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RawHyde Adventure - A review from a former dirt noob

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by NeoScout, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. NeoScout

    NeoScout Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    It was through this forum that I learned of RawHyde Adventures and eventually made the decision to go this year. I’d like to take the opportunity to provide a brief review on my experience.

    I attended the ‘Level 1- Intro to Adventure’ class June 8 – 10.

    My riding background:
    23 years of street and track riding on sport bikes, sport touring and a pathetic (albeit brief) stint on a cruiser (which felt dirty). 30 years of mountain biking (non-competitive). And finally, 1 year on a true ADV bike, 2013 BMW R1200GS LC…’The Beast’.

    Reason for taking class:
    I like living and death seemed imminent taking this beast off the road. I was white-knuckling the hell out of my GS on simple dirt fire roads and always felt like I was about to go down...in a bad way…kind of what Macauley Culkin must have felt like at Michael Jackson's Never Land Ranch. My goal was to learn the basics and become comfortable so that I could go out in the back-country, ride and camp.
    Without death.


    Day 1 – Arrival:
    Getting to RawHyde is a bit challenging for the dirt noobs. RawHyde’s driveway begins after about 20 minutes travel on dirt roads. Once you get to the driveway, you are met with a seemingly 45 degree, boulder laden, washed out trenched road requiring a 4x4, roll-bars, sherpas and climbing gear. Remnants of WW I trench warfare equipment may quite possibly found underneath some of the rubble…..or so was my impression after 3 days of riding to get there. Put it in 1st gear, switch to Enduro mode, stand on the pegs, pray & go. The bike will slide around under you like an angry honey badger fighting off rape while your life flashes before your eyes. You have arrived.

    Attempted badger-rape behind you, check-in was quick and painless. Coaches met the new riders to help them unload, get settled in and find an ice-cold beer. Or single malt scotch. Classy.

    We then met our fellow students, staff, Jim Hyde himself and walked through a brief orientation. Once back in the clubhouse / dining room / bar / congregation garage, the chefs (yes, you read that right) brought out an exquisite dish of grilled salmon on corn puree, small herb roasted potatoes and an amazing salad all paired with a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. This amazing meal was the “worst” of all our meals…they only got better (which honestly didn’t seem possible). Frankly, this was turning out to be mountain top 4-star restaurant that happened to teach ADV riding courses.

    The facilities were porta-potties and porta-showers, rustic yet cleaned daily. The hot water was instant and everything you need is provided (soap, towel, shampoo for those who still have hair, etc). Keep in mind the camp is at 10K feet on top of a mountain so everything needs to be trucked up including water. Considering this realistic limitation, RawHyde’s really done an excellent job here.

    Sleeping accommodations varied from tent-cabin hybrids (housing 4) to individual tents to sarcophagi type cubbies in a travel trailer (a claustrophobic delight). HOWEVER, each contained very comfortable beds, a night stand, LED lantern and plenty of hooks / nooks for your gear. Think of it as adult summer camp with some class & creature comforts.

    Days 2 & 3 – School:

    The generator kicks on at 5am…but you probably won’t hear it. Breakfast is at 7:30 and you roll out down the driveway-of-death to the killing-fields (....errr training grounds) at 8:30. Riding behind the coaches, suddenly the driveway seems quite doable and that’s your first lesson. The amazing coaches then start you off with very basic exercises meant to quickly get you over your fears of washing out, dropping the bike and getting it back up. Once you realize these fears are easily surmountable they guide you through incrementally more complicated exercises, each building on the previous ones. The logical progression is effective and confidence inspiring. Within 4 hrs I was comfortable executing moves and riding on terrain that terrified the hell out of me earlier that morning. BTW, I am not easily terrified….I’ve been married…twice. And survived a teenage daughter. By the end of the weekend the driveway-of-death melted into an easy to climb road where I could ride relaxed, confident and was now fun! Some exuberant students (who shall remain nameless) took to racing each other up it….boo-yah!

