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Offroad Skills Training and Enhancement

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So, I'm looking at taking my other half to an off-road skills enhancement course this summer. She's solid on-road, but is tired of "getting left behind" when I run off to hit the trails. There's a couple options out there that I know of and have heard of such as RawHyde and Jimmy Lewis - what do you all recommend (not limited to the aforementioned pair)? Are they worth the steep cost of admission? What's best for a beginner? Who provides more personal instruction - not necessarily 1 on 1 but better than 1 on 15 if you know what I mean? I'm not looking to take her to a hooo rah lets go tear it up in the dirt event. Although that's a ton of fun - I'm looking for quality instruction and skills building focus. She rides a Tiger 800 which is new to her this season.

 

Any Thoughts?

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I have done Jimmy Lewis's class twice and cant recommend it high enough. His class is $600 for a weekend which is a deal compared to others. He is a lot closer in Pahrump than others unless maybe you do RawHyde in CO this summer. Lots of 1:1 attention with a ratio of about four instructors to roughly 15-20 students.

RH is good too but maybe three times the cost. I hear it's more of an "experience" too and is more all inclusive (lodging, drinks, photos, etc...).

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Thanks for the input Eric - that's the way I'm leaning. I don't know why, but RH seems kinda 'exclusive' to me - not sure why. Plus, like you said, JL is closer, cheaper, and probably closer to the type of terrain I ride on a regular basis. Plus, as an added bonus I can extend the vacation a couple days and play in Vegas! haha

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I'm thinking the same thing for my wife and I. Me being rusty as hell (20 years since I've been off road on 2 wheels) and my wife being a noob. I hear a lot of good things about Jimmy Lewis school. Anyone attended that can give me some insight?

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I've not done an ADV M/C class, but I did do the Shane Watts DirtWise class when I lived in Colorado. What I learned was that while I've been able to accomplish a lot being self taught, I also had some bad habits that a pro can point out and correct. So, I applaud you getting her into some training. It simply makes off-road riding more enjoyable and safer. It surely is amazing what some of these pros can do with a bike, things that just seem impossible. I know watching Shane ride was so humbling and I've seen pix of JL doing similarly amazing things on BIG bikes. Even if that's not the goal, it does show how capable the bikes are, so I suspect that some limits we see are only in our minds (and current skill set). Have fun where ever you go and report back on how it went. :)

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I'm thinking the same thing for my wife and I. Me being rusty as hell (20 years since I've been off road on 2 wheels) and my wife being a noob. I hear a lot of good things about Jimmy Lewis school. Anyone attended that can give me some insight?

I think I'm the resident JL cheerleader  :) I first took his class in Nov of 2011 after having bought my GSA about eight months earlier.  I had a good time at his class and assumed I learned a lot but honestly, I came away kind of scratching my head whether it was worth the investment.

 

That didn't last long though, as each time I went out after that my riding got better and better and better.  People I ride with would tell me "man, your riding has gotten a lot better!"  So it was like I was just sort of putting along and then after his class my riding shot up to a new level.

 

Just this past year I started seeing my riding kind of like my golf game.  The best round I ever played was an 82 and chances are I was never going to beat that unless I 1:  played more golf and 2: took lessons.  So I went back this past October for his class (about three years later) and again, learned quite a bit, got rid of some bad habits, learned some new things.

 

Jimmy is truly a master in every sense of that word.  It's hard for an outsider to the world of off road motorsports to really grasp just how much this guy has accomplished.  And not to put him on some kind of pedestal, because he's also just a regular guy with as many faults as any of us I'm sure, but he clearly knows what he's doing.  He understands the fundamentals of riding and motorcycles so deeply that it's astonishing.  Motorcycle mfg's will bring him in to talk about bikes and he ends up sometimes being the one to school their own engineers on topics that are typically their area of expertise.

 

He will execute some amazing feat of mastery like riding a whoop section on the rear wheel or go up a steep cliff like a mountain goat and then launch himself off the top and then stop on a dime like a trials rider.  Then, he'll break all that down into each component part and teach the rider each of those steps and how they combine to let him do something like that.

 

And don't think he's just a small bike expert.  He rides the GSA as well as a KTM 1190 E during class and teaches in ways extremely big-bike specific.

 

His classes are typically 12-15 in size and it's him, his wife Heather and at least two of his seasoned instructors.

 

They do serve lunch and dinner and well and affordable accommodations are available all over Pahrump.  It's only a four hour ride for me, so not really all that far.

 

There are a lot of other good places to learn offroad skills like RawHyde, EarthRiders, MSF dirt course, BMW Performance Center, Honda's school, etc...  You'll most likely get your money's worth at all of them but I haven't heard as much universal praise for them as I have Jimmy's class.

 

Just getting training is the best farkle you can ever buy.  Learning how to ride your bike safely and competently opens up a whole new world.  It's very satisfying to look out over a landscape and have confidence that whatever's out there that you can get through it with minimum effort.

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I took the Jimmy Lewis class too after TOD.  Great class that was really geared for beginners.  I don't think I am a beginner, but I did learn techniques that I didn't know being self taught (trial and error) off road rider.  

I would like to take my wife through the class too.  Right now she is just barely handling nice graded dirt roads.  

I will probably need to upgrade her bike though or hand down mine.  =)

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What's great about JL is if you are more advanced and mastering the drills, they give you some tips and get you to change that drill a bit to make it more challenging, or take you on a more advanced trail ride before or after lunch on both days.

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