I recently had the pleasure of attending the fabulous new Triumph Adventure Experience based in Ystradgynlais in South Wales along with a group of riders from various Triumph dealerships throughout the UK. Never having really had any ‘off-road’ experience apart from a brief foray into Classic Trials and a couple of Land Speed record attempts on the sand at Pendine Sands I must admit I rode down to Wales the day before with a certain amount of trepidation!
Meeting in the morning at this fantastic new facility based in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons my fears were very soon allayed by the very professional staff. Once we had been through our safety briefing and the introductions to our instructors we were quickly out on the bikes and heading for the area where the course is based in the vast area surrounding a working coal quarry.
Unseasonably dry weather meant conditions were extremely dry and dusty and we very quickly got into the basics of machine control which included standing on the foot pegs which felt totally alien after years of riding road bikes. My day started aboard a Street Scrambler which was the ideal starting point and after an hour or so of practising various manoeuvres we headed off onto various terrain including some forestry trails including a stream crossing which amazingly everyone managed without falling off much to disappointment of Dan who was filming us for a promotional video!
An early lunch got everyone fired up again as with very few in the group having had any previous experience its fair to say most of us found it quite tiring – it’s not easy enjoying yourself, you should try it sometime! In the afternoon I had the opportunity to try the Tiger 800 XCA which, whilst the Street Scrambler is great on the gentler terrain, the Tiger 800 was more suited to the conditions at the venue. The afternoon included being shown how to tackle some steep inclines which appeared quite daunting at first but confidence grew when shown how to perform a ‘hill rescue’ manoeuvre which involved deliberately stalling half way up a slope which is more difficult than it sounds!
A further session of riding on various surfaces then gave me the opportunity to try the 1200XCA in all its glory! Overall, I was amazed just how easy this fantastic machine is to manoeuvre off road despite its physical size and it was a case of momentum is king, however when I came to a section of large rocks and the person in front slowed…………yes it happened but I wasn’t the only one to end up on his ear! If its any consolation the Tiger 1200 crashes really well and after getting the machine upright I was able to continue the ride.
All too soon the day came to an end and back at our accommodation great tales of derring-do ensued which strangely became more elaborate in proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed. I wouldn’t say we were all exhausted but this group of hardy, beer swilling bikers were all in bed by 10pm………..
It’s fair to say everyone slept really well, although the next morning most were complaining of aches in muscles they didn’t even know they had (myself included).
I can honestly say it’s probably the most fun I’ve had on a bike for years. The facilities and instruction were absolutely first class and I’d like to think it will also benefit my road riding too.
Quite simply, if you get the chance – DO IT!
For more information or to get booked on to the Adventure Experience, visit the Triumph website.