience with this slow-poke; and, above all, for inspiring me to throw the heavy ball on my fourth ever off-road ride.

Question for the group: do rear tires normally just slide out from under you in mud at only 15 mph? There was no warning; just whoosh and down. I don’t know how to prepare for this.
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Fantastic photos! I'd say you probably need a different rear tyre with a deeper, more aggressive nobbly tread pattern. Your current tyre probably just got clogged and lost grip/traction.

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As far as mud slicks go, experience is the best teacher. Next time, get up and ride through it again. And again. And again. Until you learn the technique or wish you never bought that damn bike. Ha! Try standing, steering the tank through your knees, steering the bike through the thottle, etc. Lots of ways to feel the bike's signals things are gonna go sideways and how to control the bike when it does.
 

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As far as mud slicks go, experience is the best teacher. Next time, get up and ride through it again. And again. And again. Until you learn the technique or wish you never bought that damn bike. Ha! Try standing, steering the tank through your knees, steering the bike through the thottle, etc. Lots of ways to feel the bike's signals things are gonna go sideways and how to control the bike when it does.
Thanks Ski! This sounds like great advice. My riding partner seemed to get through it well, though he did say he "felt a little bit of a slide." Next hazard, I will just go over it again and again. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. Great tip!
 

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Or likely the rear got stuck in a rut, and in the mud it took the rut instead of where it was pointed

Had a situation last year where the ruts where so deep that the rear kept going where it wanted to – followed by the front – then the rear – then the front. Rinse and repeat

And this was at walking pace – except that the ruts were so deep you couldn’t put your foot down simply because you couldn’t see what was going on, let alone control it

I did the last 25 yards of that one full throttle, and nearly hit the hedge at 45 degrees

It happens …..
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Or likely the rear got stuck in a rut, and in the mud it took the rut instead of where it was pointed

Had a situation last year where the ruts where so deep that the rear kept going where it wanted to – followed by the front – then the rear – then the front. Rinse and repeat

And this was at walking pace – except that the ruts were so deep you couldn’t put your foot down simply because you couldn’t see what was going on, let alone control it

I did the last 25 yards of that one full throttle, and nearly hit the hedge at 45 degrees

It happens …..
Thanks Purple! I guess speed is the only thing I can truly control, so I will ride slow until I get more experience. As a 53 year old newbie, this new venture is not at all about image or fantasy (that's why I don't have a Harley anymore), but all about having fun and getting outdoors. Nothing to be macho about here. Very good, thanks.
 

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You might try adjusting air pressure. I have been slowly adjusting the rear pressure down. Running at 16 psi now. Dont notice any affect on the pavement but it does seem to grip better off road. At least where I am in the sand and clay.
Did you see any signs of big foot or D.B Cooper?
 

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You might try adjusting air pressure. I have been slowly adjusting the rear pressure down. Running at 16 psi now. Dont notice any affect on the pavement but it does seem to grip better off road. At least where I am in the sand and clay.
Did you see any signs of big foot or D.B Cooper?
Good advice and funny last sentence. Love the humor.
 
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What a neat ride. Packed in a whole riding season worth of riding into just one ride. :)
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Keep riding and gaining experience. I've found no tire, front or rear, does particularlly good in mud no matter how hard I try. If you lower your tire PSI around 10-12 psi it will do much better in the mud, going over wet branches and the ruts. I've bent my shifter & brake pedal many times but never broken them. Your's breaking is sorta kinda rare. Bent footpeg, now that's extremely common :)

RIde on!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You might try adjusting air pressure. I have been slowly adjusting the rear pressure down. Running at 16 psi now. Dont notice any affect on the pavement but it does seem to grip better off road. At least where I am in the sand and clay.
Did you see any signs of big foot or D.B Cooper?
Thanks Sal! I didn’t see Sasquatch or any plane hijackers, but I can say that prior to this ride I dropped the psi to 18 from 25 and it felt better on BOTH the road and the trail. Strange. I’m still confounded about the fall, though. The pic shows it wasn’t much. Maybe the dampness? Something to ponder.
 

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What a neat ride. Packed in a whole riding season worth of riding into just one ride. :)
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Keep riding and gaining experience. I've found no tire, front or rear, does particularlly good in mud no matter how hard I try. If you lower your tire PSI around 10-12 psi it will do much better in the mud, going over wet branches and the ruts. I've bent my shifter & brake pedal many times but never broken them. Your's breaking is sorta kinda rare. Bent footpeg, now that's extremely common :)

RIde on!
Thanks Admiral! I took delivery in mid-September and already have 840 miles on it. I see used TWs 10 years old with less. Not sure why? I will try dropping the psi to 12. Can one ride on the street with that for 20 miles or so (to air up back home)? Anybody else have an opinion on that? Thanks!
 

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.... My riding partner seemed to get through it well, though he did say he "felt a little bit of a slide." ...
Does your riding partner ride a TW also? If not, what bike was he on and how much more aggressive was his rear tire vs yours?
 
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