Anyone fail the MSF course?

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Vit0r
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Anyone fail the MSF course?

#1 Unread post by Vit0r » Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:22 pm

Don't be shy, you can tell us. If you did, were you in a state where you had to pay an outrageous amount of money to take the course? Here in New York the going rate is about $300-375. I'm pretty sure that most failed on the road course and not the written part. I've heard horror stories of people getting kicked out of the class for dropping the bike, what do they expect if its your first time? I don't know about you guys but if an instructor told me to leave the course after dropping $375 in the class I'd probably slap em.

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#2 Unread post by Mag7C » Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:25 pm

We had 2 people "drop" their bikes. Both were from excessive braking. The instructor let them retake the failed portions after class for no charge.

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#3 Unread post by Sev » Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:37 pm

Out of 20 students only one lady failed when we did ours. She kept having to put a foot down in the figure 8. Personally I came a little close, lack of confidence, so I went a little fast in slow straight line test, and I hit a pylon in one of the curves.
Of course I'm generalizing from a single example here, but everyone does that. At least I do.

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#4 Unread post by Vit0r » Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:44 pm

Something about the MSF course irks me. The only reason I looked into taking the MSF course was to get my motorcycle endorsement. When I read about newbie's first hand accounts of the course I just can't shake the feeling that I'm going to be short-changed. Few hours of class-room discussion and a few hours of basic riding. I feel like I can just find a basic manuevering page on the web with instructions and practice the moves on my own. I just feel like the main purpose of the course is to teach people about the clutch. From what I've read, I don't feel I'll be getting my money's worth. Then again, I may be wrong.

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#5 Unread post by mikec8785 » Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:48 pm

I took the MSF course and I thought it helped a lot. I'm 17 and had never been on a motorcycle before. The road course was quite difficult, there was an experienced rider and he had troubles. I think a lot of it is to teach about the clutch. There was one person who dropped their bike because they braked hard with the front wheel turned but she still passed. I think it's kinda hard to fail the class.

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#6 Unread post by Sev » Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:48 pm

My clas was 1 hour in the room 16 on the bike. We were taught starting, shifting, braking, emergency braking, emergency evasion, hill starts, hill stops, tight turns, wide turns, shifting in a turn both up and down, signalling, hand signalling, shoulder checking, posture, slow speed turning, group riding techniques and signalling. It was worth the $400 I shelled out and I would have paid more.

I'm confident that it's helped me avoid at least 4 accidents that would have been caused by other drivers.
Of course I'm generalizing from a single example here, but everyone does that. At least I do.

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#7 Unread post by Shiv » Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:31 pm

The purpose of the course is to:

1) Learn the basics if you want to.
2) Get rid of a mark on your license.
3) Get an insurance discount.
4) Get discounts at local stores (or at least around here you can..)
5) Get out of the riding portion for your license.

It cost me ~$200 here.

If you drop the bike during a test, you fail. Otherwise they didn't care (I dropped it three times outside of the tests -Excessive braking-, not once during the test. Whoo).

Or at least that's how they did it here.
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#8 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:33 am

I 'failed' the course the first time I took it... Aced the written test, missed one of the key excercises on the road test. I'd never ridden a motorcycle before, but was familiar with clutch/shifting. I just didn't get confident with the excercise in class and so, didn't do well on it in the final test. The cornering speed one.

I was given the opportunity to retake the road test the following weekend for no charge. I'd taken the class the last weekend it was available, an instructor came out to give the retake to me and the other person who did not pass... she dropped the bike on her retake, I just missed the same excercise.

That said, I learned enough in the class to go out and buy a used bike two weeks later to ride.

I'm trying to figure out what it is you're worried about. You've got to screw up really bad or truly be a danger to yourself (or others) and/or be acting like an A$$ to get kicked out of the class.

Just show up, pay attention to what the instructors are teaching - half the folks in my class had been riding already, and even THEY learned stuff they didn't know - and you'll do fine.

Look into the BRC II which is a modified one day class for folks with some MC experience (either many years ago, or on the dirt, etc). It has little/no classroom time and is one day only. Less expensive too, I believe.

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#9 Unread post by cb360 » Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:13 am

Vit0r wrote:Something about the MSF course irks me. The only reason I looked into taking the MSF course was to get my motorcycle endorsement. When I read about newbie's first hand accounts of the course I just can't shake the feeling that I'm going to be short-changed. Few hours of class-room discussion and a few hours of basic riding. I feel like I can just find a basic manuevering page on the web with instructions and practice the moves on my own. I just feel like the main purpose of the course is to teach people about the clutch. From what I've read, I don't feel I'll be getting my money's worth. Then again, I may be wrong.
What site are you reading about msf on? I'd bet the comments about the msf on this site run 20/1 on the positive side. Reading about motorcycling technique is great. I've done it and I encourage others to do so. but it's not even close to being a substitute for hands on professional training with someone who knows what they are doing. Also, I don't know what a few hours is to you - we had about 6 classroom hours and a full twelve on the bikes.

