Second Try on the BRC This Weekend!
August 14, 2009 at 10:12 am #3293
Like someone said, if you fail, try again.
I’m trying the BRC again this weekend. This time for the win.August 14, 2009 at 11:41 am #21589JammerParticipant
Awesome! Way to get back in there and go for it. My first try is this weekend as well – meet you back here on Sunday night/Monday to talk about how it went?
Good luck – you’ve got it this time.August 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm #21590CandiceParticipant
Good Luck! I think you will pass as you know the drill now. Relax and enjoy!August 14, 2009 at 1:57 pm #21592JackTradeParticipant
I bet now that now that you know the routine, you’ll focus on the actual riding, and pass w/no problems.
When I took the ERC skills course (which has the same drills as the BRC), I was amazed at how much easier previously difficult stuff like the “box” turned out to be. Since I wasn’t burdened by trying to understand the exercise and ride the bike as I was in the BRC, I was able to concentrate on the actual riding.August 14, 2009 at 3:29 pm #21600Capt CrashParticipant
Take a deep breath and relax!
Way to many people let the pressure get inside their head. Nice thing is you’ve done it all before and this time no surprises! Have a good time!August 14, 2009 at 7:34 pm #21611megaspazParticipant
One thing to remember, don’t let mistakes get to you. There is no way to automatically fail the BRC, unless you drop the bike, so don’t dwell on any mistakes that might happen during the rider test. Take a deep breath like the capt. said and concentrate on the next portion of the test.August 15, 2009 at 2:05 am #21620
SaftyFirst & Jammer,
Good luck to you both this weekend. Let us know how it goes!August 15, 2009 at 7:35 pm #21630
So far, so good.
The first hour or so on the bike felt like forever. Yes, I know how to start the bike. Yes, I know how to ride without dragging my feet. Yes, I know about the friction zone.
Just for fun, I picked a Yamaha TW dual-sport to ride on. It was between a Nighthawk 250 (snore), or a Suzuki GZ250 (snore.) In a nutshell, it’s love-hate. That thing is so light, and that’s coming from a guy on a Ninja 250.
The emergency braking sections were frustrating. The first thing I noticed, is the front brakes really needed a good squeeze, but the rear brake was so tight I locked it up twice without much effort, the first time with a cloud of burned rubber I’m told, much to the rider coach’s annoyance. I found that just putting the weight of a boot on it was enough to keep the rider coaches happy. It was so frustrating figuring out the sweet spot on the front. I thought I had it about right, but the other rider coach said I was close to doing a stoppie if I was going any faster. That thing is just too light, I think.
Also, the gear shift lever is a bit on the small side width-wise, and it took a bit of hunting around with the boot to find it at first.
The good part is that the TW has a lot of torque in first gear, which was actually kind of fun, but the rider coaches suggested using second for cone weaves so it’s less touchy. Either way worked for me. Don’t look at the cone you trying to passing, look at the one past it.
No problems with any other part, curves were fun, when I actually could take them at speed. Lots of slow-pokes in the class, and I seemed to get lucky being stuck behind them. Nothing is more fun than working the friction zone on a curve I’m supposed to be taking in second gear with clutching, rolling on the throttle. That made for a waste of learning that could have been had, but I did get a few good runs in. I got it beat into my brain again to look where I want to go. A lot of us were looking at the slow-poke in front of us, not the exit of the curve. By golly, she was right, you still can’t miss the bike in front of you in your peripheral vision. Also, I learned to use a little front and rear brake before a curve without using the clutch. All this time, I’d been clutching in, braking, then slowly letting it out into the curve, so it wasn’t in vain. No wonder I hate sharp curves and turning onto side-streets. Best of all was seeing the rider coach scrape the kick-stand on the TW in the demo, so that activity was worth it. And I learned where dirt-bike chokes are, kinda interesting. Three settings, choke, choke less, and choke off on the left side of the engine.
I’m debating grabbing a Nighthawk tomorrow, or wondering if I should just stick with the TW. It was fun on 9/10 of the activities, minus braking. Personally, I wish they had a Ninja 250 or two, but that’d just make it too much fun for me, right?
This class was a lot better than my first. My first (taken out of state in Metro Detroit) had a lecture of easily 50 people, three ranges, and two shifts per range. Which meant having to waste a few hours to baking in the sun in the layover before your next section.
This one has, I’m not joking, 12 people or so. Same number in the lecture. All together on the range. Started at 8 AM and we were out by 2 PM. And the classroom sections were much more enjoyable.August 16, 2009 at 5:18 am #21635Capt CrashParticipant
Don’t tell anyone but when you get a TW right up to max braking? You’ll hear this wierd squeak from the suspension. Wierd, but true…
ALSO they may not let you swap bikes on the second day (we don’t) ’cause it can put you and another rider on unfamiliar bikes.
Have fun!August 16, 2009 at 8:15 pm #21647
OK, guys, I got good news — I passed!
Capt Crash is right, the TW200s do make a squeak in the suspension. I noticed that the first day when I squeezed a little too much front brake the first day moving up in the line-up stop and go. Everyone who had the TWs seemed to like them. Heck, one of the rider coaches said she bought one because she liked it so much. I’ll stick with my Ninja 250, thanks. Getting on the 250 after the class was so much more fun. I found out Ohio actually used to use Ninja 250s, but not anymore. Bummer.
