Author Topic: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?  (Read 449 times)

Offline IdaSuzi

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Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« on: July 16, 2019, 04:47:26 AM »
So I took the MSF in Washington State and had a good experience. Now I live in Idaho where they have the Idaho Star Program and I hear a lot of good things about it. Is there really much of a difference? The lowest level beginner course is still only 2 days and I can't see it being much different from the MSF I took 5 years ago. Does anyone have experience with "Team Oregon," "Idaho Star," California's new CMSP, or any other alternatives?
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Offline Watcher

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2019, 08:19:43 AM »
Hmm...  I can't say that I've heard of Idaho STAR, but I've checked out their website.

Now, I'm MSF certified, and what I see in their photos and videos looks systematically identical to what I teach.  They even do an online classroom portion just like the MSF does.
Team Oregon's website seems to offer less to infer than Idaho STAR, but from the incredibly similar terminology I've come to the same conclusion as with STAR.  "Same but different."

This inspired me to do some light digging, and I came across this article:
https://www.bikebandit.com/blog/big-changes-may-be-coming-in-new-rider-training

The synopsis is that while the MSF is a widely established curriculum, some states, notably California, Oregon, and Idaho, felt that the number of motorcycle related injuries and fatalities were in poor proportion to the licenses and registrations being issued, and so broke away to do some research and development into other curriculum based more on statistical data and research programs more than simple manipulations training.

Doesn't surprise me that those programs seem very similar to the MSF program I know, as the MSF did the same thing and redeveloped their curriculum to be more heavily based on crash research and real-world development.  In this case, Oregon and Idaho beat MSF to the punch, so to speak, but MSF has caught right back up.

There are a few exercises in STAR that seem questionable to me, like one example where the riders were riding in opposing and perpendicular directions towards each other to simulate active intersections.  Just seems an unnecessary risk for a limited scope exercise, any rider taking the course would already be licensed for a car and have driving experience, stopping at a 4-way intersection and checking for traffic is done the same regardless of vehicle.
By comparison the MSF's version of traffic negotiation is with a merging exercise and a simulated lane change that gets the riders to start using turn signals, turning their heads to check blind spots, and judging speed of self vs traffic, which seems far more in depth.

Stopping, looking both ways, then starting?  Also, riding head on towards each other?  Potentially with people who have been on a motorcycle for a grand total of hours?  Once again, just seems to be too much risk for too little pay off.


Anyway, on to California.  Part of their philosophy was also to make the class harder to pass, therefore weeding out poor or underdeveloped riders that could otherwise enter the real world of traffic unprepared and become a statistic.

I don't have any direct experience with California's CMSP nor Total Control, but from what I've gathered from snippets here and there those seem to be like what would happen if you combined MSF's Basic Rider Course and Advanced Rider Course into one class.

For example, while the BRC would focus on the basics of motorcycle operation like how to use the clutch, how to brake, how to swerve, how to judge curves, etc, and the ARC would then refine that control with concepts like trail-braking, body position, and more complex evasive techniques, Total Control seems to introduce trail-braking and body position right from the start.

The argument against is that this steeper learning curve has some minor increased risk to the students as well as holds little mercy for stragglers.  If you can't quite get it you're going to be cut loose, and that's perhaps a little unfair to some slower learners.
The argument for is that, of course, only higher skilled riders can hack it and thus are more prepared for the real world application after course completion.


At any rate, California uses what they consider to be a more stringent training program, and in combination with a helmet law has had a really positive affect on rider survivability in California.  Probably one of the only things about California that I can actually stand behind.  I have literally zero desire to even set foot in that state, I all but hate them politically, but they at least got their motorcycle safety legislation right.

Despite my position as a supporter and instructor for the MSF, that is a critique that I have about it.  I've passed students that I know shouldn't be on the road, but they exceeded the minimum so they got a completion card.  We do strongly urge our riders to come back for further instruction, but most people  seem to feel the BRC is sufficient to prepare them for the road, and in a legal sense it is.
If I had it my way, if you pass a BRC (or equivalent) you are now granted access to a permit.  The permit will legally allow you to ride a motorcycle but only under specific conditions (daytime with a licensed rider, no night and no solo).  Completing an ARC or other further education will be licensing, but restricted (limited power license like in the UK and Oz).  After X time of proper experience (lets say 6-months minimum) you can come back for a second ARC (or equivalent) and upon successful completion will grant an unrestricted license.
Maybe the USA will wake up one day and implement something like this...


