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BRC weekend in MI - freezing my bearings off!

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  • #31
    BRC weekend in MI - freezing my bearings off!

    Gerry, exactly. I don"t want to trade in my German license (it would transfer), so I needed to either go take their test or do the BRC. I could have also done the RRBRC, but I did not know that.

    MI offers the BRC, RRBRC and ARC, all for $25 each. Stupidly cheap. At home it occured to me that track day costs what, about $500, when you roll up all of the motel and etc costs, and this was a whole weekend of coached goofing off for next to nothing. And no bike repairs, to boot.

    So, today's range and testing wrap-up...

    At 16F I was in serious trouble with my hands. I did not remember to pack plastic gloves for wind abatement, and it hurt. The whole first segment was just painful, but I made it through. aT one point, I did have to ask to be excused to pee, and just that quick amount of time was helpful to get my hands back to functional. I will never yell at my bike with its giant handguards and heated grips ever again.
    We did exercises 12 through 16, and i did not take many notes. I rode a different TU for each session today. The first one was comparable to the one from yesterday, fairly new and easy to handle.
    My first practice trip through the box in the morning, I managed to get lost. Yes, I got lost in the box. It was embarassing.
    The avooidance drill was a bit weak, but this might be me. I felt that the RCs could have held the signal off until the trainees were closer to the decision point. I felt like the element of surprise was not there. I rode right up to the signal cones and would swerve hard to work myself.
    I was rather surprised that I did not get in trouble during the 2x4 drill. At first, I was a bit afraid that I would balk. Then I stood up on the pegs, and just rode around standing up for most of at drill. I really expected to be busted for hotdogging, but I wasn't. I was totally hotdogging, though. I just did not have enough comfort to do it with just popping my butt up.
    We finished up and that was cool. I have my notes out of order, I know.
    The second session netted me a TU with 2500 miles on it. Poor poor little 'zuki! The clutch was mostly functional and one of the Barkbusters was in love with my left knee. It interfered in the box. Thank goodness for riding pants. Actually, it was kind of good to have a goofy bike, as I didn't have mental space to overthink anything. I was too distracted by the bike. By the end of the first group of tests, it was actually fun. My left arm is still a little sore from the sticky clutch cable, but whatever. It rode fine enough for me to complete the MSF test with only one point for being 0.02s slow in the timed turn and the MI test with no points at all. Both of my RCs did bust on me for being slow as apparently I was rather fast in practice and would have been the only perfect score of the day.

    Mi MOST included a timed turn, a quick stop, a uturn in a box, a perimeter turn, an offset weave, a measured stop, a curved stop, a stop in a box, and an avoidance. Also something else, but I forget already.
    We lost one rider on the measured stop, he locked up both brakes and went over the bars. Fortunately no damage to him or serious damage to the bike.

    The written test was really easy except for that one question about what is the best way to brake! As a novice, both simultaneiusly is best. But the actual advanced answer is an option - first rear then front. My German brain kicked in and I picked rear first. Because that is the correct answer, dammit! lol The MSF should pull that answer option. It is confusiong for tho of us with training who like to get our suspension settled.

    So all in all, I passed with flying colors, it was a blast, and certainly the best use of $25 anyone is going to get for bike training. I do plan to go back for the ARC once I get some serious PLP in on the F bike.

    I feel kind of bittersweet - I was invited by several coaches to consider joining their crew. I do not have time now, otherwise, I would love to do it. I could totally see donating time to repair bikes and prepare them for use. That would be more practical for me now.
    Last edited by atomicalex; 03-23-2014, 05:41 PM.
    Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
    2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

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    • #32
      Good stuff! I think a lot of us here were looking forward to your observations. I've read some criticisms of the MSF courses, some of which I think are valid, but given the time frame, facilities available, target "audience" and cost I think they do a good job. I know if the BRC had been available in the early 70's it would have saved me a lot of wasted time and a lot of mistakes.
      The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by atomicalex View Post
        The written test was really easy except for that one question about what is the best way to brake! As a novice, both simultaneiusly is best. But the actual advanced answer is an option - first rear then front. My German brain kicked in and I picked rear first. Because that is the correct answer, dammit! lol The MSF should pull that answer option. It is confusiong for tho of us with training who like to get our suspension settled.
        Actually, the test directly reflects the handbook in this instance - Use both simultaneously, avoiding lockup, and do so for all stops to "develop the habit". As I say to students, habits are important because, when the feces hits the rotary circulator, you will do what you always do, even if you know better. There are two maneuvers that you do on a motorcycle where you aren't always going to have time to think about them - braking and swerving. Everything else gives you time to exercise your academic prowess....

