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Author: Subject: Gonzaga to Chapala
Zigyphoto
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[*] posted on 1-19-2017 at 08:04 PM


Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  
Quote: Originally posted by David K  
GSA?

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Not quite: Motorcycle: R1200 GS ADVENTURE



Photo by Alfonse Palaima

http://www.advpulse.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/bmw-r1200gs-vs-r1200gsa-2.jpg





[Edited on 1-20-2017 by BajaNomad]
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chavycha
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[*] posted on 1-19-2017 at 08:31 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Zigyphoto  
We're going to give it a shot on Sunday. Jeep Liberty with a small boat trailer. Will advise on how it goes

THANKS! Please post asap after experience.

z


Will do, Ziggy. We last took this road two years ago when it was still gravel/dirt all the way from Gonzaga to Chapala. At that point in time I could've dragged a trailer, but wouldn't have liked it just because of the distance at 10-15mph.

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[*] posted on 1-19-2017 at 09:26 PM


How are your riding skills? A knobby tire (TKC-80, etc) will make the off-road handling better but it is not absolutely necessary. There are some sandy spots to watch out for but you can get through those on a street tire.

As I tell my students, if you're planning to ride off-road for more than just a short stretch than get knobbies. The increased traction is nice but the biggest difference comes from the increase in rider confidence. A knobby will slide in a controlled manor while a street tire will let go (lose traction) quickly and without warning. It's hard to relax and enjoy the ride when you've got the seat suction turned up to max.

Best off-road tip I can give is to lose the load. I see way to many ADV bikes with top boxes and dry bags piled high for a two week trip all while staying in hotels and eating out.

Have fun,

Mark
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Zigyphoto
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[*] posted on 1-20-2017 at 12:27 AM


A knobby tire (TKC-80, etc) will make the off-road handling better but it is not absolutely necessary. There are some sandy spots to watch out for but you can get through those on a street tire.

***

Mark, thanks; since its going to be a long trip, I didnt want to run TKC-80's due to their short lifespan on-road, and Heidenaus are so damn hard......... guess I could have gone for TKC-70, but not much reporting on them on ADVrider (if you're on there, I'm zigyphoto)

***
As I tell my students, if you're planning to ride off-road for more than just a short stretch than get knobbies. The increased traction is nice but the biggest difference comes from the increase in rider confidence.
***
Definitely! Rode those at the BMW Enduro school last month and was impressed. This GS-W has the enduro and enduro Pro ride modes, so it will be a chance to play with those. after 20+ years of GS's, this is an entirely new experience..

***
Best off-road tip I can give is to lose the load.

***

This section is the only off-road I am doing. Rest of the 4-week trip to Guatemala is going to be pavement.

thanks for your good thoughts; and you teach MSF, or.... I enjoyed doing that in NM.. Where are you located?


Z
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[*] posted on 1-20-2017 at 09:34 AM


I am a certified BMW Hechlingen enduro instructor and worked at Rawhyde for 10 years. Now doing some teaching and guiding for BlackSwanMoto.

Same user name on Advrider.

You'll be fine on that stretch. I've seen plenty of street bikes and cruisers come through there. Just ride within your limits and take your time. Drop your tire pressure to 20psi. And if you do have an issue, I'm just south of San Felipe with a well equipped garage.

Cheers,
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[*] posted on 1-20-2017 at 08:20 PM


It's been raining there recently so no soft sand. Was on it 01/17 and was able to avoid the big mud holes but did pick up some splatters on the truck. It probably got rain today and maybe some tomorrow, won't affect the Jeep but may make a difference on a bike.
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[*] posted on 1-20-2017 at 11:33 PM


Lots of mud and some big vados today but still passable in a truck camper.

Visited Coco in the rain.

The RAV4 that passed me also made it through, although he slowed down a lot when we got to the muddy flat part near Hwy 1.

Now where can I get my truck washed in GN?
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chavycha
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[*] posted on 1-22-2017 at 11:11 PM


We did the trip this afternoon. Just under 24 miles of unpaved road. Road is a generous term for it. It is pretty much a collection of detours, potholes, and slow moving trucks. We have driven the road several times in the past, though not in the last two years, and it is now appreciably worse than it was even just a few years ago. Mostly exposed rock, dirt, and continuous pothole, with a 4-mile mud section through Chapala. There's also a short section south of Coco's which has some nice smooth sand parallels.

It was passable in my Jeep without any need for 4wd, but we will not go that way on the way home. I was driving slow (10-15mph) and still felt we beat up the boat trailer a good bit. We trailer with the motor off and in the car (thank goodness)...

