So much fun! MSF class.
November 4, 2008 at 11:04 pm #2320
I took the MSF basic rider course in Newark, California last week and HOLY GEEZ it was so much fun. I was expecting to learn a bunch and be kinda bored. I was way wrong. I was a little surprised that only 8 out or 12 uf us passed. I really think nerves got the better of the people in the course who didn’t pass. The one criticism I have of the class is that alot of people in the class did not understand the instructions given by the rider coaches. One of the people who failed my class did so because he spoke poor English and simply did not understand what he was supposed to do. I think if the test exorcises were in the study book, written out and with drawings, the class would be faster and people would be less confused.
To anyone who is nervous to try the MSF. Do it! you are eased in so gently that before you realize it you are riding the bike. Day one started with getting to know the bike and pushing it around. Then you start up the engine and “powerwalk” the bike with the engine on but your feet on the ground. You then move on to steering, shifting and breaking. On day two you work on the 4 aspects of the test. The U-Turn box and swerve, the Fast stop, ant the Curve. Of these the U-turn was the one that was most difficult for people and caused the most grief. It is really quite simple, but difficult to explain. There is a large rectangle painted on the ground. You enter the box on the right side. When you reach the end do a U-turn to the left. After the turn cross diagonally to where you entered the Rectangle and make a Right hand uturn. The exit the box on the far side through the cones. That is how my rider coach explained it, and it makes perfect sense to me right now. When I heard it I was confused. I wish he had said “ride into the box, make an “S” with the bike.
The only real issue I encountered was those little bikes were tiny. I am 6’4″ 280 lbs. I am often described as gigantic rather than fat, but i am a big fan of fat jokes. I am simply way to big for a bike with a 250 cc engine. I was on a nighthawk, and while it was a cool little bike, it was tiny. I found the seat to be to small, the foot pegs to be to high (knees almost touching my elbows) and the shifter was difficult to fit my size 14 hiking boots under. But all that said. I was able to control the bike just fine. And I want a motorcycle even more now that I know how to ride one.November 5, 2008 at 1:24 am #14588MunchParticipant
Another satisfied customer…. Grats!!!!
Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a prediction, but today…… is a Bi**hNovember 5, 2008 at 1:36 am #14590Maverick9110EParticipant
sounds great! i cant wait to do it in april!!! lol this ought be fun though, im 6-2-6-3″ and 250lbs, sounds like i’ll be in the same boat. lol. im trying to decide between either a buell blast or a Vstar 650.November 5, 2008 at 2:11 am #14591rayngefinderParticipant
Congrats!! I did my MSF in San Mateo in September; I think it’s the same group that puts it on in Newark. You had 12 in your group? Was that with one or two instructors? We had a 6:1 rider to instructor ratio, with three ranges, and for the morning class 4~5 failed out of 18.
The u-turn/figure-8 was the toughest skill test, but I wouldn’t call the rectangle large at all. It was maybe about 2 parking spaces wide and 2 parking space long.
Get your bike. I got mine about three weeks ago. It’s a blast. Drive safe.
.November 5, 2008 at 3:55 am #14593briderdtParticipant
… but I took my bike out in the driveway after work today. Just did some duck-walking getting used to the clutch. I killed it a few times, and over-revved it a few times when I pulled the clutch. I actually found it easier to take it uphill slightly, and even in 2nd gear instead of 1st.
Hopefully I’ll be able to take it to a nearby parking lot on Saturday.
Can’t wait for my class.November 5, 2008 at 2:32 pm #14595CandiceParticipant
Congratulations! I was on a nighthawk, nice little bike. I am only 5’7″ 135lbs so I really liked the size of the Nighthawk and I was going to buy one but I couldn’t find one for sale in my area. Have fun looking for a bike!November 5, 2008 at 2:58 pm #14597AndrewParticipant
For reference the rectangle is 20′ by 60′ for the evaluation. They give you an extra 4 feet with the dotted line when you first do it.November 5, 2008 at 4:38 pm #14599
I found the only reason people had trouble with the uturn box was they thought they would not be able to do it. I saw every person in my class do the turns successfully. Even the lady who failed monumentally. When it came down to it, turn your head and trust that the bike will turn.
