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I am horrified to read those negative comments! I am waiting for the winter weather to clear up here and then I will take a safety class, probably at a Harley-Davidson dealer nearby. About those negative reviews: if an instructor can't deal with absolute beginners in a beginner class, then he/she should not be an instructor. As a true beginner, I pay my money and expect to learn to ride. I'm not at the same level as others who have ridden before, but I surely expect the INSTRUCTOR to "do his or her friggin' job," to quote Bill Belichick. They can drop the attitude because I will call them on it, right on the spot. Now I see what I might be up against in a beginner safety class. But also, that scenario may never happen. As when riding on the road or going anywhere, confidence and a little attitude, when needed, can help you deal with bad situations.

Leslie Mahn
Acton, MA
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Editor Response
Hi Leslie,
As a MSF RiderCoach and site manager, I can attest to the fact that a great many of us are actually there for you, the beginner. There are sour apples out there for sure, but I hope you approach the class with enthusiasm and excitement, and I pray you have a couple of RiderCoaches who work well with you. It doesn't hurt to ask around either... ask the folks working at the dealership for recommendations, ask how long each instructor assigned to that class has been teaching, and ask for a former female student recommendation. If you aren't happy with the answers, you can look into your state's MSF program for alternatives. For example, Massachusetts' Rider Education Program (MREP) currently has 13 MREP approved training schools at 26 locations throughout the state. Ask the same questions when you go to sign up. And if you can't get the answers, ask for the site manager's contact information. I know as a manager myself, I could easily answer these questions about my coaches, and this would lead you toward success.
Best of luck!
Tricia Szulewski, Associate Editor
I am so disappointed in this course. I was looking forward to it and can't stress enough that this is not a course for people that have never ridden a motorcycle before. Additionally, if like me you are of the shorter heavier persuasion those bikes are not easy to handle. The timing of this course is very fast and very disproportionate.
1. This course is not for new riders that have never been on a bike.
2. The instructors spent 30 minutes going over how to get on the bike and turn it on and the same amount of time was allotted to learn how to get our balance and maneuver.
3. I also felt that I was meant to feel stupid and singled out for not "getting it" or being confident to speed along and ride the clutch.
4. The instructors scared the crap out of me every time I made a mistake and kept harassing me about how I was holding everyone up, and it was hot. Then they said it was not safe for me to continue the course after only three hours of me trying to ride.
5. Finally, to add insult to injury, the dealership is refusing to refund me the $350 that I paid for the course.

Terry Veriozka
Aurora, IL
Monday, July 2, 2018
Editor Response
I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, Terry. As a RiderCoach and a site manager myself, I read comments like yours very carefully and take them seriously. These courses are not guaranteed to work for everyone, but in fact are designed for brand new riders with little or no experience. However, many students take it several times before having enough confidence and skill to get through them successfully. Some new riders do much better in a private or semi-private lesson. I would suggest to you that you inquire with another program and give it another try.

A google search for Illinois motorcycle safety programs will bring you to many options besides taking the course at a Harley dealership which will put you on different motorcycles. And some of these classes are free!

Hang in there. There are good coaches and bad coaches. I'm sure you'll find some great ones if you keep looking. Good luck!
Tricia Szulewski, Associate Editor
I was also very disappointed in this class. I wasn't given a chance to get comfortable with the skills before being forced into the next. During one skill being told I'm supposed to "ride the clutch," then being yelled at for riding the clutch during the next? No explanation as to when/why I should/shouldn't. Super helpful.

This course is not for true beginners. All other people in the class had been riding dirt bikes since they were very young and were just there to get their licenses. This class is for them. As a beginner I was singled out, made to look and feel stupid, and they asked me not to return to finish the course. Great "teachers," unwilling to teach me. How am I supposed to learn? At home on my own, on my friend's larger bike? Super safe, great idea.

The whole class experience has left me shell-shocked and too intimidated to ride.

Sara

Monday, October 30, 2017
Editor Response
I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience. I recommend contacting the administrator of the program where you signed up and give them feedback. This class is designed for true beginners. Sometimes there are students who are there who already know the basics, but you are not expected to know anything about motorcycles when you sign up for this class.

Also note there are good RiderCoaches and bad RiderCoaches. Unfortunately, we hear about far too many bad ones. I would ask around for recommendations for RiderCoaches in your area from others who have taken the class. You may consider seeking out another program at a local college or other school if the RiderCoaches are limited to only the ones who you had a bad experience with at the Harley-Davidson Academy.

Finally, there are options for private lessons at some of these schools. You may feel more comfortable with this type of instruction.
Tricia Szulewski, Assistant Editor
I just took this course. I have to say I was very disappointed with the amount of time spent with us. It was not 20 to 25 hours! The reason I took this Harley-Davidson course was because it was more hours than the MSF course. Wrong! They only spent 14 hours teaching us and that was with class time included. The riding was only about 8 hours at the most during the 3 days! One hour of that was spent on the riding test.

I needed more time to adjust to the Harley-Davidson Street 500. I asked if I could ride around a little more to get warmed up and was told that is not how they do it. I don't feel I was taught. I was told what they wanted me to do then I had to do it.

The Harley-Davidson dealership where I took the class was two hours from home so I stayed overnight two nights. I could have saved a lot of travel time and money by taking the course from the MSF with a smaller bike and more training.

Kat Kelly
Crossville, TN
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Editor Response
That is disappointing to hear, Kat. I hope you expressed your concerns with the dealership. The only way to make the program better is to provide feedback to the program manager. There's a good chance they aren't aware that your instructors were short-changing students. And, if they value your future business, they will offer you another class at a discount or no cost at all.

Good luck.
Tricia Szulewski, Assistant Editor
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