I think I’m literally drenched in sweat. 91 degrees at the moment. We had to take an extra longer chill break at one point today, because one of the riders was baked solid from the heat. She got so out of it, she just about lost it coming into the group-up, something you don’t see mid-way through the second day. A bite to eat, some water and chilling out in the A/C’d student lounge did the trick, and she passed just fine. I know her husband will be happy for her, he stopped by to watch yesterday — he rides a sport touring bike.
I did OK on the test. I ended up briefly outside the box on the right-hand U-turn (grr) which I think was due to my bike being about empty on gas and it’s power coming and going in spurts (and later stalled when braking towards the line-up after that part of the exam was over.) It made things a little more tense having to switch to reserve, then choke and keep the throttle open for a while because it kept stalling when I would roll off the throttle. Who knew that the time I ran out of gas on the road would come in handy in a class? Also, who knew I could go through that much gas in 14 miles according to the trip odometer?
I seemed to do fine on everything else. My favorite part was blasting out of the right hand curve doing easily 30 in the last part of the exam not to get screwed on time once it all clicked. It’s all about turning that head and looking at the way out. The muscles will make it happen.
The rider coach said that I need to work on consistency. He’s right. Sometimes I could do the exercises spot-on then sometimes I goofed up parts in practice when I did it just fine the last time around. And most of the time it was because my head was looking down, not the way out.
The other instructor suggested going slower, which really helped on the curve on the way in during the test and on the braking distance test, though I did screw myself a little by braking when I was too far past the line. I’m not concerned with that, since I can’t remember a time in real life where I need to START stopping at a certain place, as opposed to stopping clear of something once stopped. I found it helped stop the tension leading up to the mark by telling myself that I’m just out on the road riding having fun and how good the wind feels.
All around, a very excellent course. The first class seemed too monolithic with so many people, different groups and so many ranges. The classroom section the first time was mundane “ok, who has question number 14 from the back of the book?” as opposed to having us work in groups and write down and teach the sections to the class in groups on a piece of poster paper in front. I got more feedback and help from the instructors this time than I did the first time. And no one dropped, even in practice! The bikes were in great shape! Motorcycle Ohio seems to really take care of their bikes, as opposed to program in Metro Detroit where there were literally parts hanging off on the first day.
Also, you’re right — the bike you started with is the one you used all weekend. When I took it the first time in Metro Detroit, they had us playing musical chairs with our bikes. The bike you started on the first day might have ended up on a different range the second day!
The instructors mentioned how good a deal it is. I agree 100%. $25 for the program literally can cost $400 in some states. Or how Harley D makes their program 5 days long, which includes ample time to hang out in their store to shop for gear. *rolls eyes* Regardless of cost, I highly recommend anyone who rides to take it. It’s helped already. I did a low-speed U-turn at the gas station on the way back from the class that I wouldn’t have even bothered with before.
All in all, I had a great time, regardless of the heat. Once the cards were handed out, a group of dirt-bikers passed by on the street by the parking lot, and one of them gave us a wheelie. I can’t wait to get out my cones and practice some more on my Ninja in a parking lot.August 16, 2009 at 8:47 pm #21650MunchParticipant
Glad you had a good second go of it. $25 for the program is definitely good. I took it through HD and though your instructor is partially right about the show room thing he is wrong about the 5 days. We took 3… D1 book, and the showroom walk (can’t blame a company for trying to use an excellent training course as an opportunity to build customer base) D2 Intro to the riding, duck walks, slow crawls slowly moving into the other parts gradually hitting all the things in the MSF booklet. D3, quick review and 30 min warm up to get back to feeling the bike…then TEST!.
Definitely more expensive though HD here locally was near $300 for the Riders Edge course. The local Community College offers it for half that… but the waiting list and the huge “classroom” size is the trade off. Best $300 I spent!August 16, 2009 at 10:41 pm #21652JammerParticipant
Glad you nailed it this time around, SafetyFirst! Congratulations.
I haven’t been as good as far as updating the thread with my experiences thus far (sorry about that), but I’m proud to report that I also passed the BRC this weekend. Thanks to all of you who participate in this community – I learned some great stuff before ever getting on a bike just by reading these boards.
As with most (all?) MSF basic riding tests, accumulating 21 points on the riding skills test results in a failure. I got 13 – 3 for putting one foot down while inside the box on the right U-turn, 5 for not taking the turn quite fast enough and 5 for decelerating in the turn during the cornering test. I know that doesn’t sound great, but of all the things to miss on the test, those are okay by me. I think that those are the kinds of things that I’ll be able to resolve on my own, especially if I get my own bike and become familiar with it. Our class was all riding Nighthawk 250s – OLD ones, so it was hard to tell how much of the clutch trouble I was having was my fault and how much was the bike. The one I was riding physically wouldn’t go into neutral while the engine was running – I’d blame that on my own stupidity except that the instructor concurred that it was the bike’s fault.
Anyway, the course was a great learning experience, and I’m glad to have made it through. Sounds like you are too, Safety!
Thanks for all of your help and encouragement, everyone. Let’s ride!August 17, 2009 at 3:07 am #21657okcponyParticipant
That’s a big confidence booster, I think. Lots & lots of practice, as previously mentioned, is the next big step, and a continuing one, at that. Even if you’re just getting out for 15-20 mile rides here and there, it builds that familiarity factor and gets you more adjusted to traffic situations. Best Wishes!August 17, 2009 at 4:37 am #21662
Our instructor had the same comment about the one Nighthawk that was in their fleet. He said that he thought it was actually a feature of the bike.August 17, 2009 at 4:40 am #21663
Congratulations to both of you!
It sounds like you both had a great time.
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