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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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My MSF Experience

I just finished my first day of MSF. I should probably preface this by writing that I'd never written a bike prior to this, nor had I touched so much as a bicycle in the last ten years. Regardless, with that said, here were my experiences:

During the 6th exercise, a low-speed cone weave, I started to have problems. I wasn't very good at all when it came to maintaining a set throttle position and just using the clutch to control my speed. I could be spastic and unable to find the friction point, but I had no problems with the clutch before or after this exercise. Needless to say, I spent this exercise making pathetic attempts at clearing the cones, frequently using my feet to try and add stability.

Then, during the next exercise, a low speed oval lap, I started having problems with right turns after being fine on the left side. The instructors kept telling me to slow down before the turn, but I found every time I did this I would end up in the turn leaning like Valentino Rossi. I kept using my right foot so I wouldn't put the bike down. None of the instructors said anything, despite watching me do this. After the fifth time I used my foot, they pulled me out of the class.

Afterwards, the instructors explained to me that my problem was that I wasn't turning my head enough in turns. Mind you, I think my head turns at that point, (given that they had been yelling at me for head turns all day), looked like something out of "The Exorcist." Suffice to say, I didn't think the bike was leaning like hell on me because of head turns.

So now I'm faced with taking at least one, possibly several, private lessons, at more than $1/minute. Then, if I'm ever deemed competent enough to ride a bike again, I'll be allowed to wake up every Saturday at 7:30 AM and wait for someone to drop/get kicked out of the course, so I can continue. I'm planning to doing it, for the sole reason that I've already shelled out $350 for this crap.

My thoughts on MSF:

- The classroom portion is just terrible. There is no other way to put it. You learn absolutely nothing useful and it is simply mind-numbing. I received a perfect score for the written exam and I took it in all of three minutes. It's as bad as, and possibly worse than, a safe driving course.

- The pace of MSF is absolutely not conducive to a beginner. We went from doing stop-start exercises to cone weaves. How the hell am I supposed to be able to do a cone weave when I don't know how to turn yet?

- The instructors at MSF aren't very good. They did a poor job of teaching students techniques, they were extremely pushy and demanding, and they weren't able to correctly identify a problem or an improvement if it hit them in the face.

- The exercises aren't practically applicable at all. When is a cone weave ever going to be done in the real world? And when are you going to be using the clutch while turning? And where do all of these very low-speed, aggressive turns come into play?

Overall, my feeling is that MSF is a hectic, expensive, not very fun way to get into motorcycling. If I had simply gone to a parking lot with a friend and had him slowly walk me through the basics, I think I would have learned much faster and enjoyed myself more. This course reinforced my feeling that group instruction is terrible.

Anyway, that's my rant for the day. I would strongly recommend that those considering MSF either work with a friend quite a bit beforehand, or just bag the thing entirely and learn with friends. The latter will be a much less stressful experience and you'll get infinitely more out of it. Sitting in a classroom for 8 hours and waking up at 7:30 AM on the weekends to get yelled at isn't my idea of a good time, but your mileage may vary.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 05:57 PM
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Re: My MSF Experience

I agree that some of the exercies are not completely applicable to the real world, but they give you experience in handling the bike in low speed situations, which, at least on a sportbike, is when they are most difficult to handle.

They can't really raise the speed because

1) Usually limited space
2) There are MANY beginners in these course and you want to teach them safely - to progress from a crawl to a run in just two days is asking quite a lot from most riders.

My experience with the MSF (which I completed a few weeks ago) was great. My instructors were VERY professional, helpful, and gave excellent feedback in a way that encouraged you instead of berating you.

I do have an advantage over you in that I had ridden before this, but had taken a 5 year layoff and had never taken the MSF course in the past. I decided that it would be a great thing to do as it would re-familiarize me with riding techniques and break any bad habits that I may have picked up when I previously rode.

It sounds to me like, in the low speed oval, you were not rolling on the throttle to stabilize the bike.

For the cone weaves, I found with the bike I was riding, a Honda CB125T, that 2nd gear made it easier because it didn't have such choppy throttle response.

