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This is a very very old thread, but rather than create a new one: I ordered the DVD and watched half of it so far. Three key points: use the clutch friction zone for under 12 MPH maneuvers, apply a bit of rear brake, and look at where you want to go.

None of the books really covered the first 2 points. David Hough / Proficient Motorcycling discourage the use of the clutch for tight turns at low speed. No one talked about applying a bit of rear brake. None mentioned tips for small petite women on how to lift a fallen 800 lb. Harley Davidson.

I ordered Twist of the Wrist 2 on DVD and will try to watch it before I take my MSF BRC. I have both of the books and it wasn't as good as some of the others.
 

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If you are a BRAND NEW rider with ZERO riding experience that has NOT taken MSF yet, I do not recommend reading these books prior to the course. The course is DESIGNED for people with ZERO riding experience and more often than not, the people that go into the course with a completely blank slate end up being the ones that get the most out of it.


Regarding the clutch for 12mph maneuvers, that depends entirely on the bike, how it is geared, how it handles low RPM's, how coordinated the rider is, etc. When I'm on the MSF bikes demonstrating the two consecutive U turns in the box, I use SECOND gear and use ZERO clutch and I actually recommend that to the students who are having trouble with it. Reason being: for BEGINNER RIDERS, using the clutch for low speed maneuvers dramatically complicates things. They often don't have that level of coordination yet.


After you've done MSF, check out Riding in the Zone - that's another good one, but again, ALL of these are a step BEYOND the MSF course. I do NOT recommend reading these books before you take the MSF course. It will very likely over complicate things for you and it's quite possible that you'll end up over thinking everything. Most of the literature mentioned in this thread is early-intermediate to advanced riding literature. It's intended for people that already have some riding experience and already have a foundation to work with.
 

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Too late! I bought and read all of those books already. My BRC is this weekend. I have two performance cars that use manual transmissions so the clutch friction zone is nothing new. I dont like to jump into something new without knowing some fundamentals in order to get the most out of the experience. It is just that some of the books did not cover the ideas presented in ride like a pro.
 

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Yeah I understand, but the MSF course IS what teaches the fundamentals... that's its whole purpose. The books you're reading are describing more advanced techniques.

I'm not saying what you've done WON'T help, just that it COULD actually work against you at some points during the course if you let your mind get preoccupied with what you read in the books and not what you're learning in the MSF BRC... because some things will likely contradict what you've already read.

I think a better choice for those who haven't gone through MSF yet would be to get your hands on an MSF BRC RiderCourse Handbook and go through that.
 

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Too late! I bought and read all of those books already. My BRC is this weekend. I have two performance cars that use manual transmissions so the clutch friction zone is nothing new. I dont like to jump into something new without knowing some fundamentals in order to get the most out of the experience. It is just that some of the books did not cover the ideas presented in ride like a pro.
The msf will cover all of it, as oreo keeps trying to tell you, which is why you're not really gaining anything. The risk with a lot of people is they will go into the course thinking they already know what the instructor is teaching, end up coming across as ignorant and not wanting to listen, at which point the instructors end up tuning you out and you dont get full value out of the course.

The first lesson in MSF is sitting on the bike and just walking it forward with the clutch to find the friction zone, trust me they start with the absolute basics and the first half of the first day actually goes fairly slow. The best thing you can do is go into the course with the mindset that you know absolutely nothing. When the instructor tells you you're doing something wrong dont think you understand what you're doing and wtf is he talking about. If he says something even if it *feels* like you're doing it right it's because he sees something wrong, and from my experience what feels right to a new rider quite often isnt.

Oh and 12mph is pretty fast but the idea that yes it's okay to slip a motorcycle clutch at low speeds is a good one to accept (as its not like a car, bikes use multi disc wet clutches so they dont overheat as easily). At msf they'll teach you how to do it so you can roll along at a babys crawl without needing to put a foot down, very useful in parking lots and slow traffic.
 

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At msf they'll teach you how to do it so you can roll along at a babys crawl without needing to put a foot down, very useful in parking lots and slow traffic.
This skill is important! It will differentiate you from the duck walking Harley dudes and the squid that has to put his sandals down every time his bike dips below 10mph. Shit, just finishing 'The Box' in front of them would probably have said Harley dude and Squid thinking you're a 1337 stunta...
 

