Just completed MSF course... my review and insight - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2002, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 45
Just completed MSF course... my review and insight

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:

The registration:
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.

First day :
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.

Second Day
this is friday night and all on the bike.
The Drills:
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

Third Day:
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 I say 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 gl
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2002, 11:47 AM
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You know this can't be said enough and I think you did an excellent job of saying it.

Most new riders think experienced/older riders are full of crap, but your story illustrates exactly what should be done with every new rider.

Sounds like you learned a very valuable lesson. I think as long as you think about what you learned, you'll go a long way in riding!

Thanks for the great read. I know I get pretty pumped up when I read about new guys like yourself, who have taken the time to think through what they are doing and learn to be patient instead of going out half-cocked!

Congrats on passing the course, and welcome to a whole new world!

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2002, 11:53 AM
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W00! H00!

Party time! Congrats on the passing grade bro, welcome to the wonderful world of motorcycles!

Robert Basil
SportbikeWorld.com Founder
PocketbikePlanet.com Founder

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2002, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Wow, great post.

That was a great post. I am taking the class starting on Sept 14.

The only thing I am wondering is I didn't recieve any kind of manual or book yet, just a confirmation for the class?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2002, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Wow, great post.

Originally posted by OnyxWulf
That was a great post. I am taking the class starting on Sept 14.

The only thing I am wondering is I didn't recieve any kind of manual or book yet, just a confirmation for the class?
I'd give it until this friday, then call and ask about it. I know I had my work book way in advance, but it is most likely the colleges discretion when to send it out.

Thanx guys Look forward to seeing some of you on the road, and even meeting a few of you
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2002, 12:47 PM
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Re: Wow, great post.

Originally posted by OnyxWulf
That was a great post. I am taking the class starting on Sept 14.

The only thing I am wondering is I didn't recieve any kind of manual or book yet, just a confirmation for the class?
I don't think the CA MSF sends out booklets, I know I didn't get one, but I took the MSF back in '97. If you're concerned, call the number you used to register and ask.

Good luck and ride safe!

"I often wonder why I talk to you, then I realize, although you put me down, you do it with love." - Jester
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2002, 01:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
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Good post! Good job! That's the sort of thing that makes it worthwhile for me to go stand in the sun instead of riding on weekends. It's not my livelyhood; it's a sideline from which I draw satisfaction at seeing individuals like yourself succeed (or not; not everyone should ride).

As to the workbooks, I expect that each program has its own policy. I have requested that workbooks be sent out in advance because I have teams do activities beyond answering the study questions in the back. People learn by doing, not by listening to me. Having said that, I have met resistance from the administrators of the program because it takes effort from them to get the workbooks out to the students.

Best of luck to all of you taking the course. It is worthwhile.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2002, 04:12 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
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Congrats on completing. A lot of people don't realize how much the MSF can help new riders (and even some people who already "know" how to ride).

I echo what Roger said. I too have a full time job and go to college full time, and then teach MSF on my off time. That sort of story is why I make the time to teach.

Keep it rubber side down RD. And don't forget, don't ride over your head.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-17-2002, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
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Cool post.....Question though. I am taking my course on the weekend of sept. 27th. I only had to pay $25 dollars and I didn't get a workbook. Am I supposed to? Maybe they have them there and we share them?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-17-2002, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
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msf in Ca.

Taking the MSF course in 2 weeks and reading this kind of post really gets me excited...sounds like you had a great time-first of many I hope.

btw-In CA I had to pay $200 for a 4 day MSF course (4 hr per day). I already took my written test at DMV and passed giving me a learners permit (allowing me to ride a motercycle but not on freeway, at night or with passenger-the fact that a written test is all it takes sounds like a recipe for disaster if I weren't so cautious...).

Can't wait- Great post. Enjoy your new skills.

Last edited by pantablo; 09-18-2002 at 10:04 AM.
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