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TrailMax Tires in Mud! Removal of front fender?

3224 Views 58 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Cyrille
TrailMax Tires: After 8,000 miles, I've been very happy with my TrailMax Tires, but, until a couple days ago, I've avoided using them in mud because I was told that they don't shed mud well enough for use in mud. A couple days ago, I did some mud training and I can confirm that TrailMax tires don't shed mud well. So, I can recommend them only if you avoid or rarely ride in mud. As for me, I'll be switching back to TKC80s at my next tire change because I anticipate more mud in my future.

Front Fender: On a related note, I've noticed in various videos that mud accumulation between the front tire and a close fender can cause that tire to lock up and that the fender makes mud removal very difficult. This has me thinking I should remove the front lower fender from my 310GS. Has anyone removed the front fender on their 310GS? Are there any pros and cons that doing so has revealed?

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Mud is just no fun. There’s many different kinds, like snow. And it varies with moisture content. Once it starts sticking and building up….you Can easily end up trying to walk. Like sand, gear can compensate some. But like sand, best avoided if you can. Unlike sand you can’t gas it and float on top of mud. You need dig in and churn, try not to fall down or stop.
When I was running TW 200s on farms, replacing the front hugger fender with a high one kept the front tire from locking up but the back tire could still lock up depending on mud type. Removing the hugger fender did get the front of bike much much dirtier which could show up on the radiator on the 310. On the air cooled TW mud could build up on fins impacting cooling. Flip side being “proper” consistency mud with big knob tires and some power is more fun than a bag of snakes. Mud conditions would be a good time for an extra set of deadicated wheels and tires. Good mud tires that are good road tires are scarce. I’d guess that tires good in mud would also be good in snow, another thing I avoid riding in if I can. But the two do run together.
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Mud is just no fun...
Good info. Thanks.
There other thing about mud…it’s as insidious as sand, penetrating seals and grinding
down bearings.
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There other thing about mud…it’s as insidious as sand, penetrating seals and grinding
down bearings.
So, avoid when possible and, when you can't, wash it off as soon as possible.
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I decided a test was in order. Tomorrow, I'm going out with three other riders. It's supposed to be dry, but today there was a light misting rain in the ride area, so the unpaved terrain will be at least moist, possibly wet. I installed new TKC80s and I've removed the front fender. When I test rode the bike after tire installation, I noticed that the front tire now spits water in front of the headlight. Might need to extend the front fender if I decide to keep this configuration. I'll report how it went tomorrow or the next day.
Go Jerry G! Makes me cold thinking of it. But I’m a California boy. Trails close by close on threat of rain due to impassable mud and potential trail damages. Whole different World in your zone, actually rains regular there eh?
Whole different World in your zone, actually rains regular there eh?
Yeah. It's actually green here, all year round. Regarding cold: There's a saying in, I think, Norway: There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. I layer up and the cold doesn't stop me until there's ice or snow.


I was one of four, the other three riding Honda CRF 300s with knobbies. I was on my GS310 with newly installed TKC80s and the lower front fender removed. The ride started just south of Asheville in foggy conditions from the previous day's rain and today's warm mid-50s temperatures clearing to a mostly cloudy low-60s day. The day ended with a bone-chilling down-pour after we were back on pavement and headed home. I was just close enough to home to not want to stop to put on rain gear and I paid the price. I was soaked to the skin and let me tell you soaked to the skin while in the low 60s with riding speeds mostly in the 50s was a tolerable, but very chilly, 25 minutes.

The off-road ATV trails in the Jocassee Gorges Wilderness Area in South Carolina got some rain the day before but not enough to pose a problem on the trails or at the one water crossing - Laurel Fork Creek crossing. The road was continuous up and down and tight turns with a few places to get up to speed, both because we were playing in mountains and because the roads were constructed like a roller coaster with lots of 3-7' humps that I'm sure more skillful and/or crazy riders use to grab air. With only one side-by-side sighting, we had the whole area pretty much to ourselves.

The TKC80s were amazing - recall I started out using TKC80s for about 2,000 miles on my GS310 before switching to Trailmax Missions for the next 8,000 miles so I wouldn't have to change tires during my 7,000 mile run on Nova Scotia last June - the difference between the TKC80s and the Trailmax tires reminded me of the Mark Twain quote on the right word: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. 'tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” The TKC80s gripped everything all the time and laughed at the few really slippery parts. I'm am absolutely positive that had I still been running Trailmax tires, I would have had to go half speed and slid out several times even then. While the Trailmax tires are excellent, they don't do wet/mud anywhere near as good as TKC80s - I see mostly TKC80's in my future. That said, I did get sloppy and slid out as I rounded one tight corner because I wasn't been extreme enough with my counter leaning - I'm sure my instructors would have been slapping their foreheads.

My fender experiment, removing the lower front fender (see pic below), went without incident. It was a excellent test of riding in rain without it, but there wasn't enough mud to be a useful test in that regard. I'm probably going to keep the fender off, but I need to buy or make some lower fork protectors to reduce the potential for fork seal problems.

There will be a video - John was running front and rear cameras - he led and I followed behind him on the way out and I led in front of him on the way back in. When it's posted on YouTube, I'll provide the link here.

