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very big dumb
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my halfassed MSF ARC review. Please note, I'm not a great writer, nor is this really going to be well organized or anything else.

It's a forum post, not a scientific journal article :p
Vids will be in 2nd post once they upload

So my buddy and I took the FREE course offered by the PA MSF, their new ARC. It is indeed a bit of an advanced class in that it
is expected that you are a fairly experienced rider. It is NOT a replacement for the ERC that half the world took before (that
was just renamed to BRC2).

We showed up in the morning after a rather miserable foggy ride (I was basically flying IFR for a good chunk of the trip since
visibility was down to 20 yards in some sections). We came to find a bunch of bikes you would expect experienced riders to
ride. A concourse, a couple vstroms, a tiger 800, fz6, and a couple that I can't remember. Lots of experience and knowledge in
the group. The cbr and I were kinda odd ducks since we were a bit younger than the others.

Class structure
The coaches went over the paperwork (the usual insurance reg license inspection thing) and gave us a bit of a self-assesment
sheet (along the lines of "how do you take risks" and "what's your experience"). This was followed by the usual introductions
thing (I really hope they don't have agoraphobic students heh). Then the slideshow and discussion started. The course is kinda
based on the Nick Ienatsch sport riding techniques and uses a few of his graphics. A bunch of discussion on traction, vision, etc.
The usual stuff that's covered in every one of the keith code/lee parks/nick ienatsch/james r davis/etc. books. Covered a lot of
stuff but it wasn't very in depth (can't cover the world in 2 hours).
The fun part was that there were a bunch of questions for group discussion. Basically an opportunity for us to discuss and share
experiences. It totaly helps, unlike the usual "i know this and i will tell it to you" format that you usually see. Of course Q&A was
going on at the same time. And no hoky videos like the BRC classroom (ughhhhh).



Exercises (I'm sure I forgot a couple) -vids as they upload. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4639E142DC4BB820 and they'll be in the MSF ARC
playlist
-we started with the same swerves as in brc/brc2. they're fun and good vision practice, so no complaints.
-the next was the quickstop. This time without the usual "you were anticipating" or "don't cover the brake" etc. (the coaches
ride in the REAL WORLD and not the MSF BRC fantasy world so they let people use techniques that they're comfortable with as
long as they're not dangerous.) My buddy on the CBR said he found it quite helpful.
-circles. Same as 90% of the lee parks exercises. ride around in a circle shifting your vision to the next cone. This kinda sucks
when you're behind someone slow since it makes it a bit boring.
-circles with obstacle. Into the circle an "obstacle" is added. You have to swerve around it on the inside or outside. In the other
circle, you have to add a bit of breaks near a marker cone. Once again, this would be better without a slower rider in front.
-swerve. and then brake-swerve. You ride towards an "obstacle" (line on the ground) through a set of narrowly-spaced cones,
then swerve to avoid, then exit through a set of narrowly spaced cones. Then for the second half you add brakes.
-the peanut (multiple turn exercise). Same as in the brc/brc2 and good practice for linking left and right turns together.
-the spiral (a set of 180 degree turns with continuously decreasing radii)
-the lane change thing. I can't explain it better, though i'm sure it has a name. basically you ride in 2 lanes and after every oval
change lanes. It's fun and you have to make sure you coexist with the other 8 riders on the course.

Takeaways (for me)
-This is much harder at low speeds than higher speeds. Lower speed magnifies mistakes and shows that even if you think
you're smooth, you're actually kinda sloppy.
-This is great practice. You can self-analyse and feel what you're doing wrong.
-Totaly worthwhile (i'd probably even pay for it)

Comparison to Lee Parks Total Control ARC
-MSF ARC Has a group discussion section, not just Tracey (or whoever) reading his powerpoints. Nothing against the format,
but this was more interactive.
-TC ARC goes into much more detail on throttle, braking, body position, vision, etc. But this course covers more street scenarios
and less "cornering school" type scenarios.
-TC ARC would be more helpful to track-oriented crowd. This is more helpful to street.
-MSF ARC has a slightly less experienced target audience than TC ARC it seems.
-TC ARC has A LOT more individual feedback. Every time you do something, you get advice whether you're struggling, or doing
it well. There's always room for comments. Either I got infinitely better (at least I didn't crash like I did at TC ARC) or the
expectations are lower here. This isn't a bad thing, it does let me know I'm doing something right, but I would not have minded
being told "you suck" every time I did something. Once again, TC ARC has higher expectations. That's fine.

Small gripes
-none really.
-tar snakes in the parking lot. not an issue, but a bit annoying.

Summary:
HappySV is probably the best msf coach i've had so far (and I've take a few erc classes). No i'm not being a brown-noser, if the
course sucked or he was boring or not a good coach, I would tell him and the rest of the world.
 

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Thanks for this feedback - it's appreciated!

For the riders in PA - this is free folks, and if you don't take advantage of this stuff I personally think you're nuts :)

www.PAMSP.com for details and to register

for those outside of PA, you are never too old or too experienced to learn something new or hone you skills. Trust me I go from Coaching at the MSF range to being a student at the racetrack - we're all learning!

Ride safe everyone.