Anyway, no matter your choice and your local flavor, any state recognized motorcycle instruction is good instruction, and anyone who doesn't professionally further their rider education is doing themselves a disservice.  I'd strongly urge everyone reading this to take another course, take one yearly if possible, especially if there is a down-season in your part of the world.
Even the most basic of the basic rider courses teaches important life saving skills, skills that often aren't practiced and can be forgotten.
When's the last time anyone here went to an empty parking lot and practiced threshold braking?  If you can't remember, it's time.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 03:52:09 PM by Watcher »
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Offline qcbaker

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2019, 01:24:30 PM »
For example, while the BRC would focus on the basics of motorcycle operation like how to use the clutch, how to brake, how to swerve, how to judge curves, etc, and the ARC would then refine that control with concepts like trail-braking, body position, and more complex evasive techniques, Total Control seems to introduce trail-braking and body position right from the start.

I took the Total Control class in PA and I don't remember being taught anything about trail-braking. It might have been mentioned in the booklet, but we never did an exercise on it. And we never really learned much about body position, other than "grip the tank with your knees". In fact, after I took a corner a little quick, I was specifically told by my instructors not to hang off because it might confuse less experienced riders. And the only "evasive technique" we learned was swerving.

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2019, 03:45:49 PM »
Total Control seems to introduce trail-braking and body position right from the start.

I took the Total Control class in PA and I don't remember being taught anything about trail-braking.
I was specifically told by my instructors not to hang off because it might confuse less experienced riders. And the only "evasive technique" we learned was swerving.

Hmm...  Not sure where I got that impression from, then.

But as said, I don't have any direct experience with that curriculum.  Perhaps they also do tiered learning and I was getting it mixed up?  :dunno_black:


Have you also taken an MSF class?  Can you offer any comparison beween the two?
« Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 03:52:34 PM by Watcher »
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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2019, 03:56:13 PM »
Thank you for the detailed reply! Thanks for doing some digging as well. California's approach is indeed interesting in this case. I should go back and take another course but I try to self educate where I can and have read twist of the wrist 2 and others and then just put a lot of miles on the bike. I do practice emergency breaking and got to put that practice into real life just the other day haha.

It is interesting that in the US for motorcycles and cars that a license is a license. However with a car the cost for performance is so much higher than for motorcycles. Even buying a souped up old 90's Camaro will cost 5-6k or more if it's in good condition. But just look at all the cheap used supersports and its easy to see where the problem arises. I would be in favor of a two tier license system, as long as the first tier at least went up to 60ish hp, a 125 would not work for my location. Thanks again!
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Offline qcbaker

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2019, 04:31:26 PM »
Have you also taken an MSF class?  Can you offer any comparison beween the two?

Unfortunately no, so I can't offer any direct comparison either, just my own experience with Total Control. Here are the impressions I wrote in your "Ask a RiderCoach" thread right after I completed the course:

Impressions for session #1:

So I had my first range session this weekend for the Total Control course. I like the exercises they had us do and I think it definitely works as a way to go from literally zero moto experience to being able to ride the bike somewhat competently. Lots of focus on head turning and general best practices.

However, as someone with a couple years of street riding and many years of trail riding experience, I found the pace a bit slow. But I feel like that's a problem with me more than it is the course. They also wanted us to be covering the clutch at all times. They said its because it can be used as a "panic button" of sorts if you accidentally give too much throttle. This was a bit frustrating to me because as someone with some level of experience (not that I'm an expert by any means), I'm not really who they're worried about doing that and I don't usually cover my clutch when riding. Parking lots and stop and go traffic are like the only times I cover it, so being told to cover the clutch for what amounts to basically no reason was kind of annoying.

Lastly, I did the class in POURING rain. While being very wet (my gear is still a bit damp today and I took the class Saturday morning) and very cold was absolutely miserable, I valued the experience of being able to practice the basics in the rain. It's a good confidence builder. However, my girlfriend got way too cold and had to drop out (and she wasn't the only one). That was a bit of a bummer since she'll have to retake that range session at some point before our next class, but it wasn't her fault.  She actually got pulled over on her way home because she was driving really slowly and apparently when the cop came to her window, her lips were blue and she was slurring her speech. I'm glad she stopped when she did, otherwise she may have had to go to the hospital.

