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Remain in BRC or switch to experienced course

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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, I know that some people are strongly opinionated on this subject, but I have a real conundrum in my hands. Just started riding in Octoberish and only have around 600ish miles under my belt. I've read a few books and watched a multitude of YouTube videos ( not Max Wrist) from Dan Dan the fireman, motojitsu, jerry Palo...(sp?) Etc and have gotten a good mindset of what to do/ look for in traffic. The msf courses aren't offered in my area in the winter and I signed up for one of the earliest BRS courses in May. By that point in time I should have well over 1000 miles on the bike, with a decent chunk of time in parking lots practicing slow speed maneuvers, u-turns, quick stops up to 35 mph without lockups (no abs), etc. At stop lights I try to offset myself into an almost lane filtering position so as not to be rear ended and watch my mirrors for people coming behind me and flash my brake lights. I try to be aware of edge traps, manholes, potholes , left turners, and watch car rims at intersections and wear hi-viz ATGATT. I try to predict vehicle behavior but also try to take each second and it comes and try to stay calm and composed. It took me quite a few miles to learn to relax on the bike physically but stay mentally aware. I try to operate controls smoothly and the list goes on.

Anyway, to get back on track... I only currently posses a learner's permit and was going to wait to take the BRC to get licensed. However, I've been thinking of going ahead and taking the state test, getting licensed and then taking a slightly more advanced course through the MSF. The website description for the course list it as "for riders with 1k + miles".

So my question is, should I stay registered for the BRS or go ahead and transfer the class to an "experienced", website also says "75% of riders involved in crashes considered themselves experienced" , not that I do. I don't want to unnecessarily waste my time and money at the BRC if they're only going to teach me the VERY basics. Like how to start the bike, get a feel for the friction zone if the clutch, start stop on hills, do a u-turns in under 20'
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The earliest experienced BRC is in April and books fast. I also intend to take more courses and continue to learn as much as I can.
 

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I'd take the basic class first, I think you'll still get a lot out of it. You'll also use their bikes, as opposed to your bike. When I took the 2nd class, most of us had quite a bit of experience, far more than a few months and 1,000 miles. I bet if you wait to take the 2nd class until you've completed the BRC, and have more miles under your belt, you'll get more out of it

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It sounds like you've done your homework. Congratulations. Except for the "watch car rims at intersections"???, I think the practice work you've done will prepare you for quickly advancing in riding skills since the slow speed maneuvering and stopping smoothly are where most practice is needed. Yes, Jerry Paladino's tapes are good to learn from as also watching YouTube videos.

I would think you could go on to an intermediate class on biking and handle it just fine. One of the biggest keys to riding well is feeling comfortable while on the bike. When you feel you are one with the bike and it's as natural to you as walking, then you are able to have the most fun and be the safest. I have found that in a class I end up learning one or two points and that's about it. I learn much more if I can practice certain motions (feel, if you will) over and over. That's why I think the best way to learn to be a natural feeling biker is to take a trip where you ride eight hours a day for a number of days in a row. When you have to skip a while, then get back on it, you have to reaquaint yourself with some motions and reactions.

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Discussion Starter #5
That's why I think the best way to learn to be a natural feeling biker is to take a trip where you ride eight hours a day for a number of days in a row. When you have to skip a while, then get back on it, you have to reaquaint yourself with some motions and reactions.
I want to do that for sure. I won't have time for atleast another few months. May be able to take a weekend trip. I've just started using the bike to commute, only 10 miles round trip, at least a few times a week. If roads get icy or covered in snow I'll drive the truck.
Except for the "watch car rims at intersections"??
It was just advice I heard so that you could tell if there was motion. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if the car is moving while your reference to it is constantly changing so if you watch and see that the rims are rotating then most likely the driver will be trying to pull out in front of you. And I suppose intersections include anything where a vehicle might pull out of(e.g. parking spaces, drive ways, etc.).

Vistavette- thank you for the input. I guess that's really what I was trying to ask. Will I still get something out of the BRC? I think I've got a few more days to sleep on it before the classes are booked, may keep the BRC and definitely want to do advanced msf and most likely private courses/ track days when I can afford it and have improved my skill. Currently I'm a mostly broke, non-traditional (30 yr old) engineering student, so I try to invest as wisely as possible 🙃.
 

