Once you arrive at the off-road facility, you run through series of basic manoeuvres, experiencing how the 3-stage torque (traction) control operates and the effect switching off the ABS makes. Next you move on to a tricky slalom course, which tests out your balance and clutch control and where the instructors get to see if you should be put in the level one or two group for the rest of the course. All this takes up the first morning and it’s after lunch (served at the local pub 5-minutes down the road), you finally get to try out your newfound skills for the first time on the multiple tracks located throughout the facility.
The easiest way to explain how it all works is to think of this facility as being like a ski resort containing the usual mix of blue, red and black ski-runs. But the great thing with off-road biking compared to skiing, is you get to have loads of fun going uphill as well as downhill, with a few cheeky off-piste runs thrown in for fun. There’s a mix of loose stone, hard stone, ruts, soft mud, ditches and jumps everywhere you look but the instructors are careful not to make the route appear too intimidating and on the trickier sections, will teach you how to get through without mishap, well, that’s the aim anyway.
I have to confess to dropping the bike a couple of times, thankfully both at very low speeds. Once on a down hill section where the ABS couldn’t save me from terminal understeer in soft mud and another time where a deep rut brought me to a complete stop. Considering how hard we were pushing and how many miles we covered over the two days, it was a mighty impressive testimonial as to how well this big Honda handles the rough stuff. That on-road agility translates beautifully to the rough and I came away thinking maybe hurling a 94bhp, 230kg bike across challenging terrain wasn’t nearly as mad as I initially thought it was.
If you fancy giving it a go too, then the course costs £499 and that includes the bike, all tuition, lunch on both days and evening meal on the first day. I reckon that’s great value and once done, I’ll promise you will have a new set of bike handling skills that stay with you forever. www.hondaadventurecentre.com 01844 266443