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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Took a the Beginners Riders Course from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation this weekend. http://www.msf-usa.org/

There's so much information that these courses can teach you. Especially if you're a noobie like me and don't have the knowledge of bikes that mileage can give you.Â

Not only did I learn so much information at the course, but I also got to do my first ride in the rain and didn't have to worry about laying down my own bike! Weather was great Saturday, but rained most of the day Sunday. The only reason they'll stop the exercises is if it's lightning or high gusty winds. I tell you what. I am one whipped puppy. After leaning and counter balancing and sitting on a motorcycle for almost 18 hours over 2 days, I've got muscles aching that I didn't know I had.Â

Now, I need to go find me a parking lot to see if I can get this HUGE M109 to do a figure 8 in a 20 x 40 box. Took me a few tries, but finally got it down on a Kawasaki Eliminator 125, but I want to see how a bike 2 ft longer and 400lbs heavier can handle it.  ;)

I HIGHLY recommend to ANYONE who's new or hasn't ridden in a long time to take one of these courses. They're a wealth of knowledge that could possibly save your life one day.Â

I'll probably enroll in the Advanced course that MSF offers after I put some time and mileage on my bike. In that course though, you use your own bike. I'd sure hate to lay it down on a course.Â

In case you're wondering, I got my certificate. Got a 100 on the written test. On the course test, they give you "demerit" points for things you do wrong. You can only accumulate up to 20pts or you do not get a certificate. I had 3 points on the figure 8 for putting my foot down once and another three pts for not getting up enough speed going through a sweeping turn after slowing before it.

Had a guy with a Vrod there and he was talkin' $#% about the M109's. He got a 19 on his course test though! HAHAHAHHA!
 

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Congrats on the test!

I am taking the course in a few weeks. Just passed 100 miles on my 109. It is my first bike.

Any pointers for the tests?

Anything I could practice prior to going to the class?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
LISTEN and ABSORB everything the instructors tell you, is probably the best advice I can give.   Practice some low speed, tight u-turn and tight turn manuvers if you can(please be careful with the 109!!!).  Practice applying BOTH brakes evenly and smoothly at the same time and also downshifting into 1st while braking.  Practice "counter-balance": the technique of leaning your upper body away from the direction of the turn so in a slow speed turn, you can lean the bike more to take the turn tighter.  Practice "looking at your target" while in a turn.  Turn your head and look at the point where you want to go.  Don't look at the ground in front of the bike where the wheel is going.  The instructors kept saying, "If you look at the ground long enough, eventualy you'll meet it up close and personal".  I found that at first, I was looking down and had hard times in the tight slow turns and had to put my foot down.  Look ahead at your destination thru the turn and you'll be amazed how you can steer the bike right to it so much easier. 

Good luck.  you'll enjoy it and learn a lot.  The biggest thing to remember is it's fun.  Yeah, it's classwork and lessons, but the main reason you're there is to learn to ride safe so you can enjoy this two wheeled hobby so much more.  Have fun!
 

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I've been riding more than 30 years......I took the MSFC in 1986, as it was a requirement to ride on the military base where I worked. I'm going to be taking the Experienced Riders Course to freshen up the survival skills and make no mistakes....that's just what they are. The evasive maneuvers they teach you may well keep you alive and riding another day.

I have just over 1300 mi. on my 109 and a least twice per week I spend an hour or so at a local super market parking lot practicing figure eights. I'm down to two and one half spaces....and that's not hitting the bar stops. I think two spaces is possible even on a long bike like the 109. That's my goal.

Ride Safe
 

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Re: MSF Tips

Before I took the course I practiced the Uturns, figure 8s etc on a buddies bike for about a week before I took the course. When I drove the course the other guys were impressed with how smooth I could do my 8s. A little practice helps and I did get 3 points off for acceleration through the sweeping turn but I didn't remember him tell me that it was timed. I would have definitely accelerated. What I did was casually accelerate as all the other folks did. I think we all got 3 points for that one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Our Local Walmart has been closing at 8pm since Hurricane Katrina down here.  They can't get enough people to work so they can't stay open 24 hours.  That's good for me because I'll be in that lot practicing my tight turns and Uturns on the 109. 

