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Old May 5th, 2018, 02:36 PM   #1
BlueNinjaF18
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The MSF and my experience

Two months ago, I experienced a slide out because I didn't know how to ride a motorcycle. While recovering, I seriously wanted to walk away. I was afraid to get back on my bike, and yet the allure of riding was still present.

So I began watching every training video that I could find, studying books by experts, and asking questions of experienced riders, which led me here, to this website. Though I am thankful for the advice that I received, my experience with the MSF was not a pleasant one.

To begin with, allow me to say that my comments do not reflect the insight of the MSF instructors that I have spoken with both here, and locally.On the contrary, I found their wisdom to be very helpful. It wasn't until I tried to sign up for the class that I encountered issues.

The local MSF beginners course nearby costs three hundred dollars to attend, which at the time was not something that I could afford; I still can't. (We've all been out of work, had financial issues, and that's where I've been for five months.)

After doing research, I discovered different costs at different sites, so I reached out to the MSF office in Irvine for clarification. To be short, I was met with a very abrupt and rude response, and directed to my state director's office. I didn't even have a chance to inquire about other questions that I had, because they cut me off and hung up.

I got nowhere with the State office as well, and experienced a similar and less harsh reply from Florence-Darlington Technical College where the course is offered. Though I wouldn't recommend it to any other rider, I simply walked away from the notion of taking the course, even though I thoroughly believed it to be the most important factor in learning to ride.

Though a part of me felt defeated, I didn't give up riding. I have spent the past two months practicing some of the same skills that are given at the MSF course on my own, beginning with duck walking my bike to learn the clutch and brake. I spent hours on my bike for a week doing that one skill, before progressing to accelerating and stopping. I did this on a fifty foot concrete driveway for almost two weeks until I knew that I could stop the bike.

Still afraid, I put the bike on my street, and began practicing quick stops for another week. I've learned how to ride on my own, even though that is not what I wanted. Believe me when I say that it took a while before I broke through a personal barrier to becoming comfortable on a motorcycle.

Now I get on it to experiment and learn. That would not have happened had I not had someone give me a copy of Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist II book and video. I have watched it at least a dozen times. I methodically plan out each ride beforehand, then go out and do it. I observe what I'm doing, and go over the whole thing again afterwards.

I still have not gotten out on a public road yet, and I wont until I can downshift without issues. When I do, my first ride is already planned, too. Is this the best way to learn? No, but not everyone has the same priveleges, either.

I shared all of this not to bash the MSF, but rather to share my experience, and where I'm at in the learning curve. I didn't get this far to walk away, and I'm not. When I get on my feet, I plan to take the course anyway. I don't see this as a one time experience, but a life long process of learning.
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Old May 5th, 2018, 03:08 PM   #2
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Mike, there's nothing wrong with learning the way you are. I did a similar thing in 1978 when there was no MSF course. I practiced doing figure eights the hard way across my street, stopping, starting, etc., in preparation for the skills test that MD gave on a closed course. It worked out well for me.

My daughter took the MSF basic course and told me she learned a ton. That seemed to be proven when we rode together right after the course. The problem was that even though she had handled the motorcycle very well all day, both days, she got very anxious during the test part of the course at the end of the last day, and rode slightly outside a chalk line, instantly failing her. The immediate response from the instructors was "just sign up again". Sure, we thought... at about $200 a pop in our case, just sign up again. I would have thought that there might be at least a discount for repeating the course in a case like that, but there was not. I'm glad she took the course because I think it really helped her skills, but she has continued to work hard at improving since then, going to the supermoto track with me several times, and putting many miles on the 250.

So instead, she took the skills test at a NC test center and passed, and has been riding for two years since then. We just got back from the week long 2-stroke meet at Deals Gap, where she did an excellent job on the Dragon, as well as 100+ mile rides with me. I'm going to buy a few of the pro photographer photos of her, but haven't gone through all of them yet. Here's one of their proof photos she found last night. Before you think she's a maniac, know that she was probably doing about 30 mph in that shot.
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Old May 5th, 2018, 04:02 PM   #3
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What was the point of calling all these MSF offices? Were you trying to beg for a lower price? Or were you asking them a bunch of questions about what they teach in the class? Either way it sounds like you were pestering them and they told you to either take the class like everyone else or leave them alone. They're not a charity, after all.

