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Hi all - just got a t-dub. I live in Spokane and am trying to learn to ride, mostly in north Idaho. Lots of long, steep, rocky, rutted, and gravelly uphill sections in the St. Joe and CDA National Forests.



I'm a total newb (35, good shape, 6' 0", 190 lbs) but have no idea how to deal with these hills. Basically, I'll get slowed down going up a long, steep uphill and if I stop, I can't get going again. The rear tire will just spin.



I ordered a 65 tooth rear sprocket (only need a plate for trails in WA, no "street") and I'm hoping I'll be able to crawl up these hills a little easier. But that still doesn't seem to solve the problem of rear tire spin?



The sprocket and maybe lowering tire pressures will probably help, but fundamentally ... is it possible to get going again on a dirt bike once you stop going up a steep hill? Or do you just have to turn around and try again?
 

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Hi all - just got a t-dub. I live in Spokane and am trying to learn to ride, mostly in north Idaho. Lots of long, steep, rocky, rutted, and gravelly uphill sections in the St. Joe and CDA National Forests.



I'm a total newb (35, good shape, 6' 0", 190 lbs) but have no idea how to deal with these hills. Basically, I'll get slowed down going up a long, steep uphill and if I stop, I can't get going again. The rear tire will just spin.



I ordered a 65 tooth rear sprocket (only need a plate for trails in WA, no "street") and I'm hoping I'll be able to crawl up these hills a little easier. But that still doesn't seem to solve the problem of rear tire spin?



The sprocket and maybe lowering tire pressures will probably help, but fundamentally ... is it possible to get going again on a dirt bike once you stop going up a steep hill? Or do you just have to turn around and try again?




Hi 82much,

I have experienced the same problem on a steep hill on my property. Even with a 54 tooth I still spun the rear and lost forward momentum at the very top. The only solution I can see is get a running start so the momentum is enough to clear the crest or have a helper push you to the top. It's a very dangerous job trying to get the bike turned around on a hill since the front brake will not hold the bike on the hill and you can't get your foot onto the rear brake. Gravity and physics can be a little too much in these situations. My hill climbing dreams were crushed when I realized my TW could not take hills the same as my 4x4 SUV. Also, I was never able to get the bike the last few feet up the hill even by putting it in gear and walking up beside it- no go. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.



Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi 82much,

I have experienced the same problem on a steep hill on my property. Even with a 54 tooth I still spun the rear and lost forward momentum at the very top. The only solution I can see is get a running start so the momentum is enough to clear the crest or have a helper push you to the top. It's a very dangerous job trying to get the bike turned around on a hill since the front brake will not hold the bike on the hill and you can't get your foot onto the rear brake. Gravity and physics can be a little too much in these situations. My hill climbing dreams were crushed when I realized my TW could not take hills the same as my 4x4 SUV. Also, I was never able to get the bike the last few feet up the hill even by putting it in gear and walking up beside it- no go. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.



Dave


Thanks Dave. A little discouraging, but honest. Yeah I'm almost wondering whether I should bite the bullet and get a Rokon or an ATV. Somehow I think it's gotta be doable with the TW. I guess one answer is just KEEP GOING but I'm talking about deep, rutted, steep single track with overhanging trees, rocks, roots, etc. Pretty crazy. So far I've been able to turn it around every time by myself but I'd *really* like to be able just keep crawling uphill and, if necessary, stop on a hill and get going again.



I had a DRZ 400 and thought the seat height was the issue - that's true to an extent. I can keep my feet down and keep some weight on the back tire, and that helps some.



Did you try deflating the tires some? I was also thinking a serious dirt tire on the back might help quite a bit. But I don't want to sink tons of $ into this thing and then still not be able to get up those steep hills.



I think I know the answer ... learn how to ride and don't be a wimp. But this is pretty crazy!



