well this past weekend I took, completed and passed the MSF course here in MD. I figured anyone needing info, or curious could benefit from a review from me so here goes:
Registered over the phone. Reps were very friendly, and helpful. Paid $100 for the course, and a work book was sent to my house 1 month before the class. This book is new this year, as the course has been redesigned. It must be taken everyday with you.
The first day class starts at 6pm and runs until 9pm. Its is strictly classroom time. My class was consisted of 10 people, but 2 of whom did not show. so that was down to 8. Apparently this time of the year people dont show more frequently, so even if you didnt get into a class this year by registering, go as stand by and im sure you will get in. Anywayz class began and the instructor introduced himself. He has been riding bikes for 20+ years and been teaching this course for 6 years. A very friendly man who is into both harleys(which he owns one, and fatboy) and sport bikes (bought his son one). You sign in and present ID to prove you are you. Then you simply break into teams, and watch a few movies that go along with the work book. You will answer xtions from the book within ur group. You review motorcycle controls, and where all controls are and what they do. Thats it.
this is friday night and all on the bike.
You start just sitting on them and getting a feel for the bike. Then you start then and learn where the friction zone is on a bike. Then drive in a striaght line. working the clutch and learning on to use it. time 6-9pm
This is the killer day. 8am till 5pm. I advise getting there at 7:45am if you need to borrow a helmet, or gloves (which they do provide. all you need is boots that cover your ankles). You unload the bikes from the trailer, and you gear up. Make sure you do not TOUCH a bike unless you have ALL of your gear on. they really frown on that. You review FINE-C :your starting routine: then mount em. and proceed to training area. You work on cornering, slow manuvering, swerving, braking, shifting, hard stopping and a few other things. Get an hour for lunch. after the first half you go inside to watch more videos that follow your work book, and teach you about all things you learned that day. Very long day but totally packed with good stuff. You also do the elusive figure 8
to figure 8...
Fourth and last day
Again, 8am-4pm. so arrive early. You review your slow speed manuvers from sat, and practice braking while cornering. My advice, make sure the bike is STRAIGHT before hitting the brakes
. You also practice allot of shifting. Going from 1 to 2 to 3, back to 2 when u need to turn, then back to 3 in the straights. THEN it is time. Time for the riding test.
eek... just relax and you should do good if you paid attention and are not a complete tool
I wont give away what the actual test is or comprises, but i will say you review everything that morning before the tests begin. Your instructors will seem allot more strict, and will not joke around or be laid back. this is because they try to make the learning fun, but they are responsible for you when they say they pass you and certify you to be liscenced. SO they do not take that lightly. It is serious, and riding isnt a joke. Dont take it personally. It will only last about 30-45minutes.
Written test: Consists of 50 questions. If you read the book and listen to the instructors, you should do fine. Once the written part is done, you will review the xtions people have xtions on. They (there were two instructors for me) will grade the written test while u all sit there biting your nails. Once they grade the tests, they will hand out one by one your written test graded, and your riding test scores. Its simple. If the box that says "meets MD liscence requirements" is circled, you pass.
Now everybody hug cause you all just went thru a rough 4 days together.
I loved the course. I know this is said allot on this board, but i mean it when I say - if you want to learn to ride, go to this course. This is coming from a guy who tried to learn on his own, with his buddies bike, and after a few weeks I wrecked. I wrecked doing the #1 thing that causes accidents with bikers- going off the road in a curve. I broke my elbow and a few other things. That was 2 months ago. I knew i had to get back on, or I would never know if i was afraid or not. Ill admit this, when sat came around and we got into high speed cornering and leaning, I froze. i couldnt for the life of me lean the bike and push. I kept going really wide and outside the cones. I hadnt thought about the accident until that moment, but i just locked up. The instructor pulled me aside and asked me what was going on. I told him about my accident, and how i didnt think it would psychologically affect me as much as it did. He didnt tell me stories about how many wrecks he has been in, and he didnt hold my hand. He just looked at me and told me that hes been watching me all thru the class, and that I have allot of skill and potential. He also said if i dont get past this, I will fail the riding test and the course. And he said probably the most powerful words he could have "I really know you can do this". So I went home sat night and did allot fo soal searching. ANd i told myself i would rather die on the bike tomorrow than fail because of being afriad. So i went in, took deep breaths and did what I had to do. and it felt good. I just kept remmebering how much it hurt slamming into the ground at 30+ MPH and landing square on my arm, having a stick in the road punture my arm, and my back tore up from road rash; all because I tried to learn on my own with a friends help. It all could have been avoided if I had been patient and taken the course first. they really do teach you things not commonly known, and really show you the proper way to do things safely. The instructors arnt just passing people left and right because its just a job, they cared about each student and wanted to see them succeed. So do yourself a favor and seriously spend the 100$ and find an open course somewhere. A huge chunk of accidents are people who were self taught or taught by a friend or family member. That is great, but take those skills, apply them to the MSF and bcome even better.
Hope this little write up helps someone, and if you have any xtions post or email me