You're not gonna learn shifting, cornering, braking, balance or anything else duck-walking your bike up and down your driveway. Get up early one weekend and limp your bike out to some nearby parking lot you know will be empty. A church, school, office complex, etc. Ride around in circles for a few hours.
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Old May 5th, 2018, 06:11 PM   #4
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@tripleJim that's awesome, and I really appreciate you sharing that with me. I've heard a lot about Deals Gap and can't wait to go there myself. Tell your daughter she looks awesome!
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Old May 5th, 2018, 06:14 PM   #5
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What was the point of calling all these MSF offices? Were you trying to beg for a lower price? Or were you asking them a bunch of questions about what they teach in the class? Either way it sounds like you were pestering them and they told you to either take the class like everyone else or leave them alone. They're not a charity, after all.

You're not gonna learn shifting, cornering, braking, balance or anything else duck-walking your bike up and down your driveway. Get up early one weekend and limp your bike out to some nearby parking lot you know will be empty. A church, school, office complex, etc. Ride around in circles for a few hours.

Dude I didn't call and pester them, nor did I beg for anything. As someone new to motorcycling I had questions relevant to their course. I wonder if you would take your own advice, or talk to one of your kids the way you just talked to me?
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Old May 5th, 2018, 06:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple Jim View Post
Mike, there's nothing wrong with learning the way you are. I did a similar thing in 1978 when there was no MSF course. I practiced doing figure eights the hard way across my street, stopping, starting, etc., in preparation for the skills test that MD gave on a closed course. It worked out well for me.

My daughter took the MSF basic course and told me she learned a ton. That seemed to be proven when we rode together right after the course. The problem was that even though she had handled the motorcycle very well all day, both days, she got very anxious during the test part of the course at the end of the last day, and rode slightly outside a chalk line, instantly failing her. The immediate response from the instructors was "just sign up again". Sure, we thought... at about $200 a pop in our case, just sign up again. I would have thought that there might be at least a discount for repeating the course in a case like that, but there was not. I'm glad she took the course because I think it really helped her skills, but she has continued to work hard at improving since then, going to the supermoto track with me several times, and putting many miles on the 250.

So instead, she took the skills test at a NC test center and passed, and has been riding for two years since then. We just got back from the week long 2-stroke meet at Deals Gap, where she did an excellent job on the Dragon, as well as 100+ mile rides with me. I'm going to buy a few of the pro photographer photos of her, but haven't gone through all of them yet. Here's one of their proof photos she found last night. Before you think she's a maniac, know that she was probably doing about 30 mph in that shot.
What happened with your daughter is what I'm worried about. I get very anxious having to do things in front of a group. I'm not worried about developing the skills I need to ride my bike, but being able to perform those skills with the pressure of being in front of people watching my every move.

It doesn't help my anxiety to know that the MSF took the class away from all the dealers in my area and now it's only offered through the state. Those classes are shorter and they don't exactly get glowing reviews. I've been told they just try and shove people through and if you fail, too bad so sad. I was more than willing to pay the extra money to take the extended class through State 8 ($300 vs $50) to have the piece of mind knowing that the class would be done with instructors that gave a crap about new riders.
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Old May 5th, 2018, 07:02 PM   #7
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Koala, when she took the test with the state, I found the Robbinsville, NC test site near Deals Gap. It was two years ago at the 2-stroke meet, and while we were there, she took the test. She was the only one that showed up, and a really nice cop administered it. She was just as nervous, and got a little confused at the instructions for one of the segments. She thought he asked her to signal right while shifting, which was quite a trick, since you signal with the same hand you operate the clutch with. The cop was very patient and saw that she misunderstood, and just clarified the instructions and let her try again. I was very glad we went to that test site and not a busy one in Raleigh.

I hope you and my daughter will find that your anxiety lessens as the years go by and you get more experience performing with the pressure on. It's never easy, but it should at least get a little easier.