        Leading with the rear has its benefits, especially in wet conditions. But, like so many other beneficial things (braking while turning, balancing brake/throttle interaction when entering a turn, using rear brake for low-speed maneuvers, etc), there is a limit to how much you can put into someone's brain in 15-20 hours. I find that the concept of "smoothness" is easy enough to remember, and easy to apply as skills grow. "The motorcycle rewards smoothness. Do something to upset it, and it WILL return the favor" is how I start the introduction to controls in the classroom.
        Jeff

        "Remember when being socially distant was a symptom of a potentially debilitating mental disorder, instead of a government mandate? C'mon, it was just a few weeks ago!"

        "Modern Liberalism: The embodiment of an irrational fear of letting other people run their own lives."

        '13 XT250
        '10 ZG-1400 (operational again)

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        • #34
          Fully agree. My gripe is not that noobs are being taught the way they are, but that there are two equally techincally correct answers available.
          Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
          2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

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          • #35
            I used to occasionally (frequently) come across young hotshot Army pilots who informed me by word or deed that they were so good they didn't need to fly by the book. I would reply that when they had demonstrated performing all required maneuvers per the ATM (Aircrew Training Manual) , then and only then would I consider flight maneuvers outside the book....

            That was a severely rare occurrence.

            I feel much the same way about what's covered in the BRC. It's not unusual at all to hear noobs talking about trail braking. Half have no idea what they are talking about thinking it has something to do with the rear brake and 98% of the other half have no business whatsoever trying it...
            Last edited by OBX-RIDER; 03-23-2014, 10:40 PM.
            The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

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            • #36
              Ah.... trailbraking......

              I actually asked about it - if I am trailbraking, will that be an issue? I want to know so that I can consciously not do it. Otherwise, well, habit will kick in and I'll brake when I need to. Which may be somewhere near the apex. Both RCs were clear - if I was braking properly and safely, trail or otherwise, they would not bother about it. Thankfully!!

              Other odds and ends....

              When asked at the start of classroom if people were familiar with or had personal experience with crashes, I did not raise my hand and ask if track offs counted.
              While waiting to take the written test, several students asked about my gear. I explained that it was similar to a Roadcrafter, and while expensive, kept me warm and dry in almost all conditions, and keeps me safe from minor impacts. And that the vest is required in certain countries in Europe, so you just get used to wearing it. It was interesting to hear the responses - to a one, they were surprised that the gear was what enabled me to ride in more weather conditions, not the bike. I did admit that heated grips were a useful add-on for the bike.
              MI MOST requires braking in a turn. I am still interested in this. They time you from point to point to get speed and then have a maximum distance allowed. Of course, there is a nearly straight path through the turn.....
              Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
              2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

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              • #37
                Terminology, Jargon or Colloquialism

                "Trail braking" ?:I That's when you ride straight into the woods through thick brush and blaze a new riding trail been doing that since 1966.
                If I recall correct, the first time "Trail Braking" was used as street or road race jargon was circa 1980 by some dude trying to sell street racer books.

                "Engage the clutch" & "Release the clutch" … considering the way a clutch works; "Pull in the clutch lever" gives you a much more clear description of the action, but nobody ever says that, they just yell "Clutch" and hope the rider sorts out which direction is required in their particular urgency.

                Terminology and riding manoeuvres that apply only within context should never become the source of trick worded test questions.
                What is 'your' correct answer to: "you just left the pavement and you are now riding on loose gravel, what do you do?
                … You there in the back row, on the full knobby KTM, your answer please ?:I


                I think Katherine did awesome I would have bombed the practical part for popping wheelies and bouncing over curbs just to keep warm.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by atomicalex View Post
                  Fully agree. My gripe is not that noobs are being taught the way they are, but that there are two equally techincally correct answers available.
                  Maybe it is an oversight, but there don't seem to be many of those in the BRC training program. I think that it is to hone in on what is the correct answer for a noob. They get lots of information from lots of sources--not the least being their compatriots outside of class. Kind of when we talk about getting all your braking done before the turn. Before the turn. In fact, we model and coach it to be well before the turn. Before. The. Turn. I will occasionally point out that there are other techniques available, but they are not novice techniques, and one should learn them from another course, book, or at least, not on the street.

                  Also--this is well before my time--isn't there some older myth/history of controversy about the front & rear brakes? Some people swear you should never, ever touch the front. I've heard others say they only use the front. This is probably one of the reasons the question is even asked.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by atomicalex View Post
                    Fully agree. My gripe is not that noobs are being taught the way they are, but that there are two equally techincally correct answers available.
                    You'll find this often within the MSF cirriculum (sp). There's more than one way to skin a cat.
                    Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Trials View Post

                      "Engage the clutch" & "Release the clutch" … considering the way a clutch works; "Pull in the clutch lever" gives you a much more clear description of the action, but nobody ever says that, they just yell "Clutch" and hope the rider sorts out which direction is required in their particular urgency.
                      Bingo! The last thing a noobie needs is confusing terminology, especially when early on in their learning curve.