Could I have learned on my own? I'm sure I could have one way or the other, but I bet my skills are better at a faster rate because of the class. I didn't have to take a skills test with some functionary at the DMV. And I got a discount on my cycle insurance. Frankly, it was pretty fun. Who knows - you might feel like you wasted your time if you take the class - but you're definitely wrong that the purpose of the class is to teach noobs about the clutch. Like I said the other day, it never fails to amaze me that some people want to undertake an activity that will ultimately cost them many thousands of dollars and that can be quite dangerous yet they balk at dropping a couple hundred bucks and a weekend's time. Good luck either way.
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#10 Unread post by storysunfolding » Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:19 am

I learned without the MSF course. That said, I still think it's worth a decent chunk of change. First you get to experience riding a motorcycle before going out and buying one (lots more change unless you have a really nice friend.. or one with a crap bike) so you can decide if it's for you. Second, they have a very structured way to teach you many important skills in a short period of time. Third, the discounts you can get on your insurance and riding gear can apparently cover the cost of the course in many areas (worth checking into). Fourth, you meet lots of people in your area that are starting to ride and might give you a few extra riding partners.

I didn't take the MSF for a few reasons. I couldn't get into one. The one that I could have gotten into was 100 miles away and $200 more than the local one (I'm cheap). Also, I feel that the local ones build too much confidence in your abilities. Have you ever heard the saying about basic training? "Teaches you enough to get you killed." My friend tracey took the course and even though she hasn't ridden since then (August) she still feels that she's a better ridder than my friend john who has been riding for two years, didn't take the MSF course, but practices MSF excercises from this handbook ( http://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/Riding_Tips.pdf ) every saturday before going riding.

All that said, I plan to take the MSF experienced rider course when it's next available and I'm signing my girlfriend up for a MSF beginners course as soon I can, maybe the Harley verison though.
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#11 Unread post by cb360 » Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:24 am

Oh, I forgot the original question. I think we had about 15 in my class. We had two drops - both in class, not on the test (it was raining cats and dogs both course days) and they weren't failed immediately or anything like that.

We had one girl who didn't show up the second day so she was out.

Everybody passed the written test.

All but two passed the skills test... at least one came back for the free re-test the next week.

Our class in Washington State is $100 (if you get in the subsidized class) or maybe $300 if you want to get in quicker - not sure of the cost for that class but it's more.

The teacher was good. He was a retired navy guy and teaching msf is his career now and he takes it seriously and does a very good job.
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#12 Unread post by TeeMan » Mon Oct 31, 2005 5:37 pm

I'd recommend taking it, though in CA its only $200, not $400. Our class had only one drop and she didn't stay for the whole thing. Everyone in my session passed the riding test. It was my first time on a bike too and I had no problems, in fact, I almost got out of there with a perfect score!

If you truly think you can set up proper exercises AND evaluate yourself AND provide yourself with improvement tips, then its not worth it. Otherwise, I'd reconsider...

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#13 Unread post by storysunfolding » Mon Oct 31, 2005 5:47 pm

TeeMan wrote:If you truly think you can set up proper exercises AND evaluate yourself AND provide yourself with improvement tips, then its not worth it. Otherwise, I'd reconsider...
I think that if you don't think you can do that, you really shouldn't be on the bike.

Again, I think MSF is great, even though I have yet to take a class. At the same time, I have yet to meet someone who has come out of that class with poo that doesn't stink. You should always be evaluating yourself, you should always be finding ways to improve just like with anything else.
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#14 Unread post by TeeMan » Mon Oct 31, 2005 6:46 pm

I disagree. Do you honestly think that:

- someone who has never ridden a bike before can provide themselves with riding tips???
- you can tell if you went outside the line on a curve since if you're riding right you're not even looking at the ground?
- you know when its appropriate to feather the clutch vs the rear brake on slow speed exercises?
- that you stopped as fast as you could possible stop in a braking exercise?

Sorry, if you think a beginner who can't do that (and much more) shouldn't be riding, there would be no one on a motorcycle.
:roll:
Further, if you can do all that, you don't need the MSF, you need to come teach me how to ride! :wink:

I agree you should think about what you're doing and 'evaluate' yourself, but that's nowhere near the same as replacing a proper MSF course.[/quote]

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#15 Unread post by jmillheiser » Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:14 pm

In my MSF course everyone passed. In wyoming its only $15 for the course.