Please don’t feed the animal.November 5, 2008 at 6:39 pm #14606RobMParticipant
I found the MSF class to be a blast. I learned alot and had fun doing it. I also found that the verbal explanation of the exercise was sometimes hard to understand. In our class, an instructor would ride the course two or three times before the students would and that helped me alot. Good luck getting a bike and let us know how it goes. There are a lot of good resources on this site, both written and the contributors.November 5, 2008 at 8:51 pm #14609DaggerParticipant
Congrats on passing! I had a hard time with the Uturn box myself… Did so-so on what little practice we had but blew it on the test.. Mostly from nerves I’d say.. My only criticism with the class I took was that we could have had a little more time practicing the exercises.. Just when I felt I was getting it or in the case of the Uturn Box, before I had it down, we were moving on to the next exercise..
V-Star 650 all the way!
I just want to make it out of this life alive…November 6, 2008 at 12:10 am #14612RabParticipant
I did my MSF BRC at Two Wheel Safety Training in Newark, California too; about 4 years ago.
‘ Sounds like things haven’t changed much, as I remember that on “graduating”, I said (and wrote on their feedback form), that they should give out diagrams of the courses as I didn’t always know what was expected of me (and I’m a native English speaker).
Re. “the box” (S-turn), I was congratulated by the instructors for doing it perfectly with “perfect head turns” the first time.
The second time I did it ? Well… you can’t please all of the people all of the time
On my test day, I had to re-do the swerve (after the box) as the instructor said I wasn’t going fast enough. Probably something to do with the fact that the speedo didn’t work on my bike. That and the fact that I was kicking myself for having gone outside of the inner line of the box immediately prior.
Some of the bikes were pretty crappy as I remember. I started on a 125 c.c. Kawasaki Eliminator, but that got stuck in gear and I had to swap to another one (I really wanted a “big” Nighthawk like most everybody else, grr…).
Anyhoo… Congratulations, and yes, the BRC was a fun experience for me too. I’d never ridden a motorcycle prior to the course.
Everyone that completed my course passed, but a few never came back for the second week-end and one was, I think, asked to leave due to being unsafe. Only saw a bike dropped once.
Dagger: Yes, I too felt (and told them) that I’d have liked more practice time on each of the exercises.November 6, 2008 at 1:43 am #14614BobGuest
In a couple of weeks I will be taking a motorcycle safety class which is three days. I am taking this at a community college and was wondering if taking a safety class at a college is this MSF? Or what? I should have asked more questions i suppose when i had the chance but i just assumed that MSF was the same as this safety class.November 6, 2008 at 4:44 am #14619RobMParticipant
I agree with Elwood and others that the class teaches you what you don’t know and what to be looking at to improve after the class is over. I was disappointed that they didn’t go over more street-wise material such as crash avoidance, but maybe that’s just too much to ask for in the beginner class. Having ridden dirt bikes before, all the skills that were taught and reviewed were basically a reminder coarse for me (30 years later). But like riding a bicycle, it came back fast. The only big skill that I learned was the almost exclusive use of the front brake, something not that important for a dirt rider. Having said that, I realize after riding on the street now for about 3 weeks, that driving in traffic requires some may different things to be processed that the basic skills have to be wired (instinctive and automatic) to safely operate the bike in traffice situations. That’s what keeps me practicing and working on these skills. I really relate to the comment made by someone on this board recently that once you pass the MSF class you are “parking lot qualified to ride a motorcycle”. I feel that there is so much more to learn.November 6, 2008 at 7:26 am #14622
I just got my official letter from MSF that I passed, and I am going to head to the DMV first thing in the morning (ah, the perks of being relatively unemployed) Then it is only a matter of my poor willpower failing before I get a bike.
I really do think the key to being successful in the Basic Rider course is trust. Trust that what the Coaches tell you is true and that it will work. And don’t Psyche yourself out. I saw everybody in class do it, but later they failed cause they lost the trust.
I cant wait to putt around at 20 mph in my neighborhood figuring out everything about a bike where my knees don’t touch my elbows.
Please don’t feed the animal.November 6, 2008 at 7:58 pm #14636
Went to the DMV this morning and I got my license! I had to take one side of the class C test and both sides of the motorcycle (duh). I only missed one on the class C test, apparently you are not allowed to smoke in a car in California,who knew? And I missed none on the motorcycle test. Perhaps there is a motorcycle in my weekend plans.
Please don’t feed the animal.
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