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Thread: Sugar Sand

  1. #1
    Junior Member floridaboy's Avatar
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    Question Sugar Sand

    Today i was out riding and found a what looked like a nice trail. Not to far up the trail it turned in to deep sugar sand. I found my self having to fight the front end just to stay up. The front wheel was hard to control at any speed. It was so bad i turned around and rode back. What do you all think caused this problem?
    Ken, Smitty Blackstone and ejfranz like this.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Peterb's Avatar
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    Q.What do you all think caused this problem?

    A. The sand

  3. #3
    Senior Member Peterb's Avatar
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    Sorry I couldn't resist. Do you still have the stock front tire? If you do get a Shinko 241 or 244 or something like that. No matter what I find beach sand the hardest stuff to ride on. I try to shift my weight to the rear and stay on the gas. I don't know if it ever gets easy.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member JerseyJeeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by floridaboy View Post
    Today i was out riding and found a what looked like a nice trail. Not to far up the trail it turned in to deep sugar sand. I found my self having to fight the front end just to stay up. The front wheel was hard to control at any speed. It was so bad i turned around and rode back. What do you all think caused this problem?
    I'll try to provide a little advice while acknowledging that sand is my and many other people's nemesis.

    Heres a few pointers:

    GET Rid of the stock front tire!

    1. Do not let fear dictate your technique.
    2. Lower your tires air pressure.
    3. Sit back on the seat, get your weight off the front tire.
    3. Don't hold on so tight, let the bike "float around a bit" in the front (get past the fear).. it's the hardest parts.
    4. Find the right speed for the sand your in. It's usually faster than your going or think you should be going.
    5. When you feel your going to lose it.. goose the throttle the self correction that it causes is amazing.
    6. Don't look down, look out front as far as reasonable and pick a target, it helps big time.
    7. Practice practice practice. The most helpful thing is getting past the fear and holding on the bars way too tightly.
    8. Keep your weight on the pegs more than the seat. Lower center of gravity is much better.
    9. If your in a vehicles single track and start to drift out use the weight on the pegs to help correct your direction.

    Thats my method but if I don't ride in a while I have to stop and think... sand riding takes experience, technique and a fearless rider.

  6. #5
    Junior Member floridaboy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. This is a new bike with the stock tires. I am new to this off road riding and don't know that much about it. Also i am not as young as i once was now 75. I think i will avoid the sugar sand for now. Thanks again for the help. A lot to think about.

  7. #6
    Senior Member JerseyJeeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by floridaboy View Post
    Thanks for the info. This is a new bike with the stock tires. I am new to this off road riding and don't know that much about it. Also i am not as young as i once was now 75. I think i will avoid the sugar sand for now. Thanks again for the help. A lot to think about.

    I have to congratulate you for getting out there. I didn't like sand when I was 11. I'm over 50 now and I still don't like it, and I'm sure I won't like it when I'm 75 if I'm still kicking. Take it easy, plenty of trails without sand, well In Florida it's probably as bad as it is in the pine barrrens where I'm at but I find them often enough.

  8. #7
    rbm
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    Senior Member rbm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyJeeper View Post
    I'll try to provide a little advice while acknowledging that sand is my and many other people's nemesis.

    Heres a few pointers:

    GET Rid of the stock front tire!

    1. Do not let fear dictate your technique.
    2. Lower your tires air pressure.
    3. Sit back on the seat, get your weight off the front tire.
    3. Don't hold on so tight, let the bike "float around a bit" in the front (get past the fear).. it's the hardest parts.
    4. Find the right speed for the sand your in. It's usually faster than your going or think you should be going.
    5. When you feel your going to lose it.. goose the throttle the self correction that it causes is amazing.
    6. Don't look down, look out front as far as reasonable and pick a target, it helps big time.
    7. Practice practice practice. The most helpful thing is getting past the fear and holding on the bars way too tightly.
    8. Keep your weight on the pegs more than the seat. Lower center of gravity is much better.
    9. If your in a vehicles single track and start to drift out use the weight on the pegs to help correct your direction.

    Thats my method but if I don't ride in a while I have to stop and think... sand riding takes experience, technique and a fearless rider.
    Excellent advice! I need to remember this ahead of time... I usually think about it after it's too late...

  9. #8
    Senior Member Mattwings's Avatar
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    TWs seem to prefer a bit slower pace in the sand than most two wheeled off road bikes. In the past, I have used the throttle fo keep the front end light. TW seems to like to get to a neutral float, as mentioned before, find what the bike wants.
    2002 TW200
    1998 DR350
    1996 KDX 200
    Riding in and around the great state of Michigan (usually)

  10. #9
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by floridaboy View Post
    Today i was out riding and found a what looked like a nice trail. Not to far up the trail it turned in to deep sugar sand. I found my self having to fight the front end just to stay up. The front wheel was hard to control at any speed. It was so bad i turned around and rode back. What do you all think caused this problem?
    The sand. But why exactly does deep sand cause the front to want to tuck left or right? It has to do with how trail works on motorcycles. Trail is defined as the distance between where the extended centerline of the forks would touch the ground and where the center of the tire contact patch is on the ground. Normally, the extended centerline of the forks is about 2 inches ahead of the contact patch. It acts like the castoring wheels on a grocery cart. If you want to turn the cart, you have to apply a force to the handle. If you let go, the cart tends to straighten out.
    In deep sand, a berm builds up in front of the front tire until the contact patch is actually in front of the extended centerline of the forks. Now the front wheel wants to turn even further, and if not muscled back straight, will go all the way to lock and dump you in the sand! There are two ways to deal with this: On more powerful bikes, aggressive throttle application and sitting back will loft the front tire up on top of the sand so only a little berm forms. On less powerful bikes like ours, you can actually steer left and right very rapidly around that berm, minimizing its effect on your steering. At about at the 1:36 point in this video, you can see the technique:


    It works, but it is very tiring in deep sand. The less the sand depth, the less back and forth movement you need. I have found that more than about 1/2 mile in 6 inch deep sugar sand is too much for me, but in 3 inch deep sand I can go on for several miles.
    Try it out!
    Rocky
    2010 TW200
    2014 BMW R1200GS LC

  11. #10
    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    I am no expert riding on or in sugar sand. At least on 2 wheels. One moment you are riding in dirt, leaves or gravel and just around the corner is sand so fine you'd think it was silica.
    Your description is exactly my experience the one time I rode in fine sand, even with the air pressure low which did help at bit, It was very difficult to control the bike without it going spastic. That was with the original stock front wheel. I've since changed to the Shinko Trials tire and look forward to trying it out under the same conditions again.


    One moment you're Steve McQueen...
    IMG_5678.jpg


    ... the next you're Elmer Fudd. At least no "ouch" into sugar sand.
    IMG_5711.JPG
    Last edited by stagewex; 04-13-2017 at 08:39 AM.

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