BMW GS range, intimidating off-road track, few falls and tons of fun! BMW GS Experience

Sure you could go ahead and buy a BMW G310 GS or even a BMW R1250 GS and on the road or bad roads, you'll do just fine. But what when you're shown deep gravel or slush or deep water. That is where GS Experience training comes in handy.

By:Updated: June 6, 2019 6:28:46 PM
bmw gs experience mainLearning is apparently a package deal which comes with falling

BMW GS family finds its roots back in 1980 when the manufacturer launched the R 80 G/S – a motorcycle that was hailed as one that could champion touring and off-roading. With this began BMW Motorrad’s adventure touring journey and having experienced the entire lineup, it’s quite visible the GS series of motorcycles have evolved into extremely capable machines. To allow a first-hand experience to us, BMW Motorrad India invited us to one of their GS Experiences in Pune and what’s better is that we were to be mentored by Shahnawaz Karim, Lead Trainer, BMW Motorrad India.

The Motorcycles

To put it simply, the full BMW GS lineup was present at the venue – BMW G310 GS, F750 GS, F850 GS and Adventure, R1250 GS and Adventure. The G310 GS is the entry-level ADV in the lineup with the 300cc engine that it shares with the G310 R. The F750 GS and F850 GS also share the same 850cc engine, however, power on the F750 GS is electronically restricted and it is more of a road-friendly motorcycle. The F850 GS, on the other hand, is more of a capable off-road machine with its spoke wheels and knobby tyres. Moving over to the largest of the GS motorcycles, the R1250 GS is easily one of the most comfortable tourers that you’d love to take for cross-continent rides.

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For the purpose of the off-road training, the seat height on all motorcycles was set to minimum, tyre pressure was lowered to about 20 psi so the contact patch can increase and all motorcycles from F750 GS and beyond were set to Enduro riding mode.

The Mood

After having picked a suitable tool for the off-road track, the first drill was to do some laps to get a hang of how the motorcycle reacts to the deep loose surface with a mix of dirt and gravel. Moving on, the next drill involved a slalom course. The thing about off-roading is that the rules that apply here are quite the opposite of street or track riding.

We’re used to using the knee as a pivot in the direction of the motorcycle’s lean, but during off-roading, you grip the motorcycle with your legs at all times. But alas, old habits die hard. As a reflex, we tend to lean with the motorcycle and during off-roading, that can be catastrophic.

bmw gs experience briefingBriefing before the ride begins

Another aspect just as important is vision – keep your eyes where you want to go and not two feet ahead of the motorcycle. Do not fight the handlebar, keep your body position correct and eyes always on the prize.

BMW GS motorcycles do offer easy handling and while many believe that living with an adventure touring motorcycle isn’t something they’d go for because of the sheer size of these motorcycles, I’d say they’re surprisingly nimble. While I struggled over the loose surface on the F750 GS and even on the G310 GS (having fallen over a substantial number of times), Shahnawaz suggested I should ride the R1250 GS. And so I did.

bmw gs experience brake slideMr Karim showcasing (showing off) a brake slide

BMW R1250 GS, as it turns out, is more of a civilised creature compared to its younger siblings. It remained very composed and planted on gravel without fighting it much. Most of this composure comes from the boxer engine which keeps the weight distribution and centre of gravity incredibly well balanced and to top that, it has BMW Telelever suspension with an additional spring strut behind the forks. The R1250 GS could show off the engineering that’s gone into it by staying upright while parked without the stand down.

The Mentor

We were in very good hands indeed. Shahnawaz Karim is an International Instructors Academy (IIA) certified global instructor. In fact, he’s the youngest IIA certified trainer and the first ever from India. The happy-go-lucky chap handles the GS motorcycles like we handled our bicycles when we were kids. Well, why wouldn’t he? He’s a certified instructor, y’know.

bmw gs experience mentorLeave it to this man to explain things and there will be catchy phrases and Bollywood songs for reference

The Message

BMW Motorrad’s GS motorcycles – big bikes that are built to serve a specific purpose – will get you wherever you want to be. But! Hold it right there. You’ve got to hone the skills to be able to do that. The good news is that BMW Motorrad India organises such GS Experience camps at several locations across the country. If you’re a successful man or a woman with a healthy bank account and choose to buy one of the BMW GS motorcycles, you must do them justice by taking one of them GS classes. Well, one won’t suffice, so take more and learn more.

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