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Thread: Off road newbie - is a 600cc too big?

  1. #1
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    Off road newbie - is a 600cc too big?

    I've recently been given a 2002 Yamaha XT600E but it's on 17" road wheels. I've found a pair of standard size wheels for sale for £300.

    Before I splashed the cash I thought I'd get in touch with the local TRF to enquire about going out with them and learning about green laning. Must admit the first response from the TRF wasn't very positive, a 600cc is too big for most of the Kent lanes. Is this likely to be the case? Too big in what way?

    I appreciate the XT isn't a lithe 250cc but it's not exactly GS proportions either.

  2. #2
    getting away with it so far! Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    My mate rides his XT on green lanes.

    If you've not done much, may be better to buy a smaller bike, however, you may be a natural so your XT could be fine.

  3. #3
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    I can't comment on the Kent lanes as I've never ridden them, although I find it hard to believe there aren't any that you can't tackle on a 600.

    I've got a lardy 650 Dakar that's taken me everywhere on and off road, including rallies and the Lands End Trial. I've also got a 690 Enduro R that done some tough trails on the Isle of Man and the Prolog at Erzberg this year. I'm ok off road but certainly no riding god.

    If I was in your situation I'd buy the wheels. If it doesn't work out then you can always sell them on.

    An old 600cc bike probably isn't the ideal machine to learn on but it's practically free and you're not entering the Dakar on it.

  4. #4
    Appreciating Scotland Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    I'd second Dansin's comments. You've been given the bike, spend the money on the wheels and see how you get on. Your height, weight, strength and fitness will all have a bearing on the out come, If you're 5' 6" and 9 stone soaking wet the weight of 600 will have more impact than if you're 6' 6", 15 stone and ripped.
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    +1 for Dans comments.

    I ride the East Kent lanes alot, albeit on an exc 400.

    There are plenty of lanes over this way & I've seen bigger bikes on them that cope perfectly fine
    Bounce

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    Yes. Start small, work up. Riding lanes is bloody hard work the first few times, and picking up, manhandling and generally faffing about with a 250 is hard enough. The TRF can be a bit traditional , but they are the only ones riding your local lanes regularly- so I would listen to them.


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    Thanks for the responses folks. Had a couple of emails from the TRF, I get the impression that they'd rather I didn't go out with them on the XT - they didn't come out and say that but you know when there's a layer of subtext.

    I'm still deciding on what to do. The little off roading I've done has been immense fun but I'm not sure about going out by myself. I'm a keen mountain biker and have had a couple of instances where I've stacked it and been on the trails by myself. Quite sobering when you're lying on the trail with Tweety Pie circling your head.

    The wider issue of the trail riding is that I am looking at an off road type trip next year. Pie in the sky until it happens but I quite fancy the Nomad tour with Silk Off Road Tours (http://www.silkoffroad.kz/tours-en/nomad-en/) and would rather practice before I got there.


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    The XT will be fine on the majority of Kent lanes, especially this time of year. When it gets mucky you may want a lighter bike but the harder lanes around Maidstone are subject of TRO's in many places currently anyhow.

    Give it a try, it won't cost you much

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    Not a great response from your local TRF group.

    If you're on Facebook you could join a few of the groups and see if you can rustle up a local ride. Adventure Bike Trail Riding UK and Trail Riding On UK Green Lanes are a couple.

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    if you want to spend up to £500 go on the 2 day Honda or BMW off road course in Wales ........ that will help you decide and give you enough knowledge to be safe to you and others off road
    paragon

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    I once tried to join up with my then local TRF - and the resonse was so negative and condescending from the local co-ordinator I never bothered again. I occasionaly used to see them when I went out and it was like watching some sort of strict military torture ordeal '' DONT DO THAT, DONT PARK THERE, DONT RIDE OVER THAT, DONT WHATEVER YOU DO DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT I SAY' etc etc*

    If I were you I would buy those wheels, give it a go (with or without the TRF- there are other groups - your call) and you will have some fun. If you dont take to off roading then you still have an cheap as chips ok bike for road and adventuring fun.......

    * just for occasional fun I used to follow them and easily keep up down a trail or two on my fully loaded R80RT - panniers, top box, Missis, the lot. Great fun.

  12. #12
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    From my experience of riding around the Cambridgeshire byways I would think you could get around them this time of year on the 600, but it would be a more pleasurable experience on a lighter bike. When they are muddy it would not be very pleasant at all on the 600.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beancounter View Post
    I've recently been given a 2002 Yamaha XT600E but it's on 17" road wheels. I've found a pair of standard size wheels for sale for £300.

