Hi guys, I'm a newb around here. I found your website and I'm looking forward to becoming a member and riding with some good people. I've been riding for about 25 years but I haven't owned a dirt bike for the last 15. I recently bought a CRF230F for myself and a PW50 for my son's 4th birthday. I think that it would be a great way for us to spend some time together as he's growing up.
Last Monday I went to the Ocala Nat'l Forest to ride some trails. I started at the "Motorcycle Loop". It was my first time riding in sugar sand. I rode down the trail for about 5 minutes then turned around and headed back to the truck. How the heck do you ride a bike in that sand?! I was all over the place. My back tire was fish-tailing and my front tire was washing out at every turn. I was just fighting to keep the bike up the entire time.
I decided to try another trail so I went to the "Delancy West Loop" That was a little better at first but then the sand got so thick that I actually got stuck. I could barely keep the bike on the trail. I almost laid the bike down once when the front end washed out on me. I was just throwing alot of sand and barely moving in some areas.
What was I doing wrong? It's hard to believe that anyone can ride in that stuff. I've seen YouTube videos of people cruising through the trails with no problem. I was exhausted and left feeling a little defeated. Why am I having such a hard time?
Technique and tires. Maintain good speed and keep the front tire somewhat unloaded by transferring your weight towards the back of the bike. Accelerating also helps to transfer weight to the back. Slowing and corners are the difficult part. Just takes practice. Choose tires that are designed for mud & sand. Popular tires are Michelin S12 and Dunlop MX31. There are other options from Pirelli and IRC. The area you're riding in gets pretty trashed. A tagged (street legal) bike allows access to less traveled areas, but that won't help your son. Join RCDR, as we have private land for riding. And we also occasionally have rides in both forests that are targeted towards non-tagged bikes.
Post by dirtyrims on Sept 12, 2012 15:35:37 GMT -5
Man, I feel your pain. I have had the same experience at that loop. I know that it is difficult to find other places to ride because North Florida is underwater right now but the Ocala designated trail system is one tough place to ride. I would highly recommend joining the club and getting with others to find places and people to ride with to get your legs back.
Post by queenofslow on Sept 12, 2012 19:58:54 GMT -5
Your post brought to mind my own post of a couple of years ago, when I took my 230L (with stock Bridgestone tires) to Delancy on my lonesome. Halfway through the Tobacco Patch trail I had serious thoughts of calling to be helicoptered out. I ended up dog paddling for miles. Could not even leave the bike because the kickstand would sink and sink and sink in that fluff... a memorable ride indeed.
Riding in Ocala can be wonderful, BUT not on motorcycle trails. (Strange but true). And unfortunately, if you have a non-tagged bike there is very little else available to you in Ocala National Forest.
In Ocala there are two riding areas for non-tagged bikes: Delancey in the north and Wiregrass in the south. (BTW, you will need the green sticker on the bike). They have nice trailheads with plenty of parking. Go to the Ocala National Forest website and you can find them easily. (Note: they are open to tagged bikes as well). These two places require a fee which you can pay in a box at the trailhead. Bring unmarked small bills and a brown paper bag.
Both have well marked trails. Delancy has lots of them. Problem is- they are VERY sandy and very much used by 4-wheelers. Other problem is that they are 2-ways. Lots of blind corners where you may have a close encounter of the unpleasant type with a full-blast 4wheeler coming from the opposite direction. Or an equally determined motocrosser. On the net there is a bunch of videos attesting to the fact.
Since I am pathetic on sand (I mean... MORE pathetic than usual) I avoid these trails, unless a) it has rained a lot; b) I can get away in the middle of the week; c) I stick to the motorcycle-only loops (no 4 wheelers allowed).
Wiregrass has fewer miles of trails but they are nice- still very sandy though.
Don't feel bad about your lack of sand-riding skills. It takes practice and even then it is not a sure thing. There are places in Ocala NF with self-explanatory names like "Mundy's diaphragm", "Paul's ribs" etc.etc.
Because of the deep sand and the 4-wheeler traffic we end up avoiding the motorcycle trails and riding other marked trails in Ocala. A tagged bike is required, though.
With an untagged bike your best bets are Osceola (wonderful when it is as dry as it was this spring- but flooded right now) and the Lease (also flooded right now but otherwise LOTS of fun.
For practice you may try Lake City Motorsport Park- again when it is dryer.
Join the Club and ride the Lease in a few short weeks. :)It is open through hunting season as well, when everywhere else the hunters are aiming at anything that moves.
Last Edit: Sept 12, 2012 20:03:13 GMT -5 by queenofslow
Thanks for the replies & words of encouragement. I'm going to give it another try next week. This time I'll lower my tire pressure. I'm in Gainesville so Osceola isn't too far from me. Once it dries up a little I'll check it out.
Post by queenofslow on Sept 12, 2012 20:34:33 GMT -5
No paddle tires for me. I paddle with my feet, and I would use my hands too if it would make a difference.
If you are using the stock tires you do not have a chance. I put Pirelli Scorpion on my 230F and it made a big difference. I also like the soft Geomax. If you are going to keep your 230F it is definitely worth the investment.
I still have the stock tires on my 230. I really need to invest in some better sand tires. Any other tire recommendations? I'm definitely going to keep the 230F. I had a 2006 CRF250R for a few months but there was no way I could ride next to a PW50 with it. That bike just didn't want to go the speed of a PW50. The CRF230F is the perfect size for me. I had knee surgery a while ago and the electric start makes it easy.
Anyone remember the Honda Fat Cat? I bet that beast would float over the sugar sand.
Post by patrickfloyd on Sept 13, 2012 9:06:03 GMT -5
Michelin S12 and tire pressure should be about 12 lbs if I remember correctly. And never chop the throttle, always stay on the gas. Chopping the throttle in sand causes the front wheel to dive, bad stuff--
REMEMBER!!!! Not all of Florida is deep sand!!! That paddle tire your thinking of will have you in the trees on other terrain! Wheel size and motor power are a factor. Call Sam@Jaxpowersports, 641-5320. He is our parts guru!!!
Thanks for the invite but I have family staying with me this week. I do plan on showing up to the next meeting & becoming a member. My son has training wheels on his PW50 (he's 4). Do you think he'll be able to ride in Osceola? I think he'd just spin his wheels in Ocala.