It would be interesting to see an annual report from the MSF, to see just where the money goes. If 15 people show up for a course, and it's $200 each, that's $3,000, or $1,500 per day. I know there are motorcycles to buy and maintain, and instructors to pay, and when all the expenses are taken care of, there's probably nothing left, but I've never seen the numbers. The problem is that new, young riders that we want to get into the sport are going to have the most trouble coming up with a few hundred bucks for the course, and if they fail on the first try, it can really get difficult to afford a second course.
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Old May 5th, 2018, 07:21 PM   #8
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Koala, when she took the test with the state, I found the Robbinsville, NC test site near Deals Gap. It was two years ago at the 2-stroke meet, and while we were there, she took the test. She was the only one that showed up, and a really nice cop administered it. She was just as nervous, and got a little confused at the instructions for one of the segments. She thought he asked her to signal right while shifting, which was quite a trick, since you signal with the same hand you operate the clutch with. The cop was very patient and saw that she misunderstood, and just clarified the instructions and let her try again. I was very glad we went to that test site and not a busy one in Raleigh.

I hope you and my daughter will find that your anxiety lessens as the years go by and you get more experience performing with the pressure on. It's never easy, but it should at least get a little easier.

It would be interesting to see an annual report from the MSF, to see just where the money goes. If 15 people show up for a course, and it's $200 each, that's $3,000, or $1,500 per day. I know there are motorcycles to buy and maintain, and instructors to pay, and when all the expenses are taken care of, there's probably nothing left, but I've never seen the numbers. The problem is that new, young riders that we want to get into the sport are going to have the most trouble coming up with a few hundred bucks for the course, and if they fail on the first try, it can really get difficult to afford a second course.
What they charge seems to vary by state. In mine it's just a fee of $50. That's not much at all, but they do get a high number of riders. For example, as of last week, all classes in my area were already booked through June. From a new rider standpoint, I don't understand why they would take the classes from the dealers and just have the state running it. That makes it harder to get in along with having lower quality classes now being the only ones available. Yeah, the dealers charged more but like I said, usually better instructors, better bikes, more time. It doesn't make sense to me.

I'm going to try and find time to get my permit this week and then start practicing once Takara has been delivered to my place. still working on that part lol. I've thought about seeing how it goes and just taking the test at the BMV, but part of my track day requirement (thanks @csmith12 ) is to take the MSF.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 06:15 AM   #9
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To bad you have had such a rough time. I think some states do a much better job then others. New Jersey costs money, but PA has a great, almost free, state approved course.

Hang in there. Keep honing your riding skills. One difficult thing about riding a motorcycle on the road is the overload of data. Keeping the bike upright, watching for idiots in front of you, on the sides, and behind. Maintaining proper distance to the vehicle in front of you. I read somewhere a majority of motorcycle crashes are caused by the bike running into the back of the car in fron to them. I have to constantly remind myself of this. I ride a bunch of different bikes, some can stop in a dime, but others you almost would be better off dragging your feet.

My son at 40 years old just started riding motorcycles. He mentioned the overload. I grew up riding bikes from a very young age and all of that became second nature. I also raced motorcycles. When I thought about it, yes you do have to process a ton of data.

I know this may sound crazy, but a ride on an interstate may help. You don't have to worry too much about someone pulling out in front of you. You can practice maintaing proper distance. Passing and moving in and out of traffic so as to not letting yourself get boxed in. You learn to look in the rear view mirrors to see vehicles over taking. If that is going to get boxed in safely pull in front of the overtaking vehicle and pass the guy in front of you. Play a little game trying not to have a vehicle in front of you and a vehicle along side of you at the same time. I like to set my cruise control and try to keep from getting boxed in. Sometimes if you are off on your rear view mirror vigilance you have to slowdown and let the vehicle pass you. Then start the game over again. I used to think a motorcycle was better off traveling a little faster then the traffic. Here in Florida that would mean riding close to 90-95 mph in the left lane and even then you are going to get passed.

Good luck and hopefully something will work you you.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 09:08 AM   #10
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As someone new to motorcycling I had questions relevant to their course.
What questions did you have that you had to call three of their offices for? I'm just saying, it sounds to me like you were trying to get them to teach you the course over the phone for free. If you have questions, that's what the course is for. Take it.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 10:05 AM   #11
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Relax Colin... Nothing wrong with calling and shopping around for a good price and scheduling.