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I want to do that for sure. I won't have time for atleast another few months. May be able to take a weekend trip. I've just started using the bike to commute, only 10 miles round trip, at least a few times a week. If roads get icy or covered in snow I'll drive the truck.

It was just advice I heard so that you could tell if there was motion. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if the car is moving while your reference to it is constantly changing so if you watch and see that the rims are rotating then most likely the driver will be trying to pull out in front of you. And I suppose intersections include anything where a vehicle might pull out of(e.g. parking spaces, drive ways, etc.).

Vistavette- thank you for the input. I guess that's really what I was trying to ask. Will I still get something out of the BRC? I think I've got a few more days to sleep on it before the classes are booked, may keep the BRC and definitely want to do advanced msf and most likely private courses/ track days when I can afford it and have improved my skill. Currently I'm a mostly broke, non-traditional (30 yr old) engineering student, so I try to invest as wisely as possible .
I think you will get something out of the BRC

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Discussion Starter #7
Also props on the pixel lol. I've got a 3 and the cameras are amazing IMO.
 

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"...watching car rims at intersections..."
It was just advice I heard so that you could tell if there was motion. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if the car is moving while your reference to it is constantly changing so if you watch and see that the rims are rotating then most likely the driver will be trying to pull out in front of you. And I suppose intersections include anything where a vehicle might pull out of(e.g. parking spaces, drive ways, etc.).
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There are too many things to be looking at when there is a car ahead of you. The point is to keep the whole picture in mind as to speed, location, space available, time, and likelyhood of a particular action. You cannot do this if you are concentrating on one single aspect of the picture, i.e., what a car rim is doing. Just my opinion.

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Even experienced riders can benefit from the BRC. It will remind them how they are supposed to do things if nothing else and reminders are good. I'll suggest you never think you have nothing to learn and don't become a know it all when riding, you might get hurt. But practice practice practice when you can. If you want to be a hotshot, learn how on the track. But personally, hotshots don't impress me at all. A good rider doesn't have to tell the world they are unless they are teaching others safely and by example like Jerry Paladino. But by all means, have fun and stay within your limits.

Sounds like you are. And welcome to the world of motorcycles. It's dangerous without others around and really dangerous when they are. You never know what they'll do. That's where watching rim movement comes in but you can only glance there as one indicator but do so multiple times while watching everything else going on. Do what ever you can to make yourself visible to others. And you may need to slow down. Things happen extremely fast but feels like slow motion sometimes. And you should be learning every day. Or at least trying to. (y) (y) (y)
 

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The point is to keep the whole picture in mind
You cannot do this if you are concentrating on one single aspect of the picture, i.e., what a car rim is doing. Just my opinion.
You never know what they'll do. That's where watching rim movement comes in but you can only glance
I've never heard of "watching the rim".
Maybe I do that without realizing I'm doing it because I'm constantly watching for movement and always trying to guess what the cages around me might do.
Focusing on the rim/wheel of a car might take too much time that would be better spent trying to watch everything else around you. Also like Ron, just my opinion.

One thing I tell new riders is that you have to ride as if you are invisible.
Invisible because you gotta figure every car is about to pull out in front of you because they do not see you.
You need an escape plan at all times.
Your plan changes every second, every foot of the road and with everything, and anything, that is beside you, behind you or in front of you.
I know that sounds impossible but with time and experience it becomes second nature and even easy to do.
Of course on a five lane freeway.... Not so easy and many times not even possible but you can look for a spot in traffic with less risk and throttle your way to that spot.
Honest officer, I was going 95 MPH for my own safety. o_O I told one of my police buddies about my logic in that plan.
He said "that would never work with me"... So what, I'm still living. (I thought to myself). ;)

S F
 

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Focusing on the rim/wheel of a car might take too much time
Notice I said a glance. It's just one of many inputs. You don't ever focus on just one thing. Remember, you go where you look. You are probably doing it and don't realize it. Same as watching their head or steering wheel. Anything to give you that split second advantage. Anticipating their next move. All part of years of riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The point is to keep the whole picture in mind as to speed, location, space available, time, and likelyhood of a particular action. You cannot do this if you are concentrating on one single aspect of the picture, i.e., what a car rim is doing. Just my opinion.
Ron, thanks for your suggestions! I do try to pay attention to everything going on while glancing, not fixating on the tires. I was just using that as a reference for the level of scrutiny that I'm attempting to apply to my riding to the subtle details of other vehicles.

