THE Rider Schools Thread...

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by jrosso, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. jrosso

    jrosso It's always now...

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    Ok, this started out as a reply to "DBS --worth it..." and seemed thread-worthy... So, here goes…

    What's been you experience with Rider Schools? Which have you attended? What were your goals/objectives? Were they met/exceeded? Where do you want to go next? Any repeat performances? Who rocks and when have you been underwhelmed?

    Here are the ones I've been to:

    Reg Pridmore’s CLASS @ Barber -- Best intro to track riding I could imagine. Very geared toward street. Reg is a living legend... whatever your objectives are--just GO! My opinion 100% positive. I would have attended this year, had they run East Coast.

    Aaron Stevenson's Cornerspeed LVL1 @ VIR GRAND COURSE-- This is racer prep, or advanced street. These guys run a tight ship, good clean instruction, low rider/inst ratios, they are fun and cool as hell, but this is probably the most serious and intense school I've been to so far. I got a lot out of this school. If you want to go FAST, FASTER than you thought you could or should--with confidence... This is the place for you. I also left with a feeling of control that far exceeded what I came in with... Aaron's late-season school/track days are the ONE time each year that VIR runs grand course [two tracks as one]... that, in itself, is worth the price of admission... 4.5 Miles of track with a mile of 180MPH+ straight into a buttonhook off camber 180-degree hairpin turn officially called "BITCH". Again, I was 100% on Aaron's program and the folks at my local shops echoed the same...

    Ed Bargy Racing School @ Jennings GP -- This is the quintessential RACING SCHOOL. Here you'll find dry theory on how to enter each type of corner, what the tradeoffs are in the racing lines, and why the track is designed the way that it is. You'll learn about racing, pure and simple and everything that it entails. I'm going to repeat, probably this year, because Ed will overfill your brain no matter how much time is allotted. Like a Master Yoda of the twistgrip, Ed KNOWS HIS STUFF. You leave smarter, more competent, and ready to RACE. Ed unwinds the BS of Glossy Magazines and Flashy Speed-Channel Production and focuses on conservation of energy/movement and making going fast look EASY. Here's where you'll hone your reference points, braking markers, line selections, etc.

    So that’s my limited experience… All good, thus far… and, all Southeast US, thus far.

    Here are the ones I'm planning to attend:

    • motomark1. I'm planning on either precision riding or dirtbike school. PROS: MIL/LE Search and rescue trainers? Outstanding Reputation. CONS: ???
    • Cornerspeed LVL2. Racing Next Level PROS: Uh, hells yeah! CONS: Your budget is measured in tires?
    • Cornerspin -- Aaron Stevenson's flat-track school for road racers. PROS: What’s cooler than flat-track? CONS: ???
    • Lee Parks' Total Control – Class to accompany Lee’s awesome book. PROS: Personally, I like Lee’s one with the bike, one with the world approach. CONS: ???
    • Schwantz School – LIVING LEGEND teaches you to ride HYPERFAST. PROS: Yeah, who doesn’t want to go. CONS: A bit pricier than some others…
    • California Superbike School – Keith Code’s school. PROS: Like infinity…. CONS: Again, your budget will be measured in tires.

    Also, there's apparently some dude who's doing a 1-on-1 school at $300/hr where he uses chatterbox and coaches you around a track. There was a write-up in BIKE a month or so back on it. That was very interesting, seemed like it open up a "Golf-Pro-esque" niche to fast guys who need TIRE $$$... I'd be all about it as I’m sure may would many others... Are you listening, FAST GUYS???!?!?!?

    Keep riding and smiling and, please, share your experience!

