Harley Beginner's Riding Course ??

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by space, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    Not enough data. We don't know you, any off-road experience, or what "training" means there to compare to any flavor of basic class taught in the USA.
    #41
  2. Ron Bullard

    Ron Bullard Been here awhile

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    If your friend is also in Pasadena, or close, tell them to take the BRC at the Academy of Motorcycle Operation.

    www.amosocal.com

    They have a site at John Muir High School, and Altadena Elementary School.
    #42
  3. tvpierce

    tvpierce Been here awhile

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    The bike or your friend? :rofl
    #43
  4. Tepi

    Tepi Been here awhile

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    No offroad experience, not my cup of tea. For people with automobile drivers license the upgrade to motorcycle license is 6 hours of combined riding and handling practice, 6 hours of theory classes. Then the test is three part test, written exam with 10 questions, handling exam with 6 different exercises and a 30min on the road test (city riding).

    The handling exercises are:
    Slow speed - riding the bike straight below the stall speed of 1st gear
    Emergency stop - full braking using front and rear brakes
    Obstacle avoidance with stop - Brake and downshift, full stop, foot down and then go around the obstacle from the side the instructor says you to go
    Obstacle avoidance without stop
    Slalom
    Countersteering - go though the gates at high rate of speed, you have to countersteer to get though them

    dismissal: dumping the bike, if your foot touches the ground twice in any of the exercises (you can retake if you foot touches once), not gaining enough speed to reach minimum speed for the test three times.

    http://www.autokoulupasila.fi/opetus.asp?id=103#kaskoe_vaisto Those are the exercises with pictures.

    But theres a minimum power you can take the licensing for a big bike and 250cc will fall under the minimum power.
    #44
  5. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll

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    IMHO, what condition the beginner course bikes are in and the quality of instruction are more important than arbitrary engine size.

    My take on it.....

    5-6 years ago both of our kids wanted to get their MC endorsement. At the time I had a nearly new Kawi 250R in the garage for them to use. I had taken both of them out on several lower speed back roads near our home (very rural).

    They both were starting to get proficient at the controls and after a few empty parking lot rides were getting a good feel for countersteering.

    To get their endorsement I enrolled them in the nearby state run MSF course- Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. They both passed easily.

    BUT. They were both disappointed at the bikes provided. 125 and 250 cruisers in very poor condition. They both complained to me about how stupid the feet forward position felt, especially when they were given the "lift your rearend up off the seat" instruction. And the bikes badly needed some attention- they were rusty, had worn out brakes, bent controls, etc...

    Worst of all was that they both think that all or nearly all of the students were passed and several of them were pretty bad, even by the end of the weekend. I remember them giving me some specific examples that sounded scary.
    #45
  6. Bentebent

    Bentebent Adventurer

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    How is 500cc too big to learn on? Here, no one uses anything less than 600cc (ER6N) and the most popular bikes for courses like this are the F650GS (800cc model) and the CB900, works just fine.
    #46
  7. klebs01

    klebs01 Been here awhile

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    I also don't understand the insistence on the super small bikes to start on. I took the HD class and then picked up my Monster 750 the next weekend. The bikes were no issue for a new rider.
    #47
  8. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    If a student whacks the throttle then freezes up, there's a difference in behavior for a 250 vs a 500 at the 200 foot mark- the 250 is out of steam, the student has a chance to recover. The 500 is still pulling.

    Way back when, MSF got insurance companies to agree that 250cc* motorcycles on a 140x240 foot unobstructed parking lot was a reasonably safe bet. They were right- for 20-odd years, there were no fatalities. As far as I know, all of the fatalities have been on the Blast.

    *I think it was actually 350cc, but most of that class faded out fairly soon in favor of similar 250cc or 400cc machines...

    As with anything motorcycles, Limiting bikes by engine displacement is silly; HP or max torque might be a better measure, but harder to determine.
    #48
  9. Bentebent

    Bentebent Adventurer

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    *MSF Course
    *Fatalities

    What the fuck!? In a parking lot, don't they have to wear any fucking gear? :huh
    #49
  10. Tanshanomi

    Tanshanomi Your Favorite Uncle

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    My wife and I both took the Harley "Rider's Edge" version of the BRC when she learned to ride a couple years back. She's 6-foot tall and we thought a Buell Blast would fit her frame a little better than a 250 Rebel or a GZ250, which is what the other local riding center uses. We were really happy with the experience, EXCEPT when they made us take a tour of the dealership, where we got the hard sell on Harley P&A for 20 minutes, then were ushered over to check out the clothing area where we were left to shop around for another 20. We both thought, Hey, we're paying for this course...don't schmooze us on our dime!
    #50
  11. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    Hint: The fatalities aren't exactly on the range, at course-approved speeds...
    #51
  12. Bentebent

    Bentebent Adventurer

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    So it happens when they're practicing riding in actual traffic?
    #52
  13. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    Brother, you would not believe some of the stuff you see in that parking lot. It's amazing that more people aren't killed.

