The best way for any new rider to learn how to ride a motorcycle is by starting out with an MSF Course. MSF stands for Motorcycle Safety Foundation, and they provide motorcycle safety courses across the country in most mid-size or larger cities. In many states these courses are provided in conjunction with the state Department of Transportation (or Highway Department), such that the in-class written test and the practical motorcycle riding test given during the course will also count for getting your motorcycle license — so when you pass the class you just take your class certificate to the DMV and pay the fee to get your M-endorsement added to your license.
While the MSF actually provides many different types and levels of motorcycle riding classes (including trike, military, and dirt riding courses), in this article I’ll just go over the three most popular MSF motorcycle driving classes they offer.
MSF Basic RiderCourse
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic RiderCourse (BRC) is the traditional “new to motorcycle riding” class that most people (especially those with no riding experience) should take. For this class, the school provides beginner motorcycles for you to learn on, so all you need is a helmet, gloves and boots.. The MSF Basic Rider Course is a fifteen hour class that involves five hours of classroom time and ten hours of training on motorcycles. This course is designed to take someone like I was, with absolutely no experience riding a motorcycle whatsoever, and starting from the very basics (like where the throttle is, where the clutch is, etc.) give you the education and training to get your license and know the basics of how to ride a motorcycle safely and mitigate risks. The classroom time will teach you what you need to know for the written test — such as common dangers for motorcycle riders and how to avoid them, and the ten hours on the motorcycles will teach you from the start: how to gear up for motorcycle riding, how to mount a motorcycle the right way, how to start a motorcycle,etc. and you will progress to how to stop a motorcycle, how to stop a motorcycle on a curve, how to ride curves, avoiding road obstacles on a motorcycle, etc. until you know enough basics that you are ready for the motorcycle riding test that will let you get your motorcycle license endorsement. This includes learning how to do a figure 8 inside of a box to demonstrate low speed turning skills. Again, this is the motorcycle class that most new riders should take if they have little or no riding experience. It is a great way to learn how to safely ride a motorcycle, and most insurance companies give a discount for folks who have completed this motorcycle safety class.
The MSF Basic RiderCourse 2
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic RiderCourse 2 is a one-day motorcycle riding class that is designed for students with some motorcycle riding experience to get the knowledge and written and riding testing needed in order to get their motorcycle license endorsement. Students must bring their own motorcycle (some sites will rent motorcycles) along with helmet, gloves, and long sleeves and long pants. This class is not suitable for those with no motorcycle riding experience. This class is good for riders with some experience riding — whether it be folks who have dirt bike riding experience or folks who used to ride or who have been practicing on their own and now want to get their motorcycle riding license. You can also take this class if you already have your motorcycle endorsement and want to get some extra training on your own motorcycle. I did that and I highly recommend that — it really helped me gain confidence on my own motorcycle — which was bigger and taller than the motorcycles I practiced with in the first BRC course that I took.
The MSF Advanced RiderCourse
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Advanced RiderCourse is designed for experienced motorcycle riders who already have their motorcycle license endorsement and their own bike. This is only a skills-building motorcycle class and does not count toward licensing — your insurance company may give additional discounts for taking this class (but you will need to confirm with them). This class teaches additional techniques to avoid motorcycle accidents, swerving around obstacles, motorcycle trail braking techniques, additional cornering techniques and more in order to help you to be a safer motorcycle rider and avoid accidents.
So, I highly recommend that every new motorcycle rider take an MSF motorcycle riding course to get licensed, and also that you take the Advanced RiderCourse to increase your safety on a motorcycle. You can find the locations of classes near you by visiting the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website.
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