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Old 03-27-2011, 05:00 AM   #100
Dreamer and Doer
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Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Maryland
Oddometer: 5,462
Final Course Evaluation

Since we didn’t get course evaluations to fill out, I’ve taken some creative liberty and selected my own grading criteria. With a now captive audience and google search, the remarks will be electrons for later.

The course just oozes with professionalism and a high-caliber course you would expect from BMW. The course is very confidence inspiring and I walked away knowing the GS has more capability than most riders do.

As you approach the facility, multiple car rock mountains, a car-sized teter-totter, and a water trough greet the incoming visitors. One can only ponder the events to come. Alas, not much time is spent on these obstacles, yet they are all conquered before the class is done. The conference center itself is nestled between the tarmac road course and the off-road course. The building is all glass and is usually staged with customer pick-up new cars in each of the single bays. The reception atrium is open and airy. Multiple class rooms allow for multiple groups not to interfere which each other.

The oldest bike I saw was 2009, however, it still bearly had 500 miles on it. The bike fleet consists of 1200s, 800, and even a few g650s. Being vertically challenged, I am very grateful that there was 650 otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to take the course (Would have LOVED a low-suspension F650:). The bikes did have some scrapes and scratches in plastic, but all mechanical parts were 100% functioning. There were additional bikes for back-up in case the onsite technician couldn’t fix any student-induced damage on-the-spot.

From the coffee bar in the early morning to the fabulous lunch, there were no regrets. Hydration was plentiful thanks to Gatorade/water coolers which traveled with the bikes in a support vehicle.

Instructors (Bill, Blair, Ricardo and Ross) & Professionalism :
Student to instructor ratio was 2:1. Excellent ratio enabled no student to be stranded whether is be a little tired and needing a quite break or something else while the rest of pack continued. Plenty of time to complete exercises, and feedback was consistent from instructor to instructor. Instructors have off-road biking in their blood, and a true zest for the machine. Instructor’s certification program displays a multi-requirement/multi-year commitment.
Not one foot wrong, not one inappropriate comment, not one snicker in the face of adversity, not one bemoaning comments/look to pick-up yet another bike. Properly attired.

Off-road practice area:
Honestly, when you first ride past the water drift course for the cars, the bike training area is a bit unassuming. However, it is shocking how much stuff lurks around the few acres of land. As we completed our 20 min enduro laps, there were challenge areas lurking in wait. Plenty of variation for all skill levels and enough room to spread out the groups.

Kept on schedule well despite holds due to bikes “sleeping”. Agenda was well thought out to ensure riders kept cooled off, entertained, challenged and naturally progressive technicality. In a large group, the biggest challenge is the wide varity of backgrounds and ensuring you don't kill the novice while simtaneously providing benefit to the expert. Groups well matched riders and allowed each “rider to ride their own ride”. Proper demonstration rider and well explained theory.

Long term vision:
The courses are constantly evolving which is very encouraging. There are courses to suit most riders, and the center is expanding into more areas in 2011. There are facility upgrades planned which will specifically benefit the riders.

Constructive criticism: About the only thing which is sorely lacking is the official BMW website for the performance center. Actually for an organization with an entire business development division, it is surprising how lacking intuition/usability the website is. Besides the very clunky layout, there is so much more information available on the courses than is posted. Schedules are awkward to navigate. For example, if I want to see if spots are available for a certain date, I have to do it for each bike (650, 800, 1200 low, 1200). Highly recommended calling to speak with someone vice using the online reservations.

Overall a 5 star experience, and thanks to all that made it possible!
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