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Hi guys, I purchased my 900 classic in January, just got my license a few weeks ago. My first bike, and I really enjoy it. Now we just purchased an acreage out of town about 2 km (1.6 miles) off the pavement. How tricky do you think it will be to ride the short distance to and from on the 900 on the gravel road? Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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I don't like riding on gravel but I have. I don't like the squirmyness of it depending on how loose the gravel is. my limited advise, try and stay on the crown of the road if possible and relax your grip slightly letting the tire steer thru the gravel instead if forcing the path, and avoid sudden decal and accelerations.
 

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Depends on how thick the gravel is. Most gravel roads I have been on are a bit worn leaving flat spots on each side of the road. Usually this is the best place to travel as it is where the least amount of gravel is. I've seen some gravel roads which are packed so hard there that you have no problem riding on them. The main thing I don't like about gravel roads is that you do wind up kicking rocks up which can easily chip the paint on the bike. Leave dents too if they are big enough.
 

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If you're going to travel it twice a day, you'll figure out the firmer routes and soon be traveling that without thinking about it. To someone else, you'll look like you're drunk, but finding the squirrely areas vs the firm areas, you'll soon start remembering where on the road you are and where the better passes are.
My 900 has probably seen more dirt roads and "trails" than some dual sport bikes! Not always by choice, but I even think I've seen the places they film the "messing with Sasquatch" commercials!
 

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As said above, ride slow until you are more comfortable. Watch the amount or condition of the gravel.....
And be ready to have the gravel from your bike or a car you meet ping the your bike.......
Also helmet or helmetless, get ready to learn to breath through dust....
 

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i do about 1/2 mile on gravel driveway evertime i leave the house - start slow and you'll be fine. I'm generally running low rpms in 2nd gear, and pretty much stay in the existing tire tracks which are packed tight. I also have to watch out for deer and neighbors who think its a highway
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks

Thanks for the advice. I was kind of worried about this but slow and easy it will be. Just couldn't pass up on this deal for the acreage.
 

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You'll get a feel for it quickly. Take it really easy on the front brake for a while off pavement, as it won't take much pressure to lock the front wheel and put you on your face. Once you get used to it, you'll get a better feel for using the front brake to help slow down. Avoid sudden throttle changes, on or off. If you are moving along pretty good and chop the throttle, the weight comes forward, and can cause the front wheel to dig in, possibly ending with the front end washing out.

Really, though, my big concerns if I were going to be riding a cruiser on a non-paved road would be keeping my feet well clear of the floorboards if things start to go bad, and watching the belt. Rocks can cause problems for belts, so I would check mine often, especially if I heard or felt anything weird.

Clinton Smout gives some great explanations, even if it's geared towards a different type of motorcycle:

 

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It can be squirmy and unnerving but as stated earlier take it slow and easy.
 

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All of the previously posted advice, plus avoid sudden changes of direction. I've never enjoyed riding road bikes on gravel roads especially where the gravel is new and with a thick layer, but obviously sometimes one has to do it.
 

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Keep the front wheel as straight ahead as possible. Turn it too far even stopped and she might slide and lay you down. Bottom line pay attention, and, don't get in a hurry.
Good Luck.
 

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Hi

My bit of advice is to keep the gears low.

So if the bike should be in second gear I will have it in third gear and let it labour.
I call it soft power, because if you jerk the throttle you wont have a burst of power and then lose control of the bike.

I do this on gravel and dirt roads as I have seen a mate who was in the correct gear and he jerk the handlebars a bit and twisted the throttle and lost the bike cause it took off under power, as I wouldnt do it because mine is labouring.

Lots of people will pick on this but it works for me
 

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On gravel, basic rules,
Always be looking ahead to plan your route to avoid dodgy areas, ridges, holes etc.
Slow to moderate speeds, fast enough to maintain control, slow enough to not get in a jam. Let your momentum carry you through.
Never use front brake, gravel acts a lot like marbles, lock up the front wheel and you're going down.
Light usage of rear brake.
Avoid quick changes of direction or speed.

You need to understand that you're on a Cruiser, not a dirt bike. You don't have knobby tires to grab in and bite but rather banana skins that will slide and roll on gravel.
I've done many miles on gravel, all unplanned. But have survived without a tumble by following the rules above.
 
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