    Cheers!
    Jason
    #1
  2. ClayLR

    ClayLR Been here awhile

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    I was looking for dirt, but Motormark's Precision Maneuvering School looks even more interesting. And he's within riding distance. I've always drooled at some of the schoolin available to LEO and Military riders. I was a little dissapointed at the MSF ERC - oh it was fine for what it was I guess, but I felt cheated at the lack of higher speed stuff. I understand the reasons (facilities and liability) but when I left the BRC I distinctly remember feeling 'Whaa all i got to do is play 20 questions at the DMV and I'm legal? We never went over 10mph!?!) When I took the ERC I guess I was expecting cardboard deer on a clothesline jumping out in front of your or something. I dunno, but it should be called 'BRC Refresher'. If I could make one and only one change to the MSF exercises it would be the 'Straighten and Stop' exercise needs to be on command, not 'pretend to react to a suprise situation'. Blow a whistle or something. I know I and a lot of other people had trouble commiting wholeheartedly to the turn knowing it would be aborted.

    DBS is also available at Bear Creek, NC with Ike Dejager - 20/20 Racing. Don't know anything about him though.
    #2
  3. Barry

    Barry Just Beastly

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    American Supercamp - dirt instruction for supermoto, race, street.

    Slide Attack - supermoto instruction.

    Either can be found by Google.

    YMMV,
    Barry
    #3
  4. ravenranger

    ravenranger rave

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    Lee Parks Total Control is really good. It's amazing how much one can improve their riding by spending a day in a parking lot! The focus on cornering, traction control and body position really makes for fine-tuning road riding and certainly translates to track riding as well. I also found the focus on mental skills and minimizing energy output useful, too - especially for long days in the saddle. I was hesitant to spend the $$ but it's definitely worth every penny.

    I've done the Reg Pridmore CLASS at Streets of Willow and, while the track riding was a blast and Reg is a great guy, his class is not as good at giving concrete technique as the Total Control class is. Reg is more of the "you'll know it when you feel it" versus "do A, B, & C to get X, Y, & Z."

    BTW, I just got Lee's newsletter and see that the Total Control Clinic is being offered a lot more places than it used to be (like this March in Daytona during Bike Week - cool). Looks like Total Control's also come out with a second level of the class as well (better start saving my pennies).
    :clap
    #4
  5. Monkey_Boy

    Monkey_Boy Long timer

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    #5
  6. coppertop

    coppertop occasional meanderthal

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    Penguin Racing (or was it Riding) School, 1982. Taken for the sole purpose of getting a WERA competition license so I could get my thrills on the track instead of being stupid on the streets. A good introduction to track riding, with more emphasis on on-track ettiquite, flag communication and safety than actual riding techniques, though they did talk about racing lines, especially for turns 1 and 2 at Roebling Road raceway.

    Motorcycle Safety Foundation riders course. Required at Ft. Bragg if you were a soldier with a motorcycle. The course as I recall concentrated on safely operating a motorcycle among the myriad hazards typically encountered by commuters on a daily basis. I learned a few things that may have saved my bacon.

    Keith Code Superbike school, 1986. The traveling school was at Brainerd. The school concentrated on their method for improving your lap times. At that time, as I recall, the technique was to get all your braking done first, then do the turning. We did not do the drill where you go around the track without using your brakes, although I had read about this drill prior to taking the course. I had read "The Soft Science of Road Racing" years before, and had been using those methods (especially reference points) from the start of my affair with roadracing. I found the course useful, but I don't recall a lot of personal critique. I'd repeat if I were more serious about roadracing.

    CRA riders school to get a competition license, I can't remember whether I took this before or after Keith Code's school. This was the one where the counter-steering stuff was demonstrated most clearly. No particular personal critique unless you were doing something that was so unusual it was likely to endanger yourself or others.

    CMRA riding/racing school, 1989 and 1995? Again, just to get a competition license. The course was at Hallet, and covered pretty much the same stuff I had seen in previous courses, with a little more techhique than the Penguin school and a little more race procedure stuff that Keith Code.

