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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I ride a Honda GL1100 and am awaiting an August 2006 FJR. I live in Iowa, so have to travel a ways to find interesting riding in Wisconsin, Arkansas or mountain states. When I look at the road map of Colorado, Wyoming, N. Mexico, I see lots of roads that turn into broken dashes, meaning gravel or fire roads. I have NO interest in offroad riding with the FJR, but would like to ride some of these gravel and fire roads. I also expect to find more sand and gravel on paved roads in the mountain states. Am I nuts to try to ride the FJR on gravel or fire roads? Is there a tire for the FJR that would give me good street performance, but would handle gravel or fire roads reasonably well? Am I better off riding a V-strom or some other bike for a mix of pavement and gravel? I have lots of gravel driving experience in cars and used to ride a BMW R60/6 short distances on gravel in Iowa in the 1970s. Advice from more experienced riders is greatly appreciated.
 

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Its suprising how stable the FJR is on gravel. I had to do it on Sunday and it felt very comfortable (at about 10mph....)
 

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I did a lot of dirt back in years of yonder. I have riden my FJR on gravel only once, for about a mile, I wont do it again unless I absolutely have to. I personally would not recommend it--don't forget about the radiator!! unless you have a guard you will increase your odds of damaging it when on gravel. I think your idea about the vstrom is prolly the better choice for what you have in mind--IMHO
 

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I did a 20 mile stretch of gravel in Idaho 2 years ago. It was not too hard up to 25mph but its not something I would look forward to. The V-strom would definitely be my pick if I knew I was going to do any fire roads.
The back end of the FJR will really start to wobble if you get up above 25. Having said that there is a difference between a gravel road and a hard packed dirt road. If the road is hard packed the FJR would do better but it would still be much easier on the V strom.

As it turns out we have a board member here that goes by Amain. He's had 2 FJR and now a V Strom. Oh, he also happens to live in Des Moines.

Look him up for some good advice.

Glenn
 

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For a bike of its weight, the FJR handles gravel roads exceptionally well. If the gravel is loose, it gets much more challenging... but the high bars and low pegs let you get the CG low.

I've put hundreds of gravel miles on ST bikes. The paint at the chin fairing gets a few nicks, but no troubles with radiators.

IMHO, 10mph is way too slow. That makes it tough. You need to get a little momentum, weight on the pegs and loosen your hands. Then you'll find the FJR takes it in stride quite well.


:)
 

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I think my dealer rode his 04 FJR all the way to Alaska. It'll do dirt, but if dirt/gravel riding is going to be a steady part of your motorcycle diet, you're wise to be looking at the V-Strom, BMW GS, KTM Adventure, etc.
 

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Gravel roads

Vermont has more unpaved roads than paved. I ride them all the time on my 05. Gravel and loose dirt is just not a good surface for anything without nobbys, IMO. Wet unpaved can be slicker than goose grease. Packed dirt is fine up to about 40 mph, but one must always keep in mind, "How do I stop the freaking thing if some AH in a car/truck is barreling my way riding the middle of the road?" Use some sensible caution, be aware of cornering and stopping; all should be OK.
 

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I don't mind riding on dirt or gravel too much, I've done many years of dirt bike riding, but the corrugations that you so often get on dirt roads will shake any road bike to pieces. For that reason, I will not take my FJR on a dirt road if I can possibly avoid it.
 

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Got your PM, but it's just as easy to answer you here in case anyone else is curious. I sold my FJR because I was intrigued by the dual-sports my friends have and after a shortcut through unpaved Arkansas with Liquid on our FJR's, I decided to get the DL1000. The DL is engineered for those fireroads you're hankering to ride, but it is way too heavy for anything more remote. In a nutshell, yes, you are nuts to ride the FJR on much gravel, especially when there are other choices that would make it so much more fun.

