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This is just my review for what beginning riders can expect.

My Background: I am 26 years old. I am 5'6-7" and weigh about 170lbs. I have never rode a two wheel motorcycle before!!

I took the MSF class at Honda Rider Education Center in Colton, California. It was a 3 day (5hours each) weekday night class. The first day was all class room stuff. They provide you with a book to keep for a rider safety manual. Through the class you are watching videos and then going through the book answering the questions listed in the book. At the end of class you will take a written class that is similar to the DMV test.. The good thing with this test is it was open book.

The 2nd day was all riding and we started off will getting familiar with the feel and weight of the bike. They had some Honda CBF's and Honda CBR250's (I chose this bike). We then went through the starting procedures a few times... Then we practiced clutch friction. We were them allowed to line up and slowly let the clutch out and finding the spot to where we can basically let the bike move and slowly move your feet to walk the road on your bike.. Then we move on the throttling and riding in 1st gear. Once you get a hang of that, you will begin easy maneuver drills.

Do not get discouraged with some of the drills. The instructors allow you to practice them multiple times to get the hang of it... The first night was the hardest and most discouraging for me as I had most of my trouble controlling the bike while going slow (5-8mph).

The second night is all riding practice and exercises as well. Tonight, you will work on more acceleration. I personally found these drills to be the easiest. As the laws of motion state... The bike wants to stay more stable with a bit more speed. You will also do the "Figure 8 U Turn" exercise (toughest exercise). I went into this exercise throttling up and down as I was turning on the box provided for you to complete your turn.. Do not do this!!! It will cause the bike to jerk and you will lose your balance, causing you to instinctively put a foot down or go outside the lines... I finally figured out that by letting off the clutch slowly not to stall the bike, the bike would idle forward at about 5mph.. This was the perfect speed to make the turn by looking ahead of where you wanted to turn and keep you body upright as the bike leaned slighting in the direction of the turn... Once you complete the last portion of the "Figure 8 U Turn" you can throttle up and out once the bike is in a straight line with the exit cones of the box..

Everything else will be easier than this drill... Just keep practicing and don't get too down on yourself when you realize you are not grasping the exercises as quick as others. I found that in the beginning I was one of the worst in the class at the exercises because I had no motorcycle experience whatsoever.. Others had some dirt bike experiences... I would ask my coaches for advice during breaks and for tips on how I could improve on specific exercises. This helped me a lot and eventually with all of this, I finished the test as one of the top in the class..

Again... I highly recommend this class for not only Beginning Riders, but Experienced Riders as well to brush up on some technique... Hopefully this has helped a few of you keep some excitement and confidence going into your MSF Course..


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Very good review =D I did the course a while ago, this is pretty accurate. I did it at my states DMV, they offer the courses, none around here are sponsored by honda or whatever, so we had a mix of kawasaki, honda and some other low cc bikes, non over 250cc.

My course was also longer, it was from 7 am to 8 pm for 3 days.

Felt very tiring, mentally and physically..

Best money I have ever spent though!
 

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those figure 8s were the death of me. i think the clutch cable on the beater was bad because when it was cold first thing in the morning i had the friction zone nailed; later on as the heat of both the cables and day came up i couldnt find it to save my life. i dont know if it was me or the zone kept shifting or what, but first thing in the morning i was practicing perfectly and doing low-speed sharp cornering easily and on the actual exam part i kept stalling the bike out on the u-turn (still passed but the only points i missed were truly on the u-turn part). now i need to just get my bloody bike to practice but i was holding out for a black 300 and now i can't find any anywhere! :(
 

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Just to give people an idea of what to expect for your performance during the course: I went into it without ever having been on a motorcycle. However, I drive a manual transmission car, have ridden mopeds a few times, and actively ride road bicycles (skinny tires).

The skills you learn from those 3 activities are surprisingly transferable to riding a motorcycle, and within no time I was performing at the top of the class against people who had already purchased a bike. Part of the reason is because I was essentially a clean slate to teach. In some ways it can be a disadvantage going into it with some motorcycle experience because you've probably developed some bad habits before taking the course.

As for finding the friction zone. If you can find it, just keep the clutch in that position and adjust the throttle to modulate your speed. That is the best way, but you can do it the other way around too. You can keep a low rpm engaged with the throttle, and adjust your clutch to variably grab and release to do the same slow maneuvers. Finally, you can do both clutch grab and throttle input at the same time in small smooth bursts through a turn to keep the speed down.