    American Supercamp, 2005. Now this was just totally different from road-racing. With it being a two-day course, there was more time to figure it out (or have it drummed into you). Lots of instructors, lots of personal attention and critique (Chris Carr stopped me during one session and said "you've got a roadracing background, right?" I nodded yes. "Well, you need to do the complete opposite of what you're used to..."). I took this course because I'm cheap and don't like being damaged. I get a kick out of trying to master sliding my XR100 into a turn in the flat-track style. If I can get my thrills at 15 or 25 mph on an XR100 at a friend's place for free, then I'll generally pick that over spending $100 or so for a track day at Hallet where I'd be going faster, but on an old bike (RD400) that is outpaced by just about everything else out there. I'll be doing this school again this year.
    #6
  7. Drifter

    Drifter Long timer

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    Rawhyde Off-road Motorcycle School: (for 650cc bike and larger), in S. Cal. 2.5 days of instruction and great food. Over-all, I think the class was very beneficial and was conducted in a professional manner in a truly unique training facility, quite conducive to the training goals.

    MSF Dirt Bike School: Good review -- but geared more for for total nOObs.
    #7
  8. jaak98

    jaak98 Adventurer

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    I second on Aaron Stevenson's Cornerspeed program. I did the level 1 school past summer and a track day on the season-closing Grand Course layout at VIR. I have been posting good stuff about this organization here more than once, and I don't want to sound like an insider, which I am not, but Aaron's dedication to promote the sport of motorcycle racing is something to look up to. His programs are well run and very safe. Everyone know that if they pull a stunt that puts other people in danger, they are off the track for the rest of the day. A beginner myself, on a dual-sport bike (Tiger 06), I was quite thankful to those experienced buffs that flew by me only in a safe place and manner.

    Then, the other Aaron's program Cornerspin was the school that gave me the biggest boost in my motorcycling skills. The idea of riding 7 hp little dirtbikes around on hard-packed slippery tracks may sound un-sexy, but it's the best way to learn what impact the use (and misuse) of weight placement, throttle and brake control really have on your bike. Immediate feedback is delivered by many wipeouts. I stopped counting how many times I crashed. I posted a detailed account earlier here
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6290938#post6290938

    Just this past Sat-Sunday (9-10 Feb) Cornerspin held a graduate riding day and I was back, for mere $135 a day including the bike, all day of valuable lessons that'll definitely prevent some ugly crashes with a 500lbs 100hp beheamoth later on.
    #8
  9. roamer

    roamer Been here awhile

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    http://www.schwantzschool.com/
    I have been to this one 4 times. Absolute blast. I'm going again this year. They have a 2 day and a 3 day, and they are always sold out at least a month in advance. If you plan to go, don't wait too long to sign up. The equipment is top notch, brand new current year gear. Road Atlanta is an amazing track with a lot of elevation change, and a lot of blind corners. The instructors are all very, very talented riders that are super helpful and super friendly. Some says it's expensive, but you get what you pay for. Wanna go really fast on a really world class track? Clickthe link and sign up.

    Gary Trachy Supermoto School.
    http://supermotoxschool.com/
    I've been to two of these. If you want to learn the basics of riding Supermoto, this is a great place to start. Most classes are held at Grange Racing Circuit in Apple Valley, Ca. some are held at race events such as Stateline Supermoto Challenge in Primm, Nv. There are others, so check his site for details. He has a number of guest instructors stop in and teach. Guys like Micky Dymond, Matt Drory and Scott Hoffman. You do a lot of riding, so be prepared with the Aleve.
    #9
  10. AdvSkier

    AdvSkier Been here awhile

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    Jason Pridmore's STAR school is really good. Typically a high instructer to student ratio, and he has a very solid method for both introducing students to trackdays, and improving advanced riders/racers. His prices seem to be a relative bargain compared to some of the other schools.

    I've never been to one of Freddie Spencers schools, but have heard nothing but great things about it, other than the price.
    #10
  11. GlobalGirl

    GlobalGirl Adventurer

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    My best experience was Rawhyde's offroad motorcycling training camp in Castaic, California, just north of Los Angeles. Trains you how to ride a big enduro motorcycle like it's a dirt bike, in just a weekend. Lots of intensive training up and down mountains, steep turns, emergency braking in sand, and other things. Stuff looks so easy until you try it on a big bike. Should be mandatory training for anyone buying a GS or other offroad motorcycle. Teaches you how to ride them the way they were meant to be...in the dirt, just like jeeps. Terrific food, genuine hospitality, great friends, and fantastic leadership by Jim Hyde.
    #11
  12. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    I took the Reg Pridmore School at VIR a few years ago. I made big mistake that I'll share with you guys so you don't do the same thing. He typically runs 2 one-day schools at a location. Most (90%) of the people do both days. I decided just do the second day. Big mistake. While it was billed as a one day school, his attitude during the classroom sessions was basically "Well, you don't want me to stand up here and tell you guys the same thing I told you yesterday. Let's go ride."