Even experienced riders can benefit from the BRC. It will remind them how they are supposed to do things if nothing else and reminders are good. I'll suggest you never think you have nothing to learn and don't become a know it all when riding, you might get hurt. But practice practice practice when you can. If you want to be a hotshot, learn how on the track. But personally, hotshots don't impress me at all.
HC, thanks again for all the input. I know that I don't know it all, and probably never will, but it sounds like I should keep my spot in the BRC and then sign up for the additional courses following that. Not trying to be a hot shot, I just thought that it'd be fun to fine tune mechanics in a controlled environment. I know that it's not good practice to try to emulate GP riders on the street. I figured that if I wanted to push the envelope at all then it'd be best to do so on a track. I doubt my Seca will push my 260 lb ass much beyond 80. I've only had it up to 75ish on the highway( after the new tire install, btw, thanks again for all the help there). My speedo needle jumps around quite a bit so i'm never quite certain what the speed is as its got about a 5mph possible error. I just got a tank bag with a phone insert so I hope to check it against the GPS one of these days.


I've never heard of "watching the rim".
Maybe I do that without realizing I'm doing it because I'm constantly watching for movement and always trying to guess what the cages around me might do.
Focusing on the rim/wheel of a car might take too much time that would be better spent trying to watch everything else around you. Also like Ron, just my opinion.

One thing I tell new riders is that you have to ride as if you are invisible.
Invisible because you gotta figure every car is about to pull out in front of you because they do not see you.
You need an escape plan at all times.
Your plan changes every second, every foot of the road and with everything, and anything, that is beside you, behind you or in front of you.
I know that sounds impossible but with time and experience it becomes second nature and even easy to do.
Of course on a five lane freeway.... Not so easy and many times not even possible but you can look for a spot in traffic with less risk and throttle your way to that spot.
Honest officer, I was going 95 MPH for my own safety. o_O I told one of my police buddies about my logic in that plan.
He said "that would never work with me"... So what, I'm still living. (I thought to myself). ;)

S F
Thanks SF for all the help as well! I do try to ride with the mindset that I'm invisible and try to plan escape routes as situations present themselves. If I'm next to a car on an arterial I try to get out of the blind spot as quickly as possible or stagger my formation so that if they do start to come over I have time to react. I've already dealt with this a few times. Luckily the town I live in has ~20k people and not as dense as some of the big cities. However, seeing as it is a college town,I assume everyone is on their phone (most are) or are preoccupied with other thoughts. There are a few places in my commute where my escape plans start to run out so I leave more space between the cars in front of me and try to open up the gap. I also always try to position myself in the lane so that I can be seen best by other vehicles; I know that's riding and hoping that I'll be seen, but anything that I can add to my tool box to avoid becoming a statistic seems like good practice. And I don't think I'll be on any 5 laners anytime too soon!



Once again, thank all of you for your honesty and opinions. Without a "mentor" rider to coach me through the subtle nuances, you all have been a tremendous help and I hope more green horns read this/ the myriad of other articles and heed your wisdom. I wish that they'd offer the courses sooner but the restrictions on the permit work fine for my ability now anyway ( no riding after dark, no passengers.).
 

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@Dr45701 take the BRC, learn and get your endorsement all at the same time. Riders can learn from videos and reading, but the value of having a coach/instructor far outweighs self learning. Then take the next level course, intermediate, which will be mostly review of the basic, then the advanced which is mostly a review of the basic and intermediate. Advanced training without a solid foundation of the fundamentals is putting the cart before the horse and often slows the learning and skill building process.

Although the BRC is of some value, they are parking lot classes and leave out a lot for building safe riding skills you should have for street riding. I like to see new riders get away from the MSF courses after the basic and intermediate and spend some money taking a street class. For example the YCRS ChampStreet 1 day course will change your riding life so much students cannot believe the benefit until they have taken the class and this is from new riders through riders of 50 years! There are other similar classes and a little research you will find them. We all have a single opinion and this is mine.
 

