Archives for posts with tag: offroad

Every once in while I like checking out the scratch-built R/C cars in Headquake’s scale off-road adventure videos. The above features a Jeep CJ5. The one after the jump features a custom rock crawler. They’re just superb. 

Read the rest of this entry »

In this video the Australian guys from All 4 Adventure show off the mods to their Toyota Land Cruiser 200-Series ute, which include front and rear winches, extra lithium batteries, bumpers, lights, air compressors, an updated electrical system and suspension, and some cool storage solutions.

These guys were involved in a recovery rollover a while back while trying to get a truck out from a rising tide. The video is quite hairy and is a good illustration of how problems can compound, if you’re not careful. It’s worth a watch.

Link:
Recovery Goes Seriously Wrong

1201or-05+off-road-readers-rides-january-2012+1987-toyota-pickup-2wd-off-roading

On a recent trip, my friend Greg and I figured out something interesting about driving over bumps. If you preload the suspension by briefly applying the brake right before the bump, and then get on the throttle to power over the bump, it really smooths things out and makes the bump less jarring. Motorcyclists will know this move well.

Briefly braking right before the bump compresses the suspension. This is called “preloading.” Then immediately getting on the throttle, as the front tires go over the bump, shifts the weight towards the back of the truck. This lightens the front end and the front suspension rebounds, helping to lift the front tires over the bump. Moving the weight toward the back also preloads the rear suspension. Keeping the throttle on as the rear tires go over the bump keeps the rear suspension taught. This is what you want, as an unloaded rear suspension would otherwise rebound as the rear tires clear the bump causing and uncomfortable bucking motion.

The above picture oversells it a bit. This doesn’t have to be a wheels-in-the-air maneuver. Just shifting the weight a bit is enough to make a difference.

Give it a try the next time you’re out on the trail and encounter a berm or some other relatively smooth obstacle. I bet you’ll notice a difference.

Happy New Year! If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to become a better off-road rider, I have something for you to watch.

This South African enduro riding skills video shows a ton of techniques: how to hill climb, how to preload the suspension to get over obstacles, even how to scale a 6 or 8-foot vertical wall and get up a double ledge. It’s amazing to see just how smoothly these insurmountable-looking obstacles can be conquered.

Sometimes the video is frustrating, however: the announcer stands between the rider and the camera, blocking the line of sight; sometimes he says body position is important but doesn’t say what exactly that position is; sometimes the background melts like a Dali painting. The slow-motion parts, however, are really helpful. In them, you can see exactly how the riders lean, finesse, and transfer their weight to use their bikes’ power and suspension to get over almost anything. Overall the video displays some truly skilled riding.

The video I’m featuring compiles clips from the Offroad Fanatic YouTube channel, which shows techniques on adventure riding and has bike reviews as well. Well worth a look.

Link:
Offroad Fanatic YouTube channel

4x4-driving

I recently added Four-by-four driving to my book collection. If you’re not already familiar with previous editions, they’re classics in 4×4 circles. The newly revised 3rd. edition was released this year.

The book starts by defining the basics 4×4 systems in plain, conversational language: differentials, the basic types of 4-wheel-drive systems, and then goes into detail describing the different systems used by 12 different manufacturers—including (in this edition) makers of “soft roaders,” i.e., Freelanders, Rav4s and the like. This is extremely handy for slicing through marketing jargon. What does Quadra Track or 4-matic really mean? This book tells you.

The book then goes into off-road driving techniques for various types of terrain, addresses recovery, advanced techniques, expedition basics, and finishes with how to load a truck.

It’s informative, well-photographed and well-illustrated. My only criticism is that sections of the book, and page numbers, are both numbered in a decimal format (i.e., 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 for chapter 1; 2.1, 2.2 for chapter 2 and so on) and Section 7.2 isn’t on page 7.2, for example, which can get confusing because the book frequently references other parts of the text. Was that Section 7.2 or page 7.2?

That said, it looks like quite a good “do it all” book, explaining both how our rigs work and how to use them. New copies are available solely through Desert Winds Publishing.

Links:
4×4 Driving from Desert Winds Publishing
Jonathan Hanson’s full review of the 2nd. edition, on Overland Tech & Travel

This film from the 1960s shows the then popular sport of motorcycle scrambling, which eventually would turn into enduro. It’s a fun little film.

.
Australian off-road motorcycle racer Chris Hollis enjoys a relaxing day at home in New South Wales, piloting his KTM around the back forty. Pay close attention at 0:36. That’s a nice move.

I like seeing a guy ride with this much speed and skill. Well done. And well shot by Shane Fletcher. The music is M83, “We Own the Sky.”

20131026_3363
Photo: Josh Ashcroft

For some reason Portland still has dirt roads within its city limits. Some of them are actually drivable only by 4-wheel-drive vehicles. So someone had the brilliant idea to get a bunch of overlanders together and drive them. The resulting event is called the Portland Urban Safari. They have fun with it. People get dressed up in safari gear. They had Camel Trophy-style number plates made. One team put an inflatable tiger in the bed of their Syncro.

Portland is currently discussing what to do about its unpaved roads. How great to have an urban venue in which to showcase overlanding though. I hope they leave them as is.

There’s an image gallery after the jump. Or check out the Northwest Overland site. You can check out the route map at the Portland Urban Safari site.

Thanks to Josh in Portland for telling about this and providing most of the photos!

Links:
Portland Urban Safari
Northwest Overland Read the rest of this entry »

20130930_2516
All photos: Josh Ashcroft

We’d been planning to visit the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area on our way home from our summer sailing trip. Then in Portland we had the good fortune to run into someone that had actually been there. Amazingly, he recognized our truck from this blog and flagged us down to say hello. To make the most of the chance meeting, we got together for a coffee and swapped travel stories. He said he’d been to the dunes not two weeks before and that they were definitely worth a visit. And he bought us coffee. Thanks again, Josh!

It turns out that the Oregon Dunes are largest coastal sand dunes in North America. They stretch along 40 miles of coast, cover 5,900 acres, and crest to 500 ft. You can camp there. What’s more you can get out and explore this coastal park in your 4×4, motorcycle, or ATV. And we wanted to do just that.

A couple of days later we were in Florence, Oregon, at the northern end of the dunes. (Coos Bay marks the southern end.) We had our orange flag mounted and we were ready to hit the sand. And this is where it becomes a Reader Rides story because, despite my airing down the tires, the truck was packed to the gills and just too heavy to make it up any of the inclines without getting bogged down. Rather than get stuck a half hour before sunset with our summer’s worth of supplies, we packed it in and headed to Coos Bay for the night.

So let me tell you about Josh’s trip. It was hosted by Northwest Overland and featured training by 4×4 veteran, Bill Burke. They covered driving skills, tackling inclines, winch and Pull Pall recovery, and field repair by the looks of it. A lifted Tacoma snapped both its CV joints. But it also looks like they had a great time.

And Josh was kind enough to provide these fantastic photos, more of which, after the jump.

Links:
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area site
General map including camping, parking, trailheads, etc. (pdf)
Detailed map of riding areas and campsites (pdf)

Read the rest of this entry »

The guys at Touratech compare the KTM 990 to the the new KTM 1150. They do a good job of comparing the two bikes and the off-road footage is excellent.