    Don't get me wrong, I had a blast. My suggeston to you is either do both days, or do the first day of the two-day schedule.
    #12
  13. BC61

    BC61 Long timer

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  14. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

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    I found the Rawhyde school a while back, and that seems to be exactly what I'm looking for (adventure touring skills), not like all the race geared programs, which are fun (I love to go fast too) but I think what my riding needs is the slow "jeep" type stuff. But SoCal is pretty far... Anyone know of something like that in (or near) Texas? I've found a number of off-road "parks" and some motocross tracks, but no schools for the larger adv bikes.

    I bought the DSR DVD, it's pretty good, I wish it went a little more in depth. I thought I'd start with a $40 DVD before a $1000 class!

    And how about literature? Something like "Proficient Motorcycling" for adv. riders? Seems I have more read-time than ride-time these days.

    In case you can't tell I'm on the cheap! :lol3
    #14
  15. Rick G

    Rick G Ranger Rick

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    I attended a 2 day Sport Bike Track Time at Beaver Run a couple of years ago and highly reccomend their program. Their beginner program is very structured alternating track time with class room time. You always ride in a control group so close passes and being buzzed just don't happen in that group. You also have access to the rider coaches for one on one discussions and personal attention. You just have to speak up to get it. I did another single day with them last summer at Mid Ohio and actually had the same instructor. Another very positive experience. They will move faster riders into faster groups and slower riders into slower groups to keep everyone in their assigned group at a comfortable pace for their ability and experience. Both times the beginner group had about 5-6 subgroups based on experience.

    I can't comment much on the intermediate or advanced groups as I haven't ridden in those, but based on others who did participate, it appears that those groups are more like a typical track day without instruction but with control riders. SBTT takes track safety and the control riders seriously and will have a talk with you and or ban you if you are being a cowboy.

    Best of all SBTT seems to be cheaper that some of these other programs with high dollar names attached.

    Check them out here: http://www.sportbiketracktime.com/

    Another alternative that I have participated in is Stayin Safe founded by the late Larry Grodsky who wrote the riding safe column for Rider Magazine for many years. His program focuses on the street and is held on the street rather than the track. You won't learn how to put a knee down, but you will learn how to better anticipate dangers, improve your sight lines and to ride smoother. Some of the best instruction I have recieved as I am a street rider and not a racer want to be. Check them out here: http://www.stayinsafe.com/

    In closing I will add that my participation in these programs have helped my riding improve by leaps and bounds.

    Good luck,

    Rick G
    #15
  16. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

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    I've done three track days so far, one at Texas World Speedway and two at Hallett in Oklahoma, and I took the "school" that goes along with the beginner group (required for first timers?) and i found them decent. I haven't taken any of the more famous (and expensive!) track schools, but I was dragging knees all over both tracks on my beemer :lol3, so I'm a happy man! The instructors were competent and would follow or lead you around the track and debrief you afterwards and there was plenty of time to ask questions in the classroom (one of the instructors at Hallett is actually a cop! Funny, a cop teaching you how to properly accelerate onto the straight at 100+). But you had to speak up and participate to get the most out of it, at both tracks the Level 1 was quite a large group. There were professional racers at both tracks who would offer insight and demonstrations at lunch break, and seeing these guys in action was pretty impressive. And at about $100-$120 it's def worth it! Seems the going rate is at least double/triple times that for a day's worth of ANY sort of instruction. If you have a sorta-local track that offers a beginner class, take advantage of the proximity, convenience, and price before you shell out for one of the famous schools (unless you live close to a famous school)! You will learn (and lean) a lot.

