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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am a new rider. I do not claim to be an expert at all. I wanted to mention a few things about the local MSF I attended.

Here in the Coral Springs, FL area, there are a few different outfits doing MSF courses. Due to scheduling conflicts, I was unable to take the course at MTII at Bank Atlantic Center. So, I signed up with these guys:

ww dot learn2ridetoday dot com (Damn low post count, so I am not allowed to put a URL in my post!!!!)

Erik runs the show. Judy (?) handled the classroom work. Helmets are provided, OR, bring your own.

The schedule was Sat-Sunday. Sat AM was classroom. Sat PM was motorcycle time. Sunday was all cycle from 7 to about 1:20.

I felt like the classroom was, "Here's the book. Work together to skim the book to find the answers. Read the questions out loud and tell everyone else what page the answers are on. Watch a movie. Repeat the process for the next chapter." I am certain it was the standard MSF-approved way of teaching. It just seems there are so many additional things which could have been shown. Maybe videos of a high-side and low-side crash? Maybe more of a description of what they want when you are turning? (Look, slow down, lean, accelerate as necessary...) All this is my personal observation, and is in no way a critique of this school. More of a critique of what MSF could add, I suppose.

I wish I would have had the book before class. Seems like it should have been read by each student BEFORE class as a requirement. My fault for not checking the MSF website:

ww dot msf-usa.org/index_new.cfm?spl=2&action=display&pagename=Library

The day got better when we got on the bikes after lunch. However, I felt the pace was pretty fast if you were a "ever ridden before" person. My little bit of dirtbike experience was enough to keep me ahead of the power curve.

The first day was daylight-limited. One of the problems of a December course, I suppose. We got done around 5 PM, IIRC. I felt I got enough "power walking" practice. Others who has less experience than I do, could have used more, but got enough to keep moving on.

The class I was in was 2/3 "experienced" riders who were there for legal reasons. Therefore, they wanted to HAUL A$$ through each section. In the section pertaining to countersteering, I had to press the "I believe" button.

The bikes were mostly 250cc cruisers, a few QLINK 200s, and 2 ninja 250s. I took a QLINK due to its upright riding position, and ease in the "Two U-Turn" portion of the test. It was a fun little thing to ride, but killed my butt after 20 minutes in the saddle.

I can say I honestly learned a good amount: LOOK/TURN YOUR HEAD where you want to go. (It REALLY works!). Shifting and starting: Smooth it out. Braking: Not only do you have to stop the bike from 20 MPH to 0 MPH, you have to stop YOURSELF from moving forward with arm strength and body positioning!!! (No, I didnt go over the handlebars, but I leaned myself forward once!)

I have one disagreement though: During the "Emergency stopping" portion, in a short 15 minutes, I have trained myself to lock up the rear brake, and to not use the front brake to it's full potential. I blame this on myself. I SHOULD have tried to lock up the front wheel at class. I know the whole "To use or not to use the rear brake" is a point of contention and endless debate. All I am saying is, I kept locking it up, and that is bad anyway you slice it.

All in all, it was a good course for someone with a little bit of experience. If you don't know where the clutch, throttle, engine cutoff, direction to move the shifter, etc, you will feel a little bit overwhelmed right out of the gate. It is the PERFECT class for someone who got pulled over w/o an endorsement.

Having a few guys who rode their motorcycles to class, a few who were currently riding, and a few who were there since they were on their way to traffic court made it difficult (They all wanted to plow through everything and go home.) If I had it to do over, I would have asked more questions and slowed the pace of the course down. I wish the class would have been made up of 100% new riders.

This is the ONLY MSF I have attended or observed. I do not know how similar the cirriculum is at other schools. I would have liked a little more info on real-world riding, mirror usage, WHAT part of the LANE to ride in (Watch out for the slime trail...) The class was good not only from the standpoint of what I learned, but ALSO by pointing out that I really don't know crap about riding. I leaned 2x as much about what I DON'T know, as what I DID learn about riding. I will take all of this away and use all of it while riding to better myself.

Erik knew his stuff. The instructors adequately demonstrated every learning point before we attempted them. They added construtive comments after each try. I can definitely say each portion/riding session was a confidence builder.

Before you sign up, check the S. Florida coupon mailer. There is a coupon for $25 off which has been in there for a few months. If you mention it when you call and register, you get the $25 off.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
To go right, you have to push the on the right handlebar. In my mind, it is very counterintuitive.

