BMW Luxury Touring Community banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Last Sunday I took one of those Ride Like a Pro courses in Los Angeles. I found it to be really helpful in learning how to do slow, tight maneuvers on a bigger bike. It is challenging. Here's the website if anyone is interested: www.ridelikeaprowestcoast.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
I took the advanced MSF course two years ago and didn't think much of it. I mean REALLY, doing maneuvers at less than 20 mph around a bunch of cones is supposed to prepare you for street riding. Some of the techniques they teach are valid but practicing them at parking lot speeds is useless in my opinion. I spend less than 1 percent of my time riding at those speeds so why train/practice at those speeds? Just my opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,122 Posts
Ride Like A Pro is significantly different from the MSF course. RLAP is pretty much the basic training given to motorcops.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,408 Posts
R1200RG said:
I took the advanced MSF course two years ago and didn't think much of it. I mean REALLY, doing maneuvers at less than 20 mph around a bunch of cones is supposed to prepare you for street riding. Some of the techniques they teach are valid but practicing them at parking lot speeds is useless in my opinion. I spend less than 1 percent of my time riding at those speeds so why train/practice at those speeds? Just my opinion.
Because if you can't handle the motorcycle at those speeds, you can't ride _well_.

Anyone can ride a bike at speed, with little/no skill (and fool themselves into thinking they're "good") because the wheels provide enough gyroscopic stability to get from point A to point B.

What low speed skills practice does is take away the gyroscopic stability of the wheels and make you actually have to _master_ the bike's controls for precision bike handling -- precision which will later manifest itself in how you control the bike at speed.

Low speed practice also makes you have to *think* about _exactly_ what you are doing and will have to be doing, and practice that thinking process. Learning how to do a tight turn and learning how to correctly do a higher speed turn in a parking lot has direct application to the street, whether we're talking about driving into/out of parking lots, turning from one street around a corner to another, or planning (and actually correctly executing) a higher speed run around a curve in a mountain pass (or even a freeway ramp). For example, nailing a high lean angle turn at 20-25 miles an hour in a parking lot, repeatedly, develops the processes (subconscious as well as conscious) in a safe environment, and better prepares you for the real world.

In another area, high effort braking is something most people unfortunately never practice, as it's virtually impossible to do on the street. Parking lot practice is the perfect place to learn how much you really can nail the brakes, and to develop the "muscle memory" so that it will be automatically available on the street.

Similarly, collision avoidance swerving is not something that can be practiced on the street -- not the do-a-quick-counter-steer-in-your-lane-on-the-way-home swerving, but the I-don't-know-which-way-I'll-have-to-react swerving that mimicks a suddenly-appearing threat on the street.

The fact that you didn't find the basic course very useful says more to me about your approach to the course, than its value.

I can't tell you how many very experienced riders I used to teach in the old MSF Advanced Rider's Course -- people with 25, 30, 40 years of riding -- that frankly didn't have a *clue* about how to handle their motorcycles, at least in ways that would help them survive street riding. I do not mean by that that I am improperly assuming they weren't good riders because they couldn't do parking lot exercises. I mean that the parking lot exercises were *extremely* useful in helping them see for themselves that they couldn't perform manuevers such as hard braking or swerving -- whether at parking lot or at high speeds.

Thank [insert the diety of your choice here] that we weren't doing the instruction at "street" speeds (apparently the speeds at which you believe "valuable" training is done) -- these guys would have spread themselves all over the road. And that's exactly the point of low-speed cone drills -- practice, practice, practice the same skills you should be using at higher speeds in a *far* more forgiving environment. The skills are the same whether gained and honed at high speed or low speed. The benefit of the low speed practice is that you can do many more repetitions in a given time, and do so while not having to worry about whether there's a pickup coming at you in your lane around the curve (or around the end of the line of parked cars at the local grocery store).

I have been asked before whether teaching experienced riders was more difficult because of their egos, the "I already know how to ride" factor. My response was that they all walked in like that, but we really never had to do any ego-busting or even comment on the subject -- after they realized that they didn't know how to get the best performance from their brakes (for example, seeing for themselves how *much* rear-brake-only use (a common problem) increased stopping distance was a really eye-opener), and then realized that you don't steer a bike by "shifting your weight" or "pressing down on the leg," but could instantly and highly accurately steer by counter-steering at the handlebars, they started to realize that these skills were things they need to learn for the street, and put aside their egos without a single negative word from us.

