I know a lot of people lust after the new BMW F800GS dual purpose motorcycle. It's the right weight, power and it's robust. It's also good looking, so I'd venture to say that it's on the shopping list of a lot of people. But you never know how it will handle off road, and if you're capable of dealing with it. Going for a test ride at the dealer is not the same as riding it off road.
BMW UK through their excellent Off Road Skill School is offering you the possibility to try out the F800GS (and R1200GS) in real circumstances, namely during their off road training.
Led by Australian born Simon Pavey, a Dakar rally veteran, you can enjoy the F800GS, AND learn a lot about off road riding, all in one go. Obviously, the smaller F650GS is also available.
The training is held in South Wales, known for its rugged landscapes. Three main 2-day courses are available:
Level One Basic - this is a great course for novice or nervous road rider with no off-road experience. The primary goal of the course is to teach participants how to ride large capacity motorcycles off-road.
Level One Advanced - ideal for more experienced riders, or those who have taken part in a BMW Off Road Skills course previously. The course takes all the skills from the Level One Basic to the next stage. Participants will also have the opportunity to put their skills to the test, riding on more challenging and adventurous trails.
Level Two - designed specifically for those who have already completed the Level One courses confidently, it quickly refreshes the Level 1 course and progresses on to more advanced and technical riding.
Cost: UK£ 449.
They also offer a new riding experiences:
Day in the Dirt - a one day event suitable for all levels of off-road rider- from those who have completed a Level One Basic course right through to experienced off-road riders. It is the perfect opportunity to put those skills learnt into practice on a range of graded routes to suit every skill level. The team of professional BMW Off Road Skills instructors, who know the routes like the back of their hands, will guide participants around the varied terrains and trails during a fantastic day of off-road riding. Cost UK£ 225.
Brecon Beacons Adventure - Starting and finishing at the Off Road Skills unit the two day experience offers miles of new trails in the beautiful Radnor Forest. The Radnor Forest covers 3,700 acres of land and lies within the unspoilt, dramatic countryside of Radnorshire in the heart of rural mid-Wales. Cost: UK£ 495
Pyrenees Rider's Paradise - an unbelievable trip on both the roads and off-road trails of this stunning mountain range, this is one not to be missed. The tour takes in some of the most spectacular trails in Europe, with scenery to match, giving riders the chance to put their off-road skills into practice on their own motorcycles. This road book tour is run by highly experienced UK Dakar Rally coordinator Chris Evans who has led off-road tours in France for over 17 years. Cost UK£1,100.