Wednesday, 13 January 2016

BMW Motorrad: Enduro Dirt Biking Boot Camp With The Majestic GS-Series

Starting the new year with a new challenge - Taking adventure motorcycles weighing 5 times more than myself, through an Enduro training course powered by BMW Motorrad.

For leisure enduro fun, my friends and I would usually cross over to Malaysia where our little dirt biking playgrounds in Ulu Choh, Nusajaya (last time), and Tristan Park in Plentong lays at bay.

But here's taking Enduro dirt biking to the next level.

Special thanks to BMW Asia, me and the guys from Top Gear Singapore & Yahoo!Singapore are treated to an exclusive 1 on 1 Enduro off-road training boot camp on BMW’s all-time favourite adventure bikes here at Bangkok's first ever Enduro Park Thailand.

Ranging from the GS/GSA1200s to the F800/700GS for both men and women of all build, we’re ready to dig some muddd.

Occupying a total area of 13,500 sqm, consisting of 15 different off-road stations, I'm excited but nervous at the same time to find out how the 3 levels of training we'll be going through will help big bike aficionados gain one step closer towards completing the BMW Motorrad's International GS Trophy Enduro Challenge.

I'm actually quite scared because the BMW GS-series just looks so huge to me, how the heck am I gonna ride it off road? Can I even touch the ground after sitting on it? What if the 200KG+ bike fall on me and squash me like a pancake? I don't wanna become a roti prataaa!

But I remembered Anniie from #Bikerchicksthailand handling the BMW F800GS so well the last time we rode up to Chiang Mai together last December, so it shouldn't be that bad uh?  

You know what? There's no point thinking so much. The more you hesitate, the more you won't do it.
So let's just shut up, gear up and get out there.

The different challenging obstacles waiting for us to conquer sure gets our adrenalin pumping, but here's my favourite part in the whole of the Enduro Park - The AIR-CON rest & relax room! Haha best thing after a long day in the sun.

Plus, the park is equipped with full showering facilities for both men and women so you can walk out of this place looking as fresh as Spring even if you're feeling half-dead from the training.

First up, we meet our highly skilled BMW Motorrad instructors, Mr. Patima and Warangyu, both who have tons of adventure riding experience, as they teach us the importance of instilling the right body position when taking on the majestic beast.

It could make Enduro riding a lot easier especially when overcoming obstacles, and it could also cost you some serious injuries if done the wrong way.

When I fell, I was taught the technique on how use the strength from my legs instead of just my arms to properly lift the 215KG bike up without hurting my back, a common mistake that many people make.

But what if my legs also no strength to lift the bike? HOW?
No choice lor, wait for my knight in shining armour to rescue me. Hahaha.

Eye point, shoulders parallel to the handle bar, feet firmly on the foot pegs and keeping a relaxed stand up riding position was what helped me gain confidence on the BMW F700GS as we went round the park on loose gravel.

Roughing it out 8 hours a day in this big bike Enduro training that follows the German Riding Curriculum closely, it is no doubt testing but rewarding when you see yourself slowly being able to handle the bike like you never thought you could.

I was told the record holder for falling the most number of times by a Singaporean in a day here was 25 times. If I'm gonna break anything, let's hope it's the record and not any bones!

We all know handling a bigger bike could give us the power and torque we want. But when that power is not under control, it could get us killed too.

Over my last 8 years of riding, I've seen many Emergency braking attempts by bikers ending up in accidents when things go out of hand. As Intructor Warangyu demonstrated, when you try to put all that leaping power to a complete stop in seconds, a calm state of mind and proper e-braking techniques are necessary.

Most modern bikes like the 2015 GS-series we're using now are equipped with ABS, but we're taught how to brake efficiently even without applying that safety feature. 

If you can master it off road, on road wouldn't be a problem and it could save your life.

Learning how to shift my weight adequately when negotiating tight bends enabled me to gain better control of the F700GS, despite it weighing almost a quarter ton.

Standing up to ride allows me to move my body around easier too, although my natural instinct sits me down down the minute I feel uncertain.. which is another mistake I always make because when the bike falls, I go down with it.

Now, do you like dancing?
How about dancing on soft sand?

I have a few fears in Enduro riding and soft sand is one of them because it's riding on a loose surface that feels like the bike is out of my control. When the front wheel dips, left and right I go, until I fall down. I normally paddle through while fanning the clutch like mad, and getting arm-pump in the end haha which obviously isn't right.

This is where "Mastering the art of being in control while losing control" applies. 