I got that little Kawasaki Eliminator to do the uturn box in less than the two spaces they had outlined with cones.  At first they had us doing it in a three space box, then after two trys, they narrowed it down to the two space box.  I did pretty good in those, but during the actual testing, I didn't have enough speed going thru my second uturn and put my foot down.   :mad:

Only one person didn't get debited for not getting up enough speed in the turn and he only received 4 points on the rest of the course.  I was "second place" out of 9 with 6 points. Everyone in the class got their certificate though, so that was good.
 

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cdaniel76 said:
Now, I need to go find me a parking lot to see if I can get this HUGE M109 to do a figure 8 in a 20 x 40 box. Took me a few tries, but finally got it down on a Kawasaki Eliminator 125, but I want to see how a bike 2 ft longer and 400lbs heavier can handle it.  ;)
Good luck to you. I teach the MSF, and I don't even think I could do it on the M109. And I don't plan to try it either. :D
 

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Wanted said:
Good luck to you. I teach the MSF, and I don't even think I could do it on the M109. And I don't plan to try it either. :D
Where's you sense of adventure???? Recently whenever I bring the 109 to a stop I try to keep my feet on the pegs as long as I can. I vividly recall the consequences of removing your feet from the pegs with the front brake on while the bike is in forward motion........ With the low C/G of the 109 I'm amazed at how well I can maintain balance. Additionally with the "look through" and "not down figure eight technique I want to improve my overall maneuvering confidence.....I'm coming of a 1800VTX C and the handling of the 109 seems much more nimble.
 

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Oh, I'm certainly not saying the figure 8 can't be done on the M109. I just know I probably couldn't do it.  ;)
 

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My Buell is very top heavy and when I tried the HD Low rider I was surprised at how long I could stay still without dropping a foot. In fact I don't remember dropping a foot till I had to park it. That said if you have sport bike experience balance on a cruiser is a breeze.
 

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Wanted said:
Oh, I'm certainly not saying the figure 8 can't be done on the M109. I just know I probably couldn't do it. ;)
Keeping it upright is the most important think :) :) :)

P.S. I have the greatest respect for you folks who teach the MSFC.....Kudos you deserve it!! :) :) :) :) :)
 

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i've been riding for quite a while, but had never taken the MSF course until recently. the whole "looking" thing has really helped my riding a lot...not just in slow speed turns, but high speed as well. i had trouble with the 8's until i learned to look over my shoulder where i wanted to go, instead of at the ground. i did the figure 8 box without too much trouble on my 109 after applying the proper technique. the bike is very well balanced, and leans smoothly, in spite of it's size and weight.
 

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All;

Even if you don't take the course (which is a misstake) you should find out where the course is give at. These sites are mostly empty during the week but the course outlines are still there and you can practice and practice all for free. Locally they give the course at a high school. So all summer loong the parking lot is mostly empty.

enjoy
 

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I will be taking the MSF course in a couple weeks (my bike should be here by then) I'm trying to convince my buddy to take the course with me, but he keeps using the excuse "I already know how to ride a bike, why do I need to pay someone to teach me again" This kinda upsets me cause he's my best friend and I plan on riding with him all the time.

Anyways, I'm taking the course even though I know how to ride bikes also, but I've heard so many good things about the courses and what you learn from them.

Anyways, any sound advice that I can pass on to my friend to take the course with me? I've even offered to pay the 190.00 bill for him, but he keeps saying "nope, cause I already know how to ride a bike" /grrrrrr
 

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Griiririan said:
I will be taking the MSF course in a couple weeks (my bike should be here by then)Â I'm trying to convince my buddy to take the course with me, but he keeps using the excuse "I already know how to ride a bike, why do I need to pay someone to teach me again"Â This kinda upsets me cause he's my best friend and I plan on riding with him all the time.Â

Anyways, I'm taking the course even though I know how to ride bikes also, but I've heard so many good things about the courses and what you learn from them.

