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Old 15 Nov 2007
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Off road experience or training

Hi there, not sure if this is the best place to ask this but here goes.

I have been riding my fazer600 for 2 years now and am very tempted to get a dirt-capable bike to replace it next year... something all purpose that can eat up motorway miles but take me on dirt, fields up mountains when abroad.
Abroad initially would be Alps, Spain, Eastern Europe.. later Africa I'd imagine.

So apart from wanting a GS12 or KaToom 990 but feeling they are too big hence anticipating GS800, tenere, Transalp, etc.. I'm thinking that I ought to try out some dirt riding as the closest I've come is moutainbiking!

Obviously there's BMW Wales but the cost of it added to me being Oop Norf!
The team looks great though but the other manufacturers do these expereince days or levels of training too.
KTM seems to be an indoor arena, kind of like a dirt "track day" wher you ask for instruction.. hmm
Honda. same I think
Yamaha is a day's trail riding with an instructor to a few pupils - sounds ideal

I now of a company not far from me i2i Motorcycle academy (run by a neighbouring IAM group to mine) who do all sorts of trainig, on your road bike, Supermoto, and offroad (various levels of each)

Ady Smith also has a school for SM and off road.

What I'm about to ask is whether anyone here has experience of or knows about this sort of introduction to dirt and whether you can reccomend any training schools.

My friend would come too and he used to ride MX but years ago.. whereas I have never ridden on loose stuff!
I'm really into getting a go anywhere bike and, whilst not going RTW, making trips more adventurous by being able to ride on (not too harsh) off road routes. But before I go and buy one, I think I should try it out first...

Where's a good place to do this?

Go forrit! But..take it easy.
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Old 15 Nov 2007
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Motorcycle trail riding with Trail Rides Wales

Try this lot in Wales, we used our own bikes and cost very little but you can hire their bikes (125's, 250's etc). You can camp at the Devils Bridge campsite nearby.

Why not get yourself a wee traily bike and do the HUMM next year!


If you are wanting to eat up the miles but also do some dirt, you'd should probably stick with something tried and tested like a 600/650 single (DR, KLR, XR, XT etc).

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Last edited by MikeS; 15 Nov 2007 at 13:03.
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Old 15 Nov 2007
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You could contact Brian Eland (HUBB name Brian E) - he runs the coast to coast offroad challenge but I'm sure he also does days out around Northumberland (how far are you oop north?). I was a complete off road novice on my KTM 640 and he took us places I wouldn't usually walk (or swim) never mind ride, he had to talk me through stuff (several times as I remember eh Bri ?) but I got there in the end.

Not sure if we hires out bikes but if he doesn't he may be able to point you in the right direction.

Have fun.

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Old 15 Nov 2007
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IMHO it is best to
(1) train on the same type of bike that you're going to buy, and
(2) train for the same type of riding you intend doing.

If you are thinking of trail riding on a F800GS, then the World of BMW Offroad Course would be the best for your needs. The 2008 calendar is now up at World of BMW | Motorcycle tours, holidays, training and trackdays but you would need to move quickly to get a place on one of the early dates.

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Old 29 Nov 2007
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if anyone would like to play on the mountain where charlie and ewan go in south wales it's on a mountain behind a small village called banwen just outside neath,south wales. also the abercrave inn down the road does a nice pint!
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Old 16 Dec 2007
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Are you organising a weekend?
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Old 17 Dec 2007
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Originally Posted by kevinhancock750 View Post
if anyone would like to play on the mountain where charlie and ewan go in south wales it's on a mountain behind a small village called banwen just outside neath,south wales. also the abercrave inn down the road does a nice pint!
Are you saying that it's open to public?

I thought it was part of Walters Arena where BMW hold their offroad courses, hence the Simon Pavey connection? If so, the entrance is locked, with the keys only available to tose renting the site & I doubt it's open to the public. I also think that the Dawn to Dusk enduro event is held there.

Anyone needing offroad experience in the UK can attend two day events in Wales by BMW @ Walters Arena or in the Brecon Beacons run by Geraint Jones on Yamaha's. Ady Smith also runs enduro & supermoto courses throughout the UK, I'm attending one in the south of England late February (if I pull my finger out & pay a deposit soon).
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Old 17 Dec 2007
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Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
IMHO it is best to
(1) train on the same type of bike that you're going to buy, and
(2) train for the same type of riding you intend doing.

RE 1: Personally i would say try a few bikes before you buy, this makes renting worthwhile because you get to field test several. Until you have tried a bike, you wont really know how well you will get on with it.

