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Posted: 8/26/2010 12:35:26 PM EDT
What should I expect? Woman on the phone made is sound like they're pretty rigid. If you're late for class, you're dropped. If you forget gloves, etc...you're dropped. Not too worried about that, BUT...I've got no experience on a bike. I mean, I ride bicycle just fine, but no time on a motorcycle. Woman-on-phone indicated that some people have a hard time, and end up getting dropped. Any thoughts?
Link Posted: 8/26/2010 12:40:47 PM EDT
It's a good course designed for people like you. The reason they're so strict about being late is they're usually booked up tight. So if you're not there for your confirmed seat, they give it away to a stand by. You'll start out with classroom, then go out to the bikes. You'll do all power off stuff first then get into turning the bike on and learning how to manipulate the controls. Remember, look all the way through a turn, don't focus in the front tire, if you get scared and go too fast simply release the death grip you have with your right hand on the throttle.

Have fun, and good luck!
Link Posted: 8/26/2010 12:54:36 PM EDT
Be on time, bring your gear, and do exactly what the instructor tells you. And turn your gol dang cell phone off.
Link Posted: 8/26/2010 12:55:04 PM EDT
Yeah, they are pretty strict because of limited spacing. When I took mine there were five people waiting to see if anybody didn't show up. Stay relaxed, look where you want to go, and when in doubt, pull in the clutch.
GL!
Link Posted: 8/26/2010 1:04:31 PM EDT
Thanks for the advice guys - I'll be OK with the self control stuff (cell phones, promptness, etc.). Just worried about keeping up with the skills on the bike seeing as I've never ridden. I'm hoping newbies don't get dropped out of the class often. Thanks again for the advice - feel free to give any you have. I can't wait to get started.
Link Posted: 8/26/2010 1:42:24 PM EDT
Generally the newest riders do the best because they don't have any bad habits.

Don't stress. You'll have a good time. I did at the one I went to.
Link Posted: 8/27/2010 3:11:56 AM EDT
Just worried about keeping up with the skills on the bike seeing as I've never ridden.

Bet ya $100 you're not the worst in the class
BTW ... One of the best lines about motorcycling I ever heard was something along the line of ...
"It's like riding your old balloon-tire bicycle and realizing you don't even have to pedal any more"

Stay safe

'78 Bonneville, '71 Kawi H1, '82 Katana 1000, '07 BMW F800s
Link Posted: 8/27/2010 3:41:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/27/2010 3:45:02 AM EDT by gus]
You'll be fine!! The course is geared towards newbies (although it can be helpful to many experienced riders too). They use small, easy to ride bikes to teach you, and the instructors on the riding course are VERY patient. They won't drop you from the course for a lack of skills - that is what the course is designed to teach you. The riding portion will focus on low speed riding and maneuvering, which is really the hardest part of riding. You probably won't exceed 25mph during the course.

Be on time, pay attention, ask questions, and have a good time.
Link Posted: 8/27/2010 5:23:38 AM EDT
I actually had a lot of fun in mine. I had been riding for years without the M on my license and ended up taking the class with my brother-in-law (this was in Seattle). Even though I had experience, I still learned a lot in the class portion as well as the riding portion; the class portion can be very boring though.

For the begginer course they provide the bikes, they're usually miniature versions of regular bikes with 6 maybe 7 horsepower; word of advice, even if you plan on riding a cruiser, pick the standard looking bike for the course. My B-I-L picked up the cruiser because he thought it was cool...well he didn't think that when he was dragging the pegs for the figure 8's and having the pegs grab and hop the bike around.

We had one, and I'm sure evey course has one, kid who was 18 maybe 19 who knew it all and rode full out every time it was his turn to ride. He was there to get his M stamp because he had been pulled over too many times on his bike and I'm pretty sure it was court mandated. I'm sure he's dead by now.

You'll have tons of fun, don't stress about it.

Good Luck
Link Posted: 8/27/2010 7:10:55 PM EDT
I'd never ridden before I took the class and I did well with it. It was a great experience and I learned a lot.
Link Posted: 8/28/2010 2:42:14 AM EDT
If you know how to drive a standard car, operating a motorcycle is the same concept. You'll catch on quick.