The 24 miles took about 1:45 today... In contrast, I did the 27 miles in an hour two years back. This was during the Driscoll protests and they'd graded/graveled large sections. All of that work is long gone.

Don't recall whether it was this thread or elsewhere, but I would not at all recommend this road to someone pulling a trailer. Likewise for a passenger car. You *could* but you'll wish you hadn't.



[Edited on 1-23-2017 by chavycha]
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[*] posted on 1-22-2017 at 11:19 PM


On the bright side, we crossed at Mexicali West at 8am, and we were through the border and out of town in what seemed like about 15 minutes. Even with a long lunch/errands stop in San Felipe, we made it to Chapala by 4:00 and to the destination only a few hours later.
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[*] posted on 1-22-2017 at 11:32 PM


Quote: Originally posted by chavycha  
There's also a short section south of Coco's which has some nice smooth sand parallels.
[Edited on 1-23-2017 by chavycha]


THANKS! sounds likes a terrible stretch for a heavy dual-sport motorcycle
(not a Harley-Davidson)?

what are "sand parallels"?

z
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[*] posted on 1-22-2017 at 11:51 PM


No problem. I don't know a thing about bikes, but hope the description was helpful.

In the stretch I was referring to, the main road is dirt/rock and elevated from surrounding sandy desert floor. There are sand trails/tracks which are parallel to the main road. These tracks are often smoother and were so today, allowing me to go 30-through that area. You can abviously also stay on the main and crawl along at 10mph.
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[*] posted on 1-23-2017 at 04:37 AM


Sorry, I'm in Korea (North or South, I don't know). I haven't paid attention.

I rode on Heidenau K60s. I had both panniers on, and some extra stuff in a dry bag on top. Not super heavy, but enough. No issues. There were two guys with 80/20 street tires riding through with no issues.

A few days after riding south after Xmas, I drove north. I have BFG KO2s on the car. I was pushing it really hard on that stretch without airing down. Excellent tires.

I rode through with Tourance 80/20 tires two years ago, and got a flat on the front 5 miles from Chapala. The flat had nothing to do with the tire. I just hit a rock at an unfortunate angle. Take it moderately easy, and you will be fine. And, there's a tire shop where the dirt meets Mex 1.
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[*] posted on 1-23-2017 at 04:48 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Zigyphoto  
A knobby tire (TKC-80, etc) will make the off-road handling better but it is not absolutely necessary. There are some sandy spots to watch out for but you can get through those on a street tire.

***

Mark, thanks; since its going to be a long trip, I didnt want to run TKC-80's due to their short lifespan on-road, and Heidenaus are so damn hard......... guess I could have gone for TKC-70, but not much reporting on them on ADVrider (if you're on there, I'm zigyphoto)

***
As I tell my students, if you're planning to ride off-road for more than just a short stretch than get knobbies. The increased traction is nice but the biggest difference comes from the increase in rider confidence.
***
Definitely! Rode those at the BMW Enduro school last month and was impressed. This GS-W has the enduro and enduro Pro ride modes, so it will be a chance to play with those. after 20+ years of GS's, this is an entirely new experience..

***
Best off-road tip I can give is to lose the load.

***

This section is the only off-road I am doing. Rest of the 4-week trip to Guatemala is going to be pavement.

thanks for your good thoughts; and you teach MSF, or.... I enjoyed doing that in NM.. Where are you located?


Z


If it's the only off-road you will be doing to Guatemala, I would definitely go with the Tourances or something like that. The knobbies get a little too squirrelly when the pavement gets wet.

I few years ago, I rode down the same direction you are going with a friend of mine. He had TKC 80s on. He got tired of them when the pavement was wet. I had lots of confidence in my Tourances the entire way.

While you may be going pavement only the rest of the way, there will likely be road work that puts you on dirt for some distance here and there.

Where in Guatemala are you going? Tikal?
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[*] posted on 1-23-2017 at 12:18 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Zigyphoto  
.....

THANKS! sounds likes a terrible stretch for a heavy dual-sport motorcycle
(not a Harley-Davidson)?

what are "sand parallels"?


