The GF failed the MSF basic course

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Carlo Muro, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Carlo Muro

    Carlo Muro SupercĂ zzola

    May 2, 2008
    She came home in tears. This was my idea. She's logged thousands of miles behind me but has never thrown a leg over the driver's seat - of any motorcycle. She drives a manual transmission so she understands the concept of clutch, gearshift, etc.

    Since they are calling for a possible snowstorm later this weekend they had condensed the course into four hours on Friday evening and 12 hours on Saturday. She said she felt rushed and couldn't get the riding exercises down before they would move on to the next one.

    She was the only woman in the class.

    Did I push too hard? Is this not the place to learn to ride? I don't know because I never took it (shame on me). I got some basic proficiency in a farm field and then took rode through the cones at the DMV.
  2. TxRoadDog

    TxRoadDog Shut up and ride

    Jun 29, 2012
    Houston, TX
    From what I remember, it was pretty rushed for me... I was sick and was having a pretty hard time keeping up with what the instructor was doing... of course my sour attitude because I had been racing motocross for several years already, and the 110* heat probably didn't help.

    EDIT: Forgot to mention the instructor wasn't the nicest guy in the world either.
  3. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

    Feb 17, 2008
    Nelson area, Kootenai, BC, Canada
    Sounds as though they rushed the course too much, no fault of yours. A 12 hour day is a bit rough on a beginner, rough on anybody. Did any of the others fail as well?
    Tell her to try again later in the season when snow isn't likely to be an issue. Any place around where she could try on her own? Any of your buddies have a small bike for her to play with in a field, with you on the sidelines reading a book but ready when called?
  4. Rex Nemo

    Rex Nemo horizon calling

    Nov 16, 2008
    SF Bay
    They rushed the course.

    Also, my gf failed the class the first time, came home in tears...and passed it the second time. We took a couple of classes together afterwards, as MSF isn't always the best option for women who want to ride (no flexibility in curriculum, time is always rushed, no help available for the less confident). Rich Oliver was particularly good with her at his Offroad Challenge class, and the Alameda County Sheriff's civilian class was tough on her, but great and very responsive to every rider's needs. Now we go on rallies and dualsport rides together.

    Heck, one of the more talented riders I know failed the MSF class the first time. Maybe it's a sign that riding isn't for her, or maybe it's simply a sign that a broader education and practice time is needed to build skill and confidence.


    Jul 31, 2008

    Aw shit.

    That sucks, especially 'cause it sounds like she has the exposure, instincts and skills to make the leap.

    I guess you just have to be supportive...I dunno, get some Champagne or take her out for dinner.


    Contact MSF for a re-do, as they rushed her course?

    Sell it as goodwill/good publicity?

    BTW, I failed my road test for "going too slow on the on ramp".

    Actually shocked me how close I came to punching the examiner in the face.

    Had ridden for years, I was on my third bike, and was trying to hide my inner hooligan. :norton

    (Hey Carlo, don't tell any of the other inmates about my "shame", ok?). :lol3
  6. 150ron

    150ron Long timer

    May 4, 2012
    Valencia, ca
    So what happens now?

    Does she get e retest or is it a $250 loss?

    I skipped that bs and just got my license at the DMV, cost $31 and took only a few minutes.
  7. Powers77

    Powers77 2009 GSA

    Feb 26, 2011
    Vegas Baby
    I have taught in 3 different states. Retakes were always free.
    Secondly IMHO they should not have rushed the class the way they did. Reschedule the final day if needed but don't extend the days. Makes for too long of a day for new riders. Frankly I bet MSF would not be happy with the practice.
  8. '05Train

    '05Train Mind is not for rent

    Jun 29, 2011
    Yeah, I'd be surprised if they didn't let her retest gratis.

    Sent from my iPad, probably while I'm pooping.
  9. Coachgeo

    Coachgeo Diesel Adventurer

    Mar 2, 2009
    NOW: Dayton OH area recent past WAS: North TX
    With all the nicety things being said I'll play devils advocate. This failure may be what later saves her life. She'll put more into the next course and test, thusly she'll be more attentive than others while riding, thusly...... she'll be a better motorcyclist:deal
  10. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

    Jan 31, 2010
    I was actually thinking the same thing... if 100% everyone passes all the time the course is too easy. Make the course a bit though, make them earn their stripes, makes them better motorcyclists in the end, maybe actually save a life or two. Anyone who's been in the army knows what I'm talking about.

    Tell her to get back on it and nail that course just like the instructor wants her to, it's the best way to do it.

    Edit: But I do believe she should get it for free next time. As an instructor you don't have to pass everyone, I don't even think you should. But if someone doesn't pass it's your fault as an instructor and so you've got to make it right...
  11. CanadianX

    CanadianX Oh!? That is deep.

    Dec 26, 2010
    New Brunswick
    That sucks. I would think that the course would be based on a number of hours of riding not just skipping through it. As a paying customer I'd want quality training in return for my $. I'd hope they would give her another go at the course for free and I'd make a point of being on hand to sort out any controlling dick wad that wanted to power trip on my wife.
  12. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

    Nov 28, 2006
    By the Great Lakes
    A lot of people don't pass the first time. A lot of people don't even pass the 2nd time. Public roads are not the place to learn how to operate a moto though. A huge open area, with a trained instructor staff on hand, is MUCH better. If it's free like in IL, tell her to go have fun with it. If she doesn't pass, she can take it again. If it's crazy expensive like in FL, find an open dirt area and let her practice the drills in the handbook, and riding some empty trails slowly, before attending again.