Ok, that's enough for now -- I expect you're getting (if maybe not yet accepting) my point by now :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
175 Posts
I am a "re-entry" rider after about a 30-year absence from motorcycles. Fortunately, that gap allowed me to gain experience in knowing my own strengths and weaknesses. I am continually amazed by the scope of what I do not know. Therefore, I have adopted the position that I know very little (even though I might actually have a glimmer of understanding) to make sure I haven't overlooked an important lesson.

It is with this attitude that, upon re-entry, I took the MSF beginner's course. Yes, internally I fought the "know-it-all" attitude for the first couple of hours, but as the theories were repeated and the range-work began, I rid myself of my bias and really concentrated on trying to perfect execution. And this was all the simple stuff!

Since that time, I have read a number of books about riding preparation and technique, and have practiced a number of exercises on my school's parking lots. I cannot tell you how important I found the maximum braking exercises to be for street riding! In fact, there are many more parking lot exercises I need to do this spring to further develop they way I control my bike without the gyroscopic effect (as Mark points out).

A course that is on my radar screen is Lee Parks' Total Control course. You may wish to at least pick up his book (if you haven't already done so) and spend time practicing his exercises. His school is designed to step things up a bit from the MSF ERC but without the Track School demands and pace. Courses are taught all over the country.

Also, you may want to pick up the three David Hough books for better street preparation. For me, these books, along with Keith Code's "A Twist of the Wrist", have given me the framework (and the understanding of motorcycle dynamics) that I needed to take a more cerebral (and safer) approach to being a rider. I'm afraid that in my 20's and 30's, my riding approach was guided more by my endocrine system than my brain.

YMMV
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
fpolek said:
Last Sunday I took one of those Ride Like a Pro courses in Los Angeles. I found it to be really helpful in learning how to do slow, tight maneuvers on a bigger bike. It is challenging. Here's the website if anyone is interested: www.ridelikeaprowestcoast.com
About a year and half ago I took the MSF Advanced Sport Bike course on my V-Strom. I thought it was very helpful and in a controlled environment, taught me that I could lay the Strom over much further that I would normally attempt on the street. The difference with the MSF Advanced course from other MSFs is that your allowed to push yourself and the bike as far as you want in the exercises and at least my instructor encouraged us to test our comfort zones.

OK so here's the question with this type of course. I'm new to BMWs and dry clutches. In doing this type of course on an RT, are their any issues with burning the clutch up through a day of slow speed maneuvers.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
533 Posts
Travman said:
...BMWs and dry clutches. In doing this type of course on an RT, are their any issues with burning the clutch up through a day of slow speed maneuvers.
This is a concern I have too with my RT. I took the MSF ERC a few years ago on my Harley. I felt after taking that on the HD that I wouldn't want to subject it to that mych clutch slipping again and it has a wet clutch. Has anyone had any problems taking one of these courses with an RT and its dry clutch?

Regards,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
mneblett said:
Because if you can't handle the motorcycle at those speeds, you can't ride _well_.

Anyone can ride a bike at speed, with little/no skill (and fool themselves into thinking they're "good") because the wheels provide enough gyroscopic stability to get from point A to point B.

What low speed skills practice does is take away the gyroscopic stability of the wheels and make you actually have to _master_ the bike's controls for precision bike handling -- precision which will later manifest itself in how you control the bike at speed.

Low speed practice also makes you have to *think* about _exactly_ what you are doing and will have to be doing, and practice that thinking process. Learning how to do a tight turn and learning how to correctly do a higher speed turn in a parking lot has direct application to the street, whether we're talking about driving into/out of parking lots, turning from one street around a corner to another, or planning (and actually correctly executing) a higher speed run around a curve in a mountain pass (or even a freeway ramp). For example, nailing a high lean angle turn at 20-25 miles an hour in a parking lot, repeatedly, develops the processes (subconscious as well as conscious) in a safe environment, and better prepares you for the real world.

