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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to advance my riding skills. I can see uses for both types of schools for pushing skills and learning more about my machine. Due to time constraints and financial I can only attend one type of school. Does anyone have any opinions on either type of schools. I'm not looking to do track days, I just want to learn more in a safe environment with good instructors.

Sean
 

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Not sure where you're at, but in PA, my dad took the MSF advanced course on his BMW. He enjoyed it, but said it wasn't really much different from the basic one. Ours is free, so nothing more than a wasted afternoon, but he didn't seem to be too impressed by it.
 

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The experienced rider course that I took was similar to the beginners course but you didn't get the 1/2 day of power walking and clutch control. Taking your own bike also makes everything that much more fun. When I took the beginners class I was on a little dual sport bike that I probably could have picked up and walked the course with. Adding 200+ pounds worth of bike under you makes every exercise harder. I didn't pay for the course so I'd say it was worth it to me since I looked at it as a chance to play on a nice smooth course. I can't say that I learned a lot more from the ERC than I did from the beginners course but it was a nice brush up on skills. I also had great instructors (the same for both courses) who weren't afraid to challenge those of us who looked like we were sleep walking through the drills.
 

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I did a "Keigwin'[email protected]" school last fall, and it was really amazing. If you want to build confidence and learn more about the limitations (or lack of them) on your bike, I would highly recommend it. There aren't many other places where someone will actually encourage you to pin the throttle as much as possible (definitely not an MSF course).

Keigwin's is great because the student to instructor ratio is like 2:1, and I learned more in that 2 days about motorcycling than I have in 12+ years on the street. The biggest thing for me was learning just how hard I could work the front brake, and just how sticky those tires are. Also, it's a :censored: rush.
 

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As smoothbrain said, they are two entirely different experiences. Track time will have you dragging your knees in the curves after about 30 minutes. Then you will be learning how to pick the apexes for faster times. This means using the entire track. You will be doing this with no mirrors or head checks. I don't think MSF would approve.

When smoothbrain said that on the track you learn just how sticky the tires are, he wasn't kidding. They are sticky all the way to the edge. :D

Does any of that transfer to the street? Maybe or maybe not, but you will be much more confident in your equipment and not afraid to let it do its job as designed.
 

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I do alot of pavement riding....big miles on my Sprint, weekend rides on vintage bikes and earlier this year Tierra del Fuego to Alaska on a GS. I also just did a race school/track day weekend on my Thruxton in anticipation of a return to the track in '09! That said, I think dirt riding is a great way to learn new skills that translate into becoming a better pavement rider. Throttle control, peg weighting, slides/skids and corrections are just a few of the skills that you'll learn/improve in the dirt. I have a plated D/S bike (xr400r) and vintage trials bikes. I try to maintain a high fitness level but I'm always surprised at how sore I am after a day of riding off-road.

Any schools like that in your area? MSF has dirt schools in some (limited) locations I think....

Just another idea I guess.....

-eric

www.motoamericas.com
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the info. I have had dirt bike race experience when I younger, it totally has been helpful especially in mud and gravel (not too afraid of the back end getting a bit loose). I've also had the beginner MSF course. I'm leaning toward the race school as that seems to be more geared to what I think I'm after. Thanks again.

Sean
 

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Question for smoothbrain...

would love to take the [email protected] course, but I am in South Carolina...if I was retired I would ride out to CA! Do you know if they offer similar classes closer to this area? Thanks.
 

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You might check out Jason Pridmore's Star Motorcycle school. It is a track school with street and race classes. Pridmore teaches personally and is on the track too. I gained a lot of confidence hustling around a Speed Triple and had a blast. The school travels and the schedule will be at www.Starmotorcycle.com.
 

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I'm looking to advance my riding skills. I can see uses for both types of schools for pushing skills and learning more about my machine. Due to time constraints and financial I can only attend one type of school. Does anyone have any opinions on either type of schools. I'm not looking to do track days, I just want to learn more in a safe environment with good instructors.
Sean
If finances are the biggest issue the ERC is your cheapest option. It is mostly the same exercise that are done in the BRC with a couple of added ones. It will mostly focus on getting you comfortable with your own bike in limited spaces, weaves and it just begins to touch on cornering. All the cornering is done at very low speeds and in a confined space.

The Star school is great, but it does costs more. Personally, I thought it was worth every penny. But so far every school I've done I learned something and walked away feeling like I got my money's worth. CA Superbike is also a great one for teaching you how to be safer on the street. Both Code and Pridmore put the emphasis on riding corners safer. They both have very different ways of approaching the subject. I learned different things from each.

Most of the tracks that have track days, will also offer street schools for those who are new to the track. These sessions focus on how to corner not how to race. Track days are NOT races, it is just a place to ride faster concentrating on your techniques without having to worry about cars or road surface issues. My major problem with open track days is too many people try to treat them like races, in the faster groups..... i.e. too much testosterone. It gets people hurt. Go watch one and see how it is handled. I started with a local one and then moved onto others and then moved into racing. Any of them will help you get more comfortable and improve your cornering skills.
 
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