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I think its a really good idea. I took the MSF basic rider course, it gave a reasonable foundation to avoid bad habits. Several of the other guys in the course had a number of bad habits corrected; rear brake only, clutch in coasting thru turns and so on. I'm going for the MSF skilled rider course this month, its definitely time for a skills refresher after not riding last fall because recuperating from my wreck.

I spend a lot of time re-listening to the ToTW audiobooks and trying to practice the vision/braking/turning drills. I would love to take the California Superbike course some day, but it is a bit pricey.
 

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I guess like most people, a friend taught me to ride. It was on a 1970 Bultaco Matador, so shift on the right, brake on the left. (Don't ask what happened the 1st time I got on a Jap bike)

So after riding motorcycles my whole life, I did a track day. I learned more in that one weekend than in the previous 40 years. I got track-day fever and have doing it every chance I get. And I am a much better rider for doing it.
 

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Misti, you're a trainer, aren't you?

Did a lot of "personal study" myself... and just learning through observation, experience, tips from others, videos, shared experiences, etc, etc. In other words, no single prevalent source.

Never stop learning.
 

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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?
I think it is important. I rode for a lot of years before I did a track day and that certainly opened the door to more possibilities. I figured it would be a better use of track time to incorporate some training/coaching so took some with California Superbike School, Reggie Pridmore's CLASS and Jason Pridmore's STAR school. Very beneficial to see different training philosophies and skill drills. The biggest benefit was to make the components involved in riding well conscious thoughts rather than auto-pilot and incorporating the individual components into smooth, cohesive, deliberate riding. The elements involved in riding are not always intuitive and there are few "natural" riders. Like any skill, it requires practice to improve and better to practice good skills than bad habits. Cracks me up the guys that say, "I've been riding for twenty years" and you watch them and think, "yeah and you've been doing it wrong for twenty years."
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Misti, you're a trainer, aren't you?

Did a lot of "personal study" myself... and just learning through observation, experience, tips from others, videos, shared experiences, etc, etc. In other words, no single prevalent source.

Never stop learning.
Ya, I'm a coach with the California Superbike School. I like to chat with people about their thoughts around training and how they learned to ride. When I first started I learned from friends and never had any formal training. I went quickly to racing and even though I did the new rider school it didn't teach me technique, more about track etiquette and flags and even though I did reasonably well, I crashed a lot and didn't understand proper technique. It wasn't until a sponsor sent me to all four levels of the California Superbike School that I realized how beneficial training was to improving your own riding. Plus how investing financially in the beginning (the schools and training seemed so expensive) made up for itself tenfold by keeping me upright!

Love it, never stop learning!!

I think it is important. I rode for a lot of years before I did a track day and that certainly opened the door to more possibilities. I figured it would be a better use of track time to incorporate some training/coaching so took some with California Superbike School, Reggie Pridmore's CLASS and Jason Pridmore's STAR school. Very beneficial to see different training philosophies and skill drills. The biggest benefit was to make the components involved in riding well conscious thoughts rather than auto-pilot and incorporating the individual components into smooth, cohesive, deliberate riding. The elements involved in riding are not always intuitive and there are few "natural" riders. Like any skill, it requires practice to improve and better to practice good skills than bad habits. Cracks me up the guys that say, "I've been riding for twenty years" and you watch them and think, "yeah and you've been doing it wrong for twenty years."
Excellent! And I love your open mindedness about learning from different sources and understanding that like any skill it requires practice. I was at a track day recently where a guy crashed twice in only four sessions of riding and when asked why, just said, "I lost the front." He was sort of under the impression that crashes JUST happen and that it was no big deal to crash twice in one day. When I asked him a few questions about body position and hanging off and lean angle he didn't know any of the answers (he crashed right in front of me) and I felt like he needed a little bit of education in his own riding to keep himself (and the other riders around him) safe.

What are some deciding factors in why you choose a certain riding school, book, track day or private training?
 

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Suspect for the same reasons that a lot of us don't ask for directions when lost, would rather perform our own maintenance, pride, even arrogance in some cases are why we choose not to do the schools. Then there's the personal satisfaction from figuring some things out on your own. Might instruction course also be fun? Yep... but next to no school markets it that way. (<-- tip) That's aside from the cost and "who/where".
 

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I'm going to chime in, but I have to collect and articulate my thoughts properly. I'll be back with an edit.
Anytime one wants to get good at something in life, he/she needs to train. I don't care what it is - reading, writing, simply riding a motorcycle, racing, trail braking, hitting the apex, rolling on the throttle after easing off the brakes to not upset a settled suspenion, body position, head position, choosing markers, breathing, weight lifting, sex, software programming... you name it.

A person will never excel to their fullest potential without training. Even the best continually train. Training is a needed dicipline to be at the forefront of anything, and even when at the forefront, training is still needed to stay there. There's an old phrase, "if you don't use it, you lose it." One can be the best at something, take a year or two off with no training, go back to the person who was second to the them, and they'll now be second best because they didn't train and continue to hone their craft/skill.

Does everyone need formal training? Maybe in the begining, but not necessarily in the long run.

Take it from A.I. (a.k.a. The Answer).

So, in short, yes, you need to train.