This was our planned ride in Jocassee Gorges Wilderness Area in South Carolina...I look forward to going back and doing more...
Map World Atlas Slope Parallel

But as you can see from my InReach Track, we deviated in favor of visiting the lake and a couple of overlooks of the lake...
Ecoregion Map Terrestrial plant Screenshot Parallel

The other three culprits (L to R: Harry, John, and Tom) posing behind my GS310 where Bootleg Road ends at the Lake Jocassee...
Tire Wheel Sky Water Motorcycle
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You probably already know about “fork skins”. EZ protection for forks. Might be better than stock actually. A wee bit more maintenance. If really doing much mud, protect shock too.
So cool somebody is tough enough to ride in Winter!
You probably already know about “fork skins”.
I ordered them at 12:38 PM today, got them free thanks to some "RM Cash" I had at Rocky Mountain ATV & MC:
Of course, I couldn't find GS310 specific lower fork guards, so I might cut down an OEM front fender to make a set. It's a redundancy and aesthetic thing. Without the fender, the fender mounts at the bottom of the forks look wrong. What do you think?

So cool somebody is tough enough to ride in Winter!
One of my reasons for living in the Asheville, NC, area was year round mountain riding. Other than a couple of snow storms, that's worked out really well. Another reason was four seasons, so I don't even mind the occasional snow storm; that's what hot cocoa, a good book, and a real wood fire are for.
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Many of the same reasons I live in Blairsville. We are about 100 miles south west of Asheville. Plus we love the small town atmosphere here. Plus great riding starts the second that I pull out of the driveway. 😊
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If the fork skins work or just regular fork boots, I’d be very tempted to lose the fender/ gaurds
entirely. Be a hassle to install but regular expandable boots would look pretty good. Stops issue of fork seal damage. Depending off course on fender functioning. If not fighting gumbo mud build up the fender may prove worthwhile. Jerry G will have to be the beta and let us know if that’s the case shortly. Easy to see the lower fender as superfluous though engineers usually have a reason for doing things.
I fully intend to boot up my front forks in time. Just many projects.
The plastic stock protector does little to keep seals out of dirt.

Had an Aunt with home in Tryon NC sweet area for sure, dug going to Hot Springs AK nearby cabin. really wanted a dual sport when I visited. Lived in Morgantown WV for year (school). That was sufficient 4 seasons for this California boy.
engineers usually have a reason for doing things
Your engineer comment is spot on. My background is engineering in two disciplines, chemical and then military ops research/test and evaluation.

The problem: I've watched enough BDR videos to see some very advanced adventure riders get brought down by mud build up under that lower fender, so I'm willing to experiment as a beta. I've been breaking this into three parts:

- Fork boots vs skins: I think fork boots on upside down forks would be so close to the ground that they'd quickly get torn up. To check this, I searched on "fork boot" images and couldn't find a single image showing fork boots installed on upside down forks. Even when I searched on "upside down fork boots", all I found was fork skins and fork guards, no fork boots on lower part of the upside down forks.

- Fork guards: When I searched on "adventure motorcycles" and "dirt motorcycles", fork guards were universal on upsidedown forks. There were quite a few with both fork guards and fork skins. This has led me to think that the guards are there for protecting the tubes as much as the seals. So that's were I leaning. I have skins enroute and I'm going cut down my lower fender to provide a fork guard on each side. Fortunately, it's only a $100 part if I have to switch back.

- Upper fenders: The biggest unknown in my mind is whether the GS310 upper beck/fender will suffice or should be extended forward and/or backward like those found on dirt bikes. I think that's going to take a messy ride to find out.

More to follow.
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There was a time where the boxers were dealing with the lower fender. Kits abounded to extend the beak, remove the beak etc. Could be some good ideas there. Dings from rocks on tubes might be an issue though I’d be suspect. Bigger issue is dirt killing seals. Back in the day one hallmark ofBMW was they came with fork boots. What are doing about rear clearance? Mud will stop rear wheel too in swing arm. My experience with deadly gumbo is nothing helps, your done. I’ve left a hard core Landcruiser sitting and had to wait weeks until it dried to drive out. Actually very hard to walk in that mud.
So it’s all relative. Lots of places, you just don’t go there if raining. Great ride report on ADV recently about a group that got stranded by mud in Wyoming. Had to get choppered out.
My largest concern about not having the low fender is plugging up the radiator with mud which dries to brick. May not be issue.
☝Good info. Thanks.

Re the rear swing arm, I had not considered it other than noting a rear lock up is far more forgiving than a front lock up.

Re the back in the day booted BMWs, like my '77 R100/7, their forks were are all right side up so the boot was well away from the ground.

Re don't go there, my first choice will always be mud avoidance, but that doesn't seem possible given what I'm seeing. So, my zero-eth choice is be as prepared as possible.

Re Wyoming group story, please provide a link. I couldn't find it; too many "stuck in mud" posts out there.

Re radiator: agreed, I'll be watching that closely.
Well a jumbled mind. But I did notice the r fender as much smaller than the gs. That might allow for less mud accumulation and retain fork tube protection. Certainly could be trimmed down more even. Probably expensive.
Nice thought, but the R fender won't work. Look at the distance from the top fender mounting bolt to the top of the fender; it's sized for a 17" tire and shorter travel. Now look at the same distance on the GS fender; it's sized for a 19" tire and longer travel.

Tire Wheel Fuel tank Vehicle Automotive lighting
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That’s why your an engineer JG! Darn. Does show you’d be safe taking a saw to your stock fender. Course being BMW it’ll be pricey….. design wise they seem concerned in that the protector /mount for fender is pretty stout to my thinking. Could just cut until all you have left are the fork tube sections secured by two bolts.
You could try the RnineT front fender, that might work?
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