Okay, thanks for all the replies!
I gather that the MSF course allows some discretion among the instructors, and allows them to deviate from a "strict party line" -- which seems like a good thing to me.
OTOH, I agree with the person who said that brake control is something you learn, and that it doesn't matter how you get to the brakes.. what matters is that you apply them correctly.
Here's another one they told me that I don't know the answer to, but I hope and strongly suspect that their answer would be wrong in many if not most cases:
They said that ABS brakes only
work if the two wheels are in perfect alignment. I asked "Does that mean that if I'm making a low speed turn on gravel and grab the front brake, the ABS won't kick in at all?" Instead of answering, they made a point of my use of the word "grab" -- saying that this isn't the way to brake -- and completely ignored my actual question.
They had some interesting points, though.. ones that honestly hadn't occurred to me at all. The Motor Officer said "Okay, you're riding along and someone pulls out from the right, violating your right of way. You could possible swerve and go around behind the car. But consider this.. if you blow your horn to alert the person to your presence, you may make things worse. The person has already done one stupid thing. Now, when they hear your horn and notice you, then may very well do the second stupid thing.. which would be to slam on the brakes and prevent you from being able to swerve behind them." Or words to that effect. He said that often in emergency situations like this he would rather the person not
know he is there. Now that was a thought I'd never had before, but I see the guy's point.
All-in-all I think it was excellent. There were some issues, but how could there not be with two instructors teaching 20 or so new riders? For example, one exercise was to accelerate, brake, make a corner while rolling on some throttle, then accelerate to the other end of the lot, do the same thing, and around and around. Problem was that every time it was time to roll on some throttle I had some newbie in from of me going 10 mph and had to apply gentle trailing brakes instead.
The instructors called me over and chuckled and said they saw that, and that I handled it well, but they were sorry that it happened that way.
Another little problem was that the bikes sucked. The throttle on mine, beyond the first quarter turn or so, was essentially a binary device.. on or off. Nothing much in between. So gently and smoothly rolling on throttle would have required the touch of a neurosurgeon. LOL!
But I figure all of that will just make me appreciate the R1200RT all the more!
Oh, one thing I wanted to ask you guys. They kept reassuring us that slipping the clutch wouldn't hurt anything, because modern clutches were in an oil bath. They said this isn't like the old days of dry clutches. But the RT has a dry clutch. Is using the friction zone truly any harder on the BMW clutches than on those of any other make?