It's really a very easy class. You'll have fun.


Welcome to the riding world. There's nothing like it. I started in summer of 08 and now am on my third bike, a Honda ST1100.


The BEST advice I can give you is NOT TO BUY A NEW BIKE. Get a used bike first. Get something inexpensive and not too big to ride for the first year or so. After that, you'll be better equipped to decide what type of bike fits you best. I started with a large scooter (400cc) and then went to a cruiser. But the cruiser wasn't very comfortable to me for my all-highway commute after being forced to change jobs at the beginning of the year. Now I have a larger Sport Touring bike, and it's great!

Link Posted: 8/28/2010 7:20:13 AM EDT
Thanks for all the advice guys - I'll report back. Looking forward to this. I hear you on the used bike - seems like the way to go at first.
Link Posted: 8/28/2010 4:23:12 PM EDT
Absolutely no need to worry other than the obvious stuff that was mentioned about showing the instructors a reasonable amount of respect which i'm sure will not be a problem.

The class was designed specifically around people with either little or no riding experience whatsoever. Of course there will be all kinds of skill levels attending but theres a reason why you go there take the class and then eventually earn your license, like they said, ride a bike you can attend. Have I met people that have failed.. I think I met two so far, one I don't think was able to ride a bicycle before attending and the other was clearly being dragged there by her husband and was terrified and just got nervous.

You will be fine. I took my roadtest first before the MSF and it is very obvious looking back why just about every state I believe basically makes it almost mandatory to go the MSF route. I took the roadtest on a very large heavy bike, which they make absolutely no accommodations for as far as spacing or whatever, and seriously the test was truly a bitch even for an experienced rider which I was even at that time due to holding aa previous license out of state before that. Any rider here can fail the regular roadtest if they have a bad day that's all it takes. I still managed to squeek out a 100 but seriously keeping an 1100 between a a 20 foot 5 inch gap entering and exiting a 180 degree turn that must be approached at lass than 10mph is nuts, then maneuvering two 90 degrees elbows one three feet after the first with 3 feet of width at 2 miles per hour and touching the line, or dropping a foot which every single rider would naturally do in such a spot was crazy and is also a failure. I think all these newer road testing obstacles were put in place to help 'motivate' people even more to just go through MSF, which is by far the best thing you can do as a rider.

Its probably the only thing in existance that i've yet to hear any rider have anything but extremely positive things to say about. your gonna have a great time don't sweat it.
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 8:57:42 PM EDT
I wish I went through the MSF course but my work schedule precluded it.

Instead, I learned on a Suzuki Boulevard 800cc. I had exactly 0 riding experience and just "went for it". I dropped it within 200 yards, and then once more practicing super tight U-turns. I failed my first road test and then passed with 0 infractions.

You CAN learn on your own but dropping a bike sucks! Good luck!
Link Posted: 8/31/2010 9:07:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Blue_Genes:
I wish I went through the MSF course but my work schedule precluded it.

Instead, I learned on a Suzuki Boulevard 800cc. I had exactly 0 riding experience and just "went for it". I dropped it within 200 yards, and then once more practicing super tight U-turns. I failed my first road test and then passed with 0 infractions.

You CAN learn on your own but dropping a bike sucks! Good luck!



The MSF is worth taking the time off of work. You should still go take it. You'll definitely learn and get to practice (on their bikes!) things you won't learn well on your own. MSF mostly focuses on safety and low speed maneuvers... Our instructor was cool as hell, this hot half hispanic half chinese chick... she told us the old guys who have ridden for years would take the class with their wives who were wanting to get their own bikes. Guess who did better in the class? The wives.

Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:07:20 AM EDT
I took the msf last year.Have fun,pay attention and do as you're told. Any ideas on a first bike?
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:31:04 AM EDT
I took the course about a year ago. I had a great time with it. I'd been riding for about a month before I got there (temp license packet) - signed up before I got my bike but the courses were booked solid for months and I happened to find an opening.

The classroom portion was pretty dull. The one I went to had the classes in the evenings, then the riding portion on Saturday & Sunday.