Mike, you are definately taking somewhat the long route to learn to ride, but sounds to be a planned and thought out process you have. My hats off to your patience, commitment and honestly.... self control to not go further ahead than what you are ready for. However, Colin is right to a majority of extent. You HAVE to get out there. I am not saying to push your bike to the street and take off either.... Here is what I mean;

1. Find an experienced friend to help you along the way.
2. Find another friend to help you along the way.
3. Find yet another friend to help you along the way.
4. Hit the parking lot for some good fun and practice. (yes fun comes first on purpose)
When it doubt about the access to the parking lot, pester errr... call ahead and clear it with the site owner.

Good luck, have fun, gear up and learn to love learning to ride. I am still learning myself. Being new one of the best times because everything is fresh and new.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 10:12 AM   #12
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Oh... and one more thing. Put the twist of the wrist book down and come back to it later. The material is advanced for your current riding skill state and was never meant to target fresh, learning riders.

When you are ready, read it at least 10 times. I have read it 100 times and still learn something or connect dots that I missed previous times.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 10:33 AM   #13
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What questions did you have that you had to call three of their offices for? I'm just saying, it sounds to me like you were trying to get them to teach you the course over the phone for free. If you have questions, that's what the course is for. Take it.
Here's a few examples I thought of while standing around waiting for a van.

Why are there different prices advertised in different places?
Do I have to go to the DMV to get my license after passing?
Do I have to take a DMV test after passing?
Can I reschedule or refund if something comes up?
Can I change venues if something comes up?

All questions one might want to know before signing up, and may not be answered by a website. Took me longer to write that list than to come up with it.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 10:52 AM   #14
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Motorcycles are unforgiving creatures. I will *always* have grave concerns when somebody gets a bike, but "can't afford" training or gear. Training and gear is *cheap* compared to the bills you'll rack up in a collision you weren't prepared to see and avoid and/or geared up to survive.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience with the office people looking into an MSF class, but you've already had a crash because you tried to teach yourself to ride. Ok, you're being more thorough about it now, but you're also progressing much slower than you would with expert instruction. It's possible to have a long, rewarding riding career being self-taught. But it is also the hard and risky way to do so. My advice is to swallow your pride, save up some dough, sign up for a class, and go learn to ride a motorcycle from the best training organization in the business.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 11:48 AM   #15
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David L. Hough has written several excellent books on street riding strategies. Better than Keith Code or Lee Parks for practical street riding advice.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 12:03 PM   #16
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When it doubt about the access to the parking lot, pester errr... call ahead and clear it with the site owner.
Great post, but I have a comment on this suggestion... My preference is not to ask ahead of time, because in today's litigious world, the answer is not likely to be positive. On the other hand, I don't know of any cop who would do any more than ask you to move on if called because of a hooligan tearing up a citizen's parking lot, especially if it's obvious you're just practicing your riding skills in a safe, empty lot.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 12:38 PM   #17
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I appreciate all of the feedback, as well as suggestions moving forward. My intent here was not to create an argument, but rather share what happened. One of the intentions of calling the State office was to ask how I could work with them to set up a fund for future riders who like myself, couldn't afford to take the class but needed to. It got nowhere. The impression that the folks at the MSF office gave me was that they had better things to do, and they explicitly stated they were not liable or responsible for anything that happened in the course itself, that they only wrote the guidelines and material used to administer the course.

It was stated in such a manner that gave me the impression that motorcycle safety was not a key concern of theirs. Not how you would expect them to answer the phone or assist a new rider.

David Hough stated in his book Proficient Motorcycling his concern as well over the MSF beginner courses, and their departure from a more thorough curriculum.

It may be good for teaching basic controls and maneuvers, but I've heard from more than one experienced rider that they really didn't learn until they got out on the road themselves, and did exactly what I'm doing now: studying on their own.

On the flip side of that coin, most of the guys with sport bikes that I've talked to locally don't know anything about the technology of riding, they don't wear safety gear, and most of them ride bikes with extended swingarm on them.

The Harley riders around town know a lot more about riding, but again they don't wear helmets, either.

Our state has a high percentage of fatal motorcycle crashes each year, and bike week at Myrtle Beach has a bad reputation for stupid riders causing crashes.

I took all of this into consideration while learning to ride.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 12:39 PM   #18
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I appreciate all of the feedback, as well as suggestions moving forward. My intent here was not to create an argument, but rather share way happened. One of the intentions of calling the State office was to ask how I could work with them to set up a fund for future riders who like myself, couldn't afford to take the class but needed to. It got nowhere. The impression that the folks at the MSF office gave me was that they had better things to do, and they explicitly stated they were not liable or responsible for anything that happened in the course itself, that they only wrote the guidelines and material used to administer the course.

