Safety, Instruction, and Motorcycle Riding Redefined at the BMW Performance Center
What gives a motorcyclist confidence? Confidence to take on new challenges, tackle unknown roads or take your bike off the beaten path usually comes from many years of riding experience. A better way might be to learn from the experts at the BMW Performance Center in Greer, SC.
The BMW Performance Center has been in operation for the automotive side of BMW for over 20 years but in 2007 added a motorcycle program. Currently, around 700 riders per year attend a variety of rider training courses. Riders can choose from various street or off-road courses depending on their needs and these are not “learn to ride” beginner courses. Students must be an experienced and state-licensed motorcyclist before attending a course at the Performance Center.
Confidence also comes from having the right equipment, especially the tires. The BMW PC has using Continental tires on their fleet of BMW cars and motorcycles for over 10 years. On the motorcycle side they use a mix of TKC 80, TKC 70, TKC 70 Rocks, ContiTrailAttack 3and ContiRoadAttack 3 depending on the bike model and the courses it will be used for. According to Chief Instructor, Aaron Rankin, “we find the impact of Continental tires on our bikes is in the confidence the student has in experiencing all of the handling and performance the machine has to offer.” We obviously cannot control the weather and we train in all weather. The students who spend the day training in the rain, get to experience the Continental tires in the most challenging of environments. When the student hears that we do not change the speeds of the exercises due to the weather, they know we are confident in Continental tires. If a student feels the stability and grip of the tires it builds their confidence, reduces their fears, and allows them to concentrate on the training. In the end we develop safer more experienced riders.”
Among the many confidence building exercises students will perform at the BMW PC is the “brake and avoid” exercise that simulates a real-world emergency avoidance situation. In this exercise, students are asked to bring the bike up to an indicated speed and perform an emergency braking maneuver and then release the brakes and counter-steer to avoid an obstacle. Aaron says this exercise is his favorite because of the real-world applications it simulates, “once the fear of the exercise passes with successful runs, students really appreciate this newfound life skill.”
When it comes to motorcycles and confidence Aaron Rankin knows his stuff. Aaron is a Certified North Carolina Motor Officer and over sees the Sheriff’s office fleet of 7 BMW R1200/1250 RTP police motorcycles. He’s been in law enforcement for 28 years and instructing for 21 years including specialized driving for new law enforcement officers.