A couple of comments from a GSA1100, KTM 690, and KTM 450 rider:

-"Sand Parallels": often Baja roads (paved and non-paved" have an established alternative road that runs parallel to the "main" road for stretches...and they are sometimes better than the main road (less washboard/assorted rocks) and tend to be sandier....the choice is yours;

- tire choices: ADVrider devotees and such seem locked into thinking Conti....I have TKC80's and Heidenau are the only tire choices and there are either knobbies or street tread treads to choose from.....50/50 tires should be considered. TKC 80's lasted on my GSA 1100 and R80GS for about 4000kms without any problem....I just consider a set of them will do from soucal to tip and back on all conditions....and many sidetrips... Mitas tires are to be considered over Heidenau....less expensive and last at least as long....so many brands to choose from....for my 450 and 690, my Baja tires are Mitas E23 for front and MotoZ desert tractionater for rear....durable, tough carcass .....each to their own;

- "Dual-sport": Not "duel" sport for starters..... is a term describing an "attitude to riding" that has unfortunately been used to describe certain types of bikes for marketing purposes....and is the latest marketing ploy past 10 years or so. A good rider can ride a Hardley-Able-Son on gravel, dirt, and some sand conditions....it's the rider more than the bike that makes it work;

- "Adventure bike": See above; adventure is an attitude, not a machine.....a real "adventure bike" is more like a Honda 250 that can travel the world without Touratech bling hanging off every available bolt....more marketing crap (a friend whose BMW 650's drive shaft/swing arm exploded on the No Wimps Trail a few years ago was told the warranty didn't cover the wreck as "it wasn't designed for such use"(BMW quote)....well, look at their misleading ads with some guy in $2000 riding suit splashing through a 4" deep stream....well it appeals to those who don't know better....;

A loaded GSA 1200 can easily do #5 from Gonzaga to #1 if the rider has dirt/gravel skills and has tubes/patch kit/pump for repairs i(and knows how to change/patch a tire)....but it's way more fun on the KTMs as they have suspension and a fraction the weight.

Most "big bike" riders (650 anything and up) I meet in Baja are new to dirt/sand conditions and get in over their had with ambitious plans that exceed their riding skills (talking from experience). I wouldn't bring the 1100 down here any more....it's just the wrong tool for the job....unless you are content sticking to paved/hard-packed roads...and picking it up and trying to push it when you drop it in 1" of sand.

Some guys can ride the over 500lb bikes with ease in some of the crappier stuff....

If a rider is coming down for the first time, they should be prepared to fix flats, drop the bike from time to time, and pay attention to keeping the top half of their tank full....tire pressures are the deciding factor way more than tire brand.

Practicing riding around a gravel pit at home (or Hechlingwhatever) is a good idea (Hech is just a pretty expensive gravel pit practice) :biggrin:

My latest thrill is recognizing that the 450 just loves sand when front is about 10-12 lbs and rear is 8-10 lbs...I just leave the big bike at home when in Baja.




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[*] posted on 1-23-2017 at 12:57 PM


This: "The 24 miles took about 1:45 today... In contrast, I did the 27 miles in an hour two years back. This was during the Driscoll protests and they'd graded/graveled large sections. All of that work is long gone."

Sounds like the old road out to San Ignacio lagoon.

A friend returned Saturday from Abreojos, and took Hwy 1 north to avoid this. Sounds like he made the right call.

Quote: Originally posted by chavycha  
We did the trip this afternoon. Just under 24 miles of unpaved road. Road is a generous term for it. It is pretty much a collection of detours, potholes, and slow moving trucks. We have driven the road several times in the past, though not in the last two years, and it is now appreciably worse than it was even just a few years ago. Mostly exposed rock, dirt, and continuous pothole, with a 4-mile mud section through Chapala. There's also a short section south of Coco's which has some nice smooth sand parallels.

It was passable in my Jeep without any need for 4wd, but we will not go that way on the way home. I was driving slow (10-15mph) and still felt we beat up the boat trailer a good bit. We trailer with the motor off and in the car (thank goodness)...

The 24 miles took about 1:45 today... In contrast, I did the 27 miles in an hour two years back. This was during the Driscoll protests and they'd graded/graveled large sections. All of that work is long gone.

Don't recall whether it was this thread or elsewhere, but I would not at all recommend this road to someone pulling a trailer. Likewise for a passenger car. You *could* but you'll wish you hadn't.



[Edited on 1-23-2017 by chavycha]




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[*] posted on 2-17-2017 at 11:02 AM


This is one of those topics where it would be nice to get running updates. The last time we did it was two years back. My front camera (which comes on at <8mph) stayed on much of the time. We bounced and swayed a lot (can't air down my tires and didn't have rear air bags then), but very doable (truck and camper did just fine). Met a tractor trailer rig inching alone, so there's that. We'll be hitting it again in late March, so all should be good and dry by then, but wondering what construction surprises they will have in store. I may be in the minority, but it bums me out seeing the demise of the "Worst Road in Baja." Then again, the relatively high speed burn from Gonzaga to Puertecitos is kinda sweet.