    Here’s a list of what was taught (almost all at slow speed, best for maximizing the skills);
    · Alternating standing on single peg to drive home importance of body position
    · Emergency braking stops and take-offs without touching the ground with your feet
    · Front tire breaks
    · Rear tires skids
    · Speed control via clutch & idle
    · Sharp & tight U-turns / figure-eights (both flat and off-camber)
    · Hill climbing and steep ride-downs
    · Switchbacks
    · Mixing all of the above while managing traffic with other riders
    · Turning around when stalled on steep inclines
    · Recovering from stalls on steep inclines
    · Managing sand
    · All with a heavy dose of personalized real-life pointers from the coaches

    A word about the coaches:
    A special shout-out to Matt, Tom, Bob, & Erin…our coaches. Each and every one is awesomely skilled, chock-full-o-knowledge, experienced, yet humble & down-to-earth riders who love riding but more importantly want to share their knowledge with new riders.

    Camp Support Staff:
    In addition to the coaches and Jim, there were 2 folks who kept everything running and did absolutely everything they could to make our stay exceptional; Phil (fleet master mechanic, wrench-extraordinaire and GS savant) and Lauren (the camp mom for everything else…too many things to list). My deepest gratitude to both of them. They were quintessential to the experience.

    Summary:
    RawHyde was more than a riding school. It felt like family. I left with new friends, an enhanced skill-set, confidence and an absolute joy and appreciation for what these machines can do. For us former dirt-noobs, it truly is life changing. I highly recommend it to all who want to learn how to ride their adventure bikes. I’ll most definitely be coming back next year for the advanced rider course. Hope this review is helpful to fellow riders.

    Ride safe & have fun!
    #1
    jazzer, GotFog, Bucho and 6 others like this.
  2. Andy Mc

    Andy Mc Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    Thanks for the info! So, did you rent their bike or use your own? Which would you do knowing now what you didn’t know then?

    I’m considering going next year, and staying for the ride that follows most classes.
    #2
  3. NeoScout

    NeoScout Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    I brought my own. Rode to Colorado from Georgia. There's good arguments for renting and for using your own, but for me, I found it more beneficial to use my own GS. All bikes have their own quirks / nuances and I appreciated learning with what I ride daily. Quite a few guys rode their own bikes, even a few that weren't BMWs. That said, RawHyde's fleet bikes are essentially new and in top shape. You can't go wrong either way....it's really a personal choice.
    #3
    RidgelineRider likes this.
  4. Gummee!

    Gummee! That's MR. Toothless

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    35,326
    Location:
    NoVA for now...
    They sell off their bikes at the end of the year (every other?) for decent prices. Last time they sold off the fleet, I didn't have the $ to buy one. :cry

    M
    #4
  5. Wildmtn

    Wildmtn Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    Northern Colorado
    I was at the same class and echo the statements by NeoScout. Great class, great instructors, nice dedicated courses to learn on and a good way to build confidence. Was a lot of fun too! I too will take the advanced class when I have time.

    As for renting vs. riding I personally rode my own bike and would do so if you are able to ride there. I'm not afraid of it taking a nap out in the world so I wasn't worried about it during the class. I have the protective stuff on my bike for just that purpose. If flying in then rental makes more sense.

    -Mark
    #5
  6. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Oddometer:
    3,333
    Location:
    Hanover, NH USA
    Knowing more about it now, I sort of wish they charged $400 less and made people crap in a hole, bring their own camping gear and their own freeze-dried food / bottle of bourbon. Seems too comfortable but then again, I guess that is why it's so expensive. If they offered a "ruffin it" price, I would be interested.
    #6
    AzB likes this.
  7. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    3,577
    Location:
    Phoenix
    But.....doood

    It's BMW owners......theys got the bucks!
    #7
  8. RJAMT

    RJAMT Who remembered the winch?

