Riding the AZBDR on a 2016 Moto Guzzi Stelvio

I've managed to make it back from the Arizona Back Country Discovery Route (AZBDR) and thought I'd share my experiences riding a new 2016 Stelvio.
First off, the beginning of the AZBDR is about 840 miles from where I live, and I wanted a more aggressive tire setup, so tire choice was important.  I went with the Shinko 804/805 combo and couldn't be happier.

WP_20160506_002.jpg 

Day one I ended up in Gila Bend AZ about 610 miles from the house. Nothing but freeway and 70-80 mph the whole way.

Day two saw me to the start of the AZBDR at the Coronado National Monument around noon.  Figuring the first couple sections were going to be fairly easy I headed off.

WP_20160508_008.jpg 

With the exception of one sand area it really was.  I ended up in Benson AZ for the night after getting a lot of information on where to run the tire pressures and developing a feel for the bike loaded in the dirt.

WP_20160508_011.jpg

Day three is where it began to get a bit more interesting. Benson to Globe, then Globe to Young.  The day started with graded dirt roads then slowly began to narrow with less and less maintenance. A number of water crossings, though nothing to write home about.

WP_20160509_015_1.jpg

After you get past Globe and head to Young you begin to climb up in to the forests heading for the Mogollon rim which marks the edge of the Colorado Plateau.

WP_20160509_013.jpg

The last 15 or so miles into Young is where it began to get entertaining.  The road narrows, begins to ascend to the top of the plateau and is complete rocks.  Starting with small manageable rocks to those the size of grapefruit and larger.  This section alone took me nearly two hours. Plenty of remote camping opportunities around Young, so I called it a day after nearly 10 hours in the saddle.

Day four, Young to Winona.  The day started off well until I had to divert due to a controlled burn conducted by ADF.  This shortened the off road portion of the ride but also in theory would shorten my day in the saddle.  NOT!! After picking up the route by  Clint's Well, I was in store for another round of "rock adventures".

WP_20160510_003_1.jpg

However after a few hours things started to develop into a pretty nice ride through the forests and into Winona.

WP_20160510_004.jpg

Day five would have me riding through the Navajo reservation and in and around the Vermilion cliffs before crossing the boarder into Utah for the end of the ride.
You must have a permit to ride in the Navajo Reservation back county.  You can obtain one at the Visitor Center in Cameron for $12, cash.  I really enjoyed the ride through the "Nation".  beautiful scenery and what people I met were friendly and helpful.

WP_20160511_029.jpg

 

WP_20160511_018.jpg

The last portion of the ride was uneventful with lots of photo opportunities and spectacular scenery.

I ended finishing the AZBDR the afternoon of the fifth day, or really four days of riding the route. 

WP_20160511_033.jpg

So now the summary:

When I left the house the bike had 1498 miles on it. It now has 3856. I figure that I spent about 710 miles off road to complete the AZBDR.
 I spent a fair amount of time going over fasteners and the like in preparation for the ride.  Nothing more than I would do on any other bike I have taken. I carried between 60-65 lbs of gear (depending on how much water I had on-board) Remote camped 3 nights and camped in campgrounds 2.  I did stay in a Motel on the ride home, I know, LOSER!

I ran the Shinko 804/805 tires and at the conclusion of the ride I still have not hit the 50% wear bar.  The tires I would highly recommend if this is the type of riding you are interested in. Good pavement life and off road performance is quite good.  Of course I only seemed to ride in rocks...

For the bike?  I could not be happier.  Not one single issue, none, reliable as an anvil. 

Yes she's a heavy girl, but she's light on her feet and does anything you ask.  The bike was everything I hoped it would be after coming off a KTM 990 and 50,000 miles.  Much better on the freeway, 80 mph all day long no worries. Noticeably lower center of gravity, which equates into easier manageability when herding around 600+ lbs out in the boonies. No cylinders sticking out to hook your ankles...well you get the idea.

So there you have it.  With almost 4,000 mile on the clock I figure I could write intelligently about the bike.

They were right.  Ride one 20 miles, you will never own one, ride one 200 miles and you will never sell it.

Don't be afraid to take her out in the dirt.  No, it's not a "dirt bike", it's Moto Guzzi's entry in to the "adventure bike" market.  Ride it as an adventure bike, compare it to other adventure bikes and you'll see, it's a damn good mount that has no bad habits, a reasonable price point and the reliability of well, and anvil. I spent days looking for known issues with the NTX, worst I could find that was repeatable was the driving lights.  I can't say as much for most of the other entries in the "adventure" market.

Long post, hope you enjoy.  Last thing.  IDBDR in September, anybody want to go? thumb.gif
 

Thx for sharing... Ruined my motivation to work for the day, but hey, worth it! ;)

Thx for sharing... Ruined my motivation to work for the day, but hey, worth it! ;)

No worries, work is over rated....glad to help!

Dual Sport 092.jpg

Great ride report!

 

I rode the AZBDR two years ago and it wasn't all that easy!  I'm surprised you did it solo.  You must be a great rider.

 

I found my least favorite section was that last 50 miles or so before Wynona.  Lots small rocks and picking lines in 2nd gear.

 

I got to Cameron and when I filled up with gas I went to take it off the center stand and it just collapsed!  My rear shock had broken at the base and luckily it didn't do that until I got there.  I can't imagine that happening while riding it or trying to get it out of there.  I did not get to do the rest of the BDR since I had to get the bike towed south to Phx. :(

 

Did you have a SPOT or anything like that?