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Seeing as you live in Ohio (as do I) I'll offer my advice. Motorcycle Ohio offers two beginners classes: Basic Rding Skills (BRS) and Basic Riding Skills for Returning Riders (BRS-RR). Take the BRS-RR.

I took the BRS-RR class last spring after having been away from motorcycling for almost 30 years. The BRS class teaches the very basics (how to start, shift, turn, stop). The BRS-RR class assumes you already know these skills. It emphasizes situational awareness (and provides some practical skills for developing and practicing it) and also proper braking, cornering, and swerving techniques.
 

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I can only speak for myself, but I took the BRC after a 25 year hiatus (I had ridden for over 20 years before that) The class helped a lot. I actually learn things I thought I knew but was doing them wrong (muscle memory) It is a good investment in your biking career.
 

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Yeah, the worst thing you could do is practice things incorrectly. Unlearning bad habits is very hard to do. So which ever class you take it's far better than incorrect self taught things. Start off on the right foot and you'll miles ahead in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Although the BRC is of some value, they are parking lot classes and leave out a lot for building safe riding skills you should have for street riding. I like to see new riders get away from the MSF courses after the basic and intermediate and spend some money taking a street class. For example the YCRS ChampStreet 1 day course will change your riding life so much students cannot believe the benefit until they have taken the class and this is from new riders through riders of 50 years! There are other similar classes and a little research you will find them. We all have a single opinion and this is mine.
I appreciate your opinion! I just read something from David Hough the other day where he had a similar disdain for the MSF BRC and that's what spawned my initial question. I'd love to take some private courses as well but need to get my foundation in. Hough even suggests taking a road trip on the bike to take a course, of course this would be once I get through the local MSF ones. I know there are a few courses offered from private schools within a few hours of me and may try one of those, but would definitely like to do a more renowned course down the road.

I watch the wheels a lot. Lets me know if they are crossing a painted line, and maybe moving in to my lane
That was just a small thing I heard from one youtuber. He goes over peoples' footage and points out their mistakes/ what they did right. One of them was a focus on that. Thanks for weighing in UK!

Seeing as you live in Ohio (as do I) I'll offer my advice. Motorcycle Ohio offers two beginners classes: Basic Rding Skills (BRS) and Basic Riding Skills for Returning Riders (BRS-RR). Take the BRS-RR.

I took the BRS-RR class last spring after having been away from motorcycling for almost 30 years. The BRS class teaches the very basics (how to start, shift, turn, stop). The BRS-RR class assumes you already know these skills. It emphasizes situational awareness (and provides some practical skills for developing and practicing it) and also proper braking, cornering, and swerving techniques.
Thanks Roger! I'll definitely look into that one! I saw it on the website but assumed it was more for someone like you, who had ridden for a while, then took a long break. I might give them a call and see what they think too.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I can only speak for myself, but I took the BRC after a 25 year hiatus (I had ridden for over 20 years before that) The class helped a lot. I actually learn things I thought I knew but was doing them wrong (muscle memory) It is a good investment in your biking career.
Yeah, the worst thing you could do is practice things incorrectly. Unlearning bad habits is very hard to do. So which ever class you take it's far better than incorrect self taught things. Start off on the right foot and you'll miles ahead in the end.
One of the quotes I heard from Lee Parks, I think, is perfect practice makes perfect. Otherwise like you say, the practice may be doing more harm than good.
 

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I appreciate your opinion! I just read something from David Hough the other day where he had a similar disdain for the MSF BRC and that's what spawned my initial question. I'd love to take some private courses as well but need to get my foundation in. Hough even suggests taking a road trip on the bike to take a course, of course this would be once I get through the local MSF ones. I know there are a few courses offered from private schools within a few hours of me and may try one of those, but would definitely like to do a more renowned course down the road.



That was just a small thing I heard from one youtuber. He goes over peoples' footage and points out their mistakes/ what they did right. One of them was a focus on that. Thanks for weighing in UK!



Thanks Roger! I'll definitely look into that one! I saw it on the website but assumed it was more for someone like you, who had ridden for a while, then took a long break. I might give them a call and see what they think too.
That's probably what it was designed for, but based on what you've told us about your skill level, and having taken the course myself, I'd say it's perfect for you.
 
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