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2014
    Oddometer:
    423
    Location:
    Belleville, IL unfortunately
    Tom Asher Adventure Rider Academy. He lives in Virginia but if you get a group of around 10 together he will bring the class to you. I went to one here in Missouri and sure learned a lot. Tom arranged the food while MTRA provided the facilities so the price was less than half of what RawHyde charges.

    Not trying to knock RawHyde. Obviously they serve a niche. It's just that I'm not interested in paying more for training so I can be pampered. Most of us camped together but a couple of guys hotel-ed it and showed up for the class.
    #8
    AdamChandler likes this.
  9. RawHyde

    RawHyde Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    Castaic, CA.
    Hey Folks... Jim Hyde here... the owner of RawHyde and I just wanted to chip in to comment on a couple of things... First lots of folks sort of poke at us for the food we serve and think thats why we charge what we do... and thats not really true. the cost is related to "how" we do things... We spend a LOT of money to build special training areas... We buy land to develop just so we can create trails and training tools specifically to teach certain skills. check this video link out - It will explain a lot...

    It was mentioned above that Tom Asher will come to you to teach a class - and that you pay half of what we charge... Thats OK... but Tom has no investment in anything... and Tom will teach his class on public land or some other place that is NOT specifically designed for adventure bikes... Here at RawHyde we are investing heavily to build facilities, terrain parks, buildings and more... plus we do this as a full time gig... I have 6 full time employees, including a BMW certified master tech who maintains our fleet of 60 motorcycles etc.

    Thats why other training options are cheaper than RawHyde... they don't have their own purpose build facilities, they don't have rental bikes and they don't have employees, they don't offer accommodations or any of the extra services we provide... yea - we cost a bit more than our competitors... but we also provide a LOT more as well... Cheers all... thanks for reading.
    #9
    jazzer, jslyter, scot_douglas and 3 others like this.
  10. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Oddometer:
    3,333
    Location:
    Hanover, NH USA
    Right. Higher overhead = Higher cost. I don't think anyone is saying you don't get what you pay for at RayHyde only that there are cheaper alternatives out there that don't offer the rental bikes, huge property and experience that Raw Hyde does. It's clear you get what you pay for, some folks just don't want to pay more than they have to for what may be the same training (I've never been to your academy before).
    #10
  11. RawHyde

    RawHyde Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    Castaic, CA.
    Certainly true Adam... I guess I'd argue that we provide a "much better" training experience because we've invested in tools that help our students learn. By this I mean that we build specific things that help students understand why the motorcycle behaves the way it does in certain conditions. These special training elements force the student to move in certain ways that help them understand the consequences of their behavior on the bike... In order to develop these training tools you have to own the land... We have many constructed training tools... long earthen berms, half pipes, measured radius turning cages, gravel pits, sand pits, rock gardens and a host of other learning tools that are not available at your average county park... :-) cheers -
    #11
    eddyturn likes this.
  12. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Oddometer:
    3,333
    Location:
    Hanover, NH USA
    I volunteer Jim to join you at the next session and report back :)

    Thanks for participating in the discussion though. It's great to have you posting here. I've enjoyed Expedition 65 and I do like what you guys are doing even if it's out of my price range.
    #12
  13. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @oneworldcycles

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    11,064
    Location:
    Sunny Northern Cuba (aka: South Florida)

    Great to see that you're still at it, passing on a useful skill set to other riders. while I've never taken a class with you I thoroughly enjoyed watching you and your staff at the first Overland Expo East. Thanks for letting a jackass on a Harley Davidson join you on the advanced ride to the tower.:D
    #13
    pilot47 likes this.
  14. usmcshepherd

    usmcshepherd Master Guns

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    Yuma, AZ
    I hope to attend RawHyde next summer if all goes well with my schedule in June! I have been riding street bikes (Harley Davidson’s exclusively while I was on active duty) but got the itch to try adventure riding after I retired. I now have the 1200 GSA but lack the skills necessary the maneuver this thing to the places I would like to go! For those who have attended and rode your own bikes what protective equipment would you recommend at a minimum for bike and rider going through the level 1 course? Also, I’m assuming I should arrive with a quality off road worthy tire already on the bike? I’m going to be riding up from AZ so can either ride the factory street tires to Denver and then get new rubber installed or just ride up with the tires already on. Thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated!