    And it's fun as hell. Zoom!

    I made a little vid of my Hallet track day:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk7zo8wzv1M
    #16
  17. KKop

    KKop ...and proud of it!

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    [whine]


    <whine>I looked into this one, but couldn't justify the cost and the financial risk:

    1. You can only do the course on a Suzuki. So, if you have one bring your own, or
    2. Rent a Suzuki from Schwantz. You wreck it, you pay for it, there's no insurance you can take out.

    I don't own a Suzuki, so I'd have to rent one, making the whole thing more expensive. Then, since this would be my first course like this, there's a real chance of damaging the bike, which would add even more cost to the whole thing, up to the value of the bike ($$$$).

    I checked into other schools (Freddie Spencer's for instance), and they do let you take ut insurance, and allow all makes of bikes. But Kevin Schwantz' school is next door to me, and Freddie is half a continent away...

    </whine>[/whine]
    #17
  18. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie GS Boxers forever.......

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    Attended Penguin Track School at Homestead International in Feb. '08. Mostly oriented to track prep, not so much actual technique. Rode their rental Ducati 900 SS'. As noted earlier, track course rules and flags emphasized. Even in the A (least experienced) level emphasis seemed to be directed to people planning to race the next couple of days. I would say for someone without track experience, what I've heard of other more technique oriented schools would be a better fit. It was a blast though and there was plenty of unsolicited one-on-one, follow my lines guidance with critique. There were afew squidly younger people there with 4 crashes during the day.

    I signed up for the BMW-Spartanburg-South Carolina Speedway course in June. One day track and one day off-road. Will feedback on that shortly. Invested in my personal leathers, boots, helmet, etc. and wasn't sorry. It will be interesting to see the diference in participants at the BMW school as it is about twice as expensive. Might be a bunch of older more paced riders. Might not. Will use my 1200 GS for that course.
    #18
  19. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    I've done a couple of Jason Pridmore's STAR schools.

    Both at Hallett, Oklahoma a few years ago.

    Generally good. I'd say they have more of a racing focus than real-world focus. Lots of instructors. Jason is cool.

    I learned a lot at my first school, and I'd been riding for sixteen years at the time...
    #19
  20. old wanderer

    old wanderer Old quick guy

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    I started doing schools when I bought a race bike. Can never learn too much.

    1. I had a track pass with Keigwin, and could attend the shools at no cost other than using the track days. I really love Thunderhill and have over 1500 miles on that track. Getting to know the instructors is important, and unless you push yourself to where you are uncomfortable you will not improve. The advanced classes were great with a little sprint race to help get the juices flowing. WIth lots of track time, I found I could work on different techniques on different corners....really a well run 2 day school.

    2. I won a California SUperbike School, and went through level III. Quick flicks and different techniques were the norm. Great instructors, but you need to get your head out of riding quick lap times, and concentrate on the exercises to get the value of what they are teaching. I got hauled off the track for agressive passing and had it emphasized that this was a corning school not a track school. I did all my classes at Streets of WIllow.

    3. Lee Parks school....Interesting, and I rode my 250cc GP race bike. It woudl have been a lot more benificail to have taken my CapoNord. For the street rider this school is worth the time to absorb the lessons. Lee;s book is good also.

    4. Rawhide, I have been up there for a benifit, and it looks like a great place to learn how to handle a big bike in chaleging conditions.

    5. Ventura County BMW has a series of classes for Dual Sport bikes, I have had a good time riding these with both my 08 KLR 650 and the CapoNord. found out that the Capo was really quick, but what a heavy pig when you make a mistake and stop on a side hill and put your down hill foot down..(dumb), or get behind a slow bike on a switch back and forget to get into 1st.....(chug,,,chug,,,,bam) (Pretty embarsing to fall down on a paved road at 5 MPH). This series has had some really good off road riding. Lane that instructs it is a fun guy to ride with.

    Bottom line.....you can always learn new tricks.....I just turned 69 and sure don't know it all and I have been riding since 1957.
    #20