Training or no training

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Andyvh1959, Oct 26, 2021.


Training or no training, WHY?

  1. I know everything I need to know

  2. Costs too much

  3. Takes too much of my time

  4. I get home from every ride, why do I need training

    0 vote(s)
  5. I'm anxious about being "observed/evaluated" riding wise

    0 vote(s)
  6. I'm not a racer, why do I need training

  7. I'm anxious about dropping/crashing my bike in training

  8. I've been riding X-years, training, really?

  9. I don't want to be compared with other riders

  10. I can't/won't do a "track day" because of the speeds or actions

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Feb 16, 2012
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    I've been a MSF Rider Coach for 28 years, and an advanced rider coach on the small track at Road America for seven years. I see that for any MSF BRC later in the season, and especially for any additional/advanced training (MSF ERC, MSF ARC, Total Control, Street Skills 1 & 2), its hard to fill a class. We only fill the Street Skills 1 and 2 classes in May to July, any other dates are never filled.

    Please read through the poll before and answer any/all questions that fit for you. I'm also open to additional comments as to why you would/would not take a closed course training session, even if it is all done at 45 mph less, on a street legal bike on street tires in regular riding gear.
    AdventureTrail likes this.
  2. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

    Dec 11, 2015
    You didn't have an option for Training not offered near, and or at a time that was convenient.

    Recently several suggestions were made that I take a track day training class.
    When I looked at available options, none available on weekends were near, and the one class that would be near was on a weekday.
    I guess the training community thinks the average American Rider has a lot of money and no work commitments to stand in the way of us giving them our money.
    wildknits and SFC_Ren like this.
  3. dmitriy_adv

    dmitriy_adv Dmitriy M

    May 17, 2012
    All over the USA
    The beauty of motorcycling is that there is always room to grow and improve, and that's where training comes in. I started riding less than 10 years ago, in my 30s, and I'm still learning new things all the time. While time in the saddle has been valuable, I think training and experience are different things and not a replacement for each other. I know that there is no way I would have learned most of the proper riding techniques without some sort of training, especially when it comes to off-road. While I'm still at best an intermediate rider, I have noticed that I can now ride better than many people who have been riding their entire lives. I credit that entirely to putting emphasis on structured training.

    I've taken about a half a dozen different classes now, and every single one has been incredibly valuable. Most of the time you simply don't know what you don't know. Even top level professional motorcycle racers typically have coaches.

    So I'm a firm believer in training. It makes riding safer, more fun, allows you to go places you might otherwise wouldn't have, to ride bigger/heavier bikes with more confidence...etc. It's absolutely the best investment you can make. Better than money spent on the bike, on gear, or anything else.
    lnewqban likes this.
  4. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Jul 16, 2019
    I'll chime in.

    For context, I've been riding for about 8 years or so now. For basically that entire time, I've ridden a lot. The better part of the last year, I've been commuting on the bike every day, rain or shine.

    I will go to an empty parking lot about once a month or so and practice low-speed turns and maneuvers, similar to what I did in my MSF class. I find it helpful to keep my skills up. I've often thought about attending a proper off-road school to get more real "instruction" on how to ride bigger bikes better off road. What I know about the topic has been from actually doing it, but I think learning advanced maneuvers and tips/tricks would be awesome.

    With all that said, there's a couple reasons I've yet to attend additional training classes:
    -My current use of my bike doesn't demand a higher skillset than what I already have.

    I'm sure you can argue all of the above, but the reality is that very few people have the time/money or prioritize things like training classes. A mortgage, wife, kids, job, etc. pretty much absorbs your life at a certain point. For me in particular, the same block of time that I could allocate to travel for training could instead be budgeted for a motorcycle trip with my friends or my wife, which I would much rather do.

    Don't get me wrong, I absolutely see the benefit of training, and I'd love to be able to attend some. It's just not in the cards right now.
  5. SFC_Ren

    SFC_Ren Been here awhile

    Mar 18, 2013
    As was already stated by another in this thread. No training schools/courses (Off-Road) nearby. I attended a multi day off road skills course years ago when new to dual sporting. Trailered my bike 6 hours to get there and there is nothing even that close any longer. I'm particularly interested in more off-road training though. I see no need for any advanced street or track training any longer. I've only been riding for 24 or so years, done numerous track day schools, and ridden race tracks throughout Germany and the Southwest U.S. I commute daily 365 days a year on my bike and don't even own a car any longer. I just have no interest or feel the need for any street or track type skill training. If I was wanting to get my racing license and/or be competitive on a track, (which I don't) then that's a different story. I always find it ridiculous when spring comes around and you start seeing all the fair weather rider campaigns about watching out for riders, or telling riders to brush up on their rusty skills since they haven't been riding for months. HAHAHAHA!
    lnewqban and AdventureTrail like this.
  6. sofauxboho

    sofauxboho Lacks Undo Supporter

    Jul 25, 2007
    Broken down near San Francisco
    No option for "I've been riding forever and still do training whenever I can" so I didn't vote.