Impressions for session #2:

So, I successfully completed the BRC and am now (finally) a fully licensed motorcyclist lol. As for feedback, I have mixed feelings. I feel like there are some things about the class I really liked, and others I really didn't like. But, I think most of the things I didn't like were because I'm already a reasonably competent rider and the course is focused on teaching you to ride without having prior knowledge. So I think I failed to go in with a "beginner's mind" so to speak.

To elaborate a bit, I got a bit frustrated with the instructors the second range session because they seemed hyper focused on enforcing arbitrary things. For example, we started the second range session with a cornering exercise. Because I hang off when I corner at speed, my inside knee reflexively came off the tank a bit during the first pass and they harped on me about keeping my knees on the tank. I could understand if they had a real issue with my technique (not turning my head enough, not rolling on smoothly, etc.) but to criticize me for using actual proper body position just because the instruction book says "knees against the tank" kind of annoyed me. However, I do understand that the course is geared towards people who aren't familiar with that type of thing, so I'm trying not to hold it against them. Another example was braking before corners. There were a few times we were going so slow I didn't feel the need to brake prior to the corners and the instructors told me each time I needed to brake. The cornering acronym Total Control uses is SPAT: Adjust your Speed, Adjust your Position, Aim (basically, turn your head and look at the corner exit), then Turn. "Adjusting your speed" doesn't necessarily mean I have to brake. I asked the instructor "The S in SPAT is for "speed", not braking, right? I'm adjusting my speed by rolling off the throttle, why do you keep insisting I need to brake?" and he was really dismissive and just told me to brake. Maybe he thought I was being a jerk, but I was just genuinely confused by his insistence on me braking. If we're going 10mph, it seems a bit ridiculous to dismissively insist that I brake before this curve that I could easily take at 30 especially after I made it clear that I understood the material. His dismissive attitude really rubbed me the wrong way because it seemed so arbitrary and in the moment its very difficult to remember that the course is not designed for a rider who can already corner fine.

And I realize that some of that may sound a bit pretentious but I don't really mean to imply that I know more than the instructors or that my cornering is perfect as is, or anything like that. I just feel that my experience level was a bit higher than this course was designed for.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 04:58:25 PM by qcbaker »

Offline qcbaker

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2019, 04:54:57 PM »
For example, we started the second range session with a cornering exercise. Because I hang off when I corner at speed, my inside knee reflexively came off the tank a bit during the first pass and they harped on me about keeping my knees on the tank. I could understand if they had a real issue with my technique (not turning my head enough, not rolling on smoothly, etc.) but to criticize me for using actual proper body position just because the instruction book says "knees against the tank" kind of annoyed me. However, I do understand that the course is geared towards people who aren't familiar with that type of thing, so I'm trying not to hold it against them.

Re-reading this, I think maybe in the moment I was more annoyed about the body position thing than I should have been. I neglected to mention the instructors comment about it confusing other students and just focused on their insistence that I don't hang off. The conversation went like basically like this:

Me: *corners while hanging off a bit*
Instructor: "Hey, remember to keep your knees on the tank"
M: "But, hanging off a bit keeps the bike more upright so I don't lose traction"
I: "Just keep your knees on the tank, it might confuse the other students."
M: "But... Sigh, fine." *corners without hanging off, scraping pegs slightly*
I: *thumbs up*
M: :icon_rolleyes:

Looking back on it now, I'd just like to re-iterate my own mistake of not approaching the class with a beginner's mind. The instructor was right to tell me it might confuse other students, but I still think they could have given that advice in a way more respectful of my own experience level. If the instructor had said "Look, you're right, but the course says X so we have to do it this way, sorry man" instead of "Just do it this way" I might have been more receptive. But, at the end of the day, I should have just put my ego aside and done what they asked.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 04:57:31 PM by qcbaker »

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2019, 09:23:16 PM »
Thank you for re-posting that.  RiderCoaches aside, I'm interested if you can remember any specifics about the class.  What exercises did you like the best?  Which were the most challenging?  Did you feel as if anything was redundant?  Did you straight up disagree with anything?

Without having many details I can't really infer similarities, but it may very well just be another case of "same but different".
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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2019, 02:28:37 PM »
What exercises did you like the best?  Which were the most challenging?