To avoid the chain tightening and shaking you as the engine transfers from powering the wheels, to the wheels turning over the engine, try to predict when that transition will happen and just pull in the clutch. Alternatively you can apply some rear brake to keep the chain taught in the same direction while keeping on the throttle.

Things like pulling in the clutch before the transition to avoid shaking, or short bursts of throttle with a bit of clutch in slow speed maneuvers are things I learned to do in my car. Just don't so the constant friction zone stuff with a car because you'll burn out the clutch. Most car clutches are dry (Vs motorcycle wet clutch) and are therefore much more fragile :(.

Cheers
 

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those figure 8s were the death of me. i think the clutch cable on the beater was bad because when it was cold first thing in the morning i had the friction zone nailed; later on as the heat of both the cables and day came up i couldnt find it to save my life. i dont know if it was me or the zone kept shifting or what, but first thing in the morning i was practicing perfectly and doing low-speed sharp cornering easily and on the actual exam part i kept stalling the bike out on the u-turn (still passed but the only points i missed were truly on the u-turn part). now i need to just get my bloody bike to practice but i was holding out for a black 300 and now i can't find any anywhere! :(

Doing the figure-8 with long legs (6'3") on a small 125cc bike is tough. I had to slightly put my foot down while making the right U-turn because my knee hit the handle bar lol.
 

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I would like to add, now that woomba reminded me, I went into the course never used a manual transmission on anything before. I knew kind of how it works, but not enough to just hp on any clutch and use it. i would stall out anything haha. I tried on a friends truck year sago and it was horrible... well his clutch was bad.. and you needed to be an iron man to push it down 2 feet past the floorboards to reach the friction zone... haha but still... that's about it...

I was sable to operate a bike fairly confidently after the course, of course, no pro, but enough to get me around and enough to allow me to practice on my own if needed. some people like myself picked it up quick, some didn't. but all could ride at the end of the day! only one failed, but only by like one point.. it was really disappointing because she really wasn't bad at all, just made a few mistakes on the test portion, and she didn't make those mistakes before.. maybe performance anxiety..?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would like to add, now that woomba reminded me, I went into the course never used a manual transmission on anything before. I knew kind of how it works, but not enough to just hp on any clutch and use it. i would stall out anything haha. I tried on a friends truck year sago and it was horrible... well his clutch was bad.. and you needed to be an iron man to push it down 2 feet past the floorboards to reach the friction zone... haha but still... that's about it...

I was sable to operate a bike fairly confidently after the course, of course, no pro, but enough to get me around and enough to allow me to practice on my own if needed. some people like myself picked it up quick, some didn't. but all could ride at the end of the day! only one failed, but only by like one point.. it was really disappointing because she really wasn't bad at all, just made a few mistakes on the test portion, and she didn't make those mistakes before.. maybe performance anxiety..?
Yeah I would most definitely guess that.. I was really nervous for the test portion because some of it was on skills we learned the day before that we hadn't worked on the day of the test. I was nervous that I may not remember and be able to perform properly for the test. However, I turned out ok! Thankfully!!


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Thats odd. I guess the course really does change depending on where you take it... I feel kin of fortunate! =D we got to do quick exercises of everything before the test
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thats odd. I guess the course really does change depending on where you take it... I feel kin of fortunate! =D we got to do quick exercises of everything before the test
Yeah, it was interesting... However, out instructor explained that from everything that he had observed, we wouldn't need to practice those portions. He was correct as everyone passed.


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Hey guys, I've been looking at picking up a motorcycle for a little while now and have a quick question. I've never rode a bike before and noticed down here in Florida there is also a beginners bike class that is offered. I was wondering if anyone has ever done it and if I should just learn from my MSF course or take the beginners course first. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey guys, I've been looking at picking up a motorcycle for a little while now and have a quick question. I've never rode a bike before and noticed down here in Florida there is also a beginners bike class that is offered. I was wondering if anyone has ever done it and if I should just learn from my MSF course or take the beginners course first. Thanks.
What is the difference between the two classes? The school that I took my course had a number of different courses. I took the very beginning course called Basic Rider Course.. They had an Experienced Rider Course available that they encouraged everyone to eventually come back to take.

All I was looking for when taking the class was something to teach me to ride and in California, by taking this certified class waived my driving test at the DMV. All I had to do was take the 25 question written 2 wheel test and another 18 question 4 wheel test, then hand them my MSF endorsement paper from completing the course and I received my license.