    I've been riding for over 20 years, have owned 30+ bikes, and ridden hundreds of thousands of miles.

    I still take training every chance I get. Just did ChampU when the motorcycle show was at Sears Point over the summer, and was registered for Lee Parks' Total Control ARC a couple weeks ago, which I only missed because my son was born a whole bunch of weeks early. I also do the local Doc Wong training rides (based on the Keith Code curriculum) every chance I get, usually several times a year. I've also done one round of Superbike School and some... less useful track schools.

    ChampU was especially a revelation. It got me to look past the "do all your braking before you start turning" mantra that I learned way back when I was first starting to ride. This change has made me somewhat faster, but *much* more comfortable. I've gone from a couple "oh shit" moments per ride to one every 5-10 rides.
  7. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Nice, until you're not.

    Dec 31, 2014
    Somewhere in Canada
    I get some kind of training every year, and I envy the options you have in the US for this. In all honesty, I think arrogance kills more motorcyclists than anything else... I plan to keep learning until I can't ride anymore.
    Barry likes this.
  8. ZoomerP

    ZoomerP Long timer Supporter

    Apr 16, 2020
    American Southwest-ish
    Good topic, but I think a better title for the thread & poll would be, "Poll: Why I don't take training courses," or something to that effect.
  9. DSquared

    DSquared Dilly Dilly! Supporter

    Mar 13, 2015
    Burlington WI
    I have done BRC2 on my Super Tenere and loved it. I really want to do the UBBRC? but haven't carved out time in my schedule. I would like to do a track day as well but the couple that I looked into required enough modification to the motorcycle(water in rad, safety wire, etc) that I didn't want to do it to my one bike in the middle of riding season. I think the training is all good unfortunately the majority of the riding population in our area doesn't. Loud pipes save lives.
    severely and Barry like this.
  10. mmattockx

    mmattockx Adventurer

    Nov 29, 2017
    Central Alberta, Canada
    I believe in the value of training, but logistics can be an issue. So I guess you can put me in the 'nothing close to me' camp. Cost can also be a factor, depending. Been riding since I was 17 (52 now), took a new rider course and have done a track school along with a number of other track days and an MX school when I started riding MX at 40. I also go to a local church parking lot, put out cones and practice my own lame version of moto gymkhana on a regular basis through summer.

    The arrogance comment above is very true. Even MotoGP riders have coaches and none of us can claim to know everything or have nothing left to learn.

    I am not familiar enough with the advanced rider courses to know if they offer value and activities I can't do myself if I want. Got any links to what they offer?

    lnewqban likes this.
  11. Cheshire

    Cheshire Been here awhile

    Feb 27, 2009
    Winston-Salem, NC, US
    I got my learners permit, took the BRC, then got my endorsement. That's the extent of formal training.
    I did my own stepped licensing for displacement: 125 scooter, 250 moto, 900 moto. I go to vacant/abandoned parking lots and practice. I have a checklist of technical skills that I self-require I can do on any new bike before I go play in traffic.
    Formal classes tend to be too rushed for me. Cost is also a factor.

    I don't care about the certification. I'm after the knowledge and skills development. If I can do that informally on my own or with riding friends, awesome.
    lnewqban likes this.
  12. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

    Sep 6, 2011
    All I’m seeing in the poll are reasons not to take any training. Nothing for taking training. Is that deliberate?

    I’ve been riding since the 1970’s, and still take training. There’s always things to learn, new ways, unlearning bad habits, etc.

    I do try to take at least one course a year. I try to take something different each time.

    Yes, there was a time I thought I was great, and had little interest in training. I was far younger and more arrogant.

    I have not taken certain classes, here and there, due to rules and requirements. There’s a street bike skills course on a nearby track I’d like to take, but I have to buy full racing leathers for it. There was something about a street bike off-road course that also effectively blocked with some unrecalled requirements. It’s rare, but it does happen.