It was definately $$ well spent. Before the course I had never ridden before. After taking it I know the basics, and know what I need to work on to get better. I still am not about to ride on a busy street without some practice on streets with little traffic.

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#16 Unread post by Sev » Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:20 pm

TeeMan wrote:I'd recommend taking it, though in CA its only $200, not $400. Our class had only one drop and she didn't stay for the whole thing. Everyone in my session passed the riding test. It was my first time on a bike too and I had no problems, in fact, I almost got out of there with a perfect score!

If you truly think you can set up proper exercises AND evaluate yourself AND provide yourself with improvement tips, then its not worth it. Otherwise, I'd reconsider...
It cost me $400 Canadian, basically $200 American/laugh.
Of course I'm generalizing from a single example here, but everyone does that. At least I do.

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#17 Unread post by njdeerhunter » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:12 pm

I came very close to failing. I passed by 5 points, and learned that I needed much more practice. We had 3 people fail. They seemed to have trouble with basic control of the bikes. My problem, was I was tensing up and getting very nervous(Of failing). Also my swerving was very poor. I didn't do very well with the turn in the box either. Once again my nerves were keeeping me so tight I couldn't relax and just do it.

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#18 Unread post by Dirtytoes » Mon Nov 21, 2005 7:04 pm

when i took the MSF....a month ago......here in los angeles, cali......2 people failes....

one lady that kept holding the front brake and twisting the throttle at the same time......2 opposite forced agianst each other.....she was doing t throughtout the excersies on the 2nd day, when brake time came, she went around and right when she was about to slow down and turn off the bike, she let go of the brake (while Still twisting throttle), the bike jumped and crashed to a cruiser parked in front of it which cased alotta damage......she went down with it, she was okay afterwards, but the 2 bikes were pretty messed up (headlights...etc)

and a guy (i was on the other side of the course when it happened)......he was going towards the middle of the cones where we were told to stop so the instructors can tell us how we did......when he got there, he squeezed the front brakes, he was thrown over the bike, and they did NOT give full face helmets, so he fell on his face, his nose and forehead were pretty messed up.


they were both asked to leave.....i didn't see them on the last day.....but they said that everyone who is asked to leave can call them and make a free appointment for next week's class to finish the course.

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#19 Unread post by CajunBass » Mon Nov 21, 2005 8:17 pm

I took 2/3 of one. I didn't go back the third day so I guess I flunked it. I was driving 100 miles one way, and paying 115 dollars for this by the way.

We had four hours of "classroom." A total waste of time. They gave us a book, and a list of 75 questions. We went through the book and watched a few video's. In the book we marked the answers to the questons on the sheet. When it came time to take the "test" we were told to look in the book and find the answer that matched the question. I learned more reading the DMV book.

The next day was the most miserable day I have ever spent on a motorcycle. I have tried hard to blame myself, and I will take a lot of it. I wasn't prepared really I guess; I had never ridden a motorcycle with a clutch and a rear brake before. I never had any trouble with stalling the bike, and I never dropped it, but I was always a bit behind the curve I guess is the best explanation. The more I was behind, the more fustrated I got. At no time did either of the instructors offer any explanation of what I was doing wrong. Yes, they knew I was having trouble, because they kept telling me "You're not going to pass this course." At the end of the day I walked off, telling myself I wasn't coming back the next morning.

But I did start back. On the way down, I started to have a tightness in my chest, and a shortness of breath. I decided to go to the ER instead. They checked me out and found nothing wrong. I know now that it was simply stress from knowing I wasn't going to pass.

Who's fault was it? Mostly mine I admit. However I honestly don't feel there was much if any "instruction" going on. "Just get them through here and out the door ASAP." If someone falls behind, don't let it slow the rest of them down.

I went to DMV, got a copy of their book, took a tape measure and measured their course then drew it out in a parking lot with sidewalk chalk and crushed soda cans and practiced, practiced, practiced. I felt pretty good when I passed it, since the guys at the MSF had said the DMV test was harder than theirs, and the passing score was higher.

So yes. I guess I flunked the MSF. I might go back and take it again someday.
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#20 Unread post by -Curly- » Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:20 pm

The MSF is just a scam. I paid $195 for a 2 1/2 days. 6 hours class room and 10 hours waiting in line to do a couple of runs on there course. The state doesn't have to test you, so they save money and some small company gets some work, and your money.

But since I never rode before, I took it. I failed the figure 8 misurably, the swerve was a joke, I had no problem with the quik stop, hit two cones on the curve thingy, and passed.

I got my license, used the exercises in a parking lot when I bought my bike, and 1400 miles later I am better off now that I took it.

The MSF is a scam, a helpful scam, but still a scam.
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