It was stated in such a manner that gave me the impression that motorcycle safety was not a key concern of theirs. Not how you would expect them to answer the phone or assist a new rider.

David Hough stated in his book Proficient Motorcycling his concern as well over the MSF beginner courses, and their departure from a more thorough curriculum.

It may be good for teaching basic controls and maneuvers, but I've heard from more than one experienced rider that they really didn't learn until they got out on the road themselves, and did exactly what I'm doing now: studying on their own.

On the flip side of that coin, most of the guys with sport bikes that I've talked to locally don't know anything about the technology of riding, they don't wear safety gear, and most of them ride bikes with extended swingarm on them.

The Harley riders around town know a lot more about riding, but again they don't wear helmets, either.

Our state has a high percentage of fatal motorcycle crashes each year, and bike week at Myrtle Beach has a bad reputation for stupid riders causing crashes.

I took all of this into consideration while learning to ride.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 01:22 PM   #19
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The Harley riders around town know a lot more about riding, but again they don't wear helmets, either.
The Harley riders I come across, and this is not to say whether it's a representative sample or not, tend to be great riders until something happens that requires hard braking or quick evasive maneuvers. At that point they jam on the rear brake, locking the rear wheel, and hope for the best.

Not you, VaFish.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 05:06 PM   #20
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In Ohio, the class is $50. All the instructors I have met have been great (a few are instructors I ride with), the 2 I had also, great. They give you a few chances the last day to pass each piece of the test. I never rode a bike before I went to the class, best decision I could have made ( no bad habits to correct, just new learning). Many dealers do charge more, but that is because of the cost of bikes and repairs. The state uses small cheap bikes (cb300) to make it easy. More states should be like Ohio, our class is 20 hours over 3 days.

After the course I didn't buy a bike or ride for 11 months (had to find the right one). I rode in a parking lot, then moved up to a cemetery (single lane road), then country and city streets. It took a month of riding every few days to gain the courage to ride on the streets.
I still use what I learned from the class and track every time I ride.
Good luck
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Old May 6th, 2018, 05:50 PM   #21
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@snot, when did you take yours? State 8 offered an extended class (the one I was going to take before the MSF told the dealers they couldn't do the MSF anymore), but all the ones available now through the state are 16 hours. 4 hours class time the first day, second day is more class time/range, third day range and test. I was told the classes at the TriC campus are the best one but that's a drive for me.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 05:55 PM   #22
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In 2010. My boss and brother took theirs last year. In Troy, OH the class is at Honda on CB300s. Harley in Piqua and Iron Pony in Cbus both offer classes.
https://www.ip-ra.com/courses/index.php
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Old May 6th, 2018, 06:23 PM   #23
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In 2010. My boss and brother took theirs last year. In Troy, OH the class is at Honda on CB300s. Harley in Piqua and Iron Pony in Cbus both offer classes.
https://www.ip-ra.com/courses/index.php
huh, I'll have to check around. the guy that helped out with the sale while my guy was at his other job told me they had been planning on selling the lot that their range was on anyways but then they recieved a letter this year stating that dealers wouldn't be able to offer the MSF anymore.

*I just found that Rubber City Harley is still doing it. Maybe the guy was just confused and they were just being told they couldn't offer it anymore. I know it's not on their website anymore and the lot was sold to the neighboring Audi dealer.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 06:42 PM   #24
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well, I figured it out. I found the page on motorcycle.ohio.gov. apparently the only dealers that the state of OH has kept as approved to do the MSF are all Harley dealers.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 10:53 PM   #25
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the intentions of calling the State office was to ask how I could work with them to set up a fund for future riders who like myself, couldn't afford to take the class but needed to.
Dude, this is what I meant. You called them to complain that the class was too expensive and expected them to accommodate you for some reason? You were literally looking for a handout and came on the internet to badmouth them because they told you no. Were you just raised a victim?
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Old May 7th, 2018, 01:34 AM   #26
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The Harley riders I come across, and this is not to say whether it's a representative sample or not, tend to be great riders until something happens that requires hard braking or quick evasive maneuvers. At that point they jam on the rear brake, locking the rear wheel, and hope for the best.