There's a guy that races CCS. I trackdayed with him back in 2016. I could damn run side by side with him, but his lines were smoother and cleaner. He's been training ever since. I'm sure I'm probably 3-6 seconds off of his lap times now. He's been training, I haven't been. He's dropped damn near 10 seconds over the course of three year at one specific track - Training.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Suspect for the same reasons that a lot of us don't ask for directions when lost, would rather perform our own maintenance, pride, even arrogance in some cases are why we choose not to do the schools. Then there's the personal satisfaction from figuring some things out on your own. Might instruction course also be fun? Yep... but next to no school markets it that way. (<-- tip) That's aside from the cost and "who/where".
Hmmmm interesting. I get the concept of pride or arrogance or ego but I didn't really think about the idea of personal satisfaction from figuring it out on your own. When I think back to motorcycle riding, even though I was kind of natural at picking it up, I couldn't describe or explain what I was doing until I went to the California Superbike School and they asked me questions about my own riding that required me to actually think about what I was doing. There isn't much I can say that I was able to really discover or figure out myself without some help from coaching....I do remember a time I was doing and endurance race for the first time ever and when I got tired I noticed that I started looking further ahead. I was racing in Seattle and coming up to one long sweeping corner I looked further up track then ever before and I was like, OH WOW, look at that!!! And surprisingly my times at the end of the session were better than my fastest sprint race times....Aside from that I think all my learning and discoveries with riding have been influenced by someone who was teaching me......

Interesting point also about track schools not marketing them as being FUN!!! That's one of the best parts about my job is that it is fun and I'm hanging out with people that are all having FUN and learning to be better and safer riders at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I would recommend doing the MSF riding course, it really helped me with the basic skills and then I just started building from there.
When you say you started building from there do you mean that you continued with other training or you just worked on the skills you learned at the MSF course?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I personally plan on doing the advanced msf course too, but I have only done the basic one for now. Now I’m just trying to master the skills I learned at that course, while I’m riding out in the street.
Love it. I love hearing people say that they are working on mastering some skills they learned while riding and also planning on learning some more skills as you progress. :) I think it is really important to practice something while riding and continue to work on improving each and every time out on the bike. Cool :grin:
 

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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?
I did both.

No Training: I started off in 1988 with a Kawasaki KZ400. My stepdad basically said, i cant buy you a car so here is a motorcycle. He hands me the keys and walks off. I hopped on it figured out how to start it pulled out into the street and let the clutch out. Yep. right on my ass. The neighbor came out and said let me show you. So 5 years later it was still my only transportation. I developed REALLY bad habits because back then there was no internet. Im lucky i wasnt killed..
I got off of it, joined the navy and 20 years later i decided i wanted another one. So this time i got formal training and my license.

Formal Training: 20 years later.. My bad habits were mostly gone. I learned so much that i didnt know. Ignorance was bliss. I now understand where to look, how the bike works, counter steering, breaking, cornering.

Its well worth it. There are great riders that came before us that figured this stuff out and i think its pure ignorance not to take a class or two to learn something new about your craft.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I did both.

No Training: I started off in 1988 with a Kawasaki KZ400. My stepdad basically said, i cant buy you a car so here is a motorcycle. He hands me the keys and walks off. I hopped on it figured out how to start it pulled out into the street and let the clutch out. Yep. right on my ass. The neighbor came out and said let me show you. So 5 years later it was still my only transportation. I developed REALLY bad habits because back then there was no internet. Im lucky i wasnt killed..
I got off of it, joined the navy and 20 years later i decided i wanted another one. So this time i got formal training and my license.

Formal Training: 20 years later.. My bad habits were mostly gone. I learned so much that i didnt know. Ignorance was bliss. I now understand where to look, how the bike works, counter steering, breaking, cornering.

Its well worth it. There are great riders that came before us that figured this stuff out and i think its pure ignorance not to take a class or two to learn something new about your craft.
Wow that's amazing that your stepdad just handed you the keys to a motorcycle and walked away! Crazy! Sometimes I watch how people teach their significant others or their kids or whomever to ride and it freaks me out!! They seem to leave out some of the most important and basic steps to riding....
 

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Wow that's amazing that your stepdad just handed you the keys to a motorcycle and walked away! Crazy! Sometimes I watch how people teach their significant others or their kids or whomever to ride and it freaks me out!! They seem to leave out some of the most important and basic steps to riding....
Yeah that's for sure. Not a lot of training was going on back in the late 80s in the Austin Area. If there was we didn't know about it. But hey better late than never (if you are still alive. just a thought)
 

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I really thought my basic MSF course was fun. You get to ride someone else's bike around and hang out with a relaxed group of newbs like yourself. Why wouldn't you want to do that? Like anything, the course material in the classroom isn't the most entertaining thing in the world, but driving through obstacles and over stuff was. I read up on and watched a lot of videos before my first track day, but I learned a lot from that, too. The "I've been riding 20 years so I don't need a class" crowd is pretty obnoxious, too.
 

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I did the MSF courses early on and then a few months into riding I did the Lee Parks course. All good stuff. After a couple years I started doing track days and a performance school. I'd like to do another performance school. Training is always worthwhile! Doesn't hurt to stay in shape either. :)
 

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I guess like most people, a friend taught me to ride. It was on a 1970 Bultaco Matador, so shift on the right, brake on the left. (Don't ask what happened the 1st time I got on a Jap bike)

So after riding motorcycles my whole life, I did a track day. I learned more in that one weekend than in the previous 40 years. I got track-day fever and have doing it every chance I get. And I am a much better rider for doing it.
I concur. A track day will teach you a lot about riding techniques.

I also took the "racing school" course from kevin schwantz. That was also very informative, especially the video critiques.
 
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