In another area, high effort braking is something most people unfortunately never practice, as it's virtually impossible to do on the street. Parking lot practice is the perfect place to learn how much you really can nail the brakes, and to develop the "muscle memory" so that it will be automatically available on the street.

Similarly, collision avoidance swerving is not something that can be practiced on the street -- not the do-a-quick-counter-steer-in-your-lane-on-the-way-home swerving, but the I-don't-know-which-way-I'll-have-to-react swerving that mimicks a suddenly-appearing threat on the street.

The fact that you didn't find the basic course very useful says more to me about your approach to the course, than its value.

I can't tell you how many very experienced riders I used to teach in the old MSF Advanced Rider's Course -- people with 25, 30, 40 years of riding -- that frankly didn't have a *clue* about how to handle their motorcycles, at least in ways that would help them survive street riding. I do not mean by that that I am improperly assuming they weren't good riders because they couldn't do parking lot exercises. I mean that the parking lot exercises were *extremely* useful in helping them see for themselves that they couldn't perform manuevers such as hard braking or swerving -- whether at parking lot or at high speeds.

Thank [insert the diety of your choice here] that we weren't doing the instruction at "street" speeds (apparently the speeds at which you believe "valuable" training is done) -- these guys would have spread themselves all over the road. And that's exactly the point of low-speed cone drills -- practice, practice, practice the same skills you should be using at higher speeds in a *far* more forgiving environment. The skills are the same whether gained and honed at high speed or low speed. The benefit of the low speed practice is that you can do many more repetitions in a given time, and do so while not having to worry about whether there's a pickup coming at you in your lane around the curve (or around the end of the line of parked cars at the local grocery store).

I have been asked before whether teaching experienced riders was more difficult because of their egos, the "I already know how to ride" factor. My response was that they all walked in like that, but we really never had to do any ego-busting or even comment on the subject -- after they realized that they didn't know how to get the best performance from their brakes (for example, seeing for themselves how *much* rear-brake-only use (a common problem) increased stopping distance was a really eye-opener), and then realized that you don't steer a bike by "shifting your weight" or "pressing down on the leg," but could instantly and highly accurately steer by counter-steering at the handlebars, they started to realize that these skills were things they need to learn for the street, and put aside their egos without a single negative word from us.

Ok, that's enough for now -- I expect you're getting (if maybe not yet accepting) my point by now :D
:sleep:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Re the clutch issue on the RT, I discussed that with Mark Paz, the course instructor. He assured me that there would be no problem, and he was right. He said you want to put a little less emphasis on the rear brake so that you are not putting as much pressure on that clutch. Everything was fine. It still works!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
444 Posts
Mark - excellent post!!

I took the MSF ERC last year on my LT. I have been riding for 30 + years. I loved the course, it taught me alot about myself and my bike. As for the dry clutch, I had no issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,122 Posts
mneblett said:
Similarly, collision avoidance swerving is not something that can be practiced on the street
Oooh, I wanna ride the streets in YOUR town . . !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
Good posts! Like some, back after a 30 year layoff, didn't right well or much before, and then only a 250 powered mainly by testosterone. I'm back now with a heightened instinct for self-preservation, and enjoy the RT and a V-Star. I'll readily confess that the low-speed stuff, including doing a u-turn on a shoulderless county road or tighter situations, gets my full attention.

Have talked with the dealer about local opportunities to get training - things I know are trouble, and things that never would occur to me. No point learning everything in life the hard way. Not just riding either - heck, I returned to my V-Star after 20 minutes of being parked on asphalt on a hot summer day a couple years ago - 15 more minutes and it woulda been on it's side as the kickstand sunk in. I had no idea....

Well, it's been a lot of fun - and this post is a good prompt to go learn a little more the "easier" way.

Best, John
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,879 Posts
Mark, (and others)

ABS BREAK QUESTION - How does this effect/affect the light rear break part of the 3 part key...

I.E. In all of Jerry Motorman's training, he emphasizes the use of the rear brake. I rarely use mine (maybe a bad habit?) and seem to do OK. Maybe I'm in denial!