Not you, VaFish.
When I started riding there were no MSF courses. You got on the bike and rode. In 1978 I taught a girlfriend to ride her newly acquired Kaw 400 triple. She rode with me from upstate New York to Price Edward Island in New Brunswick Canada and back. Years after she sold her bike a friend offered to let her ride his Sportster. She did (and didn't like it). Learning to ride a bike is easy. Knowing what do do in an unexpected road situation is what's important. Stay out of heavy traffic until you ability to control the bike becomes reflexive. When you're in a tough situation on the road you don't have time to think about it - you must react with the correct response. Like I said your control of the bike has to be reflexive. If you trip and fall do you consciously think to place your hands and arms out in front of you to break your fall? Of course not. A previous comment about riding in an open parking lot is excellent. Find a local school with a large athletic field and ride when school is closed or on a school holiday. An athletic field is a-lot kinder to your bike if you fall than asphalt or concrete - and you too.

If you're lucky and have an experienced rider to coach you you don't need an MSF course. I've taught several riders to ride and I didn't get $0.01.

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Old May 7th, 2018, 04:53 AM   #27
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Slightly OT, but the MSF course is equally about riding safety. Another very valuable book to check out (literally... they have a copy at your local library) is David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling.

Here's the link to it on your local library website (I assume your "Bennettsville" is the one in South Carolina). No cost... all you need do is get yourself there.

http://palmetto.polarislibrary.com/p...33.0.0.1&pos=1
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Old May 7th, 2018, 05:18 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Triple Jim View Post
The Harley riders I come across, and this is not to say whether it's a representative sample or not, tend to be great riders until something happens that requires hard braking or quick evasive maneuvers. At that point they jam on the rear brake, locking the rear wheel, and hope for the best.

Not you, VaFish.
@Triple Jim

Funny you should mention me, as I sit here nursing bruised ribs and shattered ego from my crash last week where my Harley failed in the hard braking and avoidance maneuver. (and laughing hurts)

And I have witnessed one crash with a long time Harley rider who just jammed on the rear brake and lost control.
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Old May 7th, 2018, 05:23 AM   #29
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@BlueNinjaF18, Thank you for posting. As most have said the course cost is based on state and can vary. I took mine after I moved from PA to NY. It is free in PA and cost me $250 to take in NY, felt the pain on that one. But as with every transaction you want to make sure what you are paying for is worth what you get in return. Some coaches will let you sit in on a season, get a feel for how they preach, and even help you after the course is over if you pass or fail to hone your skills more. The MSF is a good tool to help new riders and with every tool may not be the right tool to use depending on the situation. Keep making your steps toward reaching your goal. Never feel pressured into riding on the road if you're not ready, this is a mistake many have made and paid that price.
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Old May 7th, 2018, 06:39 AM   #30
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And I have witnessed one crash with a long time Harley rider who just jammed on the rear brake and lost control.
I saw one in my van's rear view mirror when a line of cars on the highway that were moving at the speed limit came to a sudden stop. I had left plenty of following distance, but when I looked in the mirror, a Harley was fishtailing back and forth with increasing amplitude until the rider went down. Luckily he had slowed down a lot, so he wasn't hurt much, and luckily he didn't hit my van. The fact that he didn't hit my van meant he could have easily stopped without crashing if he knew how to use his brakes properly.

I can't claim it's just Harleys, of course. I've replaced worn out rear brake pads more than once on newly purchased used motorcycles, when the front pads and disk looked nearly new.
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Old May 7th, 2018, 07:22 AM   #31
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@Triple Jim

Funny you should mention me, as I sit here nursing bruised ribs and shattered ego from my crash last week where my Harley failed in the hard braking and avoidance maneuver. (and laughing hurts)

And I have witnessed one crash with a long time Harley rider who just jammed on the rear brake and lost control.
This is where an experienced rider can give you lessons that a training course can't. Rochester, N.Y. A beautiful sunny day. A guy and his gal bombing through the countryside on a Harley Sportster. Came over the top of a blind knoll to discover a tractor and manure spreader traveling about 5 M.P.H. No time to even pray. He died and she was horribly injured.