I liked the cone slalom the best, I wouldn't really call it "challenging" in the sense that I had difficulty with it, but it definitely required the most fine control of the bike out of all the exercises, IMO. I also think the "clutch walking" exercise was really useful. Not for me, since I already know how to operate the clutch, but for the students who had never ridden a bike before. It seems like a good way to familiarize a new rider with the friction zone and all that.

Quote
Did you feel as if anything was redundant?  Did you straight up disagree with anything?

I wouldn't call any of the instruction redundant, I felt that any info or exercises that were repeated were worth repeating. As for disagreements, I don't really think any of the info presented in the class was wrong per se, I just think the course has a focus on matching the book to the letter regardless of real-world implications, which I disagree with. For example, the insistence that I brake before turning, even though braking was completely unnecessary because I was already at a comfortable corner entry speed. SPAT isn't wrong, it is definitely imperative to adjust your speed prior to turning. But, demanding that I brake even though all it does in that situation is make me less smooth is wrong, IMO.

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Without having many details I can't really infer similarities, but it may very well just be another case of "same but different".


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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2019, 03:02:18 AM »
I liked the cone slalom the best.

We do those in the MSF.

I also think the "clutch walking" exercise was really useful.

We do this in the MSF.

For example, the insistence that I brake before turning, even though braking was completely unnecessary because I was already at a comfortable corner entry speed.

My organization isn't that insistent, as long as you demonstrate good control, but we also teach to brake before entry in the MSF.  At least in the BRC, advanced courses teach trail-braking concepts.

SPAT isn't wrong, it is definitely imperative to adjust your speed prior to turning.

MSF's version of SPAT (Speed, Position, Aim, Turn) is less catchy, but essentially the same.  We've got two, actually.  "Slow, Look, Press, Roll" is the remedial instruction that guides the rider to slow for the turn, look through the path of travel, press the bars to steer, then roll back on the throttle.  Later we transition this to "Search, Setup, Smooth."  Search through the turn to determine a line, proper speed, and identify any problem spots, setup for the turn by positioning yourself, the bike, and slowing if necessary, and of course be smooth about your control inputs.



Yeah, seems like.  At least when comparing the modern curriculum.  Perhaps the previous iteration of the MSF was lacking in some ways, it's been a long time since I took it as a student and don't remember much about it, but the current curriculum seems very similar.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 03:04:56 AM by Watcher »
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Offline qcbaker

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2019, 01:43:27 PM »
Later we transition this to "Search, Setup, Smooth."  Search through the turn to determine a line, proper speed, and identify any problem spots, setup for the turn by positioning yourself, the bike, and slowing if necessary, and of course be smooth about your control inputs.

Personally, I like this a bit better than either of the other two because I feel like its not necessarily dictating exactly what actions you need to take, just the desired outcome: a planned out, smooth line through the curve.

Quote
Perhaps the previous iteration of the MSF was lacking in some ways, it's been a long time since I took it as a student and don't remember much about it, but the current curriculum seems very similar.

:dunno_black: How different can BRCs be, realistically? Obviously there are minor differences in the curriculum but the actual skills that the course needs to teach are basically the same. I don't know how many different ways there are to teach someone the basics...

The thing that frustrates me about basic vs. advanced instruction in general is that oftentimes I feel like the basic courses teach stuff that, while it does work to help get you from "no experience at all" to "able to operate a motorcycle", builds bad habits if you apply the info outside of extremely basic situations. I know I keep talking about it, but keeping your knees on the tank is a perfect example. Its good advice for familiarizing a new rider with the feeling of supporting themselves with the lower half of their body so as to steer and brake smoothly, but is risking a lowside if you need to brake in a curve (or otherwise adjust your line at speed). I've saved myself a few times by hanging further off and standing the bike up a bit more so I could brake a bit while maintaining the same line. If I had been static on the bike and kept my knees on the tank, I would've either lowsided, run wide and hit the guardrail, or rear ended the vehicle ahead of me. For reasons like that, I agree with you that the BRC doesn't really properly prepare riders for riding on the street and would support a more restrictive licensing path.

I want to eventually take the ARC at some point, as well as doing some instructed track days.