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If you are a BRAND NEW rider with ZERO riding experience that has NOT taken MSF yet, I do not recommend reading these books prior to the course. The course is DESIGNED for people with ZERO riding experience and more often than not, the people that go into the course with a completely blank slate end up being the ones that get the most out of it.


Regarding the clutch for 12mph maneuvers, that depends entirely on the bike, how it is geared, how it handles low RPM's, how coordinated the rider is, etc. When I'm on the MSF bikes demonstrating the two consecutive U turns in the box, I use SECOND gear and use ZERO clutch and I actually recommend that to the students who are having trouble with it. Reason being: for BEGINNER RIDERS, using the clutch for low speed maneuvers dramatically complicates things. They often don't have that level of coordination yet.


After you've done MSF, check out Riding in the Zone - that's another good one, but again, ALL of these are a step BEYOND the MSF course. I do NOT recommend reading these books before you take the MSF course. It will very likely over complicate things for you and it's quite possible that you'll end up over thinking everything. Most of the literature mentioned in this thread is early-intermediate to advanced riding literature. It's intended for people that already have some riding experience and already have a foundation to work with.
Well for your U-Turns...like you said it would depend on your bike.
Luckily for me, my bike doesn't stall on 1st gear with the clutch lever unpulled. However, I can only do this if I ease my clutch level slowly out and then fully release....
If i did U-turn in 2nd gear the bike would stall cause not enough rpm.
 

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The "Pro" videos are good...for learning how to ride in tight confines. Even though u-turns and such aren't "life savers", I believe learning to perform slow speed maneuvers builds confidence and is a usefu, practical skill to have.

FYI, if it's a video you are looking for, my book Riding in the Zone, comes with a 30 minute DVD that explains several concepts and demonstrates drills that take you beyond the MSF course.

Keep practicing!
 

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Today is the last day in my BRC and I felt the pace was kind of uneven if not a bit fast at first. I'm not sure I'm confident to take a bike on the road after we're done. I finished up the first day of riding lessons - exercises 1-10. I don't feel I have enough practice for the tight slow turns, like the u-turns and offset cone weave. I had a lot of fun in the cornering exercise, just WOT in the straights, brake hard before the turn, etc... not too different from NASCAR in Bristol.

But tomorrow is the written exam, exercises 11-17, skill eval, and the MI riding test. I'm not confident I have enough practice in just 1 day to pass the riding tests - how difficult is the actual riding exam? I think I was wasting too much time learning how to balance on a motorcycle when it's stopped. Once I understood where I needed to go and got a better feel of the bike, the controls were intuitive. It's just the actual handling of the bike that has me a bit concerned.

The bikes we used were absolute shit. A Honda CB125T I had made my hips hurt because I felt like a giant riding on a kid's tricycle, and there was no room for my size 12 ACU boots to fit the gearshift or rear brake pedal intuitively.

For those that went through the BRC, what can I expect on the last day? I've got a good feel for the basic controls, but if you put me on a modern motorcycle I'm not sure I could handle one well at low speeds. Any tips on passing the riding test and written test?

PS: I will put Riding in the Zone on my shopping list!
 

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Today is the last day in my BRC and I felt the pace was kind of uneven if not a bit fast at first. I'm not sure I'm confident to take a bike on the road after we're done. I finished up the first day of riding lessons - exercises 1-10. I don't feel I have enough practice for the tight slow turns, like the u-turns and offset cone weave. I had a lot of fun in the cornering exercise, just WOT in the straights, brake hard before the turn, etc... not too different from NASCAR in Bristol.

But tomorrow is the written exam, exercises 11-17, skill eval, and the MI riding test. I'm not confident I have enough practice in just 1 day to pass the riding tests - how difficult is the actual riding exam? I think I was wasting too much time learning how to balance on a motorcycle when it's stopped. Once I understood where I needed to go and got a better feel of the bike, the controls were intuitive. It's just the actual handling of the bike that has me a bit concerned.

The bikes we used were absolute shit. A Honda CB125T I had made my hips hurt because I felt like a giant riding on a kid's tricycle, and there was no room for my size 12 ACU boots to fit the gearshift or rear brake pedal intuitively.

