ever taken advanced riding classes? worth it?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by cccolin, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. cccolin

    cccolin Long timer

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    been thinking about taking some advanced riding classes lately. a little background: I'm on my third bike. two 650 twins, and now a liter i4. first bike was in 06, had it for about a year. mostly just commuted with occasional hour rides. didn't ride again until last may, when I picked up my second bike. rode the hell out of it, did a 1500 miler and a bunch of shorter trips, around 4 hours out and 4 back. rode a bunch of twisties down south over the winter. have had the liter i4 since January, mostly urban commuting and longer rides on the weekends. felt like the bike was constantly trying to kill me when i first got it, but am feeling much more confident on it. i ride pretty hard, feel confident in curves, braking, etc. have never had a knee down, but mostly because I don't have gear with knee sliders and am not exactly looking to grind my kneecap off. I'd like to get more confident with riding fast, like actually fast (but at the same time am getting more leery of riding faster on public roads, partially due to close calls with maniac drivers, and partially due to two different friends recently getting nailed and put in the hospital while riding at legal speeds).

    anyone have suggestions for classes to take for someone at my level? I'm in NYC, if that makes a difference.

    Cheers
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  2. Vulfy

    Vulfy Been here awhile

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    Where in NYC are you planning to ride fast? I mean its possible, but from your post you do not necessarily want the consequences associated with it.

    I personally am looking to go to Yamaha Champions Riding school in NJ (they moved there very recently). I'm subscribed to their fastersafer.com and from what I've heard, as well as watching bits and pieces, seems like a reasonable approach to fast riding.
    #2
  3. cccolin

    cccolin Long timer

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    well, i'm moving to Tennessee in the fall. but have been considering the track.
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  4. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

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    Generally speaking, the advanced courses from MSF and such are on harder braking, tighter low speed turning and such. Rarely if ever is any done at actual high speeds. If you want high speed practice, you'll need to go to a track day or track class.
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  5. cccolin

    cccolin Long timer

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    ok. are the advanced classes from MSF helpful for someone like me or not?
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  6. RxZ

    RxZ Legal Drug Dealer

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    I took the advanced MSF class. Basically, it is similar to day 2 of the beginner's course, except at higher speeds and on your bike, not their 125cc bikes. This way you learn to maneuver, swerve, brake, etc on your bike that you ride everyday. Also, the drills are done at higher speeds than what the 125cc bikes can do. More realistic braking scenarios and such.

    For an urban commuter, I would do it. I can't imagine all the things that could happen riding in NYC! Better to be more prepared, than not prepared enough. Plus, most insurances will give you 10% off your bill for 3 years if you take a training course every 3 years.

    All that said, if you are looking to go fast (like 100+ mph since you have an inline 4) an instructed track day is going to be your best bet. I have not done one of those yet, but would like to.
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  7. outlaws justice

    outlaws justice Long timer

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    I teach the Total Control Program, and it is available in NY and I teach it in Tennessee as well. This is 10 times better than the MSF advanced program!

    I took it as a student in 2006 and at the time I was already an MSF Rider Coach (Still am) it was the best thing I have ever done for my riding and to make me both safer and better. I did my first track day a few weeks later and the difference between my self and the other newbies on the track was amazing (And I was only riding a Ninja 500) So I went and worked to become and instructor for the program as well. I continue to look for and take more rider training but by far this was the best I have done.
    #7
  8. cccolin

    cccolin Long timer

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    Ill look into that. Anyone done Cornerspeed or Cornerspin?
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  9. kbuckey

    kbuckey Been here awhile

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    I was always a do it yourselfer. My first ride on a motorcycle was in 1968 when I bought my first bike (big old Yamaha TwinJet 100!!!) from a guy. He said, "Want to try it out". I said "Sure" and off I rode.

    Twice the Army made me take an MSF course so I could ride on post. Neither was helpful, to tell the truth. That was in '75 and again in '82. I'm sure they're better now.

    Then in 2004 I decided some learning would do me good, so I took a S.T.A.R. school at Second Creek Raceway. My first time ever on a racetrack. Tiny little track and my ZRX felt a bit like a bull in a china shop, but I learned more in two days than I had in over 30 years of riding. Jason Pridmore mentioned that Danny Walker's American Supercamp would help with traction control on iffy surfaces. That turned out to be the classic understatement! Anyway thanks to the excellent instruction from both schools (I've attended STAR 9 times and only have stopped because they aren't coming to CO anymore:cry and I've been to Supercamp 7 times and I will be back!) I am a much more proficient rider than I was.

    I loved pretty much every minute of both schools. And every day I learned something new. I could look my wife right in the eye and say "But, Sweetie, it's all about safety! I'm a much safer rider now!" OK, it's NOT ALL about safety, both schools are so much fun you've gotta be afraid that someone will find out and make them illegal. But because of them I am a much safer rider on the street.
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  10. Detroit Steve

    Detroit Steve Homely Adventurer

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    Any riding class will benefit you unless you have a "know-it-all" attitude.