As far as the classroom portion goes, parts of it were boring, but I recognized the necessity of the classroom work. It's something you HAVE to do, and there is much useful information in it, provided you go into it with a positive attitude. I can't understand how you, having never ridden a bike, could not find anything useful in the classroom portion. Maybe your state MSF course is different than the one we have in Ohio?
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 06:08 PM
 
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There have been some around here who've had bad MSF experiences, so it's probably a luck of the draw thing as far as the people who run it, mostly.

I didn't take it, and I lowsided my first sportbike twice in driveways at speeds less than 3 mph, not to say I wouldn't have anyway, but who knows. Low speed handling is an important thing to learn.

It was worth it to me, though. I'll jump off a cliff before I'll be found in any "traffic safety style" class (especially if it's 8 goddamn hours long). Unless it gets me out of points against my license, of course.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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I definitely understand the reasoning behind the low-speed exercises, however, it just seems counterintuitive to me. If everything is easier to perform at a decent rate of speed and the techniques are different, why not teach riders how to actually ride in normal circumstances before moving on to more difficult concepts? When I learned to ride a bicycle, one of the first things I learned was that you needed speed to stay vertical. Now I'm expected to do things that are pretty complicated already with as little stability as possible? Doesn't seem like a natural progression to me, but again, everyone's different.

I was definitely fairly inept, don't get me wrong. But it seemed, to me at least, that the instructors considered something like accelerating while entering a turn as obvious, while overemphasizing things that really didn't seem to matter, like just how far to the right I was looking.

The classroom portion is probably highly subjective. For me, the concepts were dull and things I already knew. My problem was that I couldn't actually ride. I knew how to well before going into the course. However, with most physical activities, I find classroom work yields absolutely nothing useful. For example, when I learned how to drive, first on the street and then on the track, I became a good driver through seat time. My mind is significantly quicker to process and learn things than my body, so thinking about these things just does nothing for me. It seemed like other, more physically talented people in the class may have had the opposite problem.

Last edited by Squidly; 05-28-2005 at 06:48 PM.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2005, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Squidly
I definitely understand the reasoning behind the low-speed exercises, however, it just seems counterintuitive to me. If everything is easier to perform at a decent rate of speed and the techniques are different, why not teach riders how to actually ride in normal circumstances before moving on to more difficult concepts? When I learned to ride a bicycle, one of the first things I learned was that you needed speed to stay vertical. Now I'm expected to do things that are pretty complicated already with as little stability as possible? Doesn't seem like a natural progression to me, but again, everyone's different.


At a 'decent rate of speed' everything is performed differently, and the riding portion of the MSF exposes you to those concepts such as swerving and counter-steering. Those concepts don't change at higher speeds, just the time in which you have to execute them.

The low speed exercises are designed to allow you to become comfortable with a motorcycle while not endangering yourselves or others. My MSF class had many people who had never ridden before, and taking someone like that and putting them into high-speed traffic situations is just asking for someone to get hurt. Everyone progresses at their own speeds, but on a motorcycle you definitely don't want to push a beginner past his or her comfort level right away. Besides, at high speeds, how are the instructors supposed to coach? They would be riding with you, and wouldn't be able to watch each individual as they do.

Quote:
The classroom portion is probably highly subjective. For me, the concepts were dull and things I already knew. My problem was that I couldn't actually ride. I knew how to well before going into the course. However, with most physical activities, I find classroom work yields absolutely nothing useful. For example, when I learned how to drive, first on the street and then on the track, I became a good driver through seat time. My mind is significantly quicker to process and learn things than my body, so thinking about these things just does nothing for me. It seemed like other, more physically talented people in the class may have had the opposite problem.
I'm a little lost - if you have never ridden before, how can you already know what is being presented in the classroom portion and already 'know how to ride' without having ridden before?