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2019, 06:24:08 PM »
I know I keep talking about it, but keeping your knees on the tank is a perfect example. Its good advice for familiarizing a new rider with the feeling of supporting themselves with the lower half of their body so as to steer and brake smoothly, but is risking a lowside if you need to brake in a curve (or otherwise adjust your line at speed). I've saved myself a few times by hanging further off and standing the bike up a bit more so I could brake a bit while maintaining the same line. If I had been static on the bike and kept my knees on the tank, I would've either lowsided, run wide and hit the guardrail, or rear ended the vehicle ahead of me. For reasons like that, I agree with you that the BRC doesn't really properly prepare riders for riding on the street and would support a more restrictive licensing path.

While I don't disagree that "hanging off" is a valid skill that can be used for street, I think you're overstating it's usefulness.

For 99% of riders 99% of the time the same effect can be achieved with just the upper body.  Dropping that inside elbow and therefore turning your shoulders inside and down, and moving your head towards the inside mirror, does probably 75% or more the total effect of the whole buttcheek off knee out hang off.
You can get quite good just doing this, and is easily transitioned to from the remedial skill of staying relaxed but upright with knees on the tank.
Also considering a lot of beginners tend to hold on to the bars WAY too tight they will undoubtedly be supporting themselves by the handlebars.  The physical act of hanging off needs to be basically all lower body, a new rider isn't going to be able to do that, and will likely cause themselves more issues trying to learn it immediately than will arise in the future when developing more advanced techniques.

The knee out itself actually does very little if anything at street speeds.  The whole reason to even do it at the track is 1) the knee is a gauge for max lean, when you touch the knee you're approaching the limit 2) at really high speeds the knee can act as an airbrake of sorts, same why you see a lot of racers sit up into the wind when slowing for a corner.

It's natural for the knee to leave the tank if you're moving a buttcheek off, as keeping the knee on the tank would turn your hips awkwardly, but sticking the knee out is unnecessary.  One would even argue that without knee-pucks on your pants knee out is useless and potentially dangerous if you actually do touch down.


So I don't think knees against the tank is a bad habit, nor do I think it's an unbreakable habit.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 06:24:44 PM by Watcher »
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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2019, 07:36:25 PM »
While I don't disagree that "hanging off" is a valid skill that can be used for street, I think you're overstating it's usefulness.

For 99% of riders 99% of the time the same effect can be achieved with just the upper body.  Dropping that inside elbow and therefore turning your shoulders inside and down, and moving your head towards the inside mirror, does probably 75% or more the total effect of the whole buttcheek off knee out hang off.

Maybe its just me, or maybe its just a product of the GS's ergos, but I find it much more difficult to shift my upper body in the way you describe while also keeping my knees on the tank. I can do it, but my core feels a little... twisted? (its hard to describe the feeling lol). I find it much easier to get my upper body into that position if I shift my hips so they point inside a bit as well, which makes my inside knee come off the tank a bit. :dunno_black: It sounds awkward describing it, but it feels pretty natural.

And as a matter of clarification, I'm not saying that you need to be like, MotoGP-style, full hang off, close to dragging knees/elbows all the time, I'm just talking about moving your upper body as you describe, but also shifting your lower body into a "sportier" position, so to speak.

Quote
You can get quite good just doing this, and is easily transitioned to from the remedial skill of staying relaxed but upright with knees on the tank.
Also considering a lot of beginners tend to hold on to the bars WAY too tight they will undoubtedly be supporting themselves by the handlebars.  The physical act of hanging off needs to be basically all lower body, a new rider isn't going to be able to do that, and will likely cause themselves more issues trying to learn it immediately than will arise in the future when developing more advanced techniques.

No disagreement here, and I didn't mean to imply that novice riders should immediately be taught full-on sport style body position from the start. My point is just that "knees on the tank" isn't really the goal, is it? The rider learning to support themselves with their lower body/core is the goal. And, IMO, that should be the focus of the instruction rather than "knees on the tank" without any further context. I would rather emphasize the actual goal of the advice, rather than focusing on the literal advice itself, if that makes any sense lol.

Quote
The knee out itself actually does very little if anything at street speeds.  The whole reason to even do it at the track is 1) the knee is a gauge for max lean, when you touch the knee you're approaching the limit 2) at really high speeds the knee can act as an airbrake of sorts, same why you see a lot of racers sit up into the wind when slowing for a corner.

Yeah, I know that lol. Again, I'm not advocating being a literal street Rossi, just a mild hang off.