I was able to countersteer to the right, but I don't think I was really pushing on the right handlebar (Hence, turning the wheel left...)

I am in the middle of TOTAL CONTROL, by Lee Parks. In chapter 2 about countersteering, Parks claims a test was conducted by Keith Code win which Code used a motorcycle with nonturning handlebars (Which had a throttle). Code was unable to countersteer merely by leaning. (Pg 18 of TOTAL CONTROL...)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What is the "I believe" button you mentioned?
the I BELIEVE button is a button pushed when you have completed something, and someone explains the technical aspect of it. You cannot truly understand the technical side of things, but you were able to do it. Therefore, you take their word for it. Hence, you have pressed the "I BELIEVE" button.
 

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Angel's Realm Where Evil Fears To Tread
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To go right, you have to push the on the right handlebar. In my mind, it is very counterintuitive.

I was able to countersteer to the right, but I don't think I was really pushing on the right handlebar (Hence, turning the wheel left...)

I am in the middle of TOTAL CONTROL, by Lee Parks. In chapter 2 about countersteering, Parks claims a test was conducted by Keith Code win which Code used a motorcycle with nonturning handlebars (Which had a throttle). Code was unable to countersteer merely by leaning. (Pg 18 of TOTAL CONTROL...)
I saw a video of his attempt to steer with the bike , the handle bars were mounted so the handlebars could not turn just like you said I saw it on a different web site Sorry can't remember which one and could not post a link to the other web site. But it was true by leaning only he could not stear the bike it just went strait while leaning.
 

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Angel's Realm Where Evil Fears To Tread
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sorry I forgot to say thanks for the assessment of the class you attended.
I want to go to class in 09 I have been getting ready for it and I wanted to get the hole shifting thing down before going to the class. I had herd if you did not know much you would be very over welmed from the start so Practice I am.
 

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The trick now is to get out and practice what you've learned. Spend sometime in big empty lots and I suggest really working on the skills that you need for streeting it--Braking and swerving.

Got some helpful vids at http://www.youtube.com/CaptCrashIdaho Practice makes permanent.
 

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I felt like the classroom was, "Here's the book. Work together to skim the book to find the answers. Read the questions out loud and tell everyone else what page the answers are on. Watch a movie. Repeat the process for the next chapter." I am certain it was the standard MSF-approved way of teaching. It just seems there are so many additional things which could have been shown.
Agreed. My class was taught the same way, and it was honestly my only problem with the MSF class. I felt like the 6 hours spent in class were a total waste of time, and that I'd have been better served with 6 more hours on the bike. I was one of those "never ridden before" folks, and honestly did not feel comfortable after passing the test (though I didn't lose any points).

Having said that, though - Crash is right. A little post-class practice and I felt much better about myself.
 

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The group I did MSF through mailed us the books before hand, along with the list of questions. The pre-class "homework" assignment was to read through the book and make notes on where the answer to each question is.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
The trick now is to get out and practice what you've learned. Spend sometime in big empty lots and I suggest really working on the skills that you need for streeting it--Braking and swerving.

Got some helpful vids at /snip/
Thanks Crash. I have already checked out your videos, and found them very helpful. I will practice.

I DO understand the MSF course is not to make you an expert rider. It gives you the basics to build upon.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The group I did MSF through mailed us the books before hand, along with the list of questions. The pre-class "homework" assignment was to read through the book and make notes on where the answer to each question is.

Matt
THIS is how I think it should be done. Then again, I am one of those anal-retentive folks who would read everything and have 100 questions. It seems any instructor should be able to fill 6 hours easily without the busywork.

Where did you do your MSF course?
 

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Thanks for sharing mugzilla. I'm in Miami and took the MTII course, but my son is planning on taking a course when home from college this summer.

I think it is pretty much the MSF standard way of teaching, from what it sounds like. We did watch some videos at MTII but nothing too dramatic.
 

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My impression with MFS course in Oklahoma

I'm a real newby. Seriously. My husband has spent about two hours with me and we were making a little progress, as in getting my feet off the ground! I had signed up for a course at the OSU (Oklahoma State University) Precision Driving School, an MSF course) for January, 2009. I was eager, so I called them twice a week and ended up getting into a course in October. The cost was $150 for a two day class.

The first part of the class was also classroom. We watched films and answered questions after a very long introduction of who the person next to us was. If I had only known that it would be the best part of the day. The girl next to me was from Western Oklahoma and it was evident why she was there. She owned a 1200cc Sportster. After 3 hours, we went down to hit the course.

