After the first day, my arms were absolutely wrecked! The rain had been coming in sideways, stinging my face. Visibility was only 100 meters, blocking out the highly anticipated scenery. My gloves were squishy, my toes were wet, and a stream of water had infiltrated the small gap at the top of my jacket’s zipper. I couldn’t have been happier.
I was riding at the new Triumph Adventure Experience in Ystradgynlais, South Wales, in the UK—a full-service training facility at the base of the Brecon Beacons National Park. This partnership between Triumph Motorcycles and accomplished Dakar Rally racer Nick Plumb offers a customized motorcycle training experience for everyone from advanced to new riders. There were rolling hills and narrow country lanes through fields of grazing sheep and forests filled with waterfalls.
I spent two days, one rainy and one beautifully sunny, with breathtaking views, hopping between a Triumph Tiger 1200 XC, a Triumph Tiger 800 XC, and a Triumph Street Scrambler with big knobby tires. The Adventure Experience Center is a well-appointed building complete with a showroom and reception area, cappuccino maker, two classrooms, showers, locker rooms, mechanics’ garage, rental gear, and a drying room.
We started our two-day course by getting acquainted with the staff, receiving a few road and trail instructions for being on the bikes, and coordinating riding gear. Flying in from across the Atlantic, it was a relief that all I had to bring was my helmet. Everything else from boots and gloves to body armor is available for rent. If they don’t have what you need, there is a Touratech store just across the street.
The ride from the main facility to the off-road trails is about 20 minutes or 1.5 hours for the scenic route. We wound through the foothills of the Brecon Beacons, carving the narrow farm roads and watching mama sheep and their lambs scurry about as we buzzed by.
The main training area is located within and around a large quarry. It offers a wide variety of terrain from long, loose hill climbs, cinder fields, gravel roads, muddy ruts, slippery peat moss, and single-track trails that wind tightly through the forest. The Adventure Experience staff have cut most of the trails themselves, and for seeming so wild, the training grounds are surprisingly well thought out and controlled. Each instructor is very familiar with the training grounds and quickly guides the students from one area to the next based on skill level development and rider progression throughout the day.
The instructors have an infectious, enthusiastic attitude with a deep pool of knowledge and riding experience to draw from. They did an impressive job at quickly evaluating all of the riders and separating people into groups based on ability. They were then attentive to each individual, providing instruction, constructive feedback, and ensuring riders were challenged by personalized training tasks while the whole group rode together. This way, none of the students felt pushed to ride dangerously beyond their skill level trying to keep up with others, nor were they bored or restrained by remedial exercises. Our group had a wide range of skill levels, and everyone got along and rode together as if old friends. We had everyone from dirt beginners who had never ridden off-road, an Isle of Man TT racer, the Italian Enduro national champion, and a four-time racer, three-time finisher of the Dakar Rally.
The Adventure Experience allows the unique opportunity to try Triumph’s Tiger and Street Scrambler motorcycles in a wide range of conditions. If you’re in the market for an adventure bike, this will provide you with the ultimate test ride to help you decide. If you already own one of these Triumphs or any other adventure bike, this training will teach you how to truly control and command your motorcycle with confidence. One of the biggest reasons people don’t travel and explore with their adventure bikes is due to a lack of confidence in their riding ability, so this could well be the ticket to some amazing worldwide exploration.
The Triumph Adventure Experience officially opened on May 1, 2018. It offers single and multi-day training adventures as well as classroom-based training on adventure riding and motorcycle maintenance. Visit their website to learn more and to book your adventure experience.