To train or not to train? - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
Riding and Survival Skills Tips for improving your riding skills and your survival on the road.

  • 1 Post By Misti Hurst
  • 2 Post By ranger995
  • 1 Post By MileHighScottie
  • 1 Post By Hedgepig
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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To train or not to train?

Is it important to get formal training for riding motorcycles? What kinds of training have you had and how did it help your overall riding?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 02:30 PM
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Hi Misti,

I think it is imperative to get formal training in any skilled profession/task.

In my opinion, training is even more important than experience. I learned that in the military. A well trained platoon of soldiers with little experience will function better than a poorly trained group with tons of experience. I think it is the same in martial arts, you have to be trained properly to perform well.

I think it is the same in motorcycling. Learning the proper fundamentals from professionals will increase confidence, ability, etc. Then, when incidents occur they can be evaluated through a proper lens of technical knowledge. Basically, when you get trained in something, you are benefitting from the trail and error process of hundreds of other people. The techniques you learn have been evaluated and demonstrated to work. Why bother going through the trial and error process all over by yourself?

I've been riding on the road since 1992, and in that time I have taken a number of courses, including Level I of the CSS (I plan to do level II sometime soon). Recently, I have attended a bunch of Beginner and Intermediate courses, because my wife is just learning to ride and so we have attended them together. They have mostly been basic techniques, but I still get something out of it. You can always learn something if you are open to it.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 04:45 PM
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I have taken the MSF course as well as an advance course. Riding off/on (had spouse who forbid it. HAD...) since I was a teen when I would steal my dad's CB400. Well, longer if you count the Montgomery Ward mini bike. I think periodic formal instruction is crucial. I appreciate an instructor pointing out my bad habits so that I can improve. I have never done a track day or CSS event. I'd love to do a CSS school.

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-- Scott

I probably need an intervention because of the bikes that keep 'following' me home. Current garage:
2001 Daytona 955i, 2 yes two, 2003 Sprint 955i STs (spouse rides one), 2016 Speed Triple, 2001 Kawasaki ZRX 1200R
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 05:37 PM
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Started riding at 5 , rode trials , motocross before getting anywhere near a road bike at 16 . Had myself many dangerous adventures before any sort of formal training , race track course at the Nurburgring late 20's . Always read a lot , studied other peoples riding styles analysed their riding and compared it with my own . Even now I look back on every ride and think what I could have done better safer and yes faster . I've followed police motorcyclists and judged and compared riding style ( in the UK probably the best trained road riders , and years ago I saw what some of them started from ) . In 42 years of road riding attitudes of other drivers have changed road conditions have deteriorated there will always be something new to learn or teach . Formal schooling has its place but if you see some kid ( or old person ) making a mistake and the opportunity arises to have an informative chat well most of us under the right circumstances love to chat .
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 06:19 PM
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Other than an experienced friend giving me some pointers, I learned by borrowing a friend's bike to practice in a lot to pass my test in MA. The test turned out to be a joke. Years of riding and reading and experimenting to gain confidence and learn what is safe and what is not. I've never been reckless so I did not take the approach of learning from my mistakes by the crash and burn technique. I'm still learning at the age of 66. You can't just sit and watch videos and read technique books by the experts. You have to put the time and miles in. I try different approaches to see what works for me and what doesn't. I push myself in small steps to over come the psychological barriers that can suck the confidence from you. It might seem obvious, but it's very important to understand what each component does and how it affects the bike at speed. Meaning, what does the front brake do, the rear, the clutch, throttle and gear changes. I'm impressed in what those on tracks can do at the limits, but also impressed with those who stunt because to do stunts successfully and without injury, you need more than a steely and daring personality, but total control of each of those components.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 03:18 AM
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Those who stunt have the lumps from much practice and quite a few spills to get there , the smart ones practice in private before showing what they have learnt to do . ALL acquired skills need practice to keep them sharp , watch a professional chef up close in a kitchen and it looks like magic so too with anything as the saying goes - practice makes perfect .
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 05:34 PM
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I just got home last night from a TotalControl Level 1 class. I've been riding for 35yrs on and off. I took my first class 2 years ago and have committed myself to at least one class a year. I ride a beautiful '17 Trophy that I don't want to crash. My purpose for taking the class was to gain better comfort and confidence on my bike. Also, I'm a bit fearful of a big bike that is so maneuverable with a high center of gravity. My take away from the class was as I had hoped. I pushed my limits and learned some new techniques along with fixing some bad habits. Me and my bike now are a little more comfortable together. I'm looking forward to my next class.
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