What is an MSF course?

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The Motorcycle Safety Foundation course teaches the basics of riding a motorcycle, then extends those basics to interacting with other road users and finally dealing with 'unusual' things. This course is designed for those who have never ridden, but does expect some familiarity with driving. Some beginners find even the beginner course intimidating, but that's usually because the class sizes and time don't allow for any 'falling behind.'

If you have already ridden on the street and particularly if you already have your motorcycle endorsement, you might wish to skip the basic MSF course and go directly to the Experienced Rider Course. The beginner course is 16-20 hours long, the experienced rider course is about 8 hours. Most of the things covered in the experienced rider course are a review of what's in the beginner course. Many of the exercises are slightly different so those who have had the earlier course will still find it interesting and challenging.

Who should take the beginner course?

  • Anyone who has not ridden a motorcycle, but can ride a bicycle.
  • Anyone with less than a year or so of riding experience and is interested in learning more about riding.
  • Anyone who needs a motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license. Many (but not all) states will take the course as proof of the riding part of the licensing process. The instructors will probably be familiar with the licensing process for your state.

Who should not take the beginner course?

  • Anyone who cannot ride a bicycle; there isn't enough time to learn this during the course.
  • Anyone who has health or physical fitness problems such that riding a bicycle for more than a couple of miles would be dangerous. Riding all day is strenuous.
  • The guy who has been riding for 20 years and is taking the course with his wife, so she can learn to ride. Please don't, you'll make her nervous; she can't listen to both you and the instructor.
  • The guy who has been riding for two years or more and just heard about the course. Take the experienced rider course instead.