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Author Topic: Riding on deep sand roads  (Read 4472 times)

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Offline KoalaCee

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Riding on deep sand roads
« on: October 10, 2015, 07:01:50 pm »
Hey all!
I just finished a visit to Kubu island in Botswana. While it is beautiful, Im sure I would have enjoyed it more if I didn't spend the day eating sand on the roads. I've been given lots of tips for riding in sand but they don't seem to work on deep sand roads. I get some speed up and the front end betrays me, pushing over the centre or off the road, I go too slow and I can barely get traction and end up paddling aimlessly around. The ride out today took everything I had, having used up my water supply on what should have been a short trip. I thought forcing myself to ride sand would improve skill and confidence but it just keeps getting worse.
Any advice? I will also accept others telling me how much they fall in order to make me feel better!
 

Offline Draadwerk

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2015, 07:12:45 pm »
Sand is an unpredictable monster. We all fall in sand. Look up and keep on the throttle and hope for the best. That is about all that might work IMHO
 

Offline Geel Kat

Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2015, 07:34:02 pm »
Practice, practice, practice, then the light goes on, and then you fall again  :imaposer:
 

Online Noneking

Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2015, 07:34:54 pm »
Do Sabie Valley Rider Academy's annual "Sand Experience" in Kosi Bay. Most participants come back from that with a lot of skill and confidence.
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Offline subie

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2015, 08:06:56 pm »
Learn to walk before you try to run.
Don't just dive in and ride heavy sanded roads. Plan your next trip on lightly
sanded roads ,get the feel for what speed your bike runs on top of the sand and not just ploughing through.
Nice long days in the saddle on lightly sanded roads at good speeds  and build up from there.
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Offline Oubones

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2015, 08:16:39 pm »
Hehe, get a tw :peepwall:
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Offline aka.Goliath

Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2015, 12:06:44 am »
I must say the first day of Amageza last year was a real learning curve for myself. I had ridden sand before but nothing I rode before quite prepared me for that sand and dunes. I still remember stopping at some point during the special and chatting (read: finding an excuse to stop and recover) to one of the other riders who said straight out 'I have never ridden sand before today' 'We don't have sand in Gauteng'. Well I stood there a bit slack-jawed for a few moments but realized I was pretty much the same. You quickly learn that you need to be moving it if you don't want to be fighting it all the time. You then also realize why you stand while riding sand - I would let the bike, using its momentum, to flick around in the sand underneath me but accelerating to keep it continuing to go straight (unless you decelerate then you're screwed). I knew I had to keep it over 60-70kph to ride on top of the sand best was close to 100kph but then there were those gates that come on quick :o . Once you get that... you will cruise. Every gate we came across (there were a lot) I would accelerate into it and right at the last possible moment drop anchors on the back only and lean back. Stopping right in front of the gate without kakking off on the way in. I remember saying to myself - Lean back, Look up and Accelerate. Perhaps some advise from an amateur rider.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2015, 12:08:58 am by aka.Goliath »
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Offline Jors Troelie

Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2015, 06:32:13 am »
I must say the first day of Amageza last year was a real learning curve for myself. I had ridden sand before but nothing I rode before quite prepared me for that sand and dunes. I still remember stopping at some point during the special and chatting (read: finding an excuse to stop and recover) to one of the other riders who said straight out 'I have never ridden sand before today' 'We don't have sand in Gauteng'. Well I stood there a bit slack-jawed for a few moments but realized I was pretty much the same. You quickly learn that you need to be moving it if you don't want to be fighting it all the time. You then also realize why you stand while riding sand - I would let the bike, using its momentum, to flick around in the sand underneath me but accelerating to keep it continuing to go straight (unless you decelerate then you're screwed). I knew I had to keep it over 60-70kph to ride on top of the sand best was close to 100kph but then there were those gates that come on quick :o . Once you get that... you will cruise. Every gate we came across (there were a lot) I would accelerate into it and right at the last possible moment drop anchors on the back only and lean back. Stopping right in front of the gate without kakking off on the way in. I remember saying to myself - Lean back, Look up and Accelerate. Perhaps some advise from an amateur rider.

..... and deflate the tyres. One often forgets to lean back, it helps a lot to lift the front wheel.
 

Offline KoalaCee

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2015, 06:42:10 am »
Thanks for the responses guys. I'll keep plugging away at it and maybe by the time I get to North Africa, I'll be a little less shy of sand!
 

Offline DirtyHarry

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2015, 07:03:34 am »
What they said.
Sand can only get mastered with an open throttle. The moment you close that throttle your front digs in and you will go down. Don't solely use the handle bars to steer the bike, rather shift your weight on the bike. Look further ahead and don't start countersteering every little wobble. Your bike will find the best way through without much countersteering.
If you fear you might go down, you will.