2 i Agree, but nice to see what your bike likes and dislikes, may help you plan for a happier ride.

for instance, every old Brit bike I had would go anywhere, because they were not so specialised. My BMW is a bit better than any of them on the motorways and similar but not half as good once I am off the big roads. On unmade roads it is terrible and practically unrideable on wet grass and such. I have a farm here and doubt i could circle any field in winter without falling off the BMW. I could run a 350 Enfield around here with impunity. So on motorways the bmw is 50% faster than a 350 Enfield. off road it simply can't enter in order to compete sensibly so teh enfield would be at least 500% quicker..
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Old 18 Dec 2007
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I don't think its something you can learn on a quick training course.

I would say buy a cheap off road bike ,like a XR250,KLR250 ,Serow or the like's Small is better to start with
The BMW 's are to heavy ,and Old British bike's need a lot of TLC to keep them going,{ no offence to people that ride these bike's but I have done lot's of miles on both ,so this is my point of View}
so if your looking to ride it clean it and put it away till next time ,it's got to be a jap or KTM.

You could Join your local TRF and see if they will take you out on some easy trail's.

Then over time you will get the hang of it.The cheap bike you have bought can then be sold for what you paid for it ,then get the bike you want.

I would not dream of teaching anyone to ride off road on a big bike.
I can't understand anyone useing a big bike for their first ride off road.

If you have alook on this site BMWGS.co.uk :: Index

They do lot's of off roading ,in Wale's ,Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District.

Have a look for when they are doing one of the easy one's and join them.

Best way to learn is get out there a lot and enjoy.

All the best

Last edited by Dazzerrtw; 18 Dec 2007 at 11:26.
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Old 18 Dec 2007
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Originally Posted by Dazzerrtw View Post
I don't think its something you can learn on a quick training course.
If you're going overlanding then my recommendation would be to get on with it. You learn amazingly fast when you're alone on a heavily laden bike, plus the techniques required for long slogs on poor corrugated roads are a bit different from British off-roading, which tends to have a lot of mud....

Pick a route that eases you in and take your time at first, read up on the basics and get stuck in. I had about 500 miles under my belt in total (i.e. including the DAS course) and picked it up as I went, reckon it made the experience even more rewarding/committing
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Old 18 Dec 2007
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bright idea

Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
Are you organising a weekend?
might be an idea for a small group! get christmas over and i'll talk with my ex whom i'm staying with at mo. she got big house! and garage! i'm back in wales for a bit so maybe.
steve. it's not locked! i've been up on this mountain many times in my land rover in the past even watching the BMW training sessions and had no problem. dont know if your allowed but it's busy there on a sunday with 4x4's and bikes. i'll go up there on sunday and have a butchers hook to see if all is the same as i aint been there for a few years.
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Old 18 Dec 2007
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dilema REally depends on you and you're needs. Best.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 07:33.
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Old 18 Dec 2007
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Originally Posted by Dazzerrtw View Post
I don't think its something you can learn on a quick training course.
Errr .. most people benefit from training. "Quick'? a 2 day course is the minium I'd recommend. And they can help beginners or experienced people .. all to do with how they are slanted. A raw beginner stands to gain the most. So yes - if you can find a course suitable to you - do it!!! Best to find the right way to do something before becoming practiced in the wrong way of doing it .. educational psychology 101...

After the course .. sit down and think the stuff through. Then go practice. At each obstacle .. stop .. think it through and then do it ..

---- Note Patrick said "trials' not trail ... Edit Trials is very low speed, over very difficult obstacles .. scored on maintaining balance - points deducted for putting a foot down .. if you can find one being held locally - go watch.

Bugger .. thanks Ian ... mutter mutter
Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S

Last edited by Frank Warner; 19 Dec 2007 at 23:38. Reason: Correction .. doh!
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Old 19 Dec 2007
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Hey Frank,
In the UK Trials is slow speed points deducted for putting your foot down over obsticles and trails is trail riding on green lanes etc.

Do you sit on the engine in between the wheels down there ?
Only a joke.
All good info in this thread and practise makes perfect under supervision.Even experienced road bike riders could do with some off road training.
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Old 19 Dec 2007
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Basic off-roading isn't rocket science, the techniques can be learnt quickly, although there's lots to remember and then it's just loads of practice. I regularly have total beginners coming over and by the end of the week they're doing tough climbs, jumping, sliding the back and generally enjoying themselves. For other courses in the UK try the forum here - TBM Forum :: Index
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