Steve
 

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Thanks Dave. A little discouraging, but honest. Yeah I'm almost wondering whether I should bite the bullet and get a Rokon or an ATV. Somehow I think it's gotta be doable with the TW. I guess one answer is just KEEP GOING but I'm talking about deep, rutted, steep single track with overhanging trees, rocks, roots, etc. Pretty crazy. So far I've been able to turn it around every time by myself but I'd *really* like to be able just keep crawling uphill and, if necessary, stop on a hill and get going again.



I had a DRZ 400 and thought the seat height was the issue - that's true to an extent. I can keep my feet down and keep some weight on the back tire, and that helps some.



Did you try deflating the tires some? I was also thinking a serious dirt tire on the back might help quite a bit. But I don't want to sink tons of $ into this thing and then still not be able to get up those steep hills.



I think I know the answer ... learn how to ride and don't be a wimp. But this is pretty crazy!



Steve


I liked the idea of a Rokon but it would find only limited use on my property and I have none of the time I used to have to create and maintain trails. Much easier for me to hit the country roads where I live and not have to worry about keeping them cleared before I can ride them. To answer your question, yes it does help traction to air down, but my main solution was to get a fast start at the bottom to have enough rolling momentum to clear the top. Go watch some hillclimbing events on youtube and you will see that all the power in the world will just spin the rear tire and stick you on the hill when you lose enough momentum. Very educational. Rokon if you can truly justify it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht3DMDx1spo Suicide hillclimb video.



Dave
 

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What you guys are talking is a combination of technique and traction. If you are spinning out the rear wheel, a larger sprocket will only make matters worse. Essentially, you are over balancing the traction:power ratio (more power than traction). If you are stalling out then you have more traction than power and the sprocket idea is savvy.



Not knowing how steep of an incline or the makeup of the soil you are climbing, it seems to me that you need a tire better suited for your objective. Sadly, this also means you will have to give up something like smooth track ride-ability. The more aggressive the tread, the rougher it will be, even to the point of unridable in the case of paddle tires.



I will add though that putting more weight to the rear of the bike will likely not end well in the case of looping it over backwards. "Kiss the front fender" is the desired riding position.



Lets talk what you can do. Let some air out of the rear is an option but no too much as you don't want to debead the tire. Longer run with more speed and let inertia do the rest. Pick a tire that gives you ballance of traction for your chosen terrain. Above all, keep trying and wear your gear!



As a rule, bikes can climb steeper angles than ATVs due to the ability to put more of rider's weight up front in relation to the overall balance of the machine. Google "big nasty hill climb" and look at rider position. There is even an un-modified class that will show you this.
 

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Its been my experience on the venerable TW that momentum is the key on long steep hills, as you don't have the torque reserve of a larger engine. If you have sufficient room to take a run at it, that can work. However, having said that, I have crept up some pretty long and loose hills in low gear. A recurring problem I have is trying to shift down from 2nd to 1st without sticking in neutral. Once that happens...flameout. Go back down and hit it again.
 

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I'd keep the gearing the same (at least for now) and get a more aggressive tire. Should help with traction. That and some momentum. I've had a similar problem with my rear tire spinning-out on me going up long rocky up-hill sections. I have the stock rear tire and when it gets closer to being worn-out I plan on putting something more aggressive out-back.



Good luck!



--Kevin
 

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We must be talking pretty steep and loose. This kind of terrain I have tried to avoid for a few years now. My experience with trying and watching is, if you have to stop on a hill, it is very hard with 'most' any machine to attempt a re-start. As well, like Dave said, getting the bike back to facing down hill may end up getting your face implanted with some of that down hill.



When I was a kid on my Honda (street) pushrod 90 I use to enjoy trying some of the hills that the guys on their Greeves and Bultacos would climb with some effort and lots of skill. Strangely I made it or got higher than most expected. For me what seemed to help, is that I would always 'tickle' the throttle. It was seldom held wide open for more than a moment and I never closed it down. Even with the street tires, I just kept going. Generally however the dirt was pretty hard packed.



