Starting a GS-911 Academy - What do you want to learn, and how much would you pay? - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
    Nick V's Avatar
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    Good day, all!

    Pretty much as the subject line says.
    I do technical documentation and videography for Hexcode (the South African manufacturers of the GS-911 and ezCAN).
    We're in the early stages of starting up an online technical academy. The aim is to teach GS-911 owners, BMW enthusiasts and journeyman mechanics how to do BMW Motorrad-specific vehicle diagnostics and, in the process, fully exploit the capabilities of their GS-911.
    Our curriculum is not exclusive to GS-911 owners. However, since it is GS-911-centric, you will only get the full benefit of it if you own a GS-911.

    We're planning on presenting a range of four technical courses (running the gamut from 'Beginner' to 'Expert').
    The aims are to A) make each enrolee a competent diagnostic technician, familiar with every feature of the GS-911 and able to use it to solve any relevant problem, and B) build a like-minded community of vehicle technicians who enrich the BMW Motorrad community with their knowledge and experience.

    I want feedback from every mechanic, tinkerer, technical enthusiast and weekend bodger who reads this:

    • What technical aspects would you specifically want to learn from this series of courses, and
    • Bearing in mind that what's being offered is a complete technical curriculum in four parts, what would you be willing to pay for that curriculum? (Unfortunately, the answer can't be 'Nothing'... hundreds of hours are being put into creating and developing these courses.


    I look forward to hearing from you all!

    Nicholas
    '13 R1200GS LC '13 F800GS Hypermoto hybrid (under construction)'05 K1200S
    Iron Butt Association #59898
    Flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo 

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  4. #2
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    Sign me up...expert level

    I would hope to learn some tricks or something useful that I didn't already know. Most of that comes from experimentation and gleaning what is available in several chat rooms and motorcycle related sites....there's an answer for almost every question in you google it, what would you offer that I can't find on my own by searching diligently for a solution?

    Pay for it? Hmmmmm, I can think of at least 10 vendors that I work with that provide training on their products, along with certifications, all for free. If I pay for a class it is usually to obtain a license or some other required continuing education. If it costs too much....I'll take my chances and figure it out on my own. Maybe the class should be free for anyone that just purchased the GS-911? That makes the most sense. We (technicians) don't want our clients to know TOO much!! HaHa you know what I mean, they get themselves into trouble with too much technology at their disposal, I mean most guys don't even know how to operate their own TFT displays, for instance.

    [email protected]

    Thank You for doing this

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  6. #3
    Nick V's Avatar
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    Hi, Spark!

    The Academy isn't running yet - it's still in the early planning stages, with content and strategy coming together.

    You make a good argument re. the pricing model... this is all information we'll be taking into account.
    Suffice to say that we won't be offering 'generic' information, and we intend to provide value for money!
    '13 R1200GS LC '13 F800GS Hypermoto hybrid (under construction)'05 K1200S
    Iron Butt Association #59898
    Flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo 

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  8. #4
    Daboo's Avatar
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    I'm like Spark691. I'd like to see the Expert level. I'm not sure what you'll be able to give us though on a F800. From what I can tell, the GS-911 will reset my maintenance reminder, tell me what fault codes are occurring now and reset those and make it easier to reset the clock for DST. And maybe it'll do something for TPMS. Otherwise, I see the ability to read information, but no way to change anything more.

    As for paying for the course, I doubt I would unless you can come up with something more that the GS-911 can do. One of the things I love about the F800 is that it has some technical sophistication...but BMW had not incorporated a bunch of electronics that forced you to use a computer to maintain it.

    I understand you need to make a profit to put food on the table. From my perspective, you gain more by holding this training than you lose. There are competitors to the GS-911 now that cost less money. By conducting the classes, you're drawing attention to your product and making it more attractive, even with the higher cost.

    I wish you good luck and hope to see what you come up with.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

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  9. #5
    Runmyownlife's Avatar
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    Interested, yes. Willing to pay? Depends on the content and how much value I derive from it. The product is already priced at a premium (certainly for the amount of utility a typical owner will see - service minder, maybe inputting new TPMS codes.)

