Tire Talk

ADV Tire Talk

Guest: Jarrett King is an ADV rider and mechanical designer at Mitas Tires.

Discussion Points:
1.  Air pressure – should I air down before riding off-road?
2.  Why is the manufacturer’s baseline pressure different from what’s written on the sidewall?
3.  Can a rider increase or decrease the size of the tire on the bike?

Key Takeaways:
– It’s interesting to observe what people think they can feel and what they can actually feel when it comes to tires.

Large & Tall Bike Setup


Guest: Kip Kyler stands 6’4” with a 38” inseam who is riding a Husqvarna 701.  He has made a few adjustments to accommodate his height and weight, but still feels cramped in the cockpit while riding.  He has reached out to Bret to find out what other adjustments he can make and what kind of suspension he may need to install.

Discussion Points:
1.  How to choose the right spring for your riding style and weight.
2.  How to find the right local suspension tuner for you.
3.  How to determine the correct suspension setup needed for you.

Key Takeaways:
– When a bike is suspended properly, it will greatly increase your confidence.  People don’t understand how important setting up the bike properly is.

– Many people adjust their bars to be comfortable when standing straight up.  This is not correct – if something catches you off-guard, it can throw you off-balance and you end up with a whiskey throttle.

– Preload does not actually make the springs stiffer; they just feel stiffer.

Invest in Experience, Not Farkles


When taking riders overseas on motorcycle expeditions, Bret has been surprised to note that participants don’t have the problems he would expect them to have.  In fact, less-experienced riders quickly develop their skill sets and become confident off-road riders very quickly – much faster than in any traditional training environment.  Bret dives into this phenomenon with his friend and instructor Paul.

Note:  If you are bothered by foul language, please start this podcast at 00:56.

Guest: Paul Solomonson teaches alongside Bret and enjoys riding a BMW 1200GS off-road.

Upcoming Tours:  South Africa – Learn More

Discussion Points:
1.  The highest risk issues in traveling overseas or in remote areas.
2.  How to change training to quickly and effectively develop skill sets.

Key Takeaways:
– Make sure you practice the things that are uncomfortable to you.
– Focus on the skill sets you don’t think you’ll ever need.

Videos Mentioned:

  1. Mistakes riders make in tight places.
  2. The Bar-Stop Skill – Ride Like a Pro
  3. The Rolling Dismount – Ride Like a Pro

Stop Being Complacent


Sometimes riding can be not very exciting or even downright boring.  The excitement of reacting to everything on the road fades away once you feel you’ve encountered most situations and feel comfortable with the threats that are common to motorcyclists.  However, this natural progression can lead to a dangerous lack of focus… and that’s when the curve closes up too fast or the deer is directly in line with your headlights.  Bret talks about methods he uses to keep focus while riding. 

Guest: David Holy is a Patreon subscriber and rides a BMW 1200GS.

Discussion Points:
1.  What is riding with a PLAN?
2.  How can I avoid getting distracted in daydreams while riding?

Key Takeaways:
– Identify the IMpossibilities in order to see the possibilities.
– You should never go faster than the distance in which you can come to a controlled (non-panic) stop.

Trail Braking Rant @ 22:50

How to Manage Fear


Bret Tkacs discusses a subject that every ADV motorcyclist has faced – how to manage fear.  This is a subject that’s widely discussed, but only in general terms – until this podcast.  Learn specific strategies to work specifically with a paralyzing fear of heights while riding.

Guest: Kerry Haggerty, a Patreon subscriber and a former student of Bret’s ADV Camp.  She rides Triumph 900 and reached out to Bret for advice after experiencing some paralyzing fear while riding with some friends at Crater Lake, Oregon.

Discussion Points:
1.  Is fear a good thing or a bad thing?
2.  How can I work on my fear while riding?

Key Takeaways:
– Fear can be reasonable, unreasonable, or fatal.
– The objective is not to eliminate fear, but to not become debilitated by fear.

References Made:
Three Corner Rock

Adventure Camp
ADV Training Tour

Is Suspension Worth the Cost?


Suspension is undoubtedly one of the most critical aspects to your motorcycle, and many people talk about upgrading their suspension.  However, since the cost can be up to $7,000, it’s important to know what upgraded suspension can do for your motorcycle, and whether you should invest in an upgrade.

There is a narrow weight window for stock suspension, which is around 180lbs (rider and gear together).  Some people believe if they add preload and get the motorcycle up to proper sag, they’re in good shape.  However, that may provide for a rough and unstable ride.  It’s most important to have the right spring for your weight and riding style.  Manual adjustments to suspension are only important when you start riding aggressively on the street (in curves) and into dirt that challenges the bike.  Any upgrade to suspension from OEM will be a significant improvement for most people.

@ 12:45.  Process of measuring sag on your motorcycle with a second person.

@ 19:15.  Damping discussion

@ 31:45.  Rant on trail braking

Guest:  Jake Fry owns a BMW R1250GS and wants to know whether he should spend the money to upgrade the suspension on his motorcycle.  He recognizes the importance of suspension and wants to set the bike up correctly for the riding he does.

Discussion Points:
1.  Is it worth the money to upgrade my suspension?
2.  What is stiction?
3.  How do I adjust sag?
4.  What is damping?

Key Takeaways:
– People believe if they add preload and get up to the proper sag, they assume they’re in good shape. That’s not always correct.
–  As good as traction control is these days, we still need to stay in-tune with what the technology does and also what it hides.
– Riders don’t realize the importance of having a riding style that prevents you from running too wide in a corner.
–  Never, ever ride faster than you can see.

References Made:
Woody’s Wheel Works

Touratech Extreme Shocks
Tractive Suspension
Race Tech Suspension
Race Tech’s Motorcycle Suspension Bible (Thede/Parks)
Wilbers Motorcycle Suspension Technology
Trail Braking Presentation in New Zealand