Luxist.com and Autoblog’s Jonathon Ramsey were invited by BMW at the Performance Center Motorcycle School in Spartanburg. Along with the M Performance School, BMW offers a variety of other courses, from motorcycles to young and more advanced drivers. The experience is quite unique and we had the opportunity to experience it first hand back in the summer.
Since we haven’t man up yet to take on the task of riding these wonderful beamers, we’ll let Jonathon entertain us and give us some insight in the BMW’s Motorcycle School.
“BMW invited Luxist to its Performance Center in Spartanburg for some lessons on how to ride and how to drive. The idea was that we would hone a few things we did know and learn a few things we didn’t, guided by some of the best instructors and piloting some of the best machinery in the business. The first day we tackled — sometimes literally — motorcycles. It was a cool, rainy morning in Greenville, South Carolina when we straddled the BMW F 650 GS for an education in 2-wheeled manners. It would also turn out to be a wet, muddy, and thoroughly rewarding workout.
When it comes to BMW motorcycles, the case is more complex. We can still start off with “It’s a BMW,” and at that point you know, “All right, it must be good.” And then… blank. What does a BMW motorcycle stand for? We’d venture to say that most BMW car owners don’t even know. And you know who we can blame for that? Vanilla Ice.
Well, we can’t blame this all on him, so we’ll throw in John Travolta to keep him rightful company. American motorcycle culture and perceptions are far more informed by Mr. Ice and the Wild Hogs bunch than Ewan McGregor and dusty roads of The Motorcycle Diaries. For the most part, U.S. riders want to check these three boxes: looks cool, makes noise, chicks dig it. Kawasaki and its sport bike brethren, and Those Harley Things generally get the job done there. BMW, uh, not really.
Dare we say it, but BMW motorcycles are the Audi cars of the U.S. scene. You need to invest the time to understand them, get to know them, before you can fully appreciate them. BMW cars are The Ultimate insert-adjective-and-noun-here — it’s impossible not to understand that. Audi cars are “Vorsprung durch Technik,” commonly translated as “What?” Yet the “technik” school is where the BMW lives: it calls its bike division “Motorrad.” That means “motorcycle” in German, but to most American riders translates simply as “pretentious.”