Author Topic: My First Hard Core Dual Sport Ride  (Read 312 times)

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Offline ronjr009

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My First Hard Core Dual Sport Ride
on: April 24, 2020, 09:33:30 PM
I recently put a Rally Raid Level 1 fork kit on my 2013 X wanting to feel like I had a real adventure bike and that I was ready for some serious riding.  I've already done many fire roads and even some rutted fire roads but nothing could have prepared me for today's adventure.  I told my riding buddy that I wanted to go dual sport riding with him (He has a 2014 Triumph Tiger 800).  He picked some roads on his dualsport map near Newport Tennessee just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park that included riding the famed "Rocky Top".  The roads he picked were rated as generally easy to moderate under normal conditions.  However... with recent rains... They were a nasty, rutted, muddy mess.  Once we started hitting the roads and he realized how bad they were, he suggested that we could turn around and go back.  That would have been the smart thing to do of course.  But not wanting to disappoint him and pondering the tantalizing intrigue of doing some "REAL" dual sport riding and not just bopping down some gravel road, I decide to do the "Dumb" thing and pushed on.  We hit parallel ruts, 90 degree ruts, ruts of all shapes and sizes, Multiple ruts side by side way to big and deep for my X with muddly slick crowns, rocks, rocks, and more rocks, downed trees, partial road collapse with mudslides,  and lots of oh so slick mud that was slicker than firesnot (not to mention... a couple of angry dogs).  My tires are half worn Avon Trailriders.  Honestly... I like the Trailriders.  They are a pretty decent tire on gravel roads compared to Pilot Trails at least.  However, the Trailriders were not up to the task for these conditions.  My buddy was sporting a new set of Shinko 705's but even they may not have been the best choice if we had known what we were hitting today.  I wished I'd had some TKC 80's or maybe a set of Shinko 805's as I sure could have used them.  But as they say... you've got what you got and I was going to have press on with the half worn TR's.  I did have a few things in my favor...  As a physical education teacher, I am a kinesthetic learner and that was extremely helpful in feeling what the bike was doing so I could counterbalance and adjust throttle inputs when the back was starting to get out of shape or break loose.  Secondly, my buddy is an experienced dirt bike and dual sport rider and the tips he provided proved to be helpful on more than one occasion. Thirdly...  I can't thank Jim Martin of Adventure Rider Radio enough...  His podcast that covers all topics related to ADV and Dual sport travel includes some excellent programs covering dual sport riding skills from a Canadian gentleman named Clinton Smout.  I have listened to most if not all of Clinton's talks on ARR and have learned so much from listening to him.  It was amazing how things started to click as soon as I would experience something that he had talked about during an episode.  Things like peg weighting, relaxed grip when crossing gravel crowns, and keeping your head up and your eyes looking where you want to go are some of those golden nuggets that kept me from dropping the X today on this particular adventure.  Truth be told...  I could have very easily came home having dropped the bike 4-5 times, extremely muddied, with a bruised and battered ego possibly not wanting to try this type of riding again.  As luck would have it, though, I managed to keep the bike up every time. Was I in over my head?  100 percent yes as I was not ready for a ride quite this technical either in terms of my knowledge, experience, and tires that I would call inadequate for the task.  Was it the best ride of my life?  Absolutely 100 percent yes!  It was a real adventure and both the bike and myself looked the part once finishing as judging from the mud that was caked up in crevices I didn't even know existed on the little cb 500x.  I learned a lot and gained a lot of confidence and some experience that will serve me well down the road.  I also learned that education and training are very important and I could certainly use  more of it in the form of some formal training.  As much fun as I had, I was humbled by the fact that I could have easily went down multiple times and was lucky I didn't.  I will also say that the little 500 is a decent little dual sport if ridden within its limits.  I've traveled from Tennessee to California on this bike and always wondered what it would be like to take some roads off the beaten path.  While I did take some on that trip,  I know that this bike is certainly capable of doing some nice little treks off the beaten path provided the bike is setup properly with a rider who's had some training.  The Honda CB 500 X is a great little platform for the Rally Raid Kit and the 2019 bikes onward have the 19 inch front wheel and just a little more ground clearance making them a little better still.  And of course... that 471 Parallel twin is an absolute gem that provides ample real world power that is equally at home on the interstate or banging your way up to Good Ol' Rocky Top!  Could not have been more pleased with my day of Social Distancing!  Motorcycles are amazing machines that are the best medicine for the soul.  Happy Riding Ya'll!!!
Last Edit: April 24, 2020, 09:52:14 PM by ronjr009
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Online Swanny

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Re: My First Hard Core Dual Sport Ride
Reply #1 on: April 24, 2020, 11:56:01 PM
Great medicine for the soul  :821:
Life... It's Just a Ride  :305:

Offline ewryly

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Re: My First Hard Core Dual Sport Ride
Reply #2 on: April 25, 2020, 12:51:01 AM
Now you just need to add a camera to your setup so we can all live your adventures in video. Sounds like a great ride!