I had a very extensive background riding and racing bicycles on the road, so I already had a good “radar” for hazards of traffic unique to vehicles that can disappear into the background. So really I only had to concentrate on the actual riding.
Before I bought anything, I checked out every book on riding from the local library (actually scoured the entire county library system). I found Hough’s books the best, along with “the Complete Idiot’s Guide”. With that, and sitting on a bunch of bikes, I bought my SV and then registered for the MSF class a month out. I did a lot of parking lot practice (the parking lot is only a half-block away on residential roads) and a couple forays out on public roads before the class.
My class was a little different in that I think there was only one person who hadn’t been on a bike ever, but even that person did well. The one thing that happened most was that once the instructors stopped talking when we were riding (read: during the test), people forgot to look through the turns. The figure-8 was kind of humorous to watch, as people would go into it trying to control speed with tht throttle intead of the clutch, and look at the ground about 12″ in front of the front wheel… WRONG! I’m glad there weren’t any cars we had to turn between…
One girl dropped the bike on a ghost-stand (she forgot to put the side stand down when getting off the bike), and unfortunately it was during the test, so she had to be taken out of the rotation. That was the only drop in the class.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I can even see myself becoming an instructor at some later time when I don’t have kids schedules to deal with. I’ll be taking the ERC probably a year from now, and the sport bike class as well.