Quote
It's natural for the knee to leave the tank if you're moving a buttcheek off, as keeping the knee on the tank would turn your hips awkwardly, but sticking the knee out is unnecessary.  One would even argue that without knee-pucks on your pants knee out is useless and potentially dangerous if you actually do touch down.

Maybe its just a matter of how I worded what I said, because it feels like you just described the same "twisted" feeling I was talking about earlier. "Knee leaving the tank" is basically what I'm referring to, not fully pointing it near-90 degrees outward to use as a lean gauge. Sorry If I gave the wrong impression, I'll try to be more clear in the future lol.

Quote
So I don't think knees against the tank is a bad habit, nor do I think it's an unbreakable habit.

I guess "bad habit" is too strong of a phrase, more like "less than ideal habit". And I guess I'm more referring to it as being the end of the riders understanding. "Knees on the tank" vs. "Support yourself with your lower body", which can be done without both knees on the tank, as you know.

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2019, 06:53:31 AM »
Maybe its just me, or maybe its just a product of the GS's ergos, but I find it much more difficult to shift my upper body in the way you describe while also keeping my knees on the tank. I can do it, but my core feels a little... twisted? (its hard to describe the feeling lol).

I wanted to articulate in more detail what the technique should be, and I actually thought of a great way to explain the position.  You should "dab".  :laugh: 
No, seriously!  If you attempt to "dab" while on the bike you'll be replicating the correct body position.  Though, obviously, keep your head up so you can see where it is you're going.

In all seriousness, I found an awesome picture of this.  I was hoping this rider wouldn't have his knee out, but it's a great representation of the upper body none the less.



Notice how his chest is facing the apex of the turn, and he is leaned gently forward.  The rider appears to be relaxed with his shoulders in a naturally low position, achieved by dropping that inside elbow.  If it helps to get that elbow down, you can think of slightly modifying your grip to hold the bars "like a screwdriver."  It should be comfortable and feel natural.  It's a gentle angle, more forward than down or off to the side, but of course the further you go the more it will progress into turning the hips as well as moving off the seat and eventually into a full hang off.
How far you can lean before requiring some movement in the hips may simply depend on your own personal physiology.  For me, it seems like I can put my chin over the edge of my gas tank before I need to adjust my seating.

I'm also in an approximation of this position in my current avatar, said as such since I'm nowhere near as aggressively leaned.  I've posted the full size, uncropped photo below.
For perspective, the camera is mounted as close to dead center on the bike as I could eyeball it, and the photo is unedited.  I'm turned slightly away from the camera (into the turn), my outside arm is slightly extended, and my inside elbow is slightly dropped.



The source of that photo is here, if you care to watch.  Nothing about the video is spectacular, especially not my technique, but it was interesting enough at the time for me to upload it.
I always meant to remake it with better planning for lighting and a better viewing angle, not to mention more purpose to my riding, perhaps this discussion is enough of an incentive for me to explore it again.


Anyway, this is all in stark contrast to the following image.



This rider is practically facing out of the turn.  His chest is still in line with the motorcycle and his lean is a side-to-side type of flex, as if you stood in a T-pose and tried to touch your right hand to your right knee by only bending at the waist.  That's not a particularly comfortable way to bend.  He also has his shoulders really tilted.  He didn't drop that inside elbow down, rather it seems he raised his outside shoulder up.  That looks all kinds of uncomfortable.

Interestingly enough, that image came from a RideApart article about the benefits of body position.  You'd think they'd at least demonstrate it appropriately.
The first image comes by way of a website called LifeAtLean, which seems to be all about track day and sport riding.



And as a matter of clarification, I'm not saying that you need to be like, MotoGP-style, full hang off, close to dragging knees/elbows all the time, I'm just talking about moving your upper body as you describe, but also shifting your lower body into a "sportier" position, so to speak.

Gotcha, maybe I expected too much and defended as such.

I didn't mean to imply that novice riders should immediately be taught full-on sport style body position from the start. My point is just that "knees on the tank" isn't really the goal, is it? The rider learning to support themselves with their lower body/core is the goal. And, IMO, that should be the focus of the instruction rather than "knees on the tank" without any further context. I would rather emphasize the actual goal of the advice, rather than focusing on the literal advice itself, if that makes any sense lol.

