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10 Things the MSF Motorcycle Course Doesnt Teach You

10 Things The MSF Motorcycle Course Doesn’t Teach You

We’ve all taken our motorcycle rider training. A weekend spent riding, sunshine, the wind at your face, it’s your first taste of the open road and life on two wheels. The motorcycle course (or motorcycle safety foundation course) takes you from a complete noobie to, for all intents and purposes, a “motorcyclist”, over the span of one weekend. The only problem is that there’s only so much you learning you can fit in one weekend.

Here are the Top 10 Things the MSF Motorcycle Course Doesn’t Teach You.

1) How to park properly beside other bikes
Proper position, alignment, parking in gear on uneven pavement, angling your motorcycle’s front tire, etc.
Suggested reading: How to Park a Motorcycle

2) How to ride on city streets
Some actual real-street practice riding would be a welcome addition, when possible.
Suggested reading: How to Ride in the Rain, How to Ride on Grooved Pavement

3) Route planning
What to look for on the map, planning breaks, gas stations, scouting good roads, etc.
Suggested reading: How to Plan Your Route for a Long Ride

4) Things to plan for your first long ride
Backage, packing, travel essentials, gear, etc.
Suggested reading: What to Bring on a Motorcycle Ride, Cooking on a Motorcycle Trip

5) Rotating your bike on it’s sidestand
Because whether you’re in a tight spot, or just want to look cool, knowing how to spin your motorcycle around on the spot by leaning it on the sidestand is all kinds of cool.

Riding on Dirt Roads

6) Adjusting your suspension
Front suspension, rear suspension, suspension length options, 9 out of 10 new riders don’t know about all this.
Suggested reading: Mono vs. Dual Shock Motorcycle Suspension

7) How to patch a flat tire
Life happens and this is one essential skill no rider should leave home for a long travel without knowing.

8) How to fall off a motorcycle
If you don’t know how to fall, you’ll probably throw your hands out in front of you in some kind of outstretched “I’m-about-to-snap-my-wrists-trying-to-protect-myself-from-a-minor-impact” kind of way or find other ways to seriously hurt yourself.
Suggested reading: How to Fall Off a Motorcycle

9) How to bump start a bike
Another essential skill often overlooked, the reality is that bumpstarting can be enough to keep the good times rolling, as opposed to keeping yourself on the side of the road waiting for a tow.

10) Excuses to tell your significant or insignificant other before you go out motorcycle riding
One of the most important skills of all is finding a way to make riding cool with your loved one, and maybe even talking him or her into coming along for a ride. Master this skill and live a truly happy life.

Adrian S.

PS: You might be interested in these 10 things that you should never do on a motorcycle.

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  1. So do you have the instructions/answers on these 10 thing that they don’t teach?

  2. I’m still working on #10…and might have finally got through, but I’ll have to let you know!

  3. I’d like to hear some experienced racer chime in with tips about #8.

  4. RT @YouMotorcycle: 10 Things The MSF Motorcycle Course Doesn’t Teach You (but we will) https://t.co/4AiKzudO8T https://t.co/VuTdmmOAKQ

  5. I laugh at #10 since I often experience that whenever I am with friends and touring. There was a time that I didn’t let my significant other know my activities and I got into a minor accident and it was like a volcano erupted. I am still mastering the art of what excuses to say whenever my friends plans for a bike tour. Hope she’ll be interested in this kind of hobby soon so I could invite her for a ride.

  6. Princess Scooterpie/Moto_Diva

    I have to say the riding school I teach for offers a pretty comprehensive Basic rider course and a 2 day traffic course where students are taken out in the burbs on quiet roads, then into the city where they deal with urban traffic and even going across a metal bridge deck and out on the highway so they experience moving with fast flowing traffic. Our courses go rain or shine. We cover how to park your bike. In the novice course we cover most of the above with the exception of rotating the bike on a kickstand, this is kind of squiffy for most new riders and adds to the potential of dropping the bike. We also offer a separate motorcycle maintenance course regularly through our teaching season, We also have a fb group where students post up questions etc.

    • Seems really thorough, nice! When I was working for Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada we were pushing to increase the level of skill in training in HD’s own branded schools (Harley-Davidson Riding Academy). Nice to see they aren’t the only ones raising the bar for training! Way to go, Dar!

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