                      Terminology and riding manoeuvres that apply only within context should never become the source of trick worded test questions.
                      What is 'your' correct answer to: "you just left the pavement and you are now riding on loose gravel, what do you do?
                      … You there in the back row, on the full knobby KTM, your answer please ?:I
                      Roost!


                      I would have bombed the practical part for popping wheelies and bouncing over curbs just to keep warm.
                      Only a few of us on this forum know the value of "wheelies." You and me are two of 'em.
                      Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

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                      • #41
                        This thread reminds me.....I should probably try to get into an ARC this year. It's been about 5 years since my last one.
                        Silver '07 Kawi Ninja 250R (sold)
                        '09 Kawi Versys

                        Originally posted by Overcaffeinated
                        Oh, hell, Smurf's right.
                        First Missouri, then Minnesota, now Michigan.....it is my goal in life to live in every state that starts with "M" before I die.....

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                        Didn't vote??? Don't whine....

                        "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP" - Leonard Nimoy

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                        • #42
                          5 years since your last ERC or ARC?
                          If you haven't taken the ARC yet, definitely recommend it. (Not sure it's been around for 5 years yet, is the only reason I mention this.)
                          ARC = Advanced RiderCourse
                          ERC = Experienced RiderCourse (also re-badged to Basic RiderCourse II)
                          Last edited by Missy B; 03-24-2014, 10:31 AM.
                          CURRENT BIKES: 2014 Suzuki Wee Strom, 2016 Honda CBR500R
                          PREVIOUS BIKES: 2002 Ninja 500, 2002 Kawi ZR-7S, 2002 Kawi Concours, 2003 Yamaha XT225, 2006 Yamaha FZ6, 2005 Suzuki Wee Strom, 2004 Honda CRF250R, Yamaha TTR250
                          Test riding bikes since 2004.
                          If loud pipes save lives, imagine what learning to RIDE that thing will do!
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                          • #43
                            Oh, I definitely want to do the ARC. If anything, the BRC convinced me that the MSF is doing a good job of bringing skills to the forefront and that there is a path to ridership in the US.

                            What would be totally kickass is to have a college-type continuing ed class that really dragged out street riding strategies. One that you could get CEUs or regular credits for. I envision it getting into the physics more and dragging out a lot of the traffic situations, bike technology, and gear choices into a full 12-hour classroom thing. I would even consider just grabbing the German theory curriculum and redoing it with US roads and laws. The bike-specific sections are a full 6 hours of content not including Q&A time. So easily 8-10 classes of just that. Throw a few sessions on passing and general road behaviour in there, and bam! Course.
                            Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
                            2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by mz33 View Post

                              Also--this is well before my time--isn't there some older myth/history of controversy about the front & rear brakes? Some people swear you should never, ever touch the front. I've heard others say they only use the front. This is probably one of the reasons the question is even asked.

                              One of the riders who claims he only uses the front brake is a guy named Kevin Schwantz ...
                              The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by atomicalex
                                What would be totally kickass is to have a college-type continuing ed class that really dragged out street riding strategies. One that you could get CEUs or regular credits for. I envision it getting into the physics more and dragging out a lot of the traffic situations, bike technology, and gear choices into a full 12-hour classroom thing. I would even consider just grabbing the German theory curriculum and redoing it with US roads and laws. The bike-specific sections are a full 6 hours of content not including Q&A time. So easily 8-10 classes of just that. Throw a few sessions on passing and general road behaviour in there, and bam! Course.
                                That would indeed be great.
                                Unfortunately, I don't know that the demand is there. Our $110 ERC/BRC2 and $140 ARC are often canceled. I don't get a lot of calls for people wanting to learn how to ride a motorcycle just to learn; 90% of the calls are they want their endorsement. Too many of the calls are because their own bike is "too big to pass the MVD license test".

                                It is very rare that we have a BRC2 class where the riders are already endorsed.

                                Most of the ARCs we do conduct are through one of the major employers here who support the riding group by reimbursing them for the class.
                                CURRENT BIKES: 2014 Suzuki Wee Strom, 2016 Honda CBR500R
                                PREVIOUS BIKES: 2002 Ninja 500, 2002 Kawi ZR-7S, 2002 Kawi Concours, 2003 Yamaha XT225, 2006 Yamaha FZ6, 2005 Suzuki Wee Strom, 2004 Honda CRF250R, Yamaha TTR250
                                Test riding bikes since 2004.
                                If loud pipes save lives, imagine what learning to RIDE that thing will do!
                                sigpic

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