Well, it's kinda two-fold.  You do want to emphasize support from the lower body, including the legs, but you also want to make it so that, for the students, the motorcycle behaves in a predictable manner and they gain some confidence and trust in the machine.  This comes from a simple concept, being connected to the bike.
We can both agree that any sort of change in body position affects the dynamics of the bike and changes both the angle of lean and the effectiveness of any steering input.  New riders have a tendency to put their knees out while the motorcycle is leaning into a turn, I guess it's reflexive if they feel off balance, and when that happens mid turn they inadvertently change the bike's cornering behavior, which in turn causes them to feel uncomfortable.  Then they tend grip the bars tighter, which makes the bike feel heavy and unwilling to turn.  Then they start running wide and when that happens they tend to slow down mid corner, which stands them up even more, which makes them run wider.
It's crazy how common that chain is, and we have a hand gesture specifically to suggest knees against the tank so we can coach the rider without having to stop the exercise.  Once they get that stability, they start making the turns, they start picking their speed up, they start having more fun, that confidence starts growing.

And it's not just in a bad way at curve speed.  If "knees against the tank" isn't drilled into their muscle memory early on, it's damn near catastrophic when it comes to low speed.  Ironically, trying to balance the bike with your knees causes it to become more unstable.  Trying to u-turn with your knees flailing around causing the bike to become wobbly, it's a sore sight and a nervous rider, and it all starts from the beginning and the concept of being connected to the bike.

Once a rider is confident I have no issue talking to them about body position, but until then I need those knees against the tank!

Quote
It's natural for the knee to leave the tank if you're moving a buttcheek off, as keeping the knee on the tank would turn your hips awkwardly.

Maybe its just a matter of how I worded what I said, because it feels like you just described the same "twisted" feeling I was talking about earlier.

Yeah, that seems to be the case.
In a way trying to keep your knees on the tank while also trying to hang off would lead to a sort of "crossed up" body position where you aren't leading the bike with your body so much as holding onto the side of the bike as it leans over.  Definitely not ideal, nor comfortable.  Look up Mick Doohan for a quite spectacular demonstration of "crossed up" riding, it's amazing he was as successful as he was riding like that.


Actually, on the topic of "crossed up", I did notice something while scrolling through photos.  Almost invariably it seems a "crossed up" rider has their head and shoulders still centered with the motorcycle while their lower body is hanging off the side of the bike.
Hopefully I'm not fabricating a connection here, but it seems to me that getting comfortable putting your upper body in the correct position before attempting to shift your derriere into hang off position would naturally lead to proper form, and this would support the "knees against the tank" instruction.  Once you have the right orientation, you can begin to lower yourself down further into the turn by hanging off the seat.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2019, 10:08:59 AM by Watcher »
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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2019, 02:45:31 PM »
I wanted to articulate in more detail what the technique should be, and I actually thought of a great way to explain the position.  You should "dab".  :laugh: 
No, seriously!  If you attempt to "dab" while on the bike you'll be replicating the correct body position.  Though, obviously, keep your head up so you can see where it is you're going.

In all seriousness, I found an awesome picture of this.  I was hoping this rider wouldn't have his knee out, but it's a great representation of the upper body none the less.
<pic>

I would say this photo is pretty similar to how I ride, inside knee off the tank and all. But I definitely get what you're saying about the upper body. Dabbing is an interesting way to think of it, and I'm sure I'll chuckle to myself about it next time I go around a tight exit ramp lol.

Quote
Well, it's kinda two-fold.  You do want to emphasize support from the lower body, including the legs, but you also want to make it so that, for the students, the motorcycle behaves in a predictable manner and they gain some confidence and trust in the machine.  This comes from a simple concept, being connected to the bike.
We can both agree that any sort of change in body position affects the dynamics of the bike and changes both the angle of lean and the effectiveness of any steering input.  New riders have a tendency to put their knees out while the motorcycle is leaning into a turn, I guess it's reflexive if they feel off balance, and when that happens mid turn they inadvertently change the bike's cornering behavior, which in turn causes them to feel uncomfortable.  Then they tend grip the bars tighter, which makes the bike feel heavy and unwilling to turn.  Then they start running wide and when that happens they tend to slow down mid corner, which stands them up even more, which makes them run wider.
It's crazy how common that chain is, and we have a hand gesture specifically to suggest knees against the tank so we can coach the rider without having to stop the exercise.  Once they get that stability, they start making the turns, they start picking their speed up, they start having more fun, that confidence starts growing.