Perhaps your classroom portion is different than ours, but the classroom portion in Ohio (4 hours) consisted of covering the mortocycle controls, but, more importantly, it taught us how to handle situations you encounter on the road in traffic and what to be aware of. That's not stuff you are going to learn on the range (SEE, SIPDE, FINE-C, etc), and you don't want to just go out in traffic without an understanding of what it is you are about to face and what you need to do to protect yourself. You can learn by doing (as many of us have), but it's not the best and safest method of doing so. Traffic is not a controlled environment.

edit: One more thing - the MSF course is not designed to make you an expert rider. It is designed to give you some seat time on a motorcycle, familiarize you with it's basic operation, teach you some basics of riding, and give you enough practice and confidence that you can work on it on your own and eventually move onto the roads.

Last edited by lemosley01; 05-29-2005 at 06:45 AM.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2005, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by lemosley01
At a 'decent rate of speed' everything is performed differently, and the riding portion of the MSF exposes you to those concepts such as swerving and counter-steering. Those concepts don't change at higher speeds, just the time in which you have to execute them.

The low speed exercises are designed to allow you to become comfortable with a motorcycle while not endangering yourselves or others. My MSF class had many people who had never ridden before, and taking someone like that and putting them into high-speed traffic situations is just asking for someone to get hurt. Everyone progresses at their own speeds, but on a motorcycle you definitely don't want to push a beginner past his or her comfort level right away. Besides, at high speeds, how are the instructors supposed to coach? They would be riding with you, and wouldn't be able to watch each individual as they do.
Perhaps you misunderstand what I'm getting at. I'm not suggesting that the course be taught on public roads or at 30 MPH. My gripe is that, instead of learning how to turn, MSF first teaches you to do a cone weave. Then, instead of teaching you to perform tight turns normally, you're expected to learn how to perform tight turns while utilizing clutch control as your throttle. Being expected to perform these exercises at as slow a speed as possible, where the bike is about as stable as a senile grandmother, is not the easiest way to learn, in my opinion.

Quote:
I'm a little lost - if you have never ridden before, how can you already know what is being presented in the classroom portion and already 'know how to ride' without having ridden before?
Motorcycle operation is not a very complicated idea. If you've read one "how to ride" snippet or manual, you've read more than enough, in my opinion.

Quote:
Perhaps your classroom portion is different than ours, but the classroom portion in Ohio (4 hours) consisted of covering the mortocycle controls, but, more importantly, it taught us how to handle situations you encounter on the road in traffic and what to be aware of. That's not stuff you are going to learn on the range (SEE, SIPDE, FINE-C, etc), and you don't want to just go out in traffic without an understanding of what it is you are about to face and what you need to do to protect yourself. You can learn by doing (as many of us have), but it's not the best and safest method of doing so. Traffic is not a controlled environment.
The material is, most likely, the same black book. In NY, before getting your permit, you're expected to read an operator's manual, or something like that. Here, it covers exactly the same concepts as those presented in MSF, save for a few acronyms.

Learning by doing is, in my opinion, actually the far safer and more reliable method of learning. One doesn't become a good driver by reading about driving. One doesn't become a good motorcyclist by reading about motorcycle riding. You have to actually know how to operate the equipment. And knowing where all the controls are and what to do if you encounter a dog isn't exactly the same thing.

When I learned to drive, I was told how to countersteer if the rear end started to slide. Before I actually physically countersteered a car several years later, on a closed course, I couldn't have used this knowledge if my life depended on it. Now I'm able to perform a continuous controlled skid around a 300 foot skidpad. This has absolutely nothing to do with my knowledge of how to countersteer. It's a by product of my having spent years on race tracks and closed courses applying those techniques until they became familiar instincts.

Again, my personal opinion is that MSF spends entirely too much time in the classroom and not enough time riding. The classroom pace was roughly equivalent to that of a middle school, in my opinion, while the riding portion was paced in such a way that everyone was expected to have the natural ability of Nicky Hayden. I would have had no problem passing the classroom portion with roughly 10% of the time in the classroom. And I have no doubt my score would have been the same. And had I been able to spend that extra time on a bike, I have no doubt that I'd be a pretty capable rider at this point.

