Triumph Adventure Centre

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Feb 28, 2010
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I had a quick road test of the Tiger 800 XCA last year and wanted to try it again and hopefully have a little fun and learn something so booked a 'level 1' training day with Triumph Adventure in Ystradgynlais (South Wales). Staying in a nice BnB tonight ( .


Total novice, and super excited.

I wrote a short article based on my experience of the training for the local IAM mag so have added it below. I realise there will be a natural bias towards the BMW ORS here, but as explained below I wanted to take a Tiger on an 'extended' test ride and this was a perfect way to do it.

Triumph Adventure Experience

I had an itch to try some off-road training. In addition I keep looking at the Triumph Tiger 800 as a possible replacement bike, so thought I would combine an extended test ride with some off road training by doing the Triumph Adventure experience in Wales ( I picked the level 1 training, as I am a complete off-road novice and I'm as nervous off-road as I am confident on-road.

With all the planning in place, on a Thursday in July I drove down to the south of the Brecon Beacons to a village called Ystradgynlais in Wales and stayed at a lovely B&B a couple of miles from the village. The course started at 8:30 am, the rain had started and wouldn’t stop until mid afternoon on the second day. One participant had come from Switzerland flying into Birmingham, he was going to ride over on his Triumph tiger 1200 but his Mum wouldn’t let him :).

The start of the training

The option for bikes was either Tiger 800’s, 1200’s or the new Scrambler and 5 of us including me chose Tiger 800’s, 2 chose the Tiger 1200’s (a bad decision in hindsight !). I hired all the required gear including boots except helmet for £60, which included a body armour shirt and stockings (!), over-shirt, trousers and waterproofs (non-breathable). A short briefing followed, and we were out to the bikes all labelled with our names. I was excited, nervous but with quite low expectations of being able to manage a fairly big road bike off-road competently.

There was a 20 minute ride to the offsite area, which I enjoyed as it gave me some time to feel what the bike was like on the road, albeit on off-road tyres. In short the Tiger is a joy to ride, really comfortable and with a high level of equipment for that version (XCA, so heated seat/grips, cruise, Traction control), I also liked the easily adjustable screen. If it wasn’t warm, humid and wet I would have tested the heated grips and seat.

Once we got to the training area we split the 7 people into two groups (4 and 3), 3 people knew each other so made sense they stayed together. The initial exercises were undoubtedly important, but a little dull (balance the machine, walk it around in circles with clutch and throttle). This was the point where the sweat inside my waterproofs was as wet as the rain outside as it was humid and raining. I also had spectacles constantly misting up to contend with. As dull as these exercises were at the time I agree that they were critical to the success of the course.


From then it got more interesting, and much more fun. We learnt how to cope with some obstacles, and were riding on very wet mud with some gravel, and heavily rutted trails pooled with water. Everyone dropped their bike, my first drop on the first day was nothing to write about and good to get out of the way (one indicator sacrificed itself). In the afternoon something clicked into place, I was keeping momentum up and behind the lead instructor, and managing the more technical sections well. This led to the instructor stretching the group out further to allow me to ride a little faster. Lots of stops to go back and pick up whoever had fallen off, or allow them to catch up but I suddenly realised I was doing OK, maybe even doing well which was a huge confidence boost. Then I lost the front and launched the bike into the hedge…..



I finished that day feeling annoyed, embarrassed and quite down over this mistake. They even had to get the spare bike out for me as I had broken the clutch lever on mine and couldn’t get it started and had to tow it to the van. Oh the ignominy.

The second day

The second day was just absolutely fantastic after a tentative start, I had a ball. My machine control just got better and better being able to balance bike, clutch, throttle, front and rear brakes and the instructor enabled me to move into the other group in the belief that they were slightly more competent than the group I was in (we had two of our four who sat out quite a lot of the riding as they were exhausted, including the Swiss chap who had now swapped the 1200 to an 800). I couldn’t get enough of riding the bike, and going over the obstacles, on one specific obstacle I just kept going over and over it whilst the rest of the group had a breather. I was focussing further up the trail when riding, and my grip was relaxing more, and this just made things easier. At this point I couldn’t believe that I was competently riding heavily rutted and wet muddy tracks and being roughly in control. I could pop out of ruts and swap lines once I learnt how to steer with my feet, and whilst there was always that slight nervousness that I would lose the front again I started to panic less when the front moved around and started to concentrate on balance and control. I can’t emphasise how bad the conditions were underfoot, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way as I don’t think I would have learnt as much, or been as terrified if it was dry.




The course finished promptly at 4pm, so whilst I had booked an extra night at the B&B, I decided to get home back to my own bed for the night.

Worst bits

Falling off when I was starting to get the hang of it, and putting wet clothes on the second day.

Best bits :
Everything else, I have already booked onto a two day gravel tour they do in October and joined the local TRF.

It wasn’t cheap, but I think it was great value for money. It’s given me a window into a new skill that I am keen to refine and develop and a newfound enthusiasm for a two wheel activity.

*Excuse quality of photos as the iphone had a very necessary storm cover.
Great write-up. I enjoyed the vicarious thrill of your off-road riding without having to suffer the pain in my knees such an adventure would surely deliver. :thumby:
I've booked a one day level 2 experience on the 5th April, primarilly so I can try the new Tiger 900 off-road. I can't friggin wait !

So will you be buying the Triumph?

Not the one they lent you...

Yes, thats the plan. I want to try one before actually committing, and assuming all well I will get one in March. Availability dates or final costs for the Rally Pro version are unclear at the moment. I'm then going to get some 50/50 tyres on it and find every BOAT near me (which won't take long around here).


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