Careful approaching a blind knoll in the road. Want to stay alive on a freeway? NEVER pass on the right and never get stuck between two cars - keep passing. Remember the front brake applies at least 70% of your stopping power - don't be afraid of it. Learn to use it

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Old May 7th, 2018, 07:29 AM   #32
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Came over the top of a blind knoll to discover a tractor and manure spreader traveling about 5 M.P.H.
That stuff is common out here in the country. I have to assume every blind curve has something blocking the road. The last one I came across was a stopped school bus, and I had to brake pretty hard to stop in time. A less attentive car or truck driver could easily have plowed into the bus full of kids. You'd think the bus drivers would be trained to not stop right after a blind curve.

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Remember the front brake applies at least 70% of your stopping power - don't be afraid of it. Learn to use it.
At least is right. Both my H2 and my Ninja 250 will lift the rear wheel in the fastest possible stop, which means the front brake is doing 100% of the stopping.
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Old May 7th, 2018, 07:29 AM   #33
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@BlueNinjaF18,

I was first licensed to ride back in 1986 or 1987. There were no MSF courses in my area then, to get a license all you had to do was ride your bike around a row of parked cars without crashing. Now I did have dirt riding experience, and I rode Dual Sport bikes until about 1998 when I got my first street only bike. And I will say that I think dirt riding give you great foundation for riding on the street.

About 3 years ago when my youngest daughter wanted to learn to ride I signed her up for the MSF course at a local community college, it cost $150 here in VA. At the time Harley Davidson was running free rider academy for Veterans and active duty military. I took the class because I wanted to be able to reinforce what my daughter was learning. I still learned a lot in the class and am glad I took it.

So in my opinion you can teach yourself to ride and still live, but taking the MSF class is very valuable.
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Old May 7th, 2018, 07:31 AM   #34
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.....Remember the front brake applies at least 70% of your stopping power - don't be afraid of it. Learn to use it

Bill
I posted in the $%*&%**^& I crashed forum. In my case the front brake was giving no where near 70% of the stopping power.
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Old May 7th, 2018, 07:33 AM   #35
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I posted in the $%*&%**^& I crashed forum. In my case the front brake was giving no where near 70% of the stopping power.
Front brake in conjuction with the rear brake?

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Old May 7th, 2018, 10:27 AM   #36
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Remember the front brake applies at least 70% of your stopping power - don't be afraid of it. Learn to use it
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At least is right. Both my H2 and my Ninja 250 will lift the rear wheel in the fastest possible stop, which means the front brake is doing 100% of the stopping.
Yup... braking-force on each wheel depends upon deceleration-rate. Both-brakes when initially braking and in corners will give you roughly 50/50% F/R based upon weight-distribution. But... deceleration force pushing back on front-axle causes a weight-shift to front-wheel. The faster you brake and decelerate, the more and more weight transfers to front wheel.

At maximum deceleration... say 1.0g, you will have ALL weight transferred to front wheel and it's doing 100% of braking. So the practice here is grab both brakes and increase force gradually. Then back off rear-brake as deceleration increases. As you near maximum on front-brake, rear should be bled off to nothing. Some say to let off front-brake to put back wheel on ground to increase braking-power. But that's a fallacy because you're backing off from 1.0g of deceleration to 0.90g and that back-brake dragging is not really contributing to any deceleration anyway. Compare absolute braking-distances of various technique shows maximum front-braking yields shortest distances.



However, on bikes with long wheelbases, more rear-ward weight-distribution, lower centre-of-gravity, they won't transfer as much weight to front, so you can actually lock up front-tyre before reaching maximum-deceleration. So yeah, it may very well be 70/30% for maximum-deceleration. Would need some instrumented testing to arrive at exact numbers.
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Old May 18th, 2018, 09:54 AM   #37
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Slightly OT, but the MSF course is equally about riding safety. Another very valuable book to check out (literally... they have a copy at your local library) is David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling.

Here's the link to it on your local library website (I assume your "Bennettsville" is the one in South Carolina). No cost... all you need do is get yourself there.

http://palmetto.polarislibrary.com/p...33.0.0.1&pos=1
@adouglas I bought it and read it two months ago bro! I keep re reading certain chapters while riding.
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Old May 19th, 2018, 02:54 AM   #38
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There's also a very good intro to motorcycling book by Sonny Barger (yeah, the Hell's Angels guy). "Let's Ride", I think. Very good advice and a no-bullshit writing style that makes it a bit more entertaining to read than most.
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