I live in WDM myself, and while my DL keeps me from having to detour around the unpaved parts of Iowa, when I want to specifically go out and ride some gravel (I don't do any MX stuff), my steed of choice is my 2001 DR650. Single cylinder, 21" front wheel, lots of travel in the suspension, and a Dynojet kit really turns it loose. I dropped a tooth off the front sprocket and it still does 90mph on the interstate! It is such a gas to ride around town that unless I'm going over 50 miles, I will probably take the DR instead of the DL. I've got less than $3500 in the DR and it only has 7000 miles on it. Gets 50+mpg too!

The DL is great for longer distances and hauling my camping gear. And since I dropped a tooth off the front sprocket of the DL, my Hyabusa and Speed Triple buds have to work a lot harder to leave me behind.

The FJR is unsurpassed at carrying your clothes for a multi-day ride on paved twisties at high speed, but ride something else when the road turns to dust and have a lot more fun doing it. 8)
 

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We end up on gravel from time to time - 2 up, sometimes fully loaded, and I've always felt confident in the bikes ability. Comes with exploring roads that seem to go nowhere on a map, and when you get there you find the map is right :mrgreen: Really loose steeply cambered corners are not fun, neither are corrugations. My biggest concern on gravel is stopping distance - heavy bike, 2-up, loose surface = :shock: :shock: I also worry about some farm-boy out in his ute 4-wheel drifting around a blind corner on my side of the road. Not my choice of ways to go.
 

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This is member Trainwreck, after we followed an uncharted gravel road.


It got interesting in spots, but most of it looked like this... hard pack.


Some of it was narrow, rutted two track... but there were spots on it where I was able to run 50 - 70 mph.

And once upon a time, all these FJRs made it up to my ranch, and the road was in particularly rough shape that weekend.


:)
 

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Yup. This is where good ole GPS led a group of us in Wales a couple of years ago.



Still, we did deal with the offending leader in suitable fashion.

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
New FJR arrived "early"

The new FJR that was supposed to arrive in August arrived at my dealership earlier this week--Iowa City Motorsports. Well prepped. I picked it up Friday afternoon and did break-in runs today alone and with local touring club. WOW!!!!! Only niggling complaints: definitely will need handlebar risers; clutch lever is either on or off; doesn't seem to be any in-between. Have to relearn low-speed maneuvering; too much turbulence with windshield up. All fixable. Found myself doing 100 mph on county road straightaway. Felt like doing 70 on my old GL1100. Man were those sweepers fun. How could I have ever doubted for a moment? My wife asked me this afternoon what I wanted for Fathers Day. I said its all taken care of.
 

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Try bleeding your clutch. That "on/off" business 's not how it's supposed to work. Mine has very nice, broad engagement range.
 

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Just had another rider on an FJR do the run to Deadhorse and back. The tires he ran were the Dunlops that come on the Buehl Ullyses. Said he liked the way they handled and they are the same size as the FJR stockers. I asked him to e-mail me when he got back to Georgia and let me know what kind of mileage he got outta the Dunlops. (he had them mounted in Anchorage just before he made the run to Deadhorse)
 

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I just returned from a trip from Colorado to Montana. I covered about 20 miles of packed and rutted dirt and gravel due to construction on Rt 93 between Salmon, ID and Kalispell, MT. It certainly wasn't fun, but it wasn't a big problem, either. I resisted an urge to hold the grips strongly and fight the gravel, but managed to relax and just slid a few inches side to side with the gravel. You don't want to focus directly in ahead of your front wheel, but to look ahead to plan your route.

Coming out of the eastern gate of Yellowstone National Park, there was about 7 miles of packed dirt, ruts and gravel due to road improvement. The road was two-way, with drop-offs on one side and oncoming traffic on the other. That, too, was annoying and tense, but doable.

Ron
 

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Ron said:
...Coming out of the eastern gate of Yellowstone National Park, there was about 7 miles of packed dirt, ruts and gravel due to road improvement. The road was two-way, with drop-offs on one side and oncoming traffic on the other. That, too, was annoying and tense, but doable.Ron
We hit that in the rain last Oct. Yes it was tense :eek:
 
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