I've made my 1150GS go through deep sand but it's a lot of work with a heavy bike.
On a lighter bike it comes almost naturally.
 

Offline subie

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2015, 08:27:00 am »
What they said.
Sand can only get mastered with an open throttle. The moment you close that throttle your front digs in and you will go down. Don't solely use the handle bars to steer the bike, rather shift your weight on the bike. Look further ahead and don't start countersteering every little wobble. Your bike will find the best way through without much countersteering.
If you fear you might go down, you will.

I've made my 1150GS go through deep sand but it's a lot of work with a heavy bike.
On a lighter bike it comes almost naturally.

Well said  :thumleft:
One thing , we never hear from the real heavy sand riders on threads like this.
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Offline DirtyHarry

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2015, 09:18:00 am »
What they said.
Sand can only get mastered with an open throttle. The moment you close that throttle your front digs in and you will go down. Don't solely use the handle bars to steer the bike, rather shift your weight on the bike. Look further ahead and don't start countersteering every little wobble. Your bike will find the best way through without much countersteering.
If you fear you might go down, you will.
I've made my 1150GS go through deep sand but it's a lot of work with a heavy bike.
On a lighter bike it comes almost naturally.
Well said  :thumleft:
One thing , we never hear from the real heavy sand riders on threads like this.
Because there is not much to it if you know how  :biggrin:
 

Offline Rough Rider

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2015, 10:08:35 am »
Riding in sand is actually pretty easy, the same basic principles apply as with any other surface.

A rider with poor technique just gets caught out quicker in the sand. So having said that it is just a mind fuck and once you get over that you will be fine, like learning to ride a bicycle.

If you find yourself spinning the wheel and going nowhere change up to the next gear or tap off a little till you get traction. It is like doing a burnout, the bike will just stay on the spot until you tap off and let the tire bite.

Looking as far forward as possible is important on any surface but more so on sand, especially for a rider who is scared of the sand.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2015, 10:30:18 am by Rough Rider »
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Online Bensien

Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2015, 10:29:17 am »
Also make sure you have a rear tyre with plenty of bite and if you have an oversize tank, don’t fill it to the brim unless you want to make a fool of yourself. Speaking from experience.
Why do things that only happen to stupid people always happen to me?
 

Offline Rough Rider

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2015, 10:40:55 am »
Sand is an unpredictable monster. We all fall in sand. Look up and keep on the throttle and hope for the best. That is about all that might work IMHO

I don't really agree with sand being unpredictable, I find it to be a pretty predictable surface, which actually offers a lot of traction. You can corner faster on sand than almost any other surface apart from tar.   
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Offline Sláinte Mhaith

Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2015, 11:13:57 am »
One thing , we never hear from the real heavy sand riders on threads like this.
Because there is not much to it if you know how  :biggrin:

Those sand riders know what to do but I think they have forgotten the steps to get there.

Pick a speed and try to maintain it. Always above 60kph for my bike. You will automatically open the throttle the right amount.

Most important thing for me is to loosen up and not try steer. Rather lift those elbows and let the handlebar do what it wants to and push the bike from side to side (with both arms and feet) to get it to change direction.
 

Offline Draadwerk

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2015, 05:39:56 pm »
Sand is an unpredictable monster. We all fall in sand. Look up and keep on the throttle and hope for the best. That is about all that might work IMHO

I don't really agree with sand being unpredictable, I find it to be a pretty predictable surface, which actually offers a lot of traction. You can corner faster on sand than almost any other surface apart from tar. 

Clearly you made this statement with your own riding ability in mind. Obviously the OP, and I for that matter are not nearly experienced sand riders. We ride Mozambique two up, fully loaded, and on a heavy 1200, quite often.

Sand is always unpredictable and the moment you think otherwise and think you have conquered the bitch, she will bite you.
 

Offline subie

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2015, 05:52:19 pm »
Ek ervaar sand ook maar so. Ek wonder ook maar voor n trip of ek gaan val of nie as daar sand betrokke is.
Terwyl ek ry is daar geen bekommernis maar slaat so af en toe onverwags neer  :spitcoffee:
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Offline MissM

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Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2015, 06:20:55 pm »
Sand is a predictably unpredictable lady. I absolutely love it and the thicker the better.

The best advice given here so far has been not to countersteer. The bike knows where to go and the second you try and fight it you will lose it. Regardless how thick, get into second, stand up and keep a steady hand on the throttle. Speed is definitely your friend - fear is not. I find that the sand knows when you are scared and throws you off.
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Offline Geel Kat

Re: Riding on deep sand roads
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2015, 06:24:05 pm »
So riding sand sitting down is not going to work?