An odd, yet easy option that has helped me in mud and snow has been cable chains. The weight is pretty minimal as is the carry box. If I expect challenging (for me) conditions, I carry a full set and install them (quickly) trailside. They have helped alot, though admittedly a bit on the fringe. Gerry



 

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We must be talking pretty steep and loose. This kind of terrain I have tried to avoid for a few years now. My experience with trying and watching is, if you have to stop on a hill, it is very hard with 'most' any machine to attempt a re-start. As well, like Dave said, getting the bike back to facing down hill may end up getting your face implanted with some of that down hill.



When I was a kid on my Honda (street) pushrod 90 I use to enjoy trying some of the hills that the guys on their Greeves and Bultacos would climb with some effort and lots of skill. Strangely I made it or got higher than most expected. For me what seemed to help, is that I would always 'tickle' the throttle. It was seldom held wide open for more than a moment and I never closed it down. Even with the street tires, I just kept going. Generally however the dirt was pretty hard packed.



An odd, yet easy option that has helped me in mud and snow has been cable chains. The weight is pretty minimal as is the carry box. If I expect challenging (for me) conditions, I carry a full set and install them (quickly) trailside. They have helped alot, though admittedly a bit on the fringe. Gerry





Wow, I've never thought "Chains" on the motorcycle tires.

Looks great.
 

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AlaskaTdub is right on track. With the exception of soft dirt, sand, or very loose rocks while going uphill, if I otherwise loose momentum...I shouldn't be attempting it. I have always found it easier to go uphill than down. Nowday's part of my uphill rationalization is...how will I get back down without the UH OH factor!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I like the chains idea. Any suggestions on a good set of tires? Can be dirt only. I know there are tons of threads on them but seems like they are mostly about mounting ATV tires? I am considering a 26x8 ATV tire as well.



Funny but I don't have huge issues getting downhill? I can go down basically as slow as I want, the bike seems to stop fine. But uphill I just get hosed if I slow down too much, and there are lots of places where I feel like I really need to slow down.



I think the gear might help. One issue is that with these hills I feel like I need to keep the engine revved up enough, and that often means I'm going faster than I want to just to keep the engine speed up. Slowing down a substantial amount may help. I was even considering raising the idle a few RPM and hopefully getting to the point where, if I need to, I can just dismount, walk next to the bike, and clutch it up the hill.



Honestly I'm fine with two-footing it and crawling up the hill, if I can get to that point. I'm tall enough that it's pretty easy to keep the bike from tipping over. It's keeping the bike moving forward that is causing me problems.
 

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I live in an area where chains are used infrequently but are often purchased to go skiing and end up in a thrift store after one use. I will let others that may remember the size (s) chime in. I have bought so many as to forget the specific size. If you can get them cheap/used, buy two of the same style and modify them with aluminium crimps. If you just want one on the rear, a set gets you two so you are then able to mod. Good luck. Gerry
 

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I am going to go out on a limb and say the #1 factor that limits your ability to climb a hill or get restarted is confidence.

If you belive that you can make it you will keep your momentum up, stay on the throttle, keep your feet on the pegs and avoid the obstacles. As

soon as you lose confidence all the bad stuff starts happening, lost momentum, hitting every rock and getting stuck.

Every one who has ridden the same hill multible times knows how easy it gets. The hill didn't change and the bike didn't

change. Now if I could only maintain my own confidence I would be awesome.



Brad
 

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As with many, if not all things in life. If you want it to happen, a commitment is needed. Anything less than a 100% strongly suggests (my opinion) that you are willing to waste time and money and I have done both many times.



In my opinion, you always want to be clear about your objective. Getting halfway up a hill, gets you 'nowhere'. At my age, I can recall climbing many a steep hill that offered nothing more than a top. Now when I see 'such' a climb I weigh the adrenaline rush against the recovery period I might require should something go wrong.



As Brad suggests, should you 'think' Go-for-it, it makes the most sense to me to give it all you've got, otherwise...............