Is this how it would work for you out in Florida?
 

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Good review.. I am took it years ago, I am waiting my my wife to take it now.. I bought her 250R a couple weeks before the 300 came out and now she says its to cold any rainy to take it.. Now we will have the 250R just sitting in the garage for the next couple months waiting for the sun to come out..
 

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What is the difference between the two classes? The school that I took my course had a number of different courses. I took the very beginning course called Basic Rider Course.. They had an Experienced Rider Course available that they encouraged everyone to eventually come back to take.

All I was looking for when taking the class was something to teach me to ride and in California, by taking this certified class waived my driving test at the DMV. All I had to do was take the 25 question written 2 wheel test and another 18 question 4 wheel test, then hand them my MSF endorsement paper from completing the course and I received my license.

Is this how it would work for you out in Florida?
Thanks for answering. After doing some research, it turns out my co worker gave me incorrect info on the classes. The basic rider is what I would take no matter what, there was a basic rider 2 class he was explaining to me as the one that gave you the endorsement. In actuality that is as advanced class that you can take after you have your license and just want to do some more advanced drills. Thanks again for the response.
 

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Thanks for answering. After doing some research, it turns out my co worker gave me incorrect info on the classes. The basic rider is what I would take no matter what, there was a basic rider 2 class he was explaining to me as the one that gave you the endorsement. In actuality that is as advanced class that you can take after you have your license and just want to do some more advanced drills. Thanks again for the response.
welll... actually there IS a beginner-beginner class called 'jump start' or some other variation. it's like $60 or so but anyways it's designed for people who think they might like to ride a bike but arent certain and don't wish to commit to two hundred bucks or so. never seen it offered but it does exist:
http://msf-usa.org/index_new.cfm?spl=2&action=display&pagename=faq
http://www.mscv.org/courses-offered/jump-start/

i did jump start when i lived in VA. it's basically the first day bike portion of BRC.

not confuse the issue but perhaps your coworker moved to miami from some place that offered it...
 

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When I took the course, there was a lady who owned a scooter and they allowed her to take the course on a scooter. A small wheel scooter, if you have never ridden one, makes figure 8s and slow speed maneuvering easier. There's nothing to stall and no clutch to worry about either. You just feather the throttle instead of the clutch. She did very well in the class as I recall.
 

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All I was looking for when taking the class was something to teach me to ride and in California, by taking this certified class waived my driving test at the DMV. All I had to do was take the 25 question written 2 wheel test and another 18 question 4 wheel test, then hand them my MSF endorsement paper from completing the course and I received my license.
I'm also in California and got a flyer for the MSF Basic Rider Course. Was wondering what the fees were where you are from. The flyer says 21+ $250, under 21 $150. I was curious why it's 100 bucks from from over 21????

When I took the course, there was a lady who owned a scooter and they allowed her to take the course on a scooter. A small wheel scooter, if you have never ridden one, makes figure 8s and slow speed maneuvering easier. There's nothing to stall and no clutch to worry about either. You just feather the throttle instead of the clutch. She did very well in the class as I recall.
In California you cant use a scooter to get a motorcycle license (M3 I think), or maybe the scooter has to be over a 150cc or something. My neighbor asked to borrow my bike to take his driving portion of the motorcycle test.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm also in California and got a flyer for the MSF Basic Rider Course. Was wondering what the fees were where you are from. The flyer says 21+ $250, under 21 $150. I was curious why it's 100 bucks from from over 21????
If I am not mistaken it is a $100 less for students under 21 because, by law, it is mandatory for them to take the class. The students who are over 21, are not required to take the class, by law, thus they are charged a premium for taking up a class spot.

I took my MSF course at Honda Rider Education Center in Colton California.. I took the Monday-Wednesday Night course, and it only cost me $200. I am 26 and had no riding experience. I didn't even have my M class DMV Permit yet...



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If I am not mistaken it is a $100 less for students under 21 because, by law, it is mandatory for them to take the class. The students who are over 21, are not required to take the class, by law, thus they are charged a premium for taking up a class spot.

I took my MSF course at Honda Rider Education Center in Colton California.. I took the Monday-Wednesday Night course, and it only cost me $200. I am 26 and had no riding experience. I didn't even have my M class DMV Permit yet...



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Meanwhile in Canada its 450$ regardless :(
 
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