Great write up.
This is a discussion on Took my grom off road within the Grom Reviews, Rides and Impressions forums, part of the Honda Grom Forums category; I'm a member of Dixie Dual Sport, a dual sport club based in Florida. Our feature event is the Devils Creek Dual Sport Ride, held ...
I'm a member of Dixie Dual Sport, a dual sport club based in Florida. Our feature event is the Devils Creek Dual Sport Ride, held every March near Brooksville Florida. This year I decided to take my Grom. This a short description of my weekend written for the club:
Why a Grom? Why a Grom when I’ve got a perfectly good KTM 450exc to ride? Heck, I don’t know; it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Inspired by other accounts of the misuse and abuse of small motorcycles, I decided this was something I could do and I’ve already got the motorcycle: 2015 Honda Grom. This little motorcycle has already given me 7000 miles of trouble free and fun transportation so why not reward it by taking it out for a good thrashing in the woods?
A few alterations seemed prudent for safety, looks, and that all important cdi factor. First to go were those sticky Michelin street tires, replaced with a set of Maxxis knobbies. Those goofy “Mickey Mouse ear” mirrors were replaced with a fold away dual sport mirror that actually works (when I dampen the vibration with my thumb.) Front turn signals were swapped out for a flush mounted pair and the required (to be cool) GPS mounted. Matching brush guards and a rear hugger finished the transformation from stealthy street sleeper to an unlikely dirt bike. The transformation took one week and I was getting excited. This was gonna be a weekend of “firsts;” first time riding the Grom off road and first time camping in my old truck.
The drive to Sertoma Youth Ranch was uneventful (always a welcome outcome with old trucks and their older drivers) and the transformed Grom ready to ride. First ride wasn’t to the dirt, it was to Pappa Joe’s for a nice, juicy NY strip and a little Cab Sav. Nice brisk ride back to the campsite followed with more wine, the rest of the steak (eaten caveman style,) bench racing with neighbors and watching a beautiful moon and starlit sky; best observed from a dark camp. Imagine my shock next morning when I discovered blood stains all over my white shirt; hazards of caveman style.
Time for first ride and I headed right for the graveyard section. When I got there I chickened out, it was Friday and no one would be coming by to rescue me if there was a problem. Instead I took a little used trail that avoids the dreaded deep sand. The little Grom did better than expected but still couldn’t handle deep sand. A combination of lacking power and small, fat tires tended to suddenly tuck the front end; I never fell off but came close ……. real close! In the harder packed stuff it performed really well as long as I picked a line with low ground clearance in mind. Enough of this, it’s breakfast time, so I headed for Denny’s. On the way I noticed a little mom and pop place at US98 and SR50; the Southern Comfort Café, and decided to eat there instead. Wow, loved it.
Saturday was spent doing road guard duty with my friend Mike Driver. Great time seeing how much fun the riders were having. Everyone seemed to be pumped to be riding in such a beautiful forest on great, challenging roads on a sunny Florida day. We felt good just being a part of that. Seeing old friends at dinner that night just made the day that much better.
Sunday was the day Mr. Grom really met the trail. I managed to do 27 miles off road and rode through some of the most challenging sections. Hard packed trails were a breeze but with the stock suspension I did have to be careful of bottoming out the front end. Standing didn’t make it any more stable so picking ones line becomes the key to control and speed. The gearing was a little to high for off road and I realized a larger rear sprocket would have made a difference. Second gear was too high but third too low was a common problem. When I got to the mud holes I couldn’t use any of the chewed up lines from the hundred bikes from the day before, they were too deep. I was always able to pick a little used line with a little care and never turned back. The light weight and small size were an advantage sometimes. Those little knobbies hooked up good and I found myself using the berms with confidence.
It wouldn’t be a real test without facing the graveyard section. I came in from the east (no secret bypass trail there) and was soon fighting a plow front end. Sitting on the very back of the seat and walking the bike in first gear was the best I could do. The trail had been softened up by those same hundred bikes so the sand was really loose. I’ve got to admit; it was tough! I skirted onto the harder edges where available but those aren’t always available. Half way through I pulled over for a big 4WD truck idling through; they gave me a friendly wave (but I know they were thinking: “what an idiot.”) I struggled through and was pretty happy to see the end. Short blast down that secret trail had me cooled and pumped again.
The question “Why” has several answers. Most important is; because it was fun. Fun converting the Grom into a dual sporter, fun riding on the trails with 175 of my closest friends and even fun conquering the dreaded graveyard section with equipment ill-suited to the task. I also wanted to show one doesn’t need a $10,000 dual sport bike to participate. Just about any standard style bike can be converted for dual sport use. Not counting the GPS (I use it on all my vehicles) it took me less than $400 to convert the Grom to a useable dual sporter and it’s still good transportation.
Great write up.
I thought I saw Swampy say a Grom was going to hit the dirt this year. To anyone that doesn't know, the deviks creeks ride is a bitch! Lots of deep sand and deep water, like all day long, for two days.
I've ridden a few times with DDS. My first was deviks creeks, then the backpack charity ride where my ex and I spent the day riding with Mike and Emma, super nice couple btw. Last time I rode with DDS Robert invited me to ride the cross Florida ride. I rode my Uly up for the weekend on street tires, loaded with camping gear and rode the off road ride. Man that was fun! I keep thinking next time there is a DDS ride on a date I don't have my son I'm going to do it on the Grom (most likely the street ride tho).
Thanks for sharing tyour story, I hope to see you at a ride one day on the Grom.
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