Have fun, stay safe. Gerry
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well I do think that time on the bike is probably going to be worth a lot more than chains/tires/gears/lower inflation, anything else I could really do to the bike. I'm sure a good MX'er could get up most of these hills on a Harley.



I don't know about just cannonballing up a hill when I'm alone in the woods. On the other hand, there are places I want to go with the bike. So I guess the real answer is try some mods, keep riding, and gain confidence. I am thankful for everyone's comments, and I think that one step at a time I'll get up these hills.
 

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You should really get a riding buddy if you are going to be trying hills and things. I personally don't think anyone should ride alone on anything more difficult than a gravel road or riding around in a field. I guess if you are in a well traveled area where help is going to show up quickly

then it would be more acceptable.



Brad
 

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Love this topic!



I've gotten quite skilled with the hill climbs with Tdub in our local desert here. I've never attempted to run the tire chains in the summer months, as I didn't want to chop them up too much. Winter though, chains rock!!



I've recently replaced my rear with another OEM, due to the hassel of dealing with mounting (and potentially dismounting in the field) with an ATV tire. I agree with most of which was already stated here and would really agree with a few points, others have made.



#1 Committment is key. One can not truly endure the thrill of a hill climb if their mind is not all there. For me, it may take a failure to muster up the craving of conquering such a climb. Failure is good, it teaches lessons, hones skill and gives scares (both mental and physical) to remember the lessons!



#2 Skill and Patience. Learning anything obviously requires patience and with patience comes an understanding of one's confidence - after limits are learned. For my personal technique, I also tickle the throttle, like Gerry mentioned. It works very well if you pay very close attention to wheel spin. As soon as I notice the wheel slipping, I lessen the throttle. If the bike begins to slow down I increase the throttle a hair. Sort of like playing traction control with your wrist. I also find that sliding your butt back and forth in conjunction with the throttle change helps to maximize tranction on the rear. CAUTION: Always keep your head leaning forward, generally over the tank - especially while your butt is near the passenger area. As you may know, the further rear you go, the easier Mr. Front Tire likes to leap




I've nearly encountered every mishap with TW and hill climbing. Flip overs, side slides and plenty of do-overs. I'm certainly not an expert or not near one actually and there are MANY hills I've left unconquered. I am not afraid to quit. I believe this is important too. Knowing your limits is knowing what to take on and what not to.



#3 Pay Attention to your limits and intuitions. That little voice in your head telling your that this hill might hurt you, is an excellent sign. Listen to it! My intuition is alway chatting and it is often hard to keep from hitting mute.



Ok enough of my playful rant here. Time to go rip up that fat rear tire




too bad I'm at work now :/

-Adam



P.S. I believe the chain size range would include around a 185/70/14, - anywhere around this variance should fit fine.
 

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#1 Committment is key. One can not truly endure the thrill of a hill climb if their mind is not all there. For me, it may take a failure to muster up the craving of conquering such a climb. Failure is good, it teaches lessons, hones skill and gives scares (both mental and physical) to remember the lessons!


I have always found this to be the biggest barrier to riders getting up the gnarliest hills. The second you second guess yourself on your route or let off the throttle to look around you're lost, and you really need to keep the in it the whole way up.
 

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Heading into the woods alone for a day of adventure is certainly not the best of ideas, I agree. I have gone on many a lengthy adventure alone and all went well. Preperation and planning helps alot, but then there are no guarantees. My thought is, the most likely senario has you laying on the trail, in pain for a day and a half before help arrives. It certainly could be worse, and even at its near 'best' it will likely be a pain-in=the-ass (or pain somewhere).



The reason I post this is as a result of some irony. I have never been what anyone would call a 'health freak'. The really 'foolish' things I have made a point of avoiding, but then, I'll be damned...



Likely, every moment carries with it risks we can't possibly imagine.



Don't be foolish, access the risks and plan accordingly, but bad things can still happen to 'good' people. Gerry



 
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