Just finished an offroad course...

WindyCityJay

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Apr 13, 2021
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Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Hi everyone,

My name is Jay and I joined the site a couple of months ago when I was getting serious about picking up a used Super Tenere, but I haven't introduced myself yet or been active on the forums.

I got back into riding in 2015 after a few years away. Both a Super Tenere and an FJR were only my list at the time, but I had a limited budget and wanted a good all-arounder that was nimble enough for daily commuting but also solid enough for one-up tours and two-up day trips. The FJ-09 came out that spring and I was hooked. I picked up the first one on the floor at my local dealership and for several years it did everything I wanted. In addition to daily commutes and some weekend rides, I enrolled in a Total Control cornering course and then took a solo trip to Mexico following a route designed to hit some great twisties (Devil's Highway, San Juan Mountain Highway, Beartooth) and once a year I'd ride around Nelson/Kaslo with my wife. This year I decided it was time for an upgrade. The FJ-09 is just a little too small for longer two-up tours and I really wanted a bike for "hooky days" in August when I'd sneak into the mountains to fly fish the forestry trunk road. So, at the end of April I picked up a 2018 ES and the FJ-09 is now for sale. I was incredibly lucky and got a bike from a guy who had ridden S10s for over a decade and farkled it with an experienced hand (Arrow headers, wall to wall crash protection, Jesse luggage, Corbin seat, Mitas E10 front/E07 rear combo).

I've been doing a few short rides around town, but the first real test for the bike was supposed to be a week's worth of two-up touring on Vancouver Island last month. Interprovincial travel restrictions forced us to cancel the trip, but the same restrictions opened up a few spots in a two day Outdoor Adventure Academy off-road course that had to be relocated to Rocky Mountain House and I was able to get one of the spots. This past weekend my wife and I loaded up the bike and rode four hours north to stay with my parents and then I stripped the bike to bare essentials and continued on to the course. I can't tell you how happy I am with it so far. It was fantastic on the highway in our pretty wicked southern Alberta winds (hence the moniker). It is certainly not as punchy as the FJ with its torquey triple, but the power and stability on the Super Tenere was impressive. I've read comparisons on here to a locomotive and that kept going through my mind as we effortlessly churned our way through a line of thunderstorms that would have blown the FJ-09 off the road.

What really surprised me however was how well it did in the offroad course. The course was mostly slow speed control drills including slow races, seated and standing S-turns, hill climbs, slow descents, and emergency breaking - all in a gravel pit. Given the number of 1200 GSs in the course, it kind of felt like beamer convention, and most of the drills seemed designed to emphasize BMW handling and that boxer engine. The first day was a little rough - I had three drops in the seated S course, which thanks to the crash bars and bark busters didn't cause any damage. However, by the end of the day, things started to click and I got used to feathering the clutch and avoiding the front brake as the bike leaned under me on the loose surface (we were instructed to never use our rear brakes in the drills). By the second day, everything became much more natural and, in my biased opinion, the Super Tenere was keeping pace and even outperforming some of the beamers ridden by guys with a lot more offroad experience. The only real glitch was the inability to easily turn off the ABS for some of the skid drills (I did try the center-stand/2nd gear trick for one drill), but the trade off is that I now have a sense of how good the ABS system is on the bike. I don't think I'll go out of my way to shut it off.

Anyway, my thanks to everyone on the site for their posts - they allowed me to find a fantastic bike. I've used threads on here to make my travel toolkit, explore an ECU flash, select and source tires, and even decide on some upcoming accessories.

Cheers,

Jay
 

Sierra1

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Nov 7, 2016
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Joshua TX
. . . . However, by the end of the day, things started to click and I got used to feathering the clutch and avoiding the front brake as the bike leaned under me on the loose surface (we were instructed to never use our rear brakes in the drills). . . .
Welcome from Texas. I'd be in trouble in that class. Since I'm a pavement princess, the "back brake only" is my go to. 'Cuz, on pavement, feathering the clutch, and working the back brake, allows for easy slow, tight turns. Glad you're digging the bike.

By the way. . . . why do you not want to use the back brake in the dirt, and, do the Beemers have the back brake only option?
 

WindyCityJay

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Apr 13, 2021
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Location
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
By the way. . . . why do you not want to use the back brake in the dirt, and, do the Beemers have the back brake only option?
I think it was a training thing - the instructors said most people avoid the front brake on loose terrain, but they emphasized that it was still the best way to stop, so we focused quite a bit on squeezing the front and ignoring the rear. The funny part is that the brakes are linked on the S10...so I guess I was cheating!
 

PhilPhilippines

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Jun 20, 2020
Messages
861
Location
Philippines
I think it was a training thing - the instructors said most people avoid the front brake on loose terrain, but they emphasized that it was still the best way to stop, so we focused quite a bit on squeezing the front and ignoring the rear. The funny part is that the brakes are linked on the S10...so I guess I was cheating!
Doesn't the stopping offroad depend on the surface? Loose surfaces like gravel have a build up of material that assists stopping? This can be true on four wheels but I am no expert on 2.
My last offroad experience on a group ride up to Coto Mines Kidz Pool in the Philippines (beautiful place, shit name) involved me getting close up and personal with leaf litter. I was the only one to do so. So I do do dirt, but horizontally ".... . . . so don't listen to my advise" either.
 