When you move your body weight to the rear, keeping the front weight light and focus your eyes on the exit point, you'll be dancing away on the sand! Sounds easy right? Go try it.

One thing I enjoy about Enduro is watching my friends fall. The more epic it is, the more hilarious it is. Chuckle if you agree. HEHE. Of course, not to the extent of them getting badly injured. Slow motion falls are one of the best.

Ditch that bikini and trunks. Ever tried swimming with an big adventure bike instead? It's a lot more fun, especially when it's muddy!

River crossings and mud streams are exciting because in the real jungle trail, you never know what's beneath the waters. How deep is it, are there loose rocks or algae below etc. So we're advised that it's safer to find a way and do a rough gauge of the condition underwater before going in.. although most of the time in reality, I'd just "ah fuck it", throttle slowly through it and pray I don't fall haha.

Our instructors have also cautioned us when we're out in the open, be careful not to let water get into the air box to avoid screwing up the carburetor (if it's a carb bike) or sometimes certain mud can be corrosive if it gets into the bike and stay for too long.

In this dirt bike playground, there are obstacles like huge rock crossings which I'd shun away from, but uphill climbs are one of my favourites! I love that feeling of keeping the momentum with slight twists of the throttle and trusting your bike will safely get you all the way to the top....

Until you screw it up hahaha.

But not all's lost! We can U-turn on a slope, pick up the bike if we drop it and continue the ride, things which I never thought I'd be able to do until Instructor Warangyu showed us how.

Pretty amazing tricks! Though I still doubt I can pick up the bike on a slope cuz my arm just no strength la.

Downhill gets my heart beating real fast because the bottom just seem so far away when you're all the way on top of a hill and being on a big bike makes it even feel higher!

For me, it's a love-hate thing. I hate it when all that thoughts of how I might fall while making my way down flood in, but I absolutely love that feeling of achievement when I nail it :D

The training ground is built according to high BMW-standard design and the main aim is to help riders develop proper Enduro motorcycling skills with the full range of BMW GS-series. That way, riders would be able to maximize the potential of these hard-core adventure bikes.

Power sliding, effective braking, logs/muddy stream/loose pebble crossings, uphill climbs/downhill rolls, mini whoops, U-turning on slopes, picking up the weighty machine, tackling through soft sand and chunky rocks are part of this curriculum on top of understanding the almighty BMW GS-series.

If this is the sort of thrill you're looking for even if you've never tried big bike Enduro before, THIS is the place to go! Whether you're a beginner or an experienced dirt biker, BMW Motorrad instructors would tailor the training course accordingly without compromising on the most important fun element. 

Through this Enduro training with BMW Motorrad, I'm starting to appreciate the F800/700GS that features a robust Enduro frame and lowered suspension options. Being one of BMW's most popular highway and off road motorcycles, it encompasses a comfortable balance between power, weight and agility sufficient to conquer different varied terrains.

Thank you BMW Asia for this exclusive invite to this amazing Enduro training at Enduro Park Thailand, it was an eye-opening learning experience.

Special thanks to Hodaka Motoworld for the very lightweight Scorpion gears that help me stay comfortable despite 8 hours straight of enduro ride a day. 

Here's How You Can Sign Up For This Boot Camp!

If you have a group of 5 pax, you can have your very own group training.
If come solo, you can join the existing programs.

Enduro Park Thailand
50/486 ถนน บางบอน 3 Bang Bon, Bangkok 10150, Thailand
It's about 30km from Bangkok City. Taking a cab during non-peak hours should take you about 20minutes.

There are 3 Different Levels of Courses
Level 1
Level 2
Level Enduro
Every level of training is one full day.

BMW Customers 8,000 THB
General Customers 8,500 THB
Price per level

What It Includes
BMW F800GS rental
Covers unintentional damages to the bike if you fall during training. 
If you damage is intentionally by riding recklessly, you're asking for it.  

BMW GS/GSA1200 rental additional 1,000 THB

What It Excludes 
Personal insurance
All riders have to sign an indemnity form before the training commence. 

Helmet, Gloves, Guards
Riders are advised to bring their own gears but if you don't have, they are available for loan.

For Bookings, Contact Below Directly

BMW Motorrad (Thailand)
Tel: +66 82-441-0777
Facebook: Enduro Park Thailand
Credits to bmw

Enduro Park Thailand by BMW Motorrad
Address: 50/486 ถนน บางบอน 3 Bang Bon, Bangkok 10150, Thailand