Brian
 

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Thanks for the review! I have a good friend who lives in East Greenville, rides a Harley Sportster and a 1967 Triumph Bonneville.

I might have to look into taking the ARC.
 

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Yeah I just took the ARC in mid June to satisfy my training (MSRC) requirements for the Naval base I work on in central PA. It was a great course and I learned a lot of and realized areas I need to work on.

Funniest thing about it was at the end of June the Navy said that Civilians no longer need the training requirement to ride on base. I'm just happy the course is free in PA.
 

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very big dumb
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Funniest thing about it was at the end of June the Navy said that Civilians no longer need the training requirement to ride on base.
regardless of whether it's mandatory or not, it's definitely a good idea to do...
 

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I just took the ARC a little over a week ago at the Tobyhanna range. It was a great course and I learned a lot. For the life of me, I can't figure out why sooooo many PA residents don't take this absolutely free course. There were only five students in my class, including me, and three of the five were MSF instructors themselves. I just don't get it. It's one day and free. Why not!?!?!?!?!
 

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very big dumb
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just took the ARC a little over a week ago at the Tobyhanna range. It was a great course and I learned a lot. For the life of me, I can't figure out why sooooo many PA residents don't take this absolutely free course. There were only five students in my class, including me, and three of the five were MSF instructors themselves. I just don't get it. It's one day and free. Why not!?!?!?!?!
+1
i'm taking it AGAIN sept 1st (just for the practice, and as a persuasion tactic to get some of my friends out there)
 

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Interesting course. I've taken the BRC when I first started riding, followed by the ERC a year or so later (thought it was a waste of my time, honestly). I've been to the track, consider myself relatively competent, and just took TC ARC with Cristine in Poughkeepsie, NY. That was a good course, but a little less technical than I was looking for (what do ou want for a parking lot?).

That being said, what is this course going to do for me? Sell me on this.
 

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Probably nothing. Once you know all there is to know, there isn't any point left to study and learning.
 

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Probably nothing. Once you know all there is to know, there isn't any point left to study and learning.
Typical svrider dick response. Unlike most of the college students and out of work on this site, my time is at a premium. I retort...is there anything truly remarkable that sets this apart from the TC ARC (yes, I read the opening review and subsequent posts). If I knew it all I wouldn't have made it this far.
 

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Interesting course. I've taken the BRC when I first started riding, followed by the ERC a year or so later (thought it was a waste of my time, honestly). I've been to the track, consider myself relatively competent, and just took TC ARC with Cristine in Poughkeepsie, NY. That was a good course, but a little less technical than I was looking for (what do ou want for a parking lot?).

That being said, what is this course going to do for me? Sell me on this.
It's free. Why not take it? Time is at a premium for me as well. However, one Sunday isn't going to do me in. Is your time at such a premium that you can't spare a single day this year?

I've done three track days and the BRC and I still found the course to be helpful, particularly working on trail braking.
 

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So they particularly covered trail braking? I'm partially shocked. That is something that you need to buy the TC ARC Level 2 for... could be worth it, alone.

Time IS really tough, but there is one more course offered this year. It comes down to either this or a track day on that weekend, and I'm sure I'll have hell to pay for either. I need to make it worth it, lol.
 

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So they particularly covered trail braking? I'm partially shocked. That is something that you need to buy the TC ARC Level 2 for... could be worth it, alone.

Time IS really tough, but there is one more course offered this year. It comes down to either this or a track day on that weekend, and I'm sure I'll have hell to pay for either. I need to make it worth it, lol.
They did specifically cover trail braking... However, it wasn't a full on clinic on it. However, I did find it quite useful.

Honestly though, if it's between the ARC and a track day due to not enough time for both, I'd choose the track day. This isn't to say that the ARC isn't worth it... It's just that a track day is... well... better.
 

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Thanks, that is the honest opinion I was looking for.

FWIW, I found the MSF BRC to be fantastic and sent other new riders their way. The ERC was a complete failure IMO, however. It was basically a repeat of the BRC, but on your own bike. My instructors were anti-sportbike/pro-cruiser, so that made it 'interesting'. I was repeatably chastised in the group discussion by the instructors for stopping my Buell on it's nose with the rear skimming the ground; that bike really didn't need any rear brake due to it's short wheelbase, so I rarely used it. The cruiser guys, however, were allowed to skid the rear tire to receive group applause. It was rather nauseating. Even for free, I left disappointed. Hence my apprehension with another one of those experiences.

I'll keep my eyes on the schedule for a class next season. Hopefully my schedule is better...
 

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very big dumb
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Typical svrider dick response. Unlike most of the college students and out of work on this site, my time is at a premium. I retort...is there anything truly remarkable that sets this apart from the TC ARC (yes, I read the opening review and subsequent posts). If I knew it all I wouldn't have made it this far.
nobody has said it's better than the lee parks class. it's different. It's not as much of a cornering school, but it is more street-oriented.
What it does do, is give you time and space to practice. And some people don't have the drive to practice or maybe don't have a good parking lot etc.
It's also FREE (unlike the $300+ lee parks class which was a bit too much money for what I got out of it, could have done 2 track days for that money...)
There are drills that the lee parks class doesn't do, like the quickstop and swerve. Useful for street riding.
 
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