    Before I splashed the cash I thought I'd get in touch with the local TRF to enquire about going out with them and learning about green laning. Must admit the first response from the TRF wasn't very positive, a 600cc is too big for most of the Kent lanes. Is this likely to be the case? Too big in what way?

    I appreciate the XT isn't a lithe 250cc but it's not exactly GS proportions either.
    I may be too far away from you, but you're more than welcome to come out on a ride with me around East Kent; I have a few trail circuits (short/medium/long) that I ride regularly & would be happy to take you round I have a few places where we can stop (ascents/descents/bomb holes etc) and you can mess around to your hearts content and see how you get on with the XT
    Bounce

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  14. #14
    Arse Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    The XT is a heavy bike but being an XT means it will do most things ok. Being the owner of an XT you won't loose much if you sell it on, maybe even more. Another option is to go and ride in France or Spain (on the bike, in a van or on a trailer to where you plan to stay and enjoy) with the bike. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities to enjoy touring of the beaten track. Get the wheels and give the suspension a thorough once over.

  15. #15
    Sorry to hear that you did not great a positive response from Kent TRF

    Taking any bike on green lanes on road tyres may be the reason behind the cautious response rather than the big bike. After all no-one wants to see you have an incident and as I am sure you are aware, on a motorcycle tyres are everything.

    If you make it clear you have the option of off road tyres you will find a more positive response on the following TRF links/groups;

    • The TRF Adventure bike riders FB site – open to non TRF members to join. https://www.facebook.com/groups/advbiketrailriding/

    • The TRF forum again will be open to non TRF members to join.
    www.trf.org.uk/forum

    • For the last 30 if not 40 years the TRF has run the Coast to Coast which is again – big bike friendly groups,, you will need those second wheels though. http://www.trf.org.uk/the-yorkshire-coast-to-coast/

    • Of this month’s major TRF events, the Hereford Hospice run is unlikely to be suitable but the TRF Moorland event might be if you check with the organisers.

    other TRF events are listed here https://www.facebook.com/pg/TrailRid...owship/events/

    This year’s TRF supported Byway tours for the wounded set off from Kent this year so I know there is plenty to do on a larger bike. You will always get a wider opinion by turning up a group meeting , details are here. http://www.trf.org.uk/find-your-regional-group/

    Rick Kemp the TRF’s editor an ex TBM is based in Broadstairs and the Sussex TRF guys ride Kent as well- so please contact them if you don’t get what you need from Kent TRF.
    You mentioned the Silk Road – nearer to you would have the Pilgrims Way which would seem to be an natural first step nearer to home. http://rustracing.com/the-pilgrims-way---part-1.html

    The other side of the M25 from you , Herts TRF run regular big bike only days and many TRF ride leaders will have ridden the route you are planning to do.

    Here is a photo from this summer of the new to TRF Dolan Family, Mum on here GS with Dad & small child on their GSA.
    This was taken in NW London on a Herts TRF beginners run.

    https://photos.google.com/album/AF1Q...69rsOQ_MK5rYPs

    Likewise here is a rider from the Herts TRF all bike beginners ride last weekend on his Triumph 800 suitably shod.
    https://www.facebook.com/HertsTRF/vi...6441684722790/

    Herts TRF will take out beginners on road tyres when the conditions allow – normally mid-summer when dry, or on a Salisbury Plain or Thetford forest run. See here http://www.trf.org.uk/big-bike-party/

    There would appear to be a suitable TRF green road ride for any big bike on road tyres led by professionals here. https://www.facebook.com/events/256637554845473 If you call Marianne (details in the link) I am sure she will help you further.

    Finally if the TRF isn’t working out for you and you simply want to find some green roads yourself- take a look at the TRF supported TET for a routes across the England & Wales which or Trailwise in your local area. http://www.trf.org.uk/the-trans-euro-trail/ Key people at the top behind this such as John Ross & Greg Villalobos and Brian Elland are all TRF officers / volunteers. You will definitely need off road tyres for this run. The route has just been extended in the South to run to Dover, Kent

    Hope you find this helpful and please let us know how you get on.



    Regards

    Mario

  16. #16
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    Surrey TRF
    I ride a GSA.
    Look out for the Big Bike rides

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