BadNews

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May 13, 2012
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Central Ohio, USA
Anyway, my thanks to everyone on the site for their posts - they allowed me to find a fantastic bike. I've used threads on here to make my travel toolkit, explore an ECU flash, select and source tires, and even decide on some upcoming accessories.

Cheers,

Jay
+1 on the quality of information on this forum. Top notch!
 

Ladlesport

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Parkland County Alberta, Canada
@WindyCityJay
Sounds like you were at the OAA class led by Terry, Chipp and Byron.
My wife and I did the same class a few weeks ago.

Pretty sure I never used my rear brake for anything other that the uphill starts...
I was an habitual hard rear brake user, now after the class I don't seem to believe its even there if I am riding off-road.

I actually loved the front brake e-stops we did. I think I carried a locked front wheel about 20-25 feet while keeping on the power to stay moving. Great stuff!
 

PhilPhilippines

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Jun 20, 2020
Messages
861
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Philippines
@WindyCityJay
I actually loved the front brake e-stops we did. I think I carried a locked front wheel about 20-25 feet while keeping on the power to stay moving. Great stuff!
I've got to get out more. I am sure my immediate reaction is wrong, as I assume you're moving the balance around for a reason. Was it explained why and on/in what conditions this would be beneficial? I'm quite intrigued.
 

WindyCityJay

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Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
@WindyCityJay
Sounds like you were at the OAA class led by Terry, Chipp and Byron.
My wife and I did the same class a few weeks ago.

Pretty sure I never used my rear brake for anything other that the uphill starts...
I was an habitual hard rear brake user, now after the class I don't seem to believe its even there if I am riding off-road.

I actually loved the front brake e-stops we did. I think I carried a locked front wheel about 20-25 feet while keeping on the power to stay moving. Great stuff!
Yup - it was the same course. I thought it was great - I saw a huge improvement in my riding over the two days and it really got me acquainted with the S10. The only drill that I had issues with was the e-stop. With the power on, Chipp and I just got to listen to the ABS clip 4-5 times as I tried to lock up the front. I pulled off to the side to do the centre-stand/2nd-Gear trick (which I also learned from this forum) but then we ran out of time in the drill. Once it stops raining, I may try to find a bit of gravel and see if I can get a slide or two. The fact that one of the drills called for us to tip the bike over and practice three different ways off lift it up solo means I'm not too worried about dropping it anymore!
 

WindyCityJay

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Apr 13, 2021
Messages
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Location
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
I've got to get out more. I am sure my immediate reaction is wrong, as I assume you're moving the balance around for a reason. Was it explained why and on/in what conditions this would be beneficial? I'm quite intrigued.
My understanding is that it is to make sure we don't panic if we get into an emergency stopping situation and need to grab the front brake hard. They explained that the rear keeps the bike stable, but the front still has most of the stopping power even on gravel, so in an emergency situation (coming over a hill too fast and seeing an obstacle), you still need to get on the front. I think the aim was to get to used to being our own "ABS system" in situations where we might have the ABS turned off for the dirt - so we'd lock up the front and then release once the bike slid off line, then locking it up again and release it to stay in control.

For me, the main take away was that I might be happy rolling down the gravel with the ABS on. I might not be able to do skid turns, but then again maybe I shouldn't given my age and the weight of the bike!
 

PhilPhilippines

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My understanding is that it is to make sure we don't panic if we get into an emergency stopping situation and need to grab the front brake hard. They explained that the rear keeps the bike stable, but the front still has most of the stopping power even on gravel, so in an emergency situation (coming over a hill too fast and seeing an obstacle), you still need to get on the front. I think the aim was to get to used to being our own "ABS system" in situations where we might have the ABS turned off for the dirt - so we'd lock up the front and then release once the bike slid off line, then locking it up again and release it to stay in control.

For me, the main take away was that I might be happy rolling down the gravel with the ABS on. I might not be able to do skid turns, but then again maybe I shouldn't given my age and the weight of the bike!
Is this done on reasonably dry, semi-loose/packed surfaces and would it vary on wet/rutted/loose/mud?
 

pilleway

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May 18, 2019
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342
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Mexico
Welcome from Mexico, good you had taken a dirt course, and it sounds very interesting! Enjoy your bike, S10 is just great machine!
Congratulations.
 

Ladlesport

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Parkland County Alberta, Canada
Is this done on reasonably dry, semi-loose/packed surfaces and would it vary on wet/rutted/loose/mud?
It was done on in a gravel pit, loose surface on top, I'd say it was at least an inch deep before you started to get to the harder packed base.

@WindyCityJay
I could not be bothered with the center stand thing to turn the ABS off and yanked the fuse for the class. Your speedo and gear indicator stop working and you get a CEL for low hydraulic pressure (code 042) if I remember right. It's nothing to worry about and it takes only a few minutes to get it back in.
 

PhilPhilippines

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Jun 20, 2020
Messages
861
Location
Philippines
It was done on in a gravel pit, loose surface on top, I'd say it was at least an inch deep before you started to get to the harder packed base.

@WindyCityJay
I could not be bothered with the center stand thing to turn the ABS off and yanked the fuse for the class. Your speedo and gear indicator stop working and you get a CEL for low hydraulic pressure (code 042) if I remember right. It's nothing to worry about and it takes only a few minutes to get it back in.
Makes sense! Thanks Ladlesport/WindyCityJay.
 
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