    USMCShepherd
    #14
  15. Wildmtn

    Wildmtn Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    Northern Colorado

    Ill give you my two cents based on my experience in the intro class. YMMV if you also do the next step.

    As for bike protection, the only thing for the intro class that I say you really need would be some cylinder head protection (bars, covers, etc.). Any tip-over, if you even have one, is going to be low speed so protecting that would be where I would start. Second you can add some more robust hand guards to protect the levers. You may also want a headlight guard and radiator guards just in case a rock gets kicked up from someone in front of you. I think the likelihood is low but it wouldn't hurt. I don't think you need to have the bike setup in a suit of armor to have a great learning experience and minimize any risk of damage. I would also call them and get their recommendations for bike protection. I personally have upgraded hand guards, cylinder head protection, skid plate, oem crash bars etc. but its based on how and where I ride not what was needed for the class.

    For the rider it can open up a whole can of worms about what to wear and how much protection. I went during the summer in Colorado. I wore my off-road chest protector, elbow pads and a jersey with a camelback on because it was cooler than wearing my jacket with armor. On my lower half I also wore knee pads, and my off-road pants which have hip protection and more mesh again for temperature comfort. it was warm and it was sunny so if you have the gear I would recommend you wear cooler stuff. I always wear my MX boots (Crossfires) whether on or off road so those were a given. Gloves and a helmet of course. I did not wear goggles. YMMV and lots of options here. I wouldn't run out and buy the stuff above if you already have proper gear but if you have both or a cooler option it will be beneficial if its going to be warm.

    For tires I ran TKC80s which I use everywhere both on or off road.
    #15
  16. RT66AZ

    RT66AZ Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2014
    Oddometer:
    181
    Of coarse the flip side of the coin is that you are going for riding training NOT camping and cooking training. Personally I would rather not have to make three meals a day, and or share public trails with a bunch of dirt bikes, ATV's and side-by-sides. Having a Master Wrench on hand (and his tools) is a definite plus also. But the biggest plus is that because of the massive investment in two properties they HAVE to do it right/good (the training) or lose their asses $ wise. Eat, train, eat, train, eat, drink & BS, sleep. Repeat for the duration. I think they have it figured out pretty good.
    #16
  17. kbuckey

    kbuckey Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,345
    Location:
    Sedona, AZ
    I took the basic class in Colorado a few years ago and really learned a lot. I was going to take it again this past summer but couldn't get away, but I will be going back next year. A bit of a disclaimer, I suppose. I "cheated" and rode my DR650, but since I am really not a good dirt rider, having ridden purely street until I got the DR in '97, I need all the help I can get. Also, when I take the course next summer I will be 70. And now that I live in AZ, I'll have to ride up, too (maybe usmcshephard will be at the same course and they'll have to deal with two old retired military guys). Looking forward to it!
    #17
  18. usmcshepherd

    usmcshepherd Master Guns

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    Yuma, AZ
    Kbuckey...PM me sometime and we’ll have to get together and coordinate our class attendance at RawHyde in CO! I’m in Yuma and riding a 1200 GSA...but no off road experience so looking forward to learning, although I’ll be riding my GSA as I dont have a smaller bike but I’m on the large size anyway (6’4”/230) so can handle the weight of the bike pretty good.
    #18
  19. kbuckey

    kbuckey Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,345
    Location:
    Sedona, AZ
    I'll do that. I live in Sedona and, at 5'6" and 160, the DR is more than big enough for me!
    #19
  20. usmcshepherd

    usmcshepherd Master Guns

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    Yuma, AZ
    I’m hoping to head up to the Sedona area in the coming month...if you’re available maybe you can show me around a little.
    #20