Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: GS Training

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Winslow, Il
    Posts
    16

    GS Training

    I just purchased a R1200GSA in March 2011. It has been30 yrs since any serious riding. I now have 12k mi on the highway and feel comforable there. I want to get my confidence up on the other half of the bike, and learn to ride it off the paved highways. I am looking for any and all recomendations.
    Thanks All, Phil

  2. #2
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    ATL/WNC
    Posts
    8,511
    you have a lot of options.

    BMW offers training on both coasts. In the east, it's the BMW Performance Center. In the west, RawHyde. Both are good and both are expensive. You get to ride their bikes, which is always good.

    There are a few other places around the country, where are you located?

    If you've never ridden off pavement, the GS is not the place to start, imo. I strongly recommend you try something on a small light bike, to get your bearings. The MSF offers a great beginner course called the DirtBike School. This is available through a number of MSF facilities throughout the country.

    You might also benefit from getting a set of DOT knobby tires like Conti TKC80 or Metzeler Karoo.

    Ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    ________________________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  3. #3
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    "Big Bend" TX
    Posts
    8,645
    It is often wise to listen to what Ian says. Not always, but usually.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Winslow, Il
    Posts
    16
    I live in northern Il. The school location is not a problem, I will ride to location. The scheduling is the problem. I am trying to go to Rawhyde, but there schedule Matches my work schedule. I work 56 days on and 28 off (minus 4 days travel time). The intro class schedule at RH is within 5 days of when I leave or return to work.
    I am having a new pair of Heidenau's put on the bike now. They were recommended by one of the instructors.
    As for size I agree, the GSA is a handful of bike! But that is what I have for now. I was thinking of looking into an older 650 GS this spring
    Thanks, Phil

  5. #5
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    ATL/WNC
    Posts
    8,511
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    It is often wise to listen to what Ian says. Not always, but usually.
    what? me worry?



    Quote Originally Posted by captwheel View Post
    I ... am trying to go to Rawhyde, but there schedule Matches my work schedule. I work 56 days on and 28 off (minus 4 days travel time).
    BMW Performance Center is closer and their program is very good. Plus, you get to ride some great roads on the way there and back.

    I am having a new pair of Heidenau's put on the bike now. They were recommended by one of the instructors.
    As for size I agree, the GSA is a handful of bike! But that is what I have for now. I was thinking of looking into an older 650 GS this spring
    Thanks, Phil
    Try not to do a lot of straight line pavement with those Heidenaus, as they tend to wear a flat spot rather quickly in the center. Did you get the newer ones with the connected center lugs? Those don't appear to be flat spotting quite so quickly.

    I am betting that if you rode out to CA on the older style, that they'd have a flat spot by the time you got there.

    That MSF dirt bike course would be very worth your while.

    Ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    ________________________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  6. #6
    Novice Adventurer Newstar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Landenberg, PA
    Posts
    2,690
    For what it's worth, I had no off road experience before taking Jim Hyde's course. Now, I am much more adventurous but not to the extent of other GS Giants. I've never ridden anything other than my 12GS off road but highly recommend some training first. It also helps to pay a little more to do so on one of his bikes so you can alleviate the fear of wrecking your own.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    8
    I did a two-day class offered by Max BMW, using an instructor from the BMW Performance Center (Bill Conger) and based on the BMW curriculum (although adapted to the local conditions at Hunter Mountain, N.Y.).

    I'd recommend taking any such class you can get into. If you can get to the BMW Performance Center and take the class there, I've heard very good things about the entire experience; if RawHyde or Max works better for you (assuming Max offers classes again next summer), those are also good experiences.

    In my class, I was one of the more experienced riders, having spent some time taking my 1150 onto Vermont's class 4 (unmaintained) roads...and thus having plenty of experience getting it back upright. For me, the two days of deliberate practice, combined with good instruction (even if a lot of it was stuff I'd already heard, it wasn't stuff I was already doing) really boosted my comfort level on the bike. Two days after the class, I was able to go on a dual-sport ride at Color in the Catskills that would have seriously pushed my ability to keep up had I not taken the class, with a much higher comfort and confidence level.

    Two weeks later, I went on a local dual-sport ride that included some quite-interesting stuff; we had a laugh at the GPS calling it a road.

    I'd highly recommend the BMW curriculum.

    (and yes, the 1150 was my first "dirt" bike; I had done things far too sensibly by learning to ride on the street on a Ninja 250, so learning to ride dirt on an 1150 seemed like a good idea. It can be done, but there's probably something to be said for a smaller bike...they're easier to pick up, for starters, and cheaper to drop.)

  8. #8
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Clovis,CA
    Posts
    4,214

    Another perspective:)