We had 250cc bikes that weren't designed for people over 6 feet tall but it was still fun.

The instructors were extremely cool. During the downtime we bs'd about our favorite roads and such. Just about everybody did well in the class.. except the one girl.

There are some people you can look at and know that they'll be able to ride the first time they sit on a bike. And there are some people who aren't quite there, but with some practice will become competent riders. And then there are some whom you can tell at a glance have no business being in the same lane as a motorcycle. That Girl fell into the last category.

They started us out with "power walking" - feet on the ground, just a hint of throttle and feather the clutch so you can get a feel of what it's like to have the machine move. She nearly dumped it right there. No sense of balance and there was NO way she could deal with the more counterintuitive aspects of riding (accellerating into curves, push right to go left, etc). But the biggest giveaway was that the only "boots" she owned were dress leather boots that while hot, had a heel and therefore hooked over the peg and were full length, blocking her from pivoting her feet to change gears or work the brake. She had to lift her foot off the peg, over it, and then work the control.

She held the class back so much on the first day that she showed up on the second day with a box of donuts and then left.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:06:20 AM EDT
Nobody failed when I took it. A few of them should have, IMO.

They gave me a warning for going too fast! Said I was "approaching the limits of the bike."


You'll be fine, just do what they tell you to.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:13:30 AM EDT
Originally Posted By phurba:
I took the course about a year ago. I had a great time with it. I'd been riding for about a month before I got there (temp license packet) - signed up before I got my bike but the courses were booked solid for months and I happened to find an opening.

The classroom portion was pretty dull. The one I went to had the classes in the evenings, then the riding portion on Saturday & Sunday.

We had 250cc bikes that weren't designed for people over 6 feet tall but it was still fun.

The instructors were extremely cool. During the downtime we bs'd about our favorite roads and such. Just about everybody did well in the class.. except the one girl.

There are some people you can look at and know that they'll be able to ride the first time they sit on a bike. And there are some people who aren't quite there, but with some practice will become competent riders. And then there are some whom you can tell at a glance have no business being in the same lane as a motorcycle. That Girl fell into the last category.

They started us out with "power walking" - feet on the ground, just a hint of throttle and feather the clutch so you can get a feel of what it's like to have the machine move. She nearly dumped it right there. No sense of balance and there was NO way she could deal with the more counterintuitive aspects of riding (accellerating into curves, push right to go left, etc). But the biggest giveaway was that the only "boots" she owned were dress leather boots that while hot, had a heel and therefore hooked over the peg and were full length, blocking her from pivoting her feet to change gears or work the brake. She had to lift her foot off the peg, over it, and then work the control.

She held the class back so much on the first day that she showed up on the second day with a box of donuts and then left.



We had a similar woman in my MSF class. Hot woman maybe mid 30s. Nice rack on her. Showed up in a white late model Mercedes sedan.

She wasn't as bad as the girl in your story, but she had never driven a standard. Later into the first day, the instructor pulls her aside and says she needs to do some one on one coaching because she was holding the class back. Luckily she didn't dump the bike or get hurt.

The only dude who spilled was a teenage kid. I didn't see it happen, but we were doing the long 'lap' with the curves on each end. He low sided coming out of one of the curves. How he did it, I don't know. The lot surface was that gravel on tar, so there was TONS of traction. I think he just slowed down too much and fell over!

I kept wanting to go faster, but the rest of the class slowed me down. I scraped a peg a few times, too. It was a fun experience. I might have to do the Level II class... And then practice on my new bike. Maneuvering a 700lb bike is tough!
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:21:59 AM EDT
I took the MSF course 17 years ago. When I took it, I had never used a clutch or shifted a transmission in my life.

As a matter of fact, while I understood what a clutch did, I didn't understand AT ALL what "gears" did in a manual tranny or why/when you would change them. The whole mechanical leverage thing just didn't make sense at all.

I showed up with my jeans, long sleeve shirt, boots, gloves, and helmet and a head full of nothing. Left there knowing how to safely ride a motorcycle.