Again, this is just the experience of one man. I'm probably a bit smarter than the average bear and probably a bit less kinesthically talented, so others will probably get far more out of the course than I did. I wasn't able to learn to drive in a day either so take it for what it's worth.

My personal feeling is that had I spent 7 hours in a parking lot with a friend, I would have had a great time and learned a great deal about riding. Instead of doing that, I went with the route others recommended, which led to me spending hours being bored to death in the classroom, followed by subsequent, frenzied sessions of trying to learn to ride. I spent those sessions as nervous as a fifteen year old schoolgirl while I fumbled through the controls with the instructors barking orders at me.

Again, my advice is that for people for who are at least somewhat mentally adept and physically inept, they strongly consider learning with a friend rather than going through the MSF course. It's not very enjoyable and it's not well suited to people with our problems.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2005, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Squidly
[B]Perhaps you misunderstand what I'm getting at. I'm not suggesting that the course be taught on public roads or at 30 MPH. My gripe is that, instead of learning how to turn, MSF first teaches you to do a cone weave. Then, instead of teaching you to perform tight turns normally, you're expected to learn how to perform tight turns while utilizing clutch control as your throttle. Being expected to perform these exercises at as slow a speed as possible, where the bike is about as stable as a senile grandmother, is not the easiest way to learn, in my opinion.
I understand. I though you were talking about 'normal' freeway speeds.

Anyway, the cone weave is actually easier to learn than the U-turns (I am assuming you are referring to the U-turns). Because you are basically going straight and don't have to worry about cranking your head around and balancing, the cone weave gets you into the area of beginning to turn. Turning a motorcycle at low speeds is not an easy thing, not for me and most riders I have met anyway.

Quote:
Motorcycle operation is not a very complicated idea. If you've read one "how to ride" snippet or manual, you've read more than enough, in my opinion.
I agree here that motorcycle operation is not very complicated, but when you throw in all of the other factors it is MUCH more demanding than operating a car. The fact is that, even though they teach you to in driver's ed to be aware of your surroundings, it is nowhere NEAR as important to do so as it is on a motorcycle. The only similarities to riding a bike in traffic is that you have obey the same laws as all other motorists. Other than that, it is entirely different as you have to constantly and aggressively scan your surroundings, worry about falling over, etc. There are also the little things that you don't worry about in a car - for example, crossing over railroad tracks in the rain. If you were never told this information you would be unaware that railroad tracks, metal grates, etc, pose a hazard to a motorcylcist, until you found out the hard way (or watched someone else find out). That is the true purpose of the classroom portion of the MSF - all of this information is not something that is intuitive to a new rider.

Other examples - to continue rolling on the throttle through a turn, knowing that you are supposed to rider out a locked rear tire, etc - all of this is stuff you cannot know without having been told or experienced it.

Quote:
The material is, most likely, the same black book. In NY, before getting your permit, you're expected to read an operator's manual, or something like that. Here, it covers exactly the same concepts as those presented in MSF, save for a few acronyms.
Yes, that sounds the same. Perhaps your written permit test is more intense than the one we are given in Ohio.

Quote:
Learning by doing is, in my opinion, actually the far safer and more reliable method of learning. One doesn't become a good driver by reading about driving.
As I recall, driver's ed classes don't start by putting the student into the car and saying 'drive' - there is classroom instruction to familiarize the student with the rules and laws of the road as well as with the control of the car.

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One doesn't become a good motorcyclist by reading about motorcycle riding. You have to actually know how to operate the equipment. And knowing where all the controls are and what to do if you encounter a dog isn't exactly the same thing.
I agree with you, but reading about the experiences of other good (and bad motorcyclists) helps you out. That is what the MSF is based on. Reading Twist of the Wrist II has helped me understand the mechanics of the motorcyle and taught me MANY things I didn't 'know' (at least know in the sense that I conciously knew them). Reading other books will hopefully make me aware of situations other riders have encountered that I have never come across or never considered.

Quote:
When I learned to drive, I was told how to countersteer if the rear end started to slide. Before I actually physically countersteered a car several years later, on a closed course, I couldn't have used this knowledge if my life depended on it. Now I'm able to perform a continuous controlled skid around a 300 foot skidpad. This has absolutely nothing to do with my knowledge of how to countersteer. It's a by product of my having spent years on race tracks and closed courses applying those techniques until they became familiar instincts.
Once again, I agree, however, if no one had ever imparted that knowledge to you, would you have known it? Probably not. It requires both being 'taught' and practice, and the MSF course never stated they would make you an expert and you would be able to handle all situations - they even tell you to go out and practice. Good motorcyclists are constantly practicing swerves, emergency braking, tight turns, etc.

Quote:
Again, my personal opinion is that MSF spends entirely too much time in the classroom and not enough time riding. The classroom pace was roughly equivalent to that of a middle school, in my opinion, while the riding portion was paced in such a way that everyone was expected to have the natural ability of Nicky Hayden. I would have had no problem passing the classroom portion with roughly 10% of the time in the classroom. And I have no doubt my score would have been the same. And had I been able to spend that extra time on a bike, I have no doubt that I'd be a pretty capable rider at this point.
I think you must have had bad instructors. I certainly don't agree with the analysis that everyone was expected to have the natural ability of Nicky Hayden. I'm not even close to that level and still consider myself a novice rider due to the fact I only recently picked up riding again after a 5 year layoff, yet I found the exercises most useful and doable as an introduction to controlling a motorcycle. I just think you got hit with bad instructors this time around.

I remember looking at the u-turn box thinking 'crap, I don't know if I can do the bigger box, let alone the smaller one'. By the end of the day, I was able to do it (not 100% confidently, but I KNEW I could do it).

Quote:
Again, this is just the experience of one man. I'm probably a bit smarter than the average bear and probably a bit less kinesthically talented, so others will probably get far more out of the course than I did. I wasn't able to learn to drive in a day either so take it for what it's worth.
I'm still learning things when I drive everyday. It's a constant learning experience because the stupidity of those surrounding you is boundless

Quote:
My personal feeling is that had I spent 7 hours in a parking lot with a friend, I would have had a great time and learned a great deal about riding. Instead of doing that, I went with the route others recommended, which led to me spending hours being bored to death in the classroom, followed by subsequent, frenzied sessions of trying to learn to ride. I spent those sessions as nervous as a fifteen year old schoolgirl while I fumbled through the controls with the instructors barking orders at me.
Why not grab a friend and perform the exercises from the MSF in a parking lot? That may be just what you needed.

Your driving test for the Motorcycle Endorsement is probably similar (if not identical) to what is taught in the MSF - just keep this in mind. The state doesn't care how good you are at normal speeds. If you can't pass their test (no matter how irrelevant it seems), you can't have the endorsement.

Quote:
Again, my advice is that for people for who are at least somewhat mentally adept and physically inept, they strongly consider learning with a friend rather than going through the MSF course. It's not very enjoyable and it's not well suited to people with our problems.
In Ohio, the MSF course was only $25.00. Had it been as expensive as yours I might not have taken it. As was pointed out earlier, it's the luck of the draw with instructors. I happened to have to very good ones. Sounds like you got some 'not so good ones'.

Don't give up and be careful out there.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 06:58 AM
 
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Sorry to hear about your experience. I havent takent he course in about 13 years, but i remember it being an excellent experience.

One of the posters mentioned something about counter steering being taught at lower speeds. Let me correct that, if you counter steer and very low velocity you will find yourself on the ground ina hurry. Counter steering is based on a minimum rate of speed and lean, otherwise you physically steer through the corner.

In my course it was talked about and explained, but we were never able to actually try it due to constraints of the area wehad the course in.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by lemosley01
I understand. I though you were talking about 'normal' freeway speeds.

Anyway, the cone weave is actually easier to learn than the U-turns (I am assuming you are referring to the U-turns). Because you are basically going straight and don't have to worry about cranking your head around and balancing, the cone weave gets you into the area of beginning to turn. Turning a motorcycle at low speeds is not an easy thing, not for me and most riders I have met anyway.
Well that makes sense. It just seemed quite difficult for me at first. I would always either get too narrow or too wide of a turn. On the first cone weave, I eventually figured out that it was easier to do if you used more speed. But on the second, between going more slowly on the more difficult weave and attempting to use clutch control while turning, I was a complete mess.

As an aside, why do they have you use the clutch during a turning exercise? I distinctly remember being told during other portions of the course to NEVER use the clutch while turning. I had no problem finding the friction zone when going straight, but while doing a weave, I found it distracting and difficult.

Quote:
I agree here that motorcycle operation is not very complicated, but when you throw in all of the other factors it is MUCH more demanding than operating a car. The fact is that, even though they teach you to in driver's ed to be aware of your surroundings, it is nowhere NEAR as important to do so as it is on a motorcycle. The only similarities to riding a bike in traffic is that you have obey the same laws as all other motorists. Other than that, it is entirely different as you have to constantly and aggressively scan your surroundings, worry about falling over, etc. There are also the little things that you don't worry about in a car - for example, crossing over railroad tracks in the rain. If you were never told this information you would be unaware that railroad tracks, metal grates, etc, pose a hazard to a motorcylcist, until you found out the hard way (or watched someone else find out). That is the true purpose of the classroom portion of the MSF - all of this information is not something that is intuitive to a new rider.
Don't get me wrong, the classroom portion wasn't entirely useless, however, surprisingly enough, I already knew almost everything. I had read up on motorcycling quite a bit beforehand and talked to a few friends. The classroom portion just seemed incredibly drawn out and slow to me. Again, I'm probably quicker than the average bear on the uptake, though, so that's probably just a personal problem.

Quote:
Other examples - to continue rolling on the throttle through a turn, knowing that you are supposed to rider out a locked rear tire, etc - all of this is stuff you cannot know without having been told or experienced it.
Unfortunately, reading or hearing about things like that did/does absolutely nothing for me. Unless I can actually physically execute something, it's not going to happen. And I can't physically execute without some practice, more often than not.

Quote:
As I recall, driver's ed classes don't start by putting the student into the car and saying 'drive' - there is classroom instruction to familiarize the student with the rules and laws of the road as well as with the control of the car.
Also a problem for me. During Driver's Ed., like MSF, I was bored to tears during the classes. While driving came to me faster and more naturally than riding, (at least it seemed that way, perhaps this had something to do with spending an entire day on a really simple concept), the classes didn't help me at all. In my case, at least, knowing was not half the battle.

Quote:
I agree with you, but reading about the experiences of other good (and bad motorcyclists) helps you out. That is what the MSF is based on. Reading Twist of the Wrist II has helped me understand the mechanics of the motorcyle and taught me MANY things I didn't 'know' (at least know in the sense that I conciously knew them). Reading other books will hopefully make me aware of situations other riders have encountered that I have never come across or never considered.
I definitely agree that knowledge helps. I've read a number of books on auto racing despite my attitude towards printed materials related to physical activities. I've also read quite a bit on motorcycling already. But reading hasn't, and likely never will, made me a better rider.

Quote:
Once again, I agree, however, if no one had ever imparted that knowledge to you, would you have known it? Probably not. It requires both being 'taught' and practice, and the MSF course never stated they would make you an expert and you would be able to handle all situations - they even tell you to go out and practice. Good motorcyclists are constantly practicing swerves, emergency braking, tight turns, etc.
True enough, but the knowledge on its own isn't the most valuable thing. Without the ability to actually execute, it's mostly worthless.

Quote:
I think you must have had bad instructors. I certainly don't agree with the analysis that everyone was expected to have the natural ability of Nicky Hayden. I'm not even close to that level and still consider myself a novice rider due to the fact I only recently picked up riding again after a 5 year layoff, yet I found the exercises most useful and doable as an introduction to controlling a motorcycle. I just think you got hit with bad instructors this time around.
No, I was definitely exagerrating with that analogy. But it did seem as though the classroom portion was designed for below-average intellects while the riding portion was designed for people with above-average kinesthetic skills. Again, I'm probably just not the most coordinated person in the world.

Quote:
I remember looking at the u-turn box thinking 'crap, I don't know if I can do the bigger box, let alone the smaller one'. By the end of the day, I was able to do it (not 100% confidently, but I KNEW I could do it).
I actually really enjoyed that exercise. At least up until the point where they kept making me slow down to the point where I felt I was going to fall.

Quote:
I'm still learning things when I drive everyday. It's a constant learning experience because the stupidity of those surrounding you is boundless
Agreed.

Quote:
Why not grab a friend and perform the exercises from the MSF in a parking lot? That may be just what you needed.

Your driving test for the Motorcycle Endorsement is probably similar (if not identical) to what is taught in the MSF - just keep this in mind. The state doesn't care how good you are at normal speeds. If you can't pass their test (no matter how irrelevant it seems), you can't have the endorsement.
True enough, but I'm not sure that's a good plan. While I definitely like the idea of learning with a friend in a parking lot, I'm not sure they know any more about low-speed cone weaves than I do, and if I was having trouble in the course, I definitely don't think my friends want me tooling around on their bikes. Besides, if I can't do the stuff on a 250, am I really going to be able to on a TL1000R, which is probably the lowest-end bike any of them owns?

Quote:
In Ohio, the MSF course was only $25.00. Had it been as expensive as yours I might not have taken it. As was pointed out earlier, it's the luck of the draw with instructors. I happened to have to very good ones. Sounds like you got some 'not so good ones'.
I'm jealous. But I guess everything's more expensive and less friendly in NY, no?

Quote:
Don't give up and be careful out there.
Ah, some encouragement. I wish I'd gotten some of that at MSF. Instead, after I got kicked out of the class, I got these kind words:

"Don't worry, you were one of the weaker riders all day."

"Don't worry, it took a friend of mine's wife five years to learn how to ride."

I was feeling just spectacular after that crap. I felt like decking the guy.

Anyway, thanks for the response, we'll see how it progresses from here.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 03:25 PM
 
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Sounds like you may have just had very strict to the books instructors...

My MSF class was this past Tuesday and Wednesday during a nasty nor'easter. Cold and rainy with crazy wind gusts of up to 60 mph... Needless to say, it sucked!

While the class time was a bit long, my class did a lot of going over the controls and discussing people's past experiences in regards to what they did wrong and what would have been a better idea as well as the book and movie stuff.

I'm in the same boat as you, never been on a bike before the class with the exception of showing up at the training center to make sure they had something I fit on since I'm 4'10 and 95 lbs.(GZ250).

So nasty weather and all we get on with our drills and I must have low sided a good 5-6 times due to the weather and having to fight the bike to keep it running (also weather related). One time I fell was very much my fault though... the bike does go where you look and the grass is not a good place to space out and stare at...

I've been driving stick cars for years so clutch/throttle theories are nothing new to me. As for using the clutch to control speeds... I do this more than using my brakes. I've always done it in my cars and probably always will on my bike. It's a matter of preference, but if you really know how to work the clutch, brakes are practically unnecessary with the exception of emergencies. That's jmho, but everybody has their own driving preferences.

Things are definately easier in second gear, it's far less twitchy then first, not sure if you ever got out of first or not. We went as far as third in class. Most of my problems occurred at less than 10 mph and usually when I had somebody riding really slow in front of me where I couldn't accellerate to where I felt comfortable.

We get through the class and are given a few breaks when it came to the final exam since everyone was exhausted and freezing, but everyone passed. I spoke with my instructor when all was said and done and was told I have no issues with the skills, but my biggest obstacle is my size. Only one person out of the 23 of us was dismissed and that was because after half the first day he couldn't get the hang of the clutch/throttle relationship.

Basically that whole long winded response was to say hang in there and hopefully the next time through will be better. My bike just got delivered on Saturday and I know I'm not ready to hit the road yet, so low traffic side streets and parking lots will be my friends for a while. Some people start out better than others and like anything else, it'll get easier with practice
crystal is offline  
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