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Old 04-06-2013, 07:06 AM   #1
john112deere OP
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MSF - experienced rider course on an airhead?

I am considering taking the (Vermont) MSF "experienced rider" course this spring...

As near as I can tell, for the skills one (that is, not the beginner course or license waiver) you're required to bring and ride your own street-legal bike. Which makes sense to me- what's the point in learning skills on a bike other than the one where I'll use them?


Group thoughts on how my '86 R80 with about 95k miles might handle a full day of bumping around a parking lot? I don't know what the course entails, exactly, but I expect there'd be a lot of low-speed riding, and a lot of shut-down/restart cycles. Neither of which is exactly the machine's forte.

Bike is more-or-less original and runs better than it looks, and was a daily rider last summer. But it's also a 27 year old machine with nearly 100k miles.
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:20 AM   #2
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I think your bike would do fine. It is a lot of slow speed and emergency maneuver type riding. I don't think the starting and stopping would be any more than if you were to run a couple errands in town on the bike. Make sure your battery is up since charging will be minimal.

I've seen guys take the experienced course on H-D Ultras with no problem. The thing with the experienced course is that it is for skill improvement versus pass/fail. So don't put the bike down to stay inside a painted line on the course.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:01 AM   #3
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Yep, no problems. I teach the ERC, ARC, and UBB off my '83 R80ST. If worried about your battery, you could remove the headlight bulb to conserve. I recently taught an ERC and invited a few friends to fill the void in students, and Beater showed up on his R100 GS. I was teaching with a co instructor that I had traveled with several times, furthest being Colorado. My bike routinley had to be duct taped back together during our trips, so when Beater showed up his bike was ticking badly on the right head. So we went to work taking the cover off and saw the upper right rocker nut rolling around, now I hate to say it but I think his head stud is about to come out. But it was funny, she walked up to us and asked "are you all like this?". Yes, airheads like to be loved, and they're a treat to ride in any of the advanced rider courses. Have fun!!!

BB vs. HD Ultra from jenna novic on Vimeo.

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Old 04-06-2013, 08:13 AM   #4
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I took the course many years ago on my 81 R100RT. The only problem I had was with the constant starting and stopping of the engine with out sufficient rpm's to recharge the battery.
It got tired.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:20 AM   #5
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Yeah, the battery is my biggest concern... I can just about picture running out of juice partway through and having to walk home for the pickup. Maybe I'll see if my battery tender will fit under the seat- then find an outdoor outlet at lunchtime.

On thinking about it, there's a fair chance I'm due for a battery this spring anyway- probably just figure on that if I have any doubt once these doggone snowbanks shrink down enough to be able to drag it out. Removing the headlight bulb is a good idea, too.

Thanks!
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:11 AM   #6
Donkey Hotey
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I took the ERC on an '88 R100GS. No problems.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:13 AM   #7
More_Miles
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Clutch?

Not sure how much loooooow speed work is done in the MSF-ERC. Also, it would depend on the state of your friction and steel disks. If your clutch is nearly knackered, the course might finish it. That said, I don't hesitate to slip the clutch for low speed manoeuvres. I also don't do them for hours at a time. I'm sure Jenna can weigh in here on this.

As far as battery goes, if you have 30 min for lunch, wolf down a sandwich and go for a 10 min out-10 min back ride. Make sure you run a gear lower than normal to ensure the revs are up. Probably do more for charging the battery than a tender for 30 min.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:47 AM   #8
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The UBB is low speed. The ERC is not. You do have the u turn box. But I slip the clutch about as much as I drag my rear brake, that's really the only low speed exercise. The rest is cornering, weaving (one handed), maximum breaking, swerving, stopping in a curve, and u turns. I always carry jumper cables and your coaches should as well. I've jumped many a HDs at the course.

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Old 04-06-2013, 01:11 PM   #9
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My Airhead is older than yours and the Red Light goes out at 1300. It's charging almost all the time I think. I ride a lot in City traffic and have no charging problems. If you have a good battery there should not be a problem.