Surprisingly, no one dropped a bike the entire weekend. There was a 60ish lady who was having a bit of trouble muscling the 250s around with the engine off and even she didn't drop it.

The course is fantastic. If you have to take time off work to take it, do it.


I want to take the MSF experienced rider course.

Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:31:00 AM EDT
One other thing about the MSF course is that you can usually get a discount on your insurance with it. Also look at joining a manufactures official club and that can get you an extra 10% discount as well in some cases. Enjoy the road and be safe!
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 12:13:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2010 12:13:33 PM EDT by Slappy600cc]
Just don't do circle wheelies outside of their course distracting the students. They seem to not like that.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 7:15:59 AM EDT
Just wanted to let you guys know how it went - we finished yesterday. The course was great, and the two instructors that I had were awesome. It was hot (115 on the asphalt), but there was a lot to keep us busy, so I don't think anyone minded too much –– lots of hydration. I passed the skill eval, and had never ridden a bike before the class - so it's very managable, as you all pointed out. I also had a lot of fun - just follow their instructions, and it's pretty straightforward. Can't wait to get out and practice on my own now. Thanks for the help guys.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 2:50:48 PM EDT
I enjoyed my class years ago. No available class spots, and I had a weekend free as a student. Showed up at the class location a couple hours early and got my name first on waiting list. There were about 6 of us waiting. 1 no show, and I was in.

+1 on buying a beater for your first. I got a non-running Kawi 250 Ninja, got it running, and rode it for a season. Sold it to my brother next year for $600 and got a GSXR750 used. It was very fast and much fun.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 2:12:14 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 2:26:55 PM EDT
Originally Posted By oneshot1kill:
Originally Posted By Tomcat017:
Just wanted to let you guys know how it went - we finished yesterday. The course was great, and the two instructors that I had were awesome. It was hot (115 on the asphalt), but there was a lot to keep us busy, so I don't think anyone minded too much –– lots of hydration. I passed the skill eval, and had never ridden a bike before the class - so it's very managable, as you all pointed out. I also had a lot of fun - just follow their instructions, and it's pretty straightforward. Can't wait to get out and practice on my own now. Thanks for the help guys.


Hey Tomcat017, glad to see it went well for you.

BTW, do you have any info on the course you took, such as a website or phone number..contact person etc..? My son is just starting to ride, and something like this would be perfect. I heard about one in the Bronx that was excellent..but I lost the guys number.

Any help would be very much appreciated.


start here

That is the web site of the MSF for NY.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:46:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2010 4:46:29 PM EDT by Tomcat017]
Originally Posted By oneshot1kill:
Originally Posted By Tomcat017:
Just wanted to let you guys know how it went - we finished yesterday. The course was great, and the two instructors that I had were awesome. It was hot (115 on the asphalt), but there was a lot to keep us busy, so I don't think anyone minded too much –– lots of hydration. I passed the skill eval, and had never ridden a bike before the class - so it's very managable, as you all pointed out. I also had a lot of fun - just follow their instructions, and it's pretty straightforward. Can't wait to get out and practice on my own now. Thanks for the help guys.


Hey Tomcat017, glad to see it went well for you.

BTW, do you have any info on the course you took, such as a website or phone number..contact person etc..? My son is just starting to ride, and something like this would be perfect. I heard about one in the Bronx that was excellent..but I lost the guys number.

Any help would be very much appreciated.


The link that Tep posted above is great - lists all the schools. The one that I went to was Trama's. Class was is Massapequa, and riding was done in Farmingdale. I believe they do have other locations. Their website is here: Trama's Auto School. My instructors were great, but of course, I can't account for all of them. The one caveat is this: they're very strict about attendance (if you're late, you get the boot, no refunds). They require full payment in advance. They also tell you that there is a risk that you may not be able to keep up with the class, in which case you will be counciled out (mostly safety/attitude concerns) –– no refunds. Of the 11 people in my class, no one was counciled out, but 2 failed the skill eval –– the instructor said that the office would likely let them retake it once, but that it wasn't official. Best thing to do is call on the phone - website is not great. Give them a call, I was very happy with my class. Good luck to your son!
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