The MSF Basic RiderCourse is designed for beginning riders of all ages. More than 7 million motorcyclists nationwide have graduated from a RiderCourse since 1974. Eight to ten hours of classroom-style instruction – including, in some states, the Basic eCourse that you complete at home before attending your first formal classroom session – prepares you for ten hours of hands-on riding exercises in a controlled, off-street environment – typically, a paved parking lot. Motorcycles and helmets are provided free of charge for your use during the course. In the classroom, you’ll learn about the different types of motorcycles, layout and operation of the basic controls, and how to become a safer, more responsible rider. You’ll then move to the riding range where your MSF-certified RiderCoach will guide you through the basic skills of straight-line riding, stopping, shifting, and turning, gradually progressing to swerving and emergency braking.


Here is a List of the 14 Hands-on Riding Exercises in the Course:

  1. Motorcycle Familiarization
    • Review T-CLOCS pre-ride inspection
    • Identify location and operation of important controls and major parts
    • Review mounting/dismounting procedures
    • Review elements of good posture
  2. Using the Friction Zone
    • Become skilled in using the clutch friction zone for control
  3. Starting & Stopping Drill
    • Coordinate the friction zone, throttle, and brakes to control the motorcycle
    • Start out and stop with precision and control
  4. Shifting & Stopping
    • Shift gears and stop smoothly
  5. Basic Skill Practice
    • Refine low-speed maneuvering skills
    • Refine throttle use and brake manipulation for corners
  6. Pressing to Initiate and Adjust Lean
    • Understand the maneuvering elements needed for negotiating curves
    • Experience the effects of handgrip pressure and handlebar movement to initiate and adjust lean
  7. Stopping More Quickly & Tight Turns from a Stop
    • Develop a feel for progressive braking pressure to stop more quickly without skidding
    • Practice making a sharp turn from a stop
  8. Stopping Distance Demonstration
    • Observe a demonstration of the reaction/braking parts of total stopping distance
    • To understand effects of speed on braking distance
    • To relate the results to intersection strategies
  9. Limited-Space Maneuvers
    • Refine maneuvering skills to allow turns in limited spaces
    • Learn the counterweighting technique
  10. Stopping in a Curve
    • Learn to maintain control while stopping in a curve
    • Understand traction management
  11. Curve Judgment
    • Improve skills for negotiating multiple curves
    • Understand the "search-setup-smooth" strategy
  12. Multiple Curves & Lane Changes
    • Practice negotiating curves and lane changes
    • Understand safety margins and gap selection
  13. Crossing an Obstacle & Swerving
    • Learn techniques for crossing over obstacles
    • Execute a basic swerve
    • Practice turning from a stop
    • Refine slow-speed weaves
  14. Skill Practice
    • Capstone exercise that combines a variety of maneuvers
  15. Skill Test
    • To assess basic skills using a cone weave, normal stop, turning from a stop, U-turn, quick stop, obstacle swerve, and cornering maneuver.
    • To demonstrate basic motorcycle control skills and ability to avoid an obstacle
    • To demonstrate ability to use the proper technique to negotiate a curve

The course concludes with a classroom knowledge test and hands-on a riding skill evaluation. Once your RiderCoach hands you the course-completion card, you'll be happy knowing that you’ve gone the extra mile to develop your own safe riding techniques.

There are benefits to taking a RiderCourse besides learning important skills and strategies: Most states waive the riding portion of your motorcycle endorsement test if you’ve successfully completed the Basic RiderCourse, and your insurance company might provide a discount on your insurance. Be sure to ask your agent.

Course fees vary depending on where you live. Some motorcycle distributors and brand-sponsored clubs have programs to reimburse you for all or part of the tuition. With more than 2,500 RiderCourse sites across the country, there is probably one near you.

The Basic RiderCourse teaches the basic mental and physical skills needed for riding. In some states, this course provides a waiver of the written and/or riding licensing tests.

  1. Pre-requisites:
    • Able to balance and ride a bicycle
    • Possess either a driver's license or motorcycle learner's permit
    • Prerequisites may vary by jurisdiction
  2. What to Expect
    • 15-hours of instruction (5 hours classroom/10 hours riding)
    • Range exercises include low-speed maneuvers and basic skills such as shifting, accelerating, braking, cornering, U-turn, lane change
    • You’ll be with the same group for the duration of your training
    • You’ll receive individual RiderCoach feedback while learning to ride
    • Motorcycle/scooter, helmet and gloves are provided
    • Types and/or models of motorcycles available vary by site. Ask your RiderCoach which training bike is best for you based on your height, weight or preferred riding style
    • If you have difficulty maneuvering your bike during low-speed exercises, ask your RiderCoach if you can switch to a different kind of motorcycle (i.e. scooter, standard, sport bike or cruiser)
  3. What to Bring
    • Food/beverages for breaks and lunch
    • Your own riding gear if you prefer
    • Pen/pencil for classroom sessions
  4. What you MUST Wear:
    • Long-sleeve shirt or jacket
    • Long pants (heavy denim or riding pants recommended)
    • Over-the-ankle boots (sturdy, not canvas)
    • Eye protection (full-face helmet with visor provided or bring your own)
    • Full-finger gloves (provided or bring your own)
    • Full-face or ¾-face helmet (full-face provided or bring your own)
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Basic RiderCourse Highlights


This 5-minute video is a capsule summary of what you'll experience in our hands-on, 15 hour, Basic RiderCourse training program. Five hours of classroom instruction prepare you for ten hours of practical riding in a controlled, off-street environment, under the guidance of MSF-certified RiderCoaches.

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