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Have a little class


July 8, 2013 by Rider Newsletter Staff


Motorcycle training is not just for newbies…

Learning any new skill on your own is difficult. This is no less true of motorcycling. You don’t just climb aboard and hit the road. There’s a lot to learn and to get the most from your learning experience, nothing beats having a trained expert to teach you and a group of like-minded folks to share it with. That’s why motorcycling classes are more popular than ever.

By the way, you don’t have to be a new rider to benefit from a motorcycling class. Even grizzled veterans will find they still have plenty to learn and spending some time with other experienced riders is a fun way to pick up new skills and meet other enthusiasts.

For beginners: a foundation of safety

If you are planning to purchase and ride a motorcycle, you would be foolish not to take a class. First, it’s the fastest way to pick up the basics and get some practice in a safe environment. It’s also a way to spend time on a bike BEFORE you make the investment, just to be sure you really like it as much as you think you do.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) is the primary source of rider training. They literally wrote the book on motorcycle riding skills. One huge bonus of graduating from an MSF course is that most states will allow you to skip at least a portion of the motorcycle licensing process (such as the road test) if you successfully complete the course. You may also qualify for reduced motorcycle insurance rates.

In most cases, they provide the bikes and helmets; and you provide the necessary protective clothing. You’ll find some links below with information on how to locate a class near you.

Graduate school

If you are a seasoned rider, the MSF has something for you too. Advanced rider classes are offered to help you learn new skills, practice the basics, and exchange information with other skilled riders. In these classes, you use your own motorcycle and gear. If you take an advanced class, be sure to contact your insurance company to see if you quality for a discount.

Sponsors are in the game

It’s not surprising that motorcycle manufacturers would be interested in sponsoring and hosting rider training classes. Harley-Davidson really goes all out in this area. They work with the MSF to provide training in various locations nationwide. In addition to “boot camps” for new riders and advanced-level training, Harley holds special classes and events aimed specifically at female riders. They also have events with motorcycles mounted on special platforms so beginners can start them up and practice riding in complete safety.

So, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran road warrior, a riding class can be educational, fun and might just save you a few bucks on insurance. Plus, you’ll know how to ride safely when it’s time to head out for Spring break.



The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has a booklet with tips for riders here.

MSF provides a library of safety-related documents for review.

You can preview the MSF Motorcycling Course here. They even have a couple of simulations.

Information on Harley-Davidson training classes and special events can be found here. has some general advice for new riders on this page.

DMV.ORG has information on motorcycle training courses here.



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