OFF-ROAD RIDING IN THE MOUNTAINS OF SOUTH WALES
The Triumph Scrambler is a fine looking machine that appears well suited to city streets. When I was offered the opportunity to go on the new Triumph Adventure Experience in South Wales, I chose to have a day on the Scrambler rather than the Tiger that I have previously ridden off-road on a few occasions. I was intrigued to see how a portly road-orientated bike weighing a hefty 500lb plus would manage the challenges that the varied demands of off-road terrain offer.
Here I will declare an interest. I have known Nick Plumb who owns the Triumph Academy for some years. He is the person behind Touratech UK, the company that sells you overpriced luxuries - sorry, I mean essential accessories - for your beloved machine. Also the incomparable Dawn to Dusk Enduro and more recently the Valleys Extreme Enduro. The new Triumph Academy is his latest and most ambitious venture that is designed to give the customer a first-rate service and experience.
Attention to detail is apparent as soon as you step onto the premises. It is spacious and not overcrowded with branded items being shoved in your face. After coffee and chatting with fellow customers, there is the obligatory form signing. Then an introduction and description of the day, before going to the changing room where you find a locker with your name on it and riding gear waiting for you. Once kitted out with the top-quality gear, it is out to the bikes and a group photo before some essential instructions.
The Scrambler Experience is aimed at those with pretty much little or no off-road experience, and, as such, is a combination of riding the lanes, both metal and green, as well as time on the off-road site that the Academy uses. Here, basic exercises can be carried out with a variety of challenging trails. Refreshments and lunch are supplied, which gives the opportunity to socialise with each other as well as discuss progress with the tutors.
Being predominantly a road bike, the Bonneville Scrambler is surprisingly able on the dirt. It is limited by lack of ground clearance and suspension, but the engine is wonderfully torquey and flexible. As if to reinforce the road bias, the ABS and Traction Control needs to be switched off each time the bike is turned on, and you definitely want them off when riding off-road. Off-road riders spend most of the time standing on the footpegs, but the geometry of the Scrambler does not encourage this, so more time is spent sitting down. Kinda like Steve-McQueen style, and if it was good enough for him on a Triumph…..
Some upgrades are on the bikes, most significantly a much-needed bash plate, improved rear shocks and a new exhaust. It is a Vance & Hines item that produces a truly lovely bark when the throttle is blipped. The bulky bike is surprisingly agile and great fun providing there are not too many lumps and bumps to go over. On the small twisty roads, the bike is very happy to either pootle along or, with a twist of the right hand, will provide an impressive dose of fun.
Following a long day on the mountain, it is back to the centre where showers are available, and once clean and changed, the photos that have been taken during the day are being shown on the large screen. Another coffee while you look for pictures of yourself, a debrief with each other and get ready to leave. The pictures will be sent to your Dropbox before you have left the building.
I had a great day out and stayed over locally to enjoy something to eat and drink to complete the experience. I’m sure that the courses on the Tigers offer more off-road skills and challenges if people want to learn more about their ability and the bikes.
So if you fancy a day or two riding in the mountains of south Wales: https://www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk/adventure-experience
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