Riding school or purchase a 250cc training bike?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by JamieD, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. JamieD

    JamieD Adventurer

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    I have a 2013 12000gs and love it. I had a dirt bike as a kid up until about 16 so although no crazy extreme experience. I have a lot of seat time in different terrain. Owned several other bikes through the years but the gs and adventure bikes in general have made the best of both worlds and what I have been looking for combine.

    My question is, I am trying to get used to off road again and am trying to decide weather to go to rawhide, or spend the money on a good 250cc endure and spend some time riding off road again. I took the GS out a couple time with the new tourence next and did fine on some two tracks but the tires are not the best and I really don't want to destroy the bike intentionally trying to spend some time off road in rougher conditions and terrain.

    Thanks for your opinions, looking to do an Alaska trip and some western trips soon. Would like to take the path less traveled if it becomes available.


    JamieD
    #1
  2. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Just an opinion, but...

    A GS is not a dirt bike, and the skill set that comes with riding a sub-300 pound bike doesn't really translate to the big bikes. Take the Rawhyde, Jimmy Lewis, or that BMW school in S. Carolina for bike specific training. Then get some TKC80's
    #2
  3. Schlug

    Schlug JockeyfullofBourbon

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    put something on and stay in that position.
    Yes.


    Do both.
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  4. funinthesun

    funinthesun Been here awhile

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    Bike training off road is the same for big and small bikes. You just lean off more on the big ones:rofl

    Rawhide has a great program for learning on the big bike. If u can do it you should. Plus you will meet many like minded riders in the area. The food is good too:evil

    If u plan on riding single trak buy the little bike. If your learning to enjoy the gs than rawhyde or another program would be better.
    #4
  5. SR1

    SR1 Back in S. Korea

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    The OP will note these two schools of thought expressed many places. As a person who has tried to this this, it's a little of both.

    I took the training in SC, and I've also taken "classes" in Cambodia with an enduro racer there. I do take my GS offroad but I can just get away with stuff on my 250 that will NOT work with the GS. If I were 6'3" and 225 or so, it might work, but I'm 5'8" and 170-180#. I don't have the body to do the body english on the GS like I can my WR. I did some stuff on the GS yesterday that took a lot of finesse and frankly it's pretty anxiety filled. The same situation on my WR is just a fun challenge.

    It ain't the same for everyone.
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  6. twinrider

    twinrider pass the catnip

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    From what I've seen the skills carry over and it's a lot cheaper practicing on a 250, not to mention more fun. My advice is get the 250, practice a lot and take some lessons on it. Then later do the same on the GS.
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  7. MJS

    MJS Long timer

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    Do both :lol3

    If you buy a 250 who is going to teach you on that? Or is going to be a it a trial and error experience.

    As for training, a lot of the skills drills are the same. But not all. Example: most of the drills and training I did in a Shane Watts class were of little use to a GS rider.

    For the GS you could do a MSF dirtbike course but the better option would be a big bike course like the BMW school. Max BMW also has occasional classes, check out their website.
    #7
  8. rattlecan

    rattlecan Caffeine Driven

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    +1
    Unless you like picking up a 500lb bike and then paying big bucks to repair the damage, I'd stay on easy two track. Learning to handle sand, mud and loose rocks is all well and good if you want the challenge, but they make bikes for that. JMO 2
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  9. JamieD

    JamieD Adventurer

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    Thanks for the heads up on the NY school. I really like that as an alternative to either flying to CA or driving down south (I live in PA). I might try to make the one coming up in ten days if I can get everything together and get knobbies on. If not spring for sure.

    I think in the perfect world two bikes would be ideal. I love the 1200gs for the long stuff, so comfortable and still capable. But the off beaten tracks the lighter bikes are purpose built for the job. I will probably buy a 250cc to 350cc class endure still - but use them both for the jobs they were intended to do.

    Thanks and keep the posts coming. I originally tried to split the difference and bought an f650GS but went to a 1200 for comfort for me and my wife when we are riding together. I regret selling the 650 as it would have been at least better for some of the riding I would like to do in the future - Like the pony express, mohab or even the eastern tat.

    Jamie
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  10. Visian

    Visian Look out!

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    Riding the lighter bike will get you familiar with the feel of less than 100% traction, and how a 2-wheel machine reacts to varying terrain.

    After that, imo, the best training you can buy is 3 tanks of gas in your GS.

    That, and a clear understanding of the GS design intent. It isn't a single-track trail bike, it is a heavy enduro that can ride over reasonably rough roads and also carry a ton of crap on your trip to Prudhoe Bay.


    [​IMG]
    .
    #10
  11. johnny80s

    johnny80s Been here awhile

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    Train in the bike you are going to ride and enjoy!
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  12. J Lewis

    J Lewis Numb Nuts

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    As an instructor I suggest students bring and learn on the smallest bike they have. You can push the drills and training farther and you are less intimidated on the smaller bike while learning, by both weight and power.

    Additionally no matter the size of the bike, the skills you take away will work on any size or type of bike. When the bike and rider are in balance, the weight isn't that big of an issue, really. That is how I'm able to ride the bike bikes and make them look light and agile. even when they are not.

    Good Luck,

    JIMMY
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  13. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Is a 1200cc bike really needed as a dual sport?
    A 650 would never do?

    I tried a 650 and sold it after I got out of the hospital...
    #13
  14. KungPaoDog

    KungPaoDog Been here awhile

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    I know if I had a stack of money to burn and far more time on my hands that a CFR250L or maybe even a WR250R and a great set of off-road armor would be near the top of my list.

    I'm not sure if that is pertinent to your question, but that's what came out after I hit the reply button.:lol3
    #14
  15. KoolBreeze

    KoolBreeze Been here awhile

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    I wouldn't say it is either... nor did the OP really ask that particular question, but I can see how one can infer that depending on their personal aspects.

    OP: I had experience with past dirt bikes and riding off road prior to purchasing my 1200gs and I have to say there is little in actual relation. yes it is always a nice thing to ride a small off road bike... but when it comes down to it, there's a substantial difference. if you want to ride off road, buy an off road bike. if you want to play full on dual sport, buy a dual sport bike. but you didn't... you bought a great bike for traveling all over, with a bit of off road capability built in for a few moments here and there when it is a part of the overall travel. if you have the means, buy a small bike and play/practice with it AND take some courses at a facility like rawhide (and then use your large bike there during the training) sure you can practice with the small bike... might be fun to even take a different course for that, but the bottom line is you want to practice what you might encounter on the bike you will be riding when you encounter it. like practicing/plunking with a .22, you still want to fully practice with your .45 if that's your carry weapon. (nor would I want to carry a .22 and if I could only afford a single sidearm, then god bless the .22... I will take the .45)

    might be a bad reference since in practice shooting you can buy a .22 and a lot of ammo for cheap compared to a .45 and the ammo necessary for adequate training... but you get my drift.
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  16. twinrider

    twinrider pass the catnip

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    There ya go.... :clap
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  17. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    I think the heavyweight dual sport motorcycles out there today are intended to be used exactly how you are using yours. That is, two-up touring and long range travel to try some of the notable rides you referenced. You don't need a lot of specialized instruction for that.

    I first found this site in 2004 (I rode Ducati's then). I read a RR report from a guy aboard a Cagiva Elefant. He mapped out some remarkable forest service roads in southern Utah along Colorado River. I was smitten by that RR. About that time I learned about an event called the Alcan5000 that was going to be run in 2006. I began to obsess over those two rides and went down to buy a 1200GS for them that December. On the way, I stopped off at a KTM store and sat on a 950. It reminded me if my 1980 YZ from so long ago and I bought it on the spot.

    After getting used to riding that bike, I rode it cross country to Laguna Seca for the 2005 MotoGP. Then I rode it back hitting all those dirt roads I read about in UT, AZ and NM. In 2006 I rode it in the Alcan5000 as well.

    Big dual sport motorcycles are excellent travel machines and with decent tires are very fun to explore dirt roads. But they are not any fun when the going gets tough. And they can be dangerous if you are solo a lot like I am.

    Today I have a Yam 250 dual sport and a KTM690 as well. Both weigh in around 320lbs ready to roll. I carry about 35lbs worth of gear on top of that. They are just light enough that I feel I can ride them to remote places solo. I do a few dual sport rides a year to help me stay on top of my off road technique, but neither bike is really a good single track motorcycle. I pretty much stick to dirt roads that are at least somewhat maintained.

    I'm all for getting instruction, but I think seat time doing the trips you dream about is more important. That and riding them in places for which they were intended.
    #17