Dirt Roads
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Enthusiast
GTV300
Joined: 31 May 2012
Posts: 63
Location: New Mexico
Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:22 pm quote
My GTV 300 is past its break-in period, so I took it out for its first long ride. I headed from my home in Santa Fe down highway 14 - the Turquoise Trail - to Albuquerque. I grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then thought I would explore the roads through the Pueblos along the Rio Grande.

Rio Grande Blvd from Old Town in Albuquerque to the outskirts of the city is lovely, as is the paved part of route 313.

At San Filipe Pueblo, the road turns to dirt for about ten miles.

Now I'm not one to shy away from dirt, but that was ten miles of some of the worst washboards I've ever driven over. At one point it was washboards AND loose sand, and I could feel the Vespa drifting from side to side.

It may have originally been designed for the crappy post WWII streets of Italy, but I don't think the Vespa is the best two wheeled vehicle for handling dirt. I was shaking so much my eyes where jiggling to the extent I could barely see.

It was an adventure, and I consider the bike well broken in at this point. I don't think I'll take it back down that particular road again.

I was pleased that speed was never an issue with the GTV 300. Even on the interstate, with the speed limit at 75 mph, I didn't feel so slow that I felt I was endangering myself.

That GTV seat is a killer though. I don't think I'm going to be heading off for the coast on it any time soon.
Ossessionato
2010 GTS 300 Super
Joined: 25 Jul 2010
Posts: 2435
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:40 pm quote
Re: Dirt Roads
pbcoole wrote:
I don't think I'm going to be heading off for the coast on it any time soon.
If you decide to get a different seat, I have a leather GTS seat that is similar to the GTV seat but not split. It's a much more comfortable ride. I'm selling it because I got rid of the GTS it was on about 200 miles after putting the seat on.

As for dirt roads, I don't mind dirt. It's what you experienced, dirt, loose gravel, sand, washboards, all on the same road that I hate. I don't like that drifting feeling. Ugh.
Hooked
GTS 300 Super i.e.
Joined: 28 Nov 2009
Posts: 282
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe
Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:35 am quote
To get to my summer house, I have 5 kilometers of poorly maintained dirt road. Large holes, mud, sand, sometimes even flooding. I have always been amazed at how well the GTS handles it, but luckily I have never tried a real off road motorcycle.

/Andy
Ossessionato
2013 GTS 300 Super - red, of course and a 2012 Stella 4T 'four-on-the-paw' in black
Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 3237
Location: Hertford, North Carolina
Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:59 am quote
I do not remember such troubles on dirt roads back in the '60's on my 150 Sportique. Were my reflexes* better then? Was the front/rear balance better on the Sportique? Was is because my GTS is heavier? Is it just selective memory?



*If the plural of index is indices, why isn't the plural of reflex reflices?
Hooked
Vespa LX50 "Lil Piggy"
Joined: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 493
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:02 am quote
[quote="Raputtak"]I do not remember such troubles on dirt roads back in the '60's on my 150 Sportique. Were my reflexes* better then? Was the front/rear balance better on the Sportique? Was is because my GTS is heavier? Is it just selective memory?[quote]

You were younger and indestructable and it was an adventure?
Addicted
LX150
Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 566
Location: Sartell MN
Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:19 am quote
I think that as we get older a few things start to happen. First, it isn't as easy as it used to be and thirdly or fourthly, I think we used to instinctively ride the bike to match the road. If it was really bad we slowed down more. We didn't just assume we could ride through X at whatever pace we wanted to ride (and have everything work out perfectly).

Also, our bikes used to have much more wallowy suspension. And wallowy frames lol. So all that pounding was absorbed through spongy suspensions and severely not-stiff frames before it ever got to us. Oh, and consider the seats on those old bikes.

Harv
Moderatus Rana
MP3 250 (sold) MP3 500 (current)
Joined: 11 Jul 2008
Posts: 19070
Location: welaka, florida
Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:25 am quote
Check your air filter. It is surprising how just a short time on dirt or sand roads can dirty them up.
Ossessionato
2006 GTS 250, 2005 GT200L (The Swan)
Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 4743
Location: Wichita
Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:54 am quote
If I can remember correctly (which is always a challange before my second cup of coffee) Piaggio speicifically recomend that the Vespa not be riden on gravel or unpaved roads. I think it is in the GTS manual. And that is one thing that I have really followed in the manual. I must have less than 1 mile on gravel and dirt and it will stay this way. Period. Final period.
Ossessionato
2013 GTS 300 Super - red, of course and a 2012 Stella 4T 'four-on-the-paw' in black
Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 3237
Location: Hertford, North Carolina
Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:51 am quote
Hah! That'll teach ya to read the manual. Real men don't read manuals!