For those that went through the BRC, what can I expect on the last day? I've got a good feel for the basic controls, but if you put me on a modern motorcycle I'm not sure I could handle one well at low speeds. Any tips on passing the riding test and written test?

PS: I will put Riding in the Zone on my shopping list!
The Box is the hardest part of the riding test. (Written test is a complete joke that a 5 yr old could pass.) My course back in the day (3 years ago) gave people either Honda Rebel 250s or a dual sport (3 of them.) Being 6 foot 6 I was one of the dual sports. I couldn't even imagine sitting on that little cruiser.

For The Box? No front brake. The courses so far should have taught you clutch control by way of the friction zone on the clutch. Short roll ons for when you need the gas. (I never blipped the throttle as I saw some do. Rolled on just felt more controlled.) The other exercise aren't hard at all. The MSF doesn't have you master anything. It's merely a stepping stone for mastering the shit yourself on your own bike. It's there to build all of the positive traits for you to work on and remember even further. Can you honestly say that you'd be looking all the way through your corners and rolling smooth and steady on the throttle if they hadn't told you to? I don't think I would have. I'd be braking during the turn. (no no) Looking barely in front of me. (no no) etc

You should be fine. When you pass the program, do yourself a favor and find a nice empty parking lot on your bike. Perhaps purchase some cones from a sporting goods store (I did.) and set your own course up either from memory or from information on the net. Do this not too long after the course so that everything is still fresh in your head. Remember what they taught you and practice it on your own ride, which WILL be heavier than that bike they have you on there. Practice your ass off. I rode my first bike so much I damn near had to jump start my filthy, covered in dirt from neglect, car the first time I wanted to use it for a trip to work when it was pouring down rain. You'll get a kick out of mastering this shit. Your confidence will build SUBSTANTIALLY, I promise.

Good luck.
 

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Fun fun fun!!!

First thing's first... There are no "tests" or "exams"... only a couple of minor "evaluations" :p Don't get yourself too worked up over it. Riding & Written, both evaluations will be nothing that you haven't already learned or done yet.

Day two is just a continuation of the exercises you completed on day one. You'll do some more turning, swerving, braking, shifting, etc.

My biggest tip for you is if you take ANYTHING away from this course... REALLY GRASP and take ownership of the four steps of turning a motorcycle:

SLOW.....
LOOK.....
PRESS.... (or lean)
ROLL....


This should be your mantra. Having this down pat can be a true lifesaver... Learn it, love it, live it :)
 

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pick your head up, you're probably staring at the cones in the slow stuff.
 

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I passed the BRC and got my MSF card, but I don't have a good grasp on the friction zone - I need to do this more smoothly but I didn't have enough time or constructive feedback to really practice properly. Overall, if I had to do this all over again I'd probably just find a way to practice enough to take and pass the state skills test, get my endorsement, and practice - then take one of these MSF courses to improve. As a beginner to bikes, I found it very frustrating to learn at a comfortable pace in the BRC.
 

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I passed the BRC and got my MSF card, but I don't have a good grasp on the friction zone - I need to do this more smoothly but I didn't have enough time or constructive feedback to really practice properly. Overall, if I had to do this all over again I'd probably just find a way to practice enough to take and pass the state skills test, get my endorsement, and practice - then take one of these MSF courses to improve. As a beginner to bikes, I found it very frustrating to learn at a comfortable pace in the BRC.
As I said earlier, man. That's what parking lots are for. Plus there are MANY videos on youtube about people explaining all sorts of the basics. Added to that the info from the BRC should still be fresh in your head and short of time I don't see a problem. (Well, weather is one...) But still, it's not overly complex. Practicing by yourself first is usually a no-no because you may inadvertently ingrain things into your head from doing them over and over that are wrong. Now they need erased by a rider coach and you need to be 're-taught'. BRC first at least gives you all of the building blocks even if you are a bit starved for information/criticism now.

Oh, and grats.
 

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Thanks! Counter-steering was actually a lot simpler than I thought. Press in the direction you want to go, and I was having a blast with the slalom and corners. I actually got told by the instructors to slow down several times.
 
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