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[*] posted on 2-17-2017 at 12:18 PM


The good old days... great memories, indeed.
The new highway is being blasted right through the mountain east of Chapala and the boulders north of Las Arrastras. The 23 dort miles are pretty easy now. Was over it twice a couple weeks ago.




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[*] posted on 2-17-2017 at 12:21 PM


Thanks DK. Good info that. We like to return via Gonzaga and cross back at Mexicali. It's just what we do.



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[*] posted on 2-17-2017 at 12:39 PM


I won't ever go back from that far south through San Quintin to Ensenada again. What a relief missing all those hills, trucks, farm towns, and Ensenada city traffic. I realize that 5 will get the brunt of traffic soon. The semis are already using it.



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[*] posted on 2-17-2017 at 07:10 PM


Quote: Originally posted by motoged  
Quote: Originally posted by Zigyphoto  
.....

THANKS! sounds likes a terrible stretch for a heavy dual-sport motorcycle
(not a Harley-Davidson)?

what are "sand parallels"?


A couple of comments from a GSA1100, KTM 690, and KTM 450 rider:

-"Sand Parallels": often Baja roads (paved and non-paved" have an established alternative road that runs parallel to the "main" road for stretches...and they are sometimes better than the main road (less washboard/assorted rocks) and tend to be sandier....the choice is yours;

- tire choices: ADVrider devotees and such seem locked into thinking Conti....I have TKC80's and Heidenau are the only tire choices and there are either knobbies or street tread treads to choose from.....50/50 tires should be considered. TKC 80's lasted on my GSA 1100 and R80GS for about 4000kms without any problem....I just consider a set of them will do from soucal to tip and back on all conditions....and many sidetrips... Mitas tires are to be considered over Heidenau....less expensive and last at least as long....so many brands to choose from....for my 450 and 690, my Baja tires are Mitas E23 for front and MotoZ desert tractionater for rear....durable, tough carcass .....each to their own;

- "Dual-sport": Not "duel" sport for starters..... is a term describing an "attitude to riding" that has unfortunately been used to describe certain types of bikes for marketing purposes....and is the latest marketing ploy past 10 years or so. A good rider can ride a Hardley-Able-Son on gravel, dirt, and some sand conditions....it's the rider more than the bike that makes it work;

- "Adventure bike": See above; adventure is an attitude, not a machine.....a real "adventure bike" is more like a Honda 250 that can travel the world without Touratech bling hanging off every available bolt....more marketing crap (a friend whose BMW 650's drive shaft/swing arm exploded on the No Wimps Trail a few years ago was told the warranty didn't cover the wreck as "it wasn't designed for such use"(BMW quote)....well, look at their misleading ads with some guy in $2000 riding suit splashing through a 4" deep stream....well it appeals to those who don't know better....;

A loaded GSA 1200 can easily do #5 from Gonzaga to #1 if the rider has dirt/gravel skills and has tubes/patch kit/pump for repairs i(and knows how to change/patch a tire)....but it's way more fun on the KTMs as they have suspension and a fraction the weight.

Most "big bike" riders (650 anything and up) I meet in Baja are new to dirt/sand conditions and get in over their had with ambitious plans that exceed their riding skills (talking from experience). I wouldn't bring the 1100 down here any more....it's just the wrong tool for the job....unless you are content sticking to paved/hard-packed roads...and picking it up and trying to push it when you drop it in 1" of sand.

Some guys can ride the over 500lb bikes with ease in some of the crappier stuff....

If a rider is coming down for the first time, they should be prepared to fix flats, drop the bike from time to time, and pay attention to keeping the top half of their tank full....tire pressures are the deciding factor way more than tire brand.

Practicing riding around a gravel pit at home (or Hechlingwhatever) is a good idea (Hech is just a pretty expensive gravel pit practice) :biggrin:

My latest thrill is recognizing that the 450 just loves sand when front is about 10-12 lbs and rear is 8-10 lbs...I just leave the big bike at home when in Baja.


Lot's of new and improved dual/duel sport tires hitting the market now and good tire threads abound on AdvRider. Another consideration that will be on my 1190 is the MotoZ Tractionator GPS. Good design similar to the Heidenau but with different, non sliding, compounds. My 690 is heading to La Paz next week with a K60 rear and MT21 front, I've never bought a Conti. This type tire combo is now known as the Adventure bike mullet.
:yes:




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