    Me too, a life long offroader and when schools never existed. I have ridden/raced nearly everything offroad and today a GSA1200 is under me most of the time, with a KLR650 backup. The schools today are absolutely fabulous training indeed, one cannot say bad about them. Those of us still alive after self training when young for the most part, are still here to talk about it. Of course IF you're starting older in life, falls are indeed a bigger concern and ARE going to still happen when offroad. Two things; THE GSA handles spills very well, most of the time just a pick her up and ride on. #2;your bod may or may not be up to the task, so get ready best you can, wearing GOOD Adventure gear, head to toe. "Outside the schools", FINDING a great mentor dirt guy will teach you a massive amount of knowledge. Just finding one that has the patience??? IF you have the spirit and mind, I have a go for it attitude, taking your time, finding the EASY dirt roads(don't rush yourself EVER) starting out and NOT alone, riding with at least one other biker. THREE GSA GIANT TIPS; Stand the pegs when the going seems roughest(deeper gravel, so on), LEARN counter balance in your home yard or nearby, for slower maneuverability, and IF you go far offroad, LESS air in the tires really helps, to say 20lbs each, carry compressor for refills. I'm gonna add a 4th, IF and when you feel a spill/getoff coming!!! Remember as you go down, GET YOUR FEET away from the BMW twin cylinders, as they break feet/ankles if they land on you!!! I always try hard to lift my feet with grace as I come off and avoid this very common foot/ankle injury thing in the dirt riders world. Falling is a learned phenom, with time and experience. I'm trying to give you the best, I think of constantly when riding. Your saddlebags will INDEED save your legs too, but always remember falling from the bike VS falling under it is paramount for continued success and happiness. Happy Trails to ya, Randy"Polarbear".

  9. #9
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    1,749
    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear View Post
    Your saddlebags will INDEED save your legs too, but always remember falling from the bike VS falling under it is paramount for continued success and happiness.
    The bags can be leg breakers too if you get caught up under them. I can substantiate this from personal experience. Sometimes the hardest skill is to learn when to just bail free of the bike and trust the crashbars and other protection gear to do what its on the bike to do. Another hard one is to learn when its better to turn around and find another route than to push on in over your head and into trouble.

    I took a GS course last year that my dealer was offering. I learned a lot and was much more confident on the bike afterwards, but also recognised that I am the biggest limitation of what the bike can do. Learning is an ongoing process.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Winslow, Il
    Posts
    16
    Thanks for the advice you all have given. I just found out today that if all goes as scheduled I am going to make the Rawhyde class 4-6 Nov ;-)) I also plan on putting the classes to practice right away, I will do the base camp Mon & Tues.
    I agree that the that saddlebags can be a savior, I have experienced a couple of woopsss already (3: all at barely moving to stopped). When you look at it in the horizontal position there is a nice hole that the bags and engine guards make!
    Polarbear I have seen a few of your post. I like the finding the polarbear and look forward to coming to Clovis some day for a little of your local knowledge.
    Thanks All, Phil

  11. #11
    Ritalin Poster Boy rob nye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bristol, Rhode Island
    Posts
    2,939
    Good on you for getting into a class.

    There is no excuse for practice and as Ian pointed out there's no better investment than a small UJM dirt bike. A 2k beater will provide a ton of smiles and good practice and minimize the chances of doing 2k of damage to the GS and yourself in the woods.

    One thing I see often overlooked is physical conditioning. Riding anything off road is a workout and the more you can train the more fun you'll have. Do you need to hit the gym 5x a week? Only if you want to but at least do some stretching for a few days leading up to the school. Can't stress hydration and bananas. New dirt riders tend to spend a bit of time "clenched up" which brings on fatigue faster.

    I spent Sunday in the forest on my 450 and I'm still sore, but man what a day! We're not getting any younger and I was reminded that if I want to have that kind of fun two days in a row I better get on the leg presses.

    For training I did a ton of riding in the woods with better riders, a bunch with team Max, a bit with BMW and saving the best for last a weekend with Shane Watts on my 450.

    Two weeks after my weekend with Shane I was on a dual sport ride in NH with Max BMW on my GSA. We did all the hero sections and more than one buddy commented that I was a different rider, which was nice to hear. The big change was confidence from the drills I did with Shane. If you can't get a small bike and attend his class get his DVD's and practice.

    For me the big breakthrough was being able to grind ( ride along a 20' log with the wheels on opposite sides) which came in very handy when I got in some ruts. They don't cover that at RawHyde yet if you ride in the woods you'll encounter it plenty of times.

  12. #12
    Ritalin Poster Boy rob nye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bristol, Rhode Island
    Posts
    2,939
    One other thing.

    Forget about the jugs and bags saving your feet, when you go off piste the first thing you should take off the bike are the panniers followed by the tank-bag.

    Invest in a pair of good boots, specific for the trail.



    If you get the right ones first you'll have them for years. I love my Alpinstars Tech 6 boots, they've saved my ankles / feet many times. I think they're up to Tech 10 now.

  13. #13
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Clovis,CA
    Posts
    4,214

    All very experienced data here:)

    Nothing the bike and acces.(bags) lands on will do you any good, previously stated by me, its just they have value in some cases and knowing where to get your legs/ feet in a falling situation will be very valuable. AND, last time I toured the USA, I did not wish to leave my bags behind, just because I was on dirt. I wasn't coming back Sure, ROB has a good point, IF your a local offroader coming home in short order, leaving the gear behind can be good. ALWAYS go get schooling, if you have the means and never forget falling is an experienced riders phenom as well. NO such thing as a dirt rider not coming off on occasion. Jim Hyde of Rawhyde is a valued friend that indeed came off two years ago, breaking his lower leg on a tour of the Cont.Divide! We're all there, experienced to the hilt(some here) but very vulnerable. Jim had the best gear ON at the time, MX boots too. Always wear it, as it saves most of the time. No need to scare anybody from trying the adventure style of m/c'ing, however , as my thoughts are go get r done. I've loved my times at it, for most my life since childhood. My mid to latter years of this lifetime have brought too many smiles to list on BMW GS/GSAs and all my getoffs have been really slow ones, so almost no harm ever done. Just don't get off riding fast on dirt or otherwise. Randy

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •