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Old 09-03-2018, 11:07 AM   #1
stewart
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Disappointing Advanced Ridercourse Experience

I attended the MSF Advanced Ridercourse yesterday. I found it to be a disappointing experience. I wanted to share my experience here to see if maybe my perception is off. And I guess I also need to vent a bit. I apologize for the length. TL/DR at the bottom.

It was a small class. Only 4 scheduled, one didn't show up. The 2 others there were military and were required to be there. Neither seemed too excited to learn, but didn't have bad attitudes. The guy said he had ridden a few hundred miles this year and about 800 last year on a CBR600. The lady said she wrecked her previous bike and was afraid to lean her new R1. I would say that neither neither belonged in an advanced class.

We started the class with the True/False MSF pretest and briefly went over the correct answers. We did a risk assessment/sensation seeking evaluation and scored it, but never discussed the meaning of the score or how that score related to safety/proficiency.

We went to the range and did offset weaves. I was sloppy at first, but improved. I was looking at the next turn, but not the next few turns. I was coached to keep my eyes up and use peripheral vision and memory to navigate the cones. It was effective advice and my smoothness and speed improved.

We then did braking practice. The coach said I needed to be harder on the brakes because I have ABS. I said that I did not pay for ABS on this bike. He said that since I have a speed sensor on my front wheel, I must have ABS. I explained that it's for the speedometer, I would have seen a ABS computer when I put on my new brake lines. I practice emergency braking quite often and can make my front tire howl. The course was dirty and the deteriorating lot had patches of sandy gravel, so I was skidding the front tire some. One time he told me to stop with rear brake only and I must have skidded for 3-4 full seconds before I finally stopped. I think I learned something and certainly gained experience, so it was a good exercise, but I think maybe the coach thought I wasn't trying hard enough.

We then did cornering drills. This is where it got disappointing for me. We were supposed to set corner entry speed and maintain that speed through a sweeping turn and a sort of chicane, then come around and do it again. R1 couldn't do it without grabbing her clutch to slow down mid turn. CBR was smoother but slow - he mentioned that the sandy bits were causing some concern. And we were all 3 on the on the little track at once. I never got to do the route clockwise at speed. I was able to get a couple counter-clockwise laps in without following anybody. But that's when the coach decided to try something different.

The coach got a motorcycle and helmet with a Senna. R1 had a Senna, and CBR did too but his battery was dead. I do not use any communications devices while riding. We then drove up and down a curvy street a few times. We would stop at a school on one end and a industrial area on the other. The coaching was "CBR, don't hook your boot heels on your footpegs; use the balls of your feet." "R1, you need to lean more, and keep your head inside your centerline." (I'm paraphrasing). I got no coaching other than, "match my apexes for these turns." This on-road portion lasted 30-40 minutes.

We got back to the facility just before 1:00pm. He wrote out the military personnel their completion cards. I didn't need a card, so I didn't get one. The disappointment didn't really set in until I was sitting back at my house at 1:30 thinking that I paid $150 for a class that wasn't even supposed to be over for another 3.5 hours and I didn't even get to attempt the box...or decreasing radius turns...or curve adjustments...or gap analysis...or whatever else was in the course description.

Did I expect to much from this Advanced Ridercourse? Was it just bad luck that I had so much more motorcycling experience than my classmates? Since it seems that MSF (at least in my area) isn't meeting my needs, where else should I go for training? I really feel like there are things I need to learn, so am I wrong to wrong to seek out training instead of just figuring things out through trial and error?

TL/DR (Too long/Didn't Read):
I'm an average/intermediate rider taking an advanced class, but I was quite a bit more experienced than my classmates. The class followed a schedule for a couple exercises, then went for a short group ride. The class ended 3.5 hours early.
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Old 09-03-2018, 11:37 AM   #2
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Re: Disappointing Advanced Ridercourse Experience

Time for a track day
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:49 AM   #3
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Re: Disappointing Advanced Ridercourse Experience

Good share.
Unfortunately all too normal.
MSF Experienced is more a class for those who already got through (earned or not) the MSF Basic. And I always cringe watching the certifications get signed for the basic course.

I've taken it three times (once required, once for insurance and once to hang with the wife) and had more miles / hours experience than the other riders combined. Usually more than the instructors. (Not a better rider, just more time in the saddle)

I look forward to taking the TC/ARC class that PA now has (they dumped MSF) if I get the chance.

Track day. Sigh. "Someday" I keep telling myself...
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:57 AM   #4
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Re: Disappointing Advanced Ridercourse Experience

My experience was better than yours, and by doing it I got the driver ed discount on both bike and car insurance. He also had us wear the beer goggles which allegedly mimic the effects of a few drinks, and try to walk a straight line. That was interesting.

Anyway, I agree a track day would be good for you. Also or in addition, the Lee Parks Advanced Riding Clinic.
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:03 AM   #5
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Re: Disappointing Advanced Ridercourse Experience

Quote:
I look forward to taking the TC/ARC class that PA now has (they dumped MSF) if I get the chance.
Ohio has also dumped the MSF Beginner Rider Course. (When I heard that, I assumed it was because somebody had offered a bigger kickback to legislators. Yes, I'm a cynical SOB.)
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:35 PM   #6
stewart
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Re: Disappointing Advanced Ridercourse Experience

I had been to this facility before. I did my original MSF course there way back when (1989, I think). This was the same place that worked with Lee Parks to bring the Total Control class to Arkansas. That class was amazing. Lee Parks was a great instructor, and I bonded with my bike that day more than any other. I'm hopeful that my experience on Sunday was a fluke. Maybe I just happened to sign up for a class that was less about learning and more about getting certifications so the military folks could ride on base.

Since there are no tracks in Arkansas, I've already looked in to going to Hallett in Oklahoma. They have motorcycle lapping days November 10 and 11, and I'm going to do my best to make those days.

In the end, it looks like this disappointing experience is spurring me on to get out of my comfort zone and go try something fun.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:35 PM   #7
Outlaws Justice
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Re: Disappointing Advanced Ridercourse Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by stewart View Post
I had been to this facility before. I did my original MSF course there way back when (1989, I think). This was the same place that worked with Lee Parks to bring the Total Control class to Arkansas. That class was amazing. Lee Parks was a great instructor, and I bonded with my bike that day more than any other. I'm hopeful that my experience on Sunday was a fluke. Maybe I just happened to sign up for a class that was less about learning and more about getting certifications so the military folks could ride on base.

Since there are no tracks in Arkansas, I've already looked in to going to Hallett in Oklahoma. They have motorcycle lapping days November 10 and 11, and I'm going to do my best to make those days.

In the end, it looks like this disappointing experience is spurring me on to get out of my comfort zone and go try something fun.
Take a real advanced level class, If you get a good instructor the TCT class is good, but only if you get the right instructor, there are many other options as well, I even have an advanced level program I offer, Real training for real riders.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:42 PM   #8
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Re: Disappointing Advanced Ridercourse Experience

I don't know who got away with adding in the myth of 'using the balls of your feet' in these courses. I know it's fashionable but IMHO it's absolute garbage!
1: You lose most of the stability and control that you would have had with full foot Arch contact on the footrests.
2: You have to move your feet to reach rear brake and gearshift levers, which mitigates against continuous stability because of weight transfer.
3: You have the ergonomic disadvantage and discomfort.

Roadracing (Circuit) is a completely different matter of course.
I'm truly concerned that learners will get sucked in by this 'balls', with dangerous consequences.
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Old 09-05-2018, 01:09 AM   #9
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Re: Disappointing Advanced Ridercourse Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joolstacho View Post
I don't know who got away with adding in the myth of 'using the balls of your feet' in these courses. I know it's fashionable but IMHO it's absolute garbage!
1: You lose most of the stability and control that you would have had with full foot Arch contact on the footrests.
2: You have to move your feet to reach rear brake and gearshift levers, which mitigates against continuous stability because of weight transfer.
3: You have the ergonomic disadvantage and discomfort.

Roadracing (Circuit) is a completely different matter of course.
I'm truly concerned that learners will get sucked in by this 'balls', with dangerous consequences.
I don't know if I've ever gotten advice one way or another, BUT, some counter-points:

1) With my arches on the pegs, my toes scrape pavement in tight turns (I have big feet, and I'm tall)
2) Putting weight on your arches is not good for your feet.
3) If I had my arches on the pegs, due to my body and foot length and the bike geometry, I would have to continually lift upwards on my foot to keep from pressing the gear shift or brake (strained ligament anyone?)

In my case, balls all the way.
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Old 09-05-2018, 01:29 AM   #10
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Re: Disappointing Advanced Ridercourse Experience

Quote:
1: You lose most of the stability and control that you would have had with full foot Arch contact on the footrests
Wrong. Look how martial arts fighters, tennis players, and many other athletes spend most of their time on the balls of their feet for stability, control and quickness of action.



Quote:
2: You have to move your feet to reach rear brake and gearshift levers, which mitigates against continuous stability because of weight transfer.
Wrong again. When braking and shifting, the bulk of your weight should be planted on your seat so it's not affected by you moving your feet front and back. You are actually in much better position to shift your body around for skillful cornering if you are on the balls of your feet -- see above.



Quote:
3: You have the ergonomic disadvantage and discomfort.
Huh?



I'm sorry, Joolstacho, but your case is pretty weak against all the tried and tested advantages of riding with the balls of your feet on the pegs -- both on street and track. Once you get the feel for it, there's just no going back.
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Last edited by OfirMX; 09-05-2018 at 01:53 AM.
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