    I routinely take advanced MSF classes with people I know who are beginners to bolster their confidence. The range time with repetitive practices doing basic maneuvers always helps me and them.
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  11. Vulfy

    Vulfy Been here awhile

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    I had a somewhat different experience with a Total Control class.
    I had Lee's book for a while, and practised his exercises on my own.
    I was hoping that by taking the class, it would be a more personal experience with the instructors, where they would help me to iron out some of my deficiencies, rather than just herd us through a program, similar to an MSF class.

    Unfortunately, that's pretty much what I got from it.
    It felt exactly like an MSF class. I took only Level 1 though, not Level 2. Don't know how big of a difference between those two. We did a few drills for throttle control, braking, but non of them were as "eye opening" as most people review them to be.

    Nobody in our class got a knee down going around.

    When we were in a classroom or lectured on the field, it felt stretched out and unnecessary long. And when we were on the bikes and on the field, it felt very rushed and conveyor like.

    I can not say that it was a bad experience, but I can not praise it either.
    Just wasn't what I was expecting it to be.

    For street and slower technical riding, join our Gymkhana outings (in my signature).
    For fast riding, I would go to a track school.
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  12. outlaws justice

    outlaws justice Long timer

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    Getting a knee down should not be the goal, it should be the outcome of doing the other stuff correctly, I did not get a knee down at my class or at the track, but know with continued work and pratice, I can drag a knee on the Vmax, Gold Wing and almost anything else as well. It is the outcome of doing the the stuff right. I sent you a PM I would like to know more.
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  13. Vulfy

    Vulfy Been here awhile

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    I might have emphasised knee down a bit too much, and I agree with you.
    My main concern is that the field time was somewhat rushed and at times felt disjointed, while classroom time was a bit too relaxed and felt like it took more time than needed.

    I understand that at the end of the day, school still needs to teach and present the material to all the students signed up, and there will be a bit of a conveyor approach, simply to get through everybody in the finite amount of hours.

    I just wish we had more time on the field and the organisation would be a bit more snappier.

    We did have a lot of people and the whole waddling back and forth between the lot and the classroom felt that it was eating up precious time. I honestly think that all lectures could have have been presented right there on the lot, with a lot less stories and personal anecdotes from the instructors.
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  14. Lorretto

    Lorretto City Dweller Crushperado

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    Is a class worth it - Yes.

    I would encourage you to look into a class like the Total Control mentioned above. The class is sort of a stepping stone, way past the MSF doctrine but not about speed so not a track school.

    The take away is building process that the bike and tires are engineered to go around corners far faster and tighter than prior conditioning has instilled in most of us. The school of hard knocks is a valid training environment; however, the essence of the trial and error method is that error will show it's ugly head now and then with a predicable outcome. A class gives you a safe controlled environment to push past a comfort zone to work on where the limits are and hopefully leave with all the parts you came with intact; the bike too.
    #14
  15. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    Go to a Keith Code school. Rent one of thier S1000 RRs. It's absolutely appalling. In a good way.
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  16. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

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    This is good to know. I have been thinking about taking an advanced course. The local BMW dealer offers some that are a bit pricey and the MSF offers a cheap advanced rider course. I will look for a Total Control Program in my area.

    EDIT: $300 for a one day class...yikes.
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  17. outlaws justice

    outlaws justice Long timer

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    Not cheap, I agree, I will have to say for me it was the best money I have ever spent on training, and before you spend money on mods, think how much better that money would be spent on making yourself a better rider first. Regardless the program, I am always on the look out for more training for myself as well and try to take at least one different and more advanced class each year.
    #17
  18. wyomingriviera

    wyomingriviera Ghostface Killah

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    I dropped $80 and a day of my life on the MSF experienced rider course. I'd been riding avidly for seven years prior to that. The class was held a pleasant 30 minute ride from my house, seemed totally worth it, I learned a few new tricks. No regrets. Oh, and it cut $2 off my yearly insurance bill!

    I'd love to do a track day/race school, but they are a much bigger time and money commitment...
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  19. woolsocks

    woolsocks Been here awhile

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    I've been riding 3 years and have taken 2 courses so far (beginner ones) and I am signed up for number 3 in a couple weeks. It's the MSF Experienced Rider Course. I can report when I'm done. I'm more concerned about the slow speed control, turning and braking right now since I'm still a beginner/ intermediate rider, but I think that a track day would be best to practice the higher speed stuff. Maybe you can find a track near you that offers classes? I'm also signing up for a course here at a local track in June. They offer 4 phases from track begginers to advance racer programs.
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  20. cccolin

    cccolin Long timer

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    sounds like maybe what I want is track day or racing classes, but the slow speed tech stuff doesnt sound like a bad idea. i'll look around and see what I can find in the area.
    #20