I was on a little Kawasaki 250cc. It was chilly and really windy. We had been split into two groups and I noticed that the folks at the other end we way ahead of us. My instructor was a real (I don't think I can say it here). My bike kept dying and he asked me not to start a bike that was already running. The thing wouln't keep running and the fellow next to me was on a dirt bike, so I couldn't hear jack. Right off the bat, my confidence and excitement were squashed. I almost ran over the other instructor. I felt like I was back in Kindergarten. I was not "helped along", I was shoved. One guy, with the dirt bike, layed the bike down twice and another guy was laying on the ground face down bawling.

After lunch and a more disastrous course ride, myself and the two guys dropped out at 2:00 p..m. I was crushed. I was supposed to be riding! I was later told that more dropped out after the first day and some didn't complete the course requirements. Oh, and that's pretty standard, I was told.

I made a couple of phone calls, starting with MSF, and asked how they could advertise that the class was for beginners and for people who had never sat on a bike. I was told it was.

The instructors are contract people. I was told at a local dealership that the instructor I had was one that if he was having problems at home, he was not fun to work with. Great.

So, I am out $150, can't ride, and hoping my husband has the patience to teach me come Spring. I know he won't bark at me like my instructor did. I have my Oklahoma learner's permit.

Bottom line, I would recommend the MSF course if you have a Sportster and have been learning on the back roads of Oklahoma.:rolleyes:
 

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After lunch and a more disastrous course ride, myself and the two guys dropped out at 2:00 p..m. I was crushed. I was supposed to be riding! I was later told that more dropped out after the first day and some didn't complete the course requirements. Oh, and that's pretty standard, I was told.
That sucks. My experience was great. No barking or yelling. The instructors were obviously having a good time and it made the class very fun.
 

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So, I am out $150, can't ride, and hoping my husband has the patience to teach me come Spring. I know he won't bark at me like my instructor did. I have my Oklahoma learner's permit.
Wow, that's an awful experience.

It's very different than what I saw, so I'd guess it was instructor problems and not MSF teaching. In my class no one dropped their bike, though the instructors did "ask" two people not to come back - they were too unstable on the bikes and repeatedly violated the safety rules of the class, so the instructors thought it better to let them go so the rest of us could continue at a quicker pace.

I felt a little pushed through the class also, but I think that's just a function of doing something completely new and not being comfortable with it.

I'd actually call MSF or OSU and see if there's some way of getting a refund or a free re-take if my experience was as awful as yours.
 

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Why couldn't I have taken class with you guys?

Yes, I did call. Three people starting with MSF. Their response was that they only provide the materials with which to teach. The other two listened, but agreed that it was a "beginner's class" and that people do learn to ride. I won't be getting a refund or a re-take, but I was advised that I could get one-on-one training for $40 an hour. That's great. Expensive and made me feel like a special ed student.

I'll get my confidence back and I WILL get back in the saddle and ride, go to the DMV and get my license this Spring. Just won't be an MSF course.

Thanks everybody for sharing your stories!
 

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Angel's Realm Where Evil Fears To Tread
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Diana
Sorry your class was so bad.
I decided to lear on my own for a few months and take the class next year. That way maybe I will be up to speed for the class and not look like the idiot I am.
 

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Diana
Sorry your class was so bad.
I decided to lear on my own for a few months and take the class next year. That way maybe I will be up to speed for the class and not look like the idiot I am.
I'm almost inclined to agree with you, to go kick some a** next summer or fall, but I hate to fork out the $150 for class again. I know it's for safety, but as far as insurance savings, for me, it's only 5%.:rolleyes:
 

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Ya the $150 aint pocket change for me either.
But my class is held by a motorcycle org. and is only $75 they hold it ever 2 weeks at the S & S Honda dealer near me.
I can even go and park my bike to watch others take the class if I want so I will do that a few times before my class just to know how it will be in the class and what will be expected of me.
the license test is also held there later in the day for those that don't take the class. I was thinking of slipping up there on a day ,very early or very late to practice the course by my self.
 

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My Bike riding course was very pleasant. Even if had never sat on a bike before but I didn't felt push throught the exercices. Maybe because I'm good at learning new stuff. But also, the instructors were very good.

the only drawback : because the bike driving course is mandatory here in Quebec. It cost me 500 $ (6 hours of classroom and 22 hours parking lot practice)

but I don't regret it. Can't wait for next summer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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