 

Any video?

Great ride report!

 

I rode the AZBDR two years ago and it wasn't all that easy!  I'm surprised you did it solo.  You must be a great rider.

 

I found my least favorite section was that last 50 miles or so before Wynona.  Lots small rocks and picking lines in 2nd gear.

 

I got to Cameron and when I filled up with gas I went to take it off the center stand and it just collapsed!  My rear shock had broken at the base and luckily it didn't do that until I got there.  I can't imagine that happening while riding it or trying to get it out of there.  I did not get to do the rest of the BDR since I had to get the bike towed south to Phx. :(

 

Did you have a SPOT or anything like that?

 

Any video?

Always have the SPOT! I've actually never ridden any of the BDR's with anyone. I agree about the section before Wynona I swear it took hours to go 10 miles. I had heard the AZBDR was by far the hardest, but I disagree. The UTBDR seemed much tougher, at least the first half. Where they called "deep silt/sand" they were not kidding. Silt up to the front axle on the KTM, most annoying!

As to riding solo I have the mind set that I will not go faster than I'm willing to fall down, I don't push beyond my or the bike limits and I error to the side of caution. It's an "Adventure" ride not a race, right?

Good rider, but not what I'd call great. I road raced for about 10 years, then did enduro's up until a few years ago. Unfortunately, my wife says I'm the poster child for deceleration trauma. And after 34 years of marriage she knows what she's talking about. I'm old too!!

I have done the CO, AZ and ID BDR's and AZ was the hardest but I've heard that also about Utah.  If you want to check out my IDBDR ride report, go here

 

It was a lot easier but very long.  Days 2 and 3 are pretty long and we got in late both days and we were riding pretty quickly.  My advice is take your time and go at your own pace.  Camp where you can.  Look out for animals.

I was googling for IDBDR ride reports, came across yours and joined the site. Great write up. Looking forward to doing this one. I'll actually be doing it with a coworker. First time doing a BDR with a companion! He's been a roadie until a couple months ago. Thought this would be a great ride to hone his skills.

Great ride report!

I too was reading up on IDBR as I'm keenly interested in doing that one. Unfortunately since time and weather will be a factor this year, no ride over 3-4 days for me so it's doubly nice to read of others' rides.

That will be unfortunate as the selected area is probably one of the most scenic and satisfying sections of the ride.

I'm an "ambassador" working with the Backcountry Discovery Routes team working on the new Nevada and California BDR.  We know about this and are working on it. ;)

Eric

You ever get up around the central valley Eastside, let me know.  I've done a lot of "exploring" and have ridden from 3 Rivers to King's Canyon then on to Yosemite using NFS roads, jeep trails, ETC. A bit of pavement but a significant amount off road. And always have a garage if needed....

 

Dan

Thanks very much, Dan.  I'm headed that way September 22-25 for the Horizons Unlimited get together at Mariposa county fairgrounds.  That would be a fun way to get there and back!

Hit me up, I SHOULD be back from the IDBDR before that. If not, swing by Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold. It's on the way to Mariposa on the 41. I'm the director of physical operations, I'll take you to lunch. I'd like to put a face to the name!

Thanks for the ride report!  Good work.  I've only done the CO and WA BDR's so far but I'm hooked and hoping to check off the rest of them in the next year or so.  I thought it'd be cool to string the AZ, UT, and ID BDR's together in a trip to cross from Mexico to Canada via BDR routes.

 

I usually ride solo as well.  I think a lot of people push things too much when they're alone.  If you have a support network when riding with others, you can get away with more.  When you don't have that you need to stay conscious to what you're able to handle.  Many people don't keep that part in check when alone, glad you do and make others aware of it.   

So I have completed the IDBDR and am planning for next year.  I have ordered the COBDR map as well as NMBDR.  Right now my heart has me leaning towards the COBDR.  To date I have the ID, UT, and AZBDR's under my belt.  My fave? Utah, hands down.  Don't know if it's because it was my first BDR or just the scenery. I've done it twice, south to north and north to south.  They say Colorado rivals it so we'll see.  Looking to go in late June or early July depending on snow pack.  It will make the drive out a real scorcher though....

Mooney! Have you taken your Italian beauty on anymore adventure rides?

I am considering this bike.  Any issues with light off-roading and a dry clutch?  I figure clutch slipping is not ideal but that won't matter whether you are in stop and go traffic on pavement or off road riding.  I won't take a big heavy ADV bike on trails where there is very much 5 mph constant clutch slipping to keep the bikes forward momentum.  That is what a Beta Dual Sport is for.  I think most BDR's are not real heavy duty off-road and probably ideal for an ADV bike whereas a dual sport bike won't even be challenged.

And for the OP, which soft bag are you running for your top case/bag?  I don't like the looks of the really tall, square top cases and also think the attachment allows them to move around too much.  I'd feel safer lashing down a couple dry bags like it appears you have done.

NC

On 6/22/2016 at 4:07 PM, Mooney78865 said:

As to riding solo I have the mind set that I will not go faster than I'm willing to fall down, I don't push beyond my or the bike limits and I error to the side of caution. It's an "Adventure" ride not a race, right?

Even in group riding, I still follow this principle.  "I will not go faster than I am willing to fall down."  :)

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now