    I'd see the investment in creating this content as expanding your potential market. I've written software and now project manage; no slouch to tech. After unfolding the table sized instruction sheet and befuddling through the Windows and then Android steps, I thought I was back in 1990s.

    I suggest the free content will expand your market by removing barriers to non-technical users.
    Concrete remains undefeated. 

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    I already own one and I'm in agreement with those above. I think that support for a product should be included as part of the purchase. I'd rather see the effort being put into improving the product itself or the minimal (if any) documentation that currently exists. Maybe developing an app interface that will run on the phone without network support, e.g. I'd really like to be able to datalog without having to create a hotspot so that my phone doesn't lose network connectivity while I'm riding. Or the ability to marry in new hardware, like LEDs, or alarm units.
    I'd bet that more people would be willing to take the plunge on this over the Motoscan app if they understood the benefits. Otherwise you're asking people to pay more for your product, and then pay second time if they want a user manual. As it is, most people seem to choose Motoscan because without any available documentation, no one knows the difference, just that yours costs more. At least this is how I see it.

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  13. #7
    Daboo's Avatar
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    Agreed. I'd like to be able to install LED turn signals and brake light and not get an error message. Or I should say, I'd like to do that, get the error message...and have the GS-911 reset the system to allow me to continue to use the LED lights without an error code.

    I don't think these are the answers he's looking for.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

  14. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daboo View Post
    I don't think these are the answers he's looking for.
    Maybe, I mean it's all about revenue right? The number one complaint I hear regarding the price of the GS-911 is that it is only good for service reminder resets. That's pretty telling in and of itself. Be a little more forth coming with the 'what' and 'how' and you'll sell more units for the same end result, revenue. Or start to differentiate Enthusiast and Pro level units by more than just VIN limits. You could likely sell a Pro level (unlimited VIN) unit for a little more AND include access to in depth documentation.
    Either way, I feel base level of documentation is hurting adoption right now, especially with so many knockoffs selling on Ebay and Alibaba for a fraction of the cost. Setup a portal for verified owners to have access to information that reinforces the value of the product and supports the higher price.

  15. #9
    whojigger's Avatar
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    I'm about to order a 911-GS . I bought a new 2016 F800GT from the BMW dealer up here in Fairbanks. I own 3 airheads and do my own wrenching. The BMW mechanic is here only in the summer so I bought the CD shop manual, a windows computer to use it with (I'm a Mac person) and no doubt, I'll need the 911 to reset/ reminders and such. I'll know more about what I need to learn when the diagnostic tool gets here. I sure hope it isn't a boondoggle like the OEM battery charger was; over priced, limited value. A beginner's You Tube for me at this stage, and Academy for those experts out there. I've got years left to know this bike.

  16. #10
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    It's a good tool and will tell you TONS of info about your bike in real time as well as datalogging. I just wish there was a basic user manual that had a breakdown of menu options along with a brief description of each option. Thanks to the internet, you won't be on your on, but it may feel that way at first. The ADV Rider forum has a bunch of knowledgeable users, and the actual GS-911 forum on their main site is pretty good too.

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    After thinking about it, I decided that I would NOT pay for a class, I'd rather just figure it out myself. I think that manufacturers of a product OWE IT TO THE CONSUMER to provide an excellent manual/training. the GS-911 does NOT provide that. Sure...just take our $399 but don't tell us how to use the device...shame on you! I already know how to do the service functions on the BMW computer, yours is just like it. (close enough)

    I f anyone is interested, I'm selling a $400 unit with no instructions! Just send me your money, and if you want to know how to use it, You'll Have to Pay MORE!! NAH No Way!

    Actually, does it sit wrong with anyone else that you have to pay 400 dollars for an item with NO documentation, no instructions? Except how to hook it to your LAN...
    Honestly, I'm NOT too impressed with my GS-911 so far.