Will the K1200LTR's ABS brakes make it more difficult to take the Ride Like a Pro Class? I'm only 30 miles from the nearest one and next week seems like a good time to take it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
421 Posts
I'm for any course that improves your riding skills and general knowledge. I agree becoming proficient in slow speed maneuvering is as important as any other skill. Large bikes are the hardest to handle at slow speeds.

Last summer, I took a bike tour with a group of guys and one of them had a motorcycle riding skills video that I am still trying to remember the title of. It had a detailed section on the proper entry and exit into corners and curves, how to properly lean in curves, and proper throttle control while taking curves. I learned more useful information in that 15 minutes of video than any other single piece of instruction I have ever learned. I apply those technics every time I ride and feel I'm much safer and proficient than ever before.

My point to all this is I wish MSF would have covered cornering technics in greater detail when I took the class. I have read most single vehicle motorcycle crashes happen on curves.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
DanDiver--my RT has ABS as well. There is absolutely no issue there. They won't engage, except when you do the emergency braking part of the course. You can stomp on those breaks really hard and your rear wheel won't slide. This instructor has seen plenty of Ks, Electra Glides (he has one, though I don't know if it has ABS), Gold Wings and other bikes with ABS, so don't worry.

You should use your rear brake often for stability. You'd be surprised at how much it helps to keep you upright at slow speeds. And it won't wear down your brake pads prematurely. It's light pressure.

The RT also has linked brakes, and your K may as well. Again, no issue. Applying just the front brake will also give you a little bit of rear brake pressure, but applying just the rear brake won't give you any front brake. Except on the emergency braking exercise, you probably won't use your front brake at all during the course.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
165 Posts
fpolek said:
Last Sunday I took one of those Ride Like a Pro courses in Los Angeles. I found it to be really helpful in learning how to do slow, tight maneuvers on a bigger bike. It is challenging. Here's the website if anyone is interested: www.ridelikeaprowestcoast.com
Did you take this course on an RT? If so, how did it handle the slow figure eights, etc.?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
165 Posts
DanDiver said:
Mark, (and others)

ABS BREAK QUESTION - How does this effect/affect the light rear break part of the 3 part key...

I.E. In all of Jerry Motorman's training, he emphasizes the use of the rear brake. I rarely use mine (maybe a bad habit?) and seem to do OK. Maybe I'm in denial!

Will the K1200LTR's ABS brakes make it more difficult to take the Ride Like a Pro Class? I'm only 30 miles from the nearest one and next week seems like a good time to take it.
I took one of these classes on my HD Ultra which has ABS brakes and didn't have any issues as most of the training is at speeds below those that would engage the ABS. Also, the ABS actually gave me an advantage with the high speed barking drills as I didn't have the need to release a locked brake during the drills. I would think the RT with partially linked ABS would be pretty much the same experience as I had with my HD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Yes, on an RT. No issues. See my other posts above. The bike handled well on all of the slow exercises, including the figure 8. I, on the other hand, as Borat would say, "...not so much." I can get those handlebars all the way over, but I am a bit gun shy about leaning the bike over during those slow-speed maneuvers. To do a figure 8 well on that bike, you have to get those handlebars fully turned until they won't turn any more, and you must lean the bike a bit, which means picking up the speed. I need more practice to get the confidence to lean it over more. I was able to do the figure 8, but I would usually go out of the cones just a little bit.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
165 Posts
fpolek said:
Yes, on an RT. No issues. See my other posts above. The bike handled well on all of the slow exercises, including the figure 8. I, on the other hand, as Borat would say, "...not so much." I can get those handlebars all the way over, but I am a bit gun shy about leaning the bike over during those slow-speed maneuvers. To do a figure 8 well on that bike, you have to get those handlebars fully turned until they won't turn any more, and you must lean the bike a bit, which means picking up the speed. I need more practice to get the confidence to lean it over more. I was able to do the figure 8, but I would usually go out of the cones just a little bit.
I actually think the HD handles the slow maneuvers easier as the RT tends to get a little 'nose' heavy in slow speed turns like figure eights but I have not really spent much time practicing them with the RT. Like Motorman always repeats, "practice, practice, practice." Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,879 Posts
Thanks ( ALL ) I just signed up for the 4/3 class that is actually taught about 30 miles away. Been putting it off too long.

Looking forward to to April 3rd..
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top