Does Motorcycle Class Make it Easier?

by Grace

I am a new rider, my boyfriend has been teaching me for about the last month when weather permits. We have trained extensively in parking lots and he has taken me out on the streets twice, in little to none traffic areas. I just can't seem to get it right when it comes to switching gears to increase speed. Sometimes I do it perfectly, or I just screw it up, no in between. My second issue is stalling out at the light. After coming to a dead stop, and getting ready to turn after oncoming traffic passes, I always stall out. He has explained this to me repeatedly and I can't seem to conquer these two issues. I am scheduled to take an ABATE class next month and I hoping that it will help me with these issues. We practice now to get me used to the bike, but I am looking forward to my classes.

Has anyone been through this and once you have taken a class, you became a pretty good rider became a much better rider? Please send me some reassurance.

Comments for Does Motorcycle Class Make it Easier?

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Jun 05, 2012
Take the class
by: Turtle

As someone who has been riding for years I still take any and all classes that are available anywhere close by, whether it is an advanced, basic or ERC I take it. Each time I take a class I learn something. There is no telling how many classes I have taken and have ridden over 200,000 miles accident free. You have to work to be safe on the roads because you are invisible in traffic. Also, as you become a proficient rider when the unexpected happens, and it will, you will have the training to respond.

May 02, 2012
Get some Class! haha
by: Kristy Rayner

Im so glad I took the class as a new rider so I didn't develop and bad habits from someone else teaching me to ride.

The instructors were certainly some of the most patient men I have ever encountered.

All the "what if's" you learn in class pop into your head when you need them...

Plan on taking the intermediate class soon to get more confidence for longer rides.

Apr 18, 2012
LOL, already took it.
by: Grace

Got rid of the 250 and now I have a 600. I tell everyone to take the class.

Apr 18, 2012
Best thing you will do for yourself!
by: Shoiegirl

As you can see by all the ensuing comments, take the class!! you will never regret it and you will learn things that will stick with you throughout your riding career!

Jul 31, 2011
The Short Answer
by: Andrea


The MSF course has saved my life on more than one occasion.

Jul 03, 2011
Motorcycle Class DOES Make it Easier!!
by: Grace

Well, I am proud to announce that I finished my class and received my M endorsement in April. I have to say the class really doesn't teach you how to ride, but teaches you things to do while you ride, and the best thing I took away from the class was how to turn corners, and how to use my friction zone so that I don't stall out at the light. I haven't stalled at a stop since, and my corners have improved so much. Now the only issue I have is riding on the highway when it's windy!!! OMG!!! The way the wind pushes the bike is the scariest feeling ever!!!

Jul 02, 2011
by: Donna

OOOhhhh Yeah! I'm a new rider myself and yes everyone kills it. I was parked at a stop light last week and a Veteran Motorcycle rider (leather with ALL the patches) on his big Harley Davidson. I was watching him like a hawk on my 600cc Honda Shadow. I was thinking I bet he rides like a GOD and what happened??? He killed it.

I am signed up for the Idaho Stars class and yeah I can't wait to learn something. It just takes practice. The clutch could be a problem. If you have someone who can look at it that would be great. I had to replace a part on my bike the other day because I bought a wrecked bike. It is rideable but it has some parts needing replaced. My husband said its your bike you try and fix it first if you need help I'm there. I was determined I can fix her myself and sure enough I did. I had the clutch lever loose and I though I wonder if I lift this up a little if it would make a difference. OMG that was the ticket. It helped me feel more comfortable so I also adjusted my brake.

Mar 10, 2011
My Friction Zone
by: Grace

Sandra and Sue, I was thinking the same about my clutch, I feel as if it's too loose, my boyfriend thinks it's okay, I think I will have him to tighten it just to see if it makes a difference. Sandra, I definitely believe it's a nerves thing, because I never have trouble when I practice in a parking lot, or when I pull out from home. It always occurs if I see other cars, I mean it could be just one, and I immediately get nervous and stall out. I am very concerned with the cars around me. A girl I went to high school was killed last summer on her bike, it didn't deter me from wanting to ride because I have always wanted to learn, but it makes me nervous knowing that people in cars don't respect motorcycle riders. I need that confidence and hopefully this class will give me that.

Mar 10, 2011
I took MSF (in Illinois)
by: Sandra

and it was worth it! Any structured class, where the instructors treat you like you have never seen a bike, is going to be beneficial. And the seat time, trying different maneuvers, in a controlled environment is priceless.