    After she passes the course, I'd also let her rip around in some open dirt and practice the drills covered in the BRC, before turning her loose on populated trails and the road.
  13. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

    Nov 28, 2006
    By the Great Lakes
    My BRC instructors were a riot. My noob GF actually scored better than me on the final practical, and I'd been licensed and riding for several years. She didn't even know how to drive stick. We both aced most of the exercises, then I mosied on through the sweeper curve and she powered through. When we got home, she hung our scoresheets on the fridge...hers tagged "Flash", and mine tagged "Molasses".

    I didn't know we were graded on time for that curve. :doh

  14. Reverend12

    Reverend12 Well there it is..

    Nov 21, 2008
    A 12 hour day for a newbi in an MSF Beginners course is way to rushed. Get her to take it again. She should do fine. I would never try and teach a bunch of beginners in a 12 hour day..
  15. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore The Real Deal

    Dec 24, 2001
    Jax, FL
    What did the instructors recommend for her? If she was riding well and simply screwed something up on the test they may have told her to come back and take the test again. If she didn't quite have the hang of it and struggled the whole time they may have told her she would be better off starting again, or starting the second day again.

    In defense of the instructors, they were probably doing the best they could with what they had. Riding for 12 hours in a day sucks, but it doesn't suck as bad as riding in a blizzard, or not finishing the course because you have to work on the make-up day.
  16. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll

    Jul 11, 2008

    FWIW, 6 years ago when both our kids took the course, everyone passed. :eek1

    They both told me that there were several that should have failed and were going to be a hazard on the road. So there is a lack of consistency here.
  17. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

    Jul 31, 2010
    1) Buy a small, non-intimating bike for her.. This not a ploy for you to get another bike, it is truly, a "her"bike. She needs to have buy in on the bike, and it needs to ergonomically fit her (not on her tippy toes) and low weight. This bike should honestly be badged a beginner bike. You probably won't own the bike forever, but the bike should be pleasant enough to grace your garage for a year or two until she decides she has outgrown it. Next buy some little cones, 15-20. Set them up at the local high school parking lot on the weekends, and just let her ride.

    2) If all goes well with 1), then late summer back to MSF she goes. Look for one that has a published low student to instructor ratio:

    This article might help too: How to get a girlfriend to ride a motorcycle: 7 tips for getting your girl to ride and love it, on her own bike

    DIRTSCOOTER Been here awhile

    Feb 6, 2007
    South Lyon, mi
    Here in Michigan we have about a 70% pass rate thru out the season. I would find out what skills she was lacking, do a little work on them and have her go back and take the class over.

    Most students that don't make it, have not bought in to the significance of turning your head and looking where you want to go, or have not been using their friction zone effectively, both are criticle riding skills.
  19. jnclem

    jnclem True Airhead

    Sep 11, 2012
    Gunnison, CO.
    When I took the course last Fall, everyone passed, except one girl that crashed almost immediately, and was too shaken up to continue. She stayed and watched for the two days, and was then given special instruction on the instructors own time to prepare her to try again. We were told that it was unusual for the whole class to pass.

    I almost failed. I'm 55 starting over after more than 30 years off the bike. Lots of off road bicycling, but no engine. The only "excuse" I had was that they overbooked the class, and had to bring in extra bikes. 6 people got nice little Honda dirt bikes, but three of us got similar size cruisers. I had never been on a stretched, feet forward, pig-handling bike like that. Sorry, I know some people like those things, but I hated it. Trying to do all the slow speed stuf on that thing as a total noob was horrible! Stand up over the "bump?" yeah, right!

    I had traveled 200 miles, paid for a motel room in addition to the class, and if I would have failed, I would have been very disappointed, but I would have taken the course again. Cruiser or no cruiser, it showed me that I needed a lot more work on slow speed handling. I did fine on looking through corners etc., but I was weak on picking through cones in a parking lot.

    I did pass and got my license. My first bike, arranged long before, is an '89 R 100 GS. Not a lightweight, but it is MUCH easier to handle at low speed than that cruiser was. Having my license, and being street legal, I took it immediately to a big local parking lot, and practiced low speed, starts and stops, friction zone etc., until I gained a lot of proficiency. Then I started tooling around neighborhoods in our small town on Sunday afternoons. No traffic, but lots of stop signs, starting out right hand turns, and so on. Finally, I felt I could start to ride to work, and hit the highway and trails.

    My point is that almost failing that test opened my eyes to my weaknesses. If we had had to do a 12 hour day, I bet fatigue would have pushed me over the edge into failure, but I still would have had to acknowledge that sometimes you get really tired, and still have to perform, so back to the course. I hope they give her a free do over, and she can practice inbetween, but failing these tests just shows you that you need work-nothing to be ashamed of. Good on her for doing the course, pressing through the disappointment, and getting back on. I bet she passes wth flying colors on the next try.
  20. txwanderer

    txwanderer Been here awhile

    Sep 1, 2010
    Almost East Texas
    First, was it your idea for her to ride or hers? If not hers, then shame on you.

    Second, It sounds like the instructors failed her. There should be no rush, although some feel that way, and there sould be a manageable class size with adequate coaches. There should have been a list of things to work on and then some pointers on how to work at it.

    IMHO, unless spacifically noted, the riders should have some kind of saddle time. Walking into something you never have done and not having the calss set up for it is a double hit on her. Working a clutch on a car and a bike are very different.

    All BRC courses aren't done equally and some are down right brutal. People get so used to having experienced riders, they sometime forget to work on nuts and bolts. (Instructor failure again)

    There is also the fact that some people should not be on two wheels, no matter how badly they want to. Many of us forget how complicated riding a MC can be. Some are mnatural, some have enought time to forget the complexity, and some manage to stay alive just because it isn't time for them to go.

    Don't dispair, but make sure it is something SHE wants to do. My pillion has many miles and years on the back andis a spectacular passenger. She also has no desire to grab the handlebars.