    A. Too expensive
    B. No instructions
    c. Cheaper units from other manufacturers, who offer support.

  18. #12
    Nick V's Avatar
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    Hi again everyone!

    This is a generic reply, so you are likely to see it on other biking sites. Reaching out for feedback through multiple forums comes under the heading of research and due diligence. This kind of thing needs to be done before putting together technical courses that take a lot of time in research, compilation and administration.

    Secondly, to clear up confusion on the subject of what I do and what my position is:
    - I DO NOT directly represent Hex or any of its subsidiaries.
    - I represent a joint undertaking between myself and Hex.
    - My ultimate aim is to greatly extend the knowledge base that allows BMW riders to do effective diagnostics.
    - I'm a dedicated rider myself. I own two running BMWs and three more in various stages of assembly. Coming from that perspective, I want everyone who reads this to be able to spend less time doing diagnostics, and more time riding their bikes.

    I've noticed some of the same questions coming up multiple times in different forums. I'll try to explain as best I can:

    Regarding concerns that the Academy will simply 'teach a user how to operate the GS-911':
    The Academy content will not address basic operation of the GS-911. That topic will be the subject of the revamped GS-911 User's Manual (due for release later this year).
    The Academy will aim to teach users how to exploit GS-911's capabilities to do advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting, with emphasis on hard-to-solve problems such as intermittent electrical faults.

    Regarding concerns that the information gathered by GS-911 cannot currently be compared to lists of known baseline values:
    This is an area I'm aiming to address.
    Bear in mind that it is a Herculean task. The only entity that has immediate access to that information is BMW Motorrad. For obvious reasons, they will not simply hand it over.

    Regarding concerns that the fault codes gathered by GS-911 cannot currently be compared to an exhaustive list of known fault codes:
    As I mentioned above, no one but BMW Motorrad themselves have access to their source code.
    For that reason, it's harder and more time-consuming than it sounds to compose a list like this. Much of it would involve A) attempting to simulate every possible failure mode on every compatible bike, and B) decoding code streams that may be unfamiliar - sometimes with no fallback other than educated guesswork.
    Regardless of that, this is another subject I want very much to address. Watch this space.

    Regarding concerns that no actionable steps are currently given for fault codes and fault conditions:
    This is exactly the problem that the Academy aims to address.
    As I said in my OP, the whole point is to teach learners how to do BMW Motorrad-specific vehicle diagnostics, with emphasis on hard-to-solve problems.

    To those who responded to my original post with suggestions and constructive criticism: Thank you!
    You are helping to make the difference between 'Can't be done' and 'Did it last week', and every suggestion will be taken into account going forward.

    Nick
    '13 R1200GS LC '13 F800GS Hypermoto hybrid (under construction)'05 K1200S
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    Flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo 

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  20. #13
    Richard230's Avatar
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    I have bought two GS-911 devices, an original that I gave away to a friend and a new WiFi version last year that I use on my RS and GS bikes. Hexcode has a very extensive illustrated set of operating instructions on their website that is about 20 pages long, which I downloaded and printed off a hard copy. It tells you everything you need to know regarding how to use the GS-911.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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  22. #14
    Nick V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard230 View Post
    I have bought two GS-911 devices, an original that I gave away to a friend and a new WiFi version last year that I use on my RS and GS bikes. Hexcode has a very extensive illustrated set of operating instructions on their website that is about 20 pages long, which I downloaded and printed off a hard copy. It tells you everything you need to know regarding how to use the GS-911.
    Richard, quite right.
    For everyone interested, the link to the online manual is http://www.hexcode.co.za/products/gs...al/user-manual.

    As I mentioned earlier, this manual is being extensively revised and updated, and will be re-released a little later in the year.
    The updated manual will be one of the Academy's fundamental knowledge resources - not an equivalent knowledge base to the Academy itself.
    '13 R1200GS LC '13 F800GS Hypermoto hybrid (under construction)'05 K1200S
    Iron Butt Association #59898
    Flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo 

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