I haven't taken the course but I've been told the problem is that you are going to scrap and drop the bike a few times learning to do the maneuvers. If you are skittish about a few scraps maybe you need to think in advance about this. It might be best to not openly cry when your valve cover grinds into the pavement. Just be prepared maybe.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I haven't taken the course but I've been told the problem is that you are going to scrap and drop the bike a few times learning to do the maneuvers.
Who told you that, a drunken Harley owner? If anybody drops a bike during an ERC, they have no business riding in the street. Holy-hell, go sign up for the fucking class. It's worth it for the insurance discount and the credibility you'll have if somebody causes an accident with you.

The class is basic maneuvers, done under the guidance of a trained instructor. They're trying to teach you things like body position, eye position, etc. There is nothing in the class that is violent or skill challenging. If it is, crashing during the class is the absolute least of your worries.

The only bikes I saw dropped during my last ERC WERE piloted by Harley riders who insisted on going to a bar for lunch (after a whole morning of having the alcohol message beaten into their thick skulls). Morans!
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:38 PM   #11
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The first exercise gives us MSF coaches the ability to determine whether or not the rider needs more seat time or can complete the class. It's 3 parts, riding in an oval, then a weave, then a one handed weave. If they have any difficulty with the one handed weave, we send them home. If you were to drop your bike, it would be during the U turns, but again, they are cones and painted lines. Not 12" high curbs, go outside the line or dab to keep from dropping your bike. In 6 years of teaching, I haven't sent a rider home due to lack of skill, but have had 2 ego driven riders drop in the box, and it was during a license eval which prompted them to put an awful lot of stress on themselves. Go do it! It's fun to talk about riding with new people. Check all fluids and tires over before you go, tire pressure and tread depth are 2 things the coaches should check besides paperwork. Insurance card, and registration.

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Old 04-06-2013, 02:10 PM   #12
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Took the Team Oregon ART on the R80G/s, morning in class; afternoon on the go-cart track.
Lotsa' fun, no passing in corners. Enough swerving/ braking drills to break up the follow-the-Harley parade.

Not my video.

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Old 04-06-2013, 05:38 PM   #13
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exper rider

I taugh the MSF classes .. and I took the erc on my R100GS ..Lots of fun!
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:06 PM   #14
disston
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
Who told you that, a drunken Harley owner? If anybody drops a bike during an ERC, they have no business riding in the street.
I was told that bikes get banged up and dropped sometimes in the Advanced Riding Course by one of my instructors in the Basic Rider course that I took to get my license. I was way ahead in the basic course because I had been riding for several years and the instructor thought I should go for the advanced course. But when I told him I rode an older Airhead he was just advising caution about using an older bike in the course.

I think that saying any body who drops a bike in training has no business on the street is pretty judgmental. Have all of you advanced riders never dropped a bike? Are the chosen amongst us born with superior skills.

I wish I had time to take an Advanced Course but it doesn't seem to be in my program for the immediate future.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:44 PM   #15
Donkey Hotey
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I think that saying any body who drops a bike in training has no business on the street is pretty judgmental.
No, I'm telling you that the course is a lot easier than you've been told. There was a 5'3" woman on a Harley bagger that never dropped her bike during the course. It's REALLY not that hard. The stupid drunk guys? Uhhh...yeah...they needed to go home.

As I posted earlier: you're not going there to learn how to scrape pegs or improve lap times. They're going to have you do some exercises like skidding the bike to a stop using only the rear brake as well as proper braking technique using the front. During all of these exercises, you are upright and if you follow directions, you won't crash. You'll learn proper body position for making a U-turn, where you should be looking, etc.

You're going there to have somebody watch what you're doing and try to correct the bad habits you may have developed. You're more likely to crash in a crowded mall parking lot than during the ERC course.
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