Anyways, any sound advice that I can pass on to my friend to take the course with me? I've even offered to pay the 190.00 bill for him, but he keeps saying "nope, cause I already know how to ride a bike" /grrrrrr In Pennsylvania the MSFC and Experienced Riders Course is given free of charge. The basic course provides bikes.......the ERC requires you to ride you own bike. Tell your friend that knowing how to ride a motorcycle and knowing how to ride a motorcycle defensively are not oranges and oranges........Most folks who take the Experienced Riders Course have 10,20,30 and some have 40 years cycling experience and come away learning something new or just freshen up old skills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just ask him what the "Press Method" is. If he doesn't know, he needs to take the course.

Answer: Press Method - To "press" downward on the side of the handle bar that you wish to go to in order to initiate lean, which in turn starts the turn.

Griiririan said:
I will be taking the MSF course in a couple weeks (my bike should be here by then)Â I'm trying to convince my buddy to take the course with me, but he keeps using the excuse "I already know how to ride a bike, why do I need to pay someone to teach me again"Â This kinda upsets me cause he's my best friend and I plan on riding with him all the time.Â

Anyways, I'm taking the course even though I know how to ride bikes also, but I've heard so many good things about the courses and what you learn from them.

Anyways, any sound advice that I can pass on to my friend to take the course with me? I've even offered to pay the 190.00 bill for him, but he keeps saying "nope, cause I already know how to ride a bike" /grrrrrr
 

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Griiririan said:
I will be taking the MSF course in a couple weeks (my bike should be here by then)Â I'm trying to convince my buddy to take the course with me, but he keeps using the excuse "I already know how to ride a bike, why do I need to pay someone to teach me again"Â This kinda upsets me cause he's my best friend and I plan on riding with him all the time.Â

Anyways, I'm taking the course even though I know how to ride bikes also, but I've heard so many good things about the courses and what you learn from them.

Anyways, any sound advice that I can pass on to my friend to take the course with me? I've even offered to pay the 190.00 bill for him, but he keeps saying "nope, cause I already know how to ride a bike" /grrrrrr
I haven't taken the course yet but have been considering it. Largely to the fact that some insurance companies offer a discount for having passed this course. I had the same mentality though. I've ridden for several years with no problems, but I don't want any either, so I'll probably take it this spring. Maybe the insurance savings would be a nice incentive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
wildwolf said:
Your first bike is a m109r?
Is this question for me?

If so, then yes. It is my first bike. Crazy, huh? Anyone can learn to ride on any bike as long as their sensible about it and don't try to go any further than their limitations are. The bike spent two weeks at work so I could get the feel of it just riding around in the parking lot. Many people have told me I'm crazy for jumping on an 1800 for the first time. Let them think what they want. I've never believed I should waste money in buying an older used bike just to learn how to ride and then turn around and get raped when I try to sell it. Also, why not learn on the bike that you'll be riding on?
 

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cdaniel76 said:
Is this question for me?Â

If so, then yes. It is my first bike. Crazy, huh? Anyone can learn to ride on any bike as long as their sensible about it and don't try to go any further than their limitations are. The bike spent two weeks at work so I could get the feel of it just riding around in the parking lot. Many people have told me I'm crazy for jumping on an 1800 for the first time. Let them think what they want. I've never believed I should waste money in buying an older used bike just to learn how to ride and then turn around and get raped when I try to sell it. Also, why not learn on the bike that you'll be riding on?Â
Kudos to you....I hear of people who buy a big cruiser and then want to borrow a smaller bike for their drivers test....makes no sense......why not take the test on the bike you always ride and feel comfortable with. I currently spend several hours weekly practicing figure eights on my 109....I'm down to two and one half parking spaces and am shooting to get it done in the width of two. I hadn't ridden in 12 years and went and bought a 1800 VTX/C, my prior bike....I heard the same things from my friends who I believe were envious......several traded smaller bikes for X's after seeing mine. Ya made a smart move....drive safe :) :) :) :) :) :)
 
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