3 Ways to ace your first motorcycle training course

Do you want to get the most from your first motorcycle training course?

Motorcycle training course

Motorcycle Training Course

Beginner riders should take a hands-on motorcycle training course before they buy a motorcycle, and another course sometime during their first year riding. Experienced riders should also take hands-on training to maintain/improve their riding skills.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) conducts one of the more popular (and easily accessible) beginner motorcycle training courses. MSF combines classroom instruction with hands-on training.

MSF motorcycle training course

For the basic MSF training course, you don’t need your own motorcycle. They provide one (usually in the 250cc class) for the hands-on riding portion of the training. The riding course is usually a roped-off parking lot.

Here’s what I did — and what you can do — to get the most out of your first motorcycle training course.

1. Take the MSF motorcycle training course seriously.
In many states formal motorcycle training and licensure programs are closely linked. Because of this, many riders approach the training with the wrong attitude. While the training may be a ‘check-the-box’ requirement, it will make you a better rider. Approaching the training with the right attitude can make a huge impact on how much you learn. Pay attention, ask questions, and concentrate on improving your riding skills.

2. Find an MSF motorcycle training course with fewer students.
To increase the amount of personal instruction, consider joining a class with a low number of students per instructor. When I took the MSF training course years ago, a riding buddy and I contacted the instructor and inquired about class size. For a slightly higher fee (approximately $100 each) one of the senior instructors conducted a class just for the two of us.

According to our instructor, we performed each riding exercise many more times than the typical student. Another advantage: we felt comfortable asking ‘less than brilliant’ questions. We took the class in the winter when demand was low. This helped us find a ‘willing’ instructor.

3. Take the MSF motorcycle training course in another city.
If your finances allow, consider taking the MSF training class in a nearby city — close enough to be an easy drive, but far enough away to ‘stay the night’. This is what we did.

Instead of focusing on rushing back home to face the responsibilities of life, we concentrated on the most important task at hand — learning how to ride a motorcycle. For an extra $50 each, we stayed at a hotel near the training facility. Our discussions at dinner focused on the riding lessons that day, and on a list of questions for the next.

To get the most our of your rider course: approach the MSF training with the right attitude, concentrate on becoming a better rider, and ask lots of questions.

The most experienced motorcycle riders I know all have one thing in common. They relentlessly focus on improving their riding skills.

Let’s follow the leaders.

MSF motorcycle training classes are conducted at over 1500 locations across the United States. Find one and sign up.

David Mixson


3 Responses to 3 Ways to ace your first motorcycle training course

  1. Don October 19, 2013 at 11:35 am #


    Good points and great recommendations! Not only is taking a MSF a must for the beginner, many insurance companies will provide a discount for showing proof of completion. Not a bad deal – be safer and save a little cash.

    “They relentlessly focus on improving their riding skills” truer words have not been spoken.

  2. MotorcycleMentor June 5, 2014 at 3:01 am #

    Glad you are here! If I do anything to help let me know.

  3. Christian Nilsson July 21, 2016 at 10:01 am #

    Just a different view from across the pond. I’m from Sweden and now live in Germany. Here it is unfathomable that you would be allowed on roads after just attending a one-day course on a 250cc bike.

    Instead for at least these two countries a MC-license is different from a drivers license. You attend school for a mandatory minimum 15 hour theory package where everything from dangers, bike technology & maintenance, safety gear, first aid (this is a 8 hour long course in itself) and important rules of traffic are covered.

    Parallell to this you have a minimum of 5 hours driving with instructor on highway, 4 hours in inner city during rush hour and in smaller towns. 1.5 hours night driving and 1.5 emergency maneuvers training. After this is determined what, if any, areas you need to further practice.

    You are then required to do a 2 hour theory test where you need to score in the upper 85% percent (I think it is) and after this you go for your practical exam. This is 1.5 hour in traffic where you are tested on all the above mentioned things.

    If you pass this, you are given your new license and are welcome on the roads! It would be really interesting to find statistics about collisions an accidents to compare USA from Germany or Sweden and see if there is a difference.

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