And it's not just in a bad way at curve speed.  If "knees against the tank" isn't drilled into their muscle memory early on, it's damn near catastrophic when it comes to low speed.  Ironically, trying to balance the bike with your knees causes it to become more unstable.  Trying to u-turn with your knees flailing around causing the bike to become wobbly, it's a sore sight and a nervous rider, and it all starts from the beginning and the concept of being connected to the bike.

Once a rider is confident I have no issue talking to them about body position, but until then I need those knees against the tank!

Quote
Hopefully I'm not fabricating a connection here, but it seems to me that getting comfortable putting your upper body in the correct position before attempting to shift your derriere into hang off position would naturally lead to proper form, and this would support the "knees against the tank" instruction.  Once you have the right orientation, you can begin to lower yourself down further into the turn by hanging off the seat.

Fair enough. At the end of the day you'd know what works with most students better than I would, so I'll take your word that it's the best way to start out instructing. Like I said before, I think my previous riding experience made it difficult for me to see the advice as I would have as a true beginner and that's my fault, not the teachers' or course's. These types of conversations always make me think I should really get around to doing an ARC. Since the instruction would most likely be geared towards a slightly more experienced rider, I'd probably enjoy it more.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 02:46:59 PM by qcbaker »

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2019, 03:28:22 AM »
These types of conversations always make me think I should really get around to doing an ARC. Since the instruction would most likely be geared towards a slightly more experienced rider, I'd probably enjoy it more.


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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2019, 12:42:13 AM »
I'm a bit at a loss here. This sort of stuff makes me a bit cray-cray. Why "hanging off"  would be a part of a beginner course thread, I can't even imagine. I would only hope that any ridercoach having to "argue" with some n00b about how important hanging off is would simply flunk em.

Hanging off is very useful at the track. I speak of this as a VERY experienced track rider.That sh*t on the street is ridiculous.

Don't even bother with the "but hanging off is so necessary" on the street. B f*cking S. Such nonsense is usually spouted by ego-driven n00bs trying to look important to their 16-year-old buddies.

Taking the training courses is one of the best things one can do to start their riding careers. Listening to experienced riders who actually KNOW something is another. Trying to convince ridercoaches that "hanging off" is the way to go... that does not even rate.

Please do not ride on the same roads I ride on in Calif if you're an idiot. TYVM!

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2019, 01:42:44 PM »
I'm a bit at a loss here. This sort of stuff makes me a bit cray-cray. Why "hanging off"  would be a part of a beginner course thread, I can't even imagine. I would only hope that any ridercoach having to "argue" with some n00b about how important hanging off is would simply flunk em.

Hanging off is very useful at the track. I speak of this as a VERY experienced track rider.That sh*t on the street is ridiculous.

Don't even bother with the "but hanging off is so necessary" on the street. B f*cking S. Such nonsense is usually spouted by ego-driven n00bs trying to look important to their 16-year-old buddies.

Taking the training courses is one of the best things one can do to start their riding careers. Listening to experienced riders who actually KNOW something is another. Trying to convince ridercoaches that "hanging off" is the way to go... that does not even rate.

Please do not ride on the same roads I ride on in Calif if you're an idiot. TYVM!

pandy

I think you're getting the wrong idea here. Based on your reaction, I assume you think I'm dragging knees and flying around every corner, and that's simply not the case. Nor was I "arguing" with the instructor or trying to convince them of anything; I pushed back on reductive instruction, then acquiesced and did as I was asked. Good to know you think trying to get actually constructive instruction makes me a "noob trying to impress 16 year old  kids" though, real cool of you. :icon_rolleyes:

With all due respect, IMO your attitude regarding using track/racing focused techniques on the street is reductive as well. Just because it isn't "necessary" to hang off on the street doesn't mean it isn't the better technique. Like, it's not "necessary" to use both brakes to stop either, my front brake alone can more than handle 99% of situations I will encounter on the street. But I still use both brakes because its the better technique. What about trail braking? Do you trail brake on the street? That's a racing technique and not "necessary" either.

Again, and I cannot stress this enough:

I'm not advocating being a literal street Rossi, just a mild hang off.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2019, 01:52:20 PM by qcbaker »

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Re: Difference between various motorcycle training programs?
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2019, 09:32:32 AM »
I think I'm getting a pretty good idea here.  :thumb:
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