    Some courses are extremely rare or very far away. For example, I’d love to take a fire road type course. I can ride them on the Harley, but I’d sure like to learn how to ride them better.
    klaviator and Cheshire like this.
  13. Cheshire

    Cheshire Been here awhile

    Feb 27, 2009
    Winston-Salem, NC, US
    Honestly... I'd love to see local groups that did riding skills workshops as either a precursor to the MSF courses and/or as a way to bring up the collective group skill.
    I've never bothered with riding groups because it's nothing but group rides from point A to B for the sake of being a group ride. I prefer to travel solo & with a purpose. However, I would be very interested in getting together with riders to help teach each other wrenching and technical riding skills.
    lnewqban likes this.
  14. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

    Dec 20, 2007
    Delaware Ohio
    You left out
    • I'm old and my joints don't work well anymore.
    baldman1 and ZoomerP like this.
  15. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Think for yourself

    Jul 21, 2006
    Seems like good quality training is always helpful.
  16. severely

    severely almost a noob

    Jan 26, 2013
    odessa MO/donna TX
    Yes, and there's the rub. I've been riding 50+ years, taken the MSF beginners course, advanced rider course and an MX school. First MSF instructor told me to NEVER tilt my head in a corner to see the horizon more accurately as I observed Kenny Roberts and Barry Sheene doing while racing GP's. I nearly flunked the course due to this "instructors" direction and 2 years later the MSF changes methods and now this head tilting is part of the course. Second example is more recent; at MX school the instructor {expert} coached us to keep the throttle at idle while waiting for the gate to drop at an MX race; he was left for dead by my NOVICE buddy on my old 250 Yamaha on the start line. Obviously my point is the QUALITY of instruction is everything and bad habits can be learned there just as quickly as at home. However my recent trip to Europe demonstrated to me that my skills need to be honed and improved, would love to attend a track day but the cost of bike mods and full leather gear are prohibitive. Any alternatives out there I'm ignorant of???
  17. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

    Jun 18, 2009
    the hills
    Attended many schools over the years and always came away with something worth the effort. Semics,Bailey,Code,American Supercamp,ect. and decades of racing as well. Always recommend some form of schooling even if it's riding off road for a couple years before venturing into Thunderdome of street riding. So much easier to deal with what comes along when you know what the bike will do with a given input.
  18. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

    May 28, 2008
    Huntsville , Al
    That's pretty much my answer as well. I have taken the MSF course several times although not recently. This year I did 2 Gymkhana's and a mini track day. I view just about every ride as a practice session.

    Cost? The Gymkhana's were free and 20 minutes on a track cost me 25 bucks in addition to the entry fee for the Barber Small Bore event.

    The mini track day wasn't planned. I went to the Barber Small bore and was curious about the track time they were offering. The bike didn't need to be prepped for the track and pretty much any full coverage riding gear was acceptable so I paid my $25 and......




    Gymkhana is also a lot of fun and offers much more actual riding time and practice compared to something like an MSF course.

    ZoomerP likes this.
  19. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Think for yourself

    Jul 21, 2006
    I'm reminded of a quote:

    Here lie the bones
    Of Ranger Jones
    A graduate of this institution
    He died last night
    In his first firefight
    Using the School solution --BE FLEXIBLE!

    -- tombstone outside the orderly room, US Army Ranger School

    Of course the meaning is that knowing good, though probably not perfect, technique is important, but don't stop using your own good common sense. Track technique - Nick Ienatsch says to (usually at least) enter a corner trail braking, Dave Moss says "Brake, gas (maint throttle) then turn, Simon Crafar suggests no brakes or gas, Ken Hill says it depends on whether it's an entry or exit corner. Which one is right? Truth is that it probably doesn't matter too much until you start approaching the limit anyway, but pick a method you like and try to master it.

    Most track days I'm aware of don't require bike mods, just a bike in good shape. Also in the beginner groups textile gear is usually OK as long as the pants and jacket zip together.
    AwDang likes this.
  20. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Let's Go, Brandon!

    Dec 24, 2001
    Jax, FL
    It can be done on the cheap. Buy used stuff on EBay. My first set of leathers cost $125. My second set was $50. Same with boots.

    Most track orgs will let you on the track with minimal mods. My local track rule is basically "Tape up the lights and let 'er rip!"
    severely likes this.