(Only kidding! Said for humorous effect. Not a personal attack.)


I never had a manual for my Sportique. Maybe that is why it did so well off road. Any Old Devonians remember the Bluewater Quarry? This was a disused flooded quarry that was a perfect place for mud plugs, hill climbs and other mud-filled two-wheeled excitement. Somewhere In Darkest Devon.
Ossessionato
2006 GTS 250, 2005 GT200L (The Swan)
Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 4743
Location: Wichita
Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:08 am quote
Raputtak wrote:
(Only kidding! Said for humorous effect. Not a personal attack.)


Oh no it is personal. ***waives finger in the air accusingly***

Back to those real man accessories for the real man Vespas now.
Molto Verboso
BV 250
Joined: 27 Feb 2012
Posts: 1355
Location: Virginia & North Carolina, USA
Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:25 am quote
Max6200 wrote:
If I can remember correctly (which is always a challange before my second cup of coffee) Piaggio speicifically recomend that the Vespa not be riden on gravel or unpaved roads. I think it is in the GTS manual. And that is one thing that I have really followed in the manual. I must have less than 1 mile on gravel and dirt and it will stay this way. Period. Final period.
My piaggio BV 250's manual definitely says so. I've looked under the body of the scooter and loos like things like rocks and branches can snag on some of that exposed tube/wire.
Ossessionato
2010 Bright Orange GTS300 - Finally on the Road!
Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 2013
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:49 pm quote
heh...

Hey PB,

I've ridden that road on my old 250 before - it is definitely one of the worst dirt roads in the area for a scooter - lots of washboards and sandy/loose surfaces. There are a bunch of better ones that you should try sometime and you might be surprised at the ride!

- Try the dirt road from Placitas up towards the ski area on the back of the Sandia Mtns...
- There are also some great gravel/dirt roads over in the East Mtns area south of Tijeras...
- There might be some fun ones over in the Pecos Wilderness area but I have never ridden any of them...
- Last, give some of the forest service roads up in the Jemez a shot, they are a blast on the scooter.

If you want to ride on dirt roads a lot, it CAN be done on a Vespa, but it will take some effort on your part for it to be a pleasurable experience!

It may take a bit, but play around with your position on the scooter (move forward/move back/sit up/etc); adjust your shocks (I have Bitubos on mine now so it is easier to play with); and maybe adjust air pressure in tires.

Stay away from dirt roads with tons of traffic as they tend to have more washboarding on them (which is never fun no matter what you do).

Best of luck and keep enjoying the rides around 'Burque...


Desi B.
Ossessionato
2010 Bright Orange GTS300 - Finally on the Road!
Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 2013
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:54 pm quote
...forgot to mention,

When you get comfortable with it, you will find yourself 'surfing' over the worst of any washboards/potholes/rocks/etc is if you are 'one with your scooter'! It is an awesome feeling but takes a fair bit of practice to get to that point.

It is hard to describe how to get to that point and others may be able to do so better than I, but it essentially occurs when you learn to 'relax' your grip/butt/feet at just the right times as you are powering over or through whatever the rough patch of road is (while maintaining a loose but 'steady/strong' control of the scooter)

Hope that helps...?!

Desi B.
Hooked
2009 LX 150, 2008 GTS 250
Joined: 19 Jun 2011
Posts: 307
Location: Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:29 pm quote
I would probably enjoy some dirt and gravel roads on a rented scooter. But not on mine. Everything from the steering bearings, suspention, to the paint behind the front wheel takes a beating. Then there are all the air intake points: carb, engine and belt fans taking in dust. The general pounding from washboard roads thrashes everything. Maybe there are ruts and puddles. Then if you want to stop and stretch or pee, you can't trust the center stand on dirt or gravel.
Ossessionato
2013 GTS 300 Super - red, of course and a 2012 Stella 4T 'four-on-the-paw' in black
Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 3237
Location: Hertford, North Carolina
Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:57 pm quote
Heavens to Betsy! It's a toy. It's to have fun on. If fun means whizzing down a dirt road in a cloud of dust and pebble or splashing through a muddy puddle, then go for it.

It can always be washed/repainted/replaced.

"I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But my ma won't admit it
I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But if I say I am I get it"

"I wanna play cricket on the green
Ride my bike across the stream
Cut myself and see my blood
I wanna come home all covered in mud"
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