Clutches CAN be adjusted...have someone else ride your bike and see if it has a very "short" friction zone...but the idea is to release the clutch VERY slowly when taking off - you can pop it a bit shifting if you desire - but on take-offs the control comes from engaging SLOWLY. LOTS of people will kill a bike (or a stick shift car for that matter) when taking off from a dead stop...and the busier the intersection, the more likely you are to stall. It's called nerves. Think about screwing up, and you almost certainly will. See yourself taking off smoothly, with control, and you will. If it dies, take the extra 2 seconds to re-start, and concentrate on your friction zone. As the bike starts to "pull", add a bit of throttle while releasing that clutch and you will be out of the way in no time.

But you HAVE to keep calm! It literally takes 4-6 seconds to clear an intersection, right? Okay, if you kill it, you add a couple. People in a hurry are going to be irritated. But those people are easily irritated to begin with - NOT your problem. Just remember that you have right-of-way, you have just as much right to pass through tat intersection as the next person, and the best way to avoid embarrassment is to keep calm and keep focused on your task. Do NOT give in to the urge to have a mini tantrum...you can do that later if you must. And practice, practice, practice starting and stopping smoothly in the parking lots. When you have it down, add a left or right turn after the full stop. Practice DOES make perfect...we need to build that "muscle memory", where our hands learn to work together to get that bike moving, JUST like we had to learn how much pressure to apply to a gas pedal to make the car go without jerking it. Cut yourself some slack - the less you personally get upset with yourself, and just keep focused on taking your turn, the quicker everyone is back on their way.

But ALWAYS, watch for the impatient jerk, who feels the need to charge the intersection because they feel you are too slow, will take too long to re-start, or just were NOT paying attention to the fact that you aborted your initial attempt to clear the intersection. That jerk will KILL you...

Enjoy your class - it is truly a great present to yourself when learning...such a confidence builder.

Mar 10, 2011
by: RObin

Oh definitely take some sort of class. The MSF is the best. Don't know about the ABATE class. It helped me a lot when we started out. But I ain't fooling anybody there is always more to learn. That is why after 40,000 miles, my husband and I signed up for an advanced rider course this summer

Mar 09, 2011
Thanks Girls.
by: Grace

Thanks ScooterChic, in Indiana, Our Bureau Of Motor Vehicles(BMV) puts all motorcycle training and testing in ABATE's hands. So if you take the class and pass, it waives your having to take the motorcycle test to receive your "M" endorsement. You definitely said it right sister, "Fear!" and I definitely want to use it to my advantage. When my boyfriend first decided to teach me, I said then, that I wanted to learn both ways, with him because he has experience and I can question him a zillion times, and through the motorcycle training class, because I know they will teach me correctly.

SwirlWoman, I am testing in Crown Point, the last week of April, I was so hoping they would have an earlier class. :^(

Thank all of you girls so much, I needed to hear that because today's ride had me a little bummed out. Can't wait for the class.

Mar 09, 2011
Take the class!!!
by: Scooterchic

I did not take an ABATE class, but a 3-day MSF one and I'd HIGHLY recommend it! It's worth every penny! In the MSF class we were taught what the friction zone is and how to use it...Google it, you'll learn tons! It sounds like it might be helpful in your situation. Mastering the mechanical aspects of riding is only half the battle, in my opinion~~so much of it is IN YOUR HEAD!!! The mind is such a powerful ally/enemy!!! Look that fear in the face and make it work FOR you instead of against you...fear can keep us aware, alert and alive!!!

I took the course in '08 with a friend and got my MC endorsement that way. NY state doesn't require the class, but you get a discount on your insurance (providing you pass!) LOL I feel like I got the basics in the class, but keep in mind the REAL learning comes when you're out on the road. My boyfriend, who's been riding most of his life, was even impressed with what I learned and gave me the space I needed to learn things the RIGHT way, vs. picking up {bad?} habits from a seasoned rider. You won't regret taking the class....ride safe, ride often!!

Mar 09, 2011
Do it!
by: Sue

The class is GREAT! You will learn!! If you do good in the class and still have trouble on your own bike, maybe your clutch needs some adjustment! Just thinkin'....

Mar 09, 2011
Have a 2005 Harley, ..Duece
by: Donna Stewart

Absolutely!!!! You will learn a lot, even if u have ridden say dirt bikes, so yes, yes, yes u will benefit for sure....you will gain confidence...

Mar 09, 2011
by: SwirlWoman

Hi Grace! I am signed up to take the ABATE course next month, too. I cannot wait. I have had 3 family members go through it and they say it was the best way for them to learn. But you will feel more comfortable than I will since I've only ridden behind a couple different guys! I'm in Indiana, too so if your class is the weekend of April 15, in Indy, I'll try to find you!

Mar 09, 2011
Safe Riding
by: Anonymous

I didn't take the Abate class. I took a MSF course. Motorcycle safety foundation course. They helped me a lot. In some states you have to take this course to get endorsement on license. Good luck. It gets easier with practice. Be safe.

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