Simpson Desert Feedback

I ride a heavy motor bike. An enduro. BMW R 1150 GSA. I'd rather avoid deepish sand. Is the Simpson off-limits for me and my bike?
All the best....Van [Davy]
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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 23:29

Sunday, Mar 23, 2008 at 23:29

The Simpson is all about deep soft sand. It varies a bit as to how soft but it is always reasonably soft on the top of the dunes. On many of the dunes there is a requirement to change direction as you crest the dune. I have not ridden one of those big BM's but I met a guy at Innamincka who was riding one and he had not enjoyed the Bore Track because of soft sand. The sand in the Simpson is much softer and deeper than anything I saw on the Bore Track.

Having said that the Simpson was much easier to travel than I had expected. Maybe I just got there on a good day.

I also met two guys near the top end of the Bore Track riding lighter bikes, Honda XR 600 and a similar sized KTM they were having a ball. I did not have much to go on but I thought the guys on 600's had a more positive attitude which could have made the difference or it could have been the weight of the bikes.

Mind you the guys in the Paris Dakkar seem to like those big BM's

Hope this helps.
AnswerID: 294309

Reply By: Member - Van D (NSW) - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 07:56

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 07:56
G'day Duncs
Thanks for your time and info. I reckon I'll stay away from the Simpson this time. Maybe next time - next year - after I've done my "thing" elsewhere.
I am planning, with a relatively inexperienced mate of mine, to cross from Newcastle to Hall's Creek, spend 2 weeks on a Kimberley loop, 2 weeks across the top end, 2 weeks to the Tip and back, and finally 2 weeks down the East Coast to Woy Woy [where I live]. I have researched likely road conditions [I start around 22 May] and everything is looking pretty good at this point.
However, there is a tricky bit from Tibooburra to Oodnadatta which involves two Strzlecki Tracks and an Old Strzlecki Track. I'm geared up for it all - but I'm not terribly confident about the "sand thing". What do you know about the route from Lyndhurst to the Old Strzlecki Track?
AnswerID: 294343

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 09:04

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 09:04
Gday Van,
Its certainly possible, but on something that size and if your not keen on deep sand, Id stay away from it and do it in a car.
You wouldnt have time to look around and enjoy yourself, just concentrating to keep it in the wheel tracks.
I personally reckon its good fun for a squirt on a 600 but hard work and a pain in the arse on anything bigger and especially if your carrying gear.

AnswerID: 294353

Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 09:49

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 09:49
I recently assisted a rider with major clutch problems on a very soft beach. We wanted to gently tow him off the beach as it was almost impossible to push his heavy bike in the soft sand/shingle but we could not find anywhere to attach a strap. Rider wanted to wrap it around the handle bars a couple of times and hold the loose end but this did not work as it was too difficult to maintain directional control of the bike. We then tried to hoist the bike up onto the bull bars but this was also difficult as the fairing made it awkward to tie on without breaking something. In the end we managed to hoist the bike higher up on the bar and tied it off through the spokes - not ideal. My point here is that I think it would be a good idea to have a good look at your bike and work out how you could attach a strop if you had to get a gentle tow up a dune or carry your bike if you or the bike are unable to continue. For those of you who think that towing may be dangerous I an referring to the bike being pulled while the rider walks and steers.

AnswerID: 294364

Follow Up By: SoloGirl - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 11:10

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 11:10
The correct point for a strap (with a loop) on a bike is the foot peg.
You need to make sure that if you use the left peg (for example) that the towing point on the vehicle is to the left of the bike so the strap stays in a straight line. It's very effective because it's low down on the bike and I've even seen an experienced rider sit on the bike whilst being towed.
It's actually quite a safe operation because if the strap pops off the peg all that happens is that the bike stops. Again.
FollowupID: 560183

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 14:38

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 14:38
Good tip SoloGirl. Thanks,
FollowupID: 560243

Reply By: Member - Van D (NSW) - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 22:13

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 22:13
Well, thank you very much helpful and wise people: Hairy, Kiwi Kia and Sologirl...not to mentions Duncs. Your advice has directed me away from the Simpson and towards the Strzlecki: Cameron Corner, Merty Merty, Lyndhurst and up the Oodnadatta Track....I am soooooooo looking forward to the whole thing! I sound like a kid, huh? You wouldn't think I'd ridden through Europe, Baltics, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India...but I have and this sort of trip is STILL an adventure to me. And I am pretty keen to stay upright the whole way round.
The advice about straps to the footpeg sounds right. A tow strap to the handlebars seems to me that it would dig the front wheel in and make the whole thing more difficult. I hope not to have to use Sologirl's advice, but if I get stuck I'll remember what to do.
BTW - Sologirl, I did email that fella in South Africa that you put me on to, but to this point - no reply.
All the best....Van [Do I have to get myself an exotic name like Hairy or Sologirl or will youze lot still talk to me with a boring ole name? Maybe I could call myself Bananaskin as an incentive to staying vertical? What do you think?
AnswerID: 294508

Reply By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008 at 08:36

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008 at 08:36
Hi Davy

Thats a heavy one allright and I think you would be right to aviod the deep sand.

Will be taking a group across end of june this year and they will have from TTR230 up to KTM 525 all of which we have tested more locally.

Just picked up a new DRZ400e for myself and I will be lowering it at the back to give it a little more front rake for stability in the sand and hopefully fitting a steering stabilzer which I recently experienced the effect of and it made sand riding a lot easier.
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 294542

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