    Hey, I just noticed you're from Europe. The bike / motorcycle scene is totally different here. The vast majority of students have never been on a scooter. Some have never ridden a bicycle. Some are eighty years old. Some are 100 lbs overweight. Each and every one of these idiots is absolutely convinced that riding a motorcycle is easy, and the class is just a formality.

    Also, the school is a business. The owner is going to take money from anyone, then leave it up to the instructors to deal with the fallout. It would actually be amusing if you weren't standing in the hot sun trying to keep a class moving along.
    #53
  14. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    MSF doesn't ride in traffic.

    I'm guessing the fatalities are people who lose control and go flying off the range at speed. In my MSF class years ago, we had a girl who froze with the throttle WFO, somehow did a wheelie on a GS125 and looped it off in the brush. Luckily, she came off while the bike was still moving and was uninjured, but had it landed on her it could have been very, very bad.

    Also, in a few states you can bring your own bike to the MSF class. Since we have no size/power restrictions for new riders here, I can see that going poorly. We were not allowed to in Colorado, and I'm almost positive you can't in California either.
    #54
  15. Reverend12

    Reverend12 Well there it is..

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    I have seen some incredible things while teaching MSF classes... like someone earlier posted the danger is from the people who sign up and think riding a motorcycle is easy and that the course is just a formality...
    #55
  16. PMC

    PMC riding rider

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    My wife took the course from a Harley dealer because they did a womens only class which appealed to her.
    They did use the Buell Blast bikes which are slow, scooter slow and the seats are about 24 inches off the ground so they're pretty easy for just about anyone to ride.

    I think the programs around here are pretty much the same as any MSF course from what I've heard. They did take them to the dealer and let them sit on stuff which was pretty funny. They sat my wife a on Dyna Wide Glide and said it looks perfect LOL.
    Needless to say the course was fine other than the sales job at the end or whenever they did that. I own a HD and think that's a pretty tacky way to try and convince someone they need a bike that big.
    #56
  17. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

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    Regarding fatalities in rider training: I'm sure that MSF has guidelines for how big and open the parking lots for rider training must be, but others may not have those same rules, or be lax in enforcing them.

    That is, if you get out of control on a riding course, you're only safe as long as you don't hit anything: a railing on the edge of the parking lot, a tree just outside the parking lot, a concrete barrier or lamppost or fence, etc., etc.

    My course way back when was in an open Ikea parking lot the size of Nebraska. Safe as anything, right? Yeah, except that if you went too far too fast in one direction, you'd still end up jumping out into traffic. VERY unlikely to do on a dinky 250 cc bike-- you'd have to really be committed to that Darwin Award-- but a more powerful bike riding under Murphy's Law... eh, why risk it?

    Again, it's all about the Lowest Common Denominator. When I read threads like this I routinely feel that many riders default to the old reliable, "Hey, I was so good at riding on day one, I could have learned in a Gixxer!" Well, congrats: YOU could have learned on a Gixxer. Not everyone is as cool as you. In designing a course for the LCD, there's absolutely no harm in teaching people on a 250 (or less), as long as the usual disclaimers are applied upon graduation-- "Congratulations, you now are trained to ride a 250 cc motorcycle in circles around a parking lot!" IME, every course I've taken or seen features that disclaimer from a good riding coach, i.e. nobody expects the BRC to give a new rider everything he or she needs.

    But ya gotta start somewhere.
    #57
  18. bwalsh

    bwalsh UUU, UUU!!!

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    I don't hear it often but I have heard it a couple times...

    I cringe when I hear a Rider Coach talk down to his/her class with that statement. I think it is totally unprofessional and does nothing for the students except to demoralize them. They need encouragement, not sarcasm. Those coaches should get a highly negative review on the MSF questionnaires at the end of the class. :deal
    There are many better, professional ways to tell someone they still need more skills practice then what they just got before venturing out onto busy roadways.
    #58
  19. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

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    Eh. The few times I've heard it I've never heard it as mean-spirited, it was always followed by a recommendation / admonition to be careful, pursue further PLP, etc., etc.

    Must not take a lot to demoralize adults around your parts. :evil
    #59
  20. bwalsh

    bwalsh UUU, UUU!!!

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    Maybe demoralize was too harsh a word but I think you know what I mean.

    I just think it's a stupid thing to say to someone who just paid $150 +++ for that coach to teach them how to ride.
    #60