BRC was a horrible experience - Page 3 - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #21 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by andyvh1959 View Post
I'm a 23 year MSF instructor, and a 43 year rider up here in Wisconsin with close to 260,000 miles under my butt. Over 23 years I've taught thousands of students. If anyone wants to PM me with questions about the BRC, taking the course, getting over the anxiety, whatever. I may be able to help.

I just completed a class yesterday, as a solo instructor with eight students. Of the eight, six were brand new to riding, so it took a lot of work and patience. But we all made it through. Heat during the BRC is a very tough issue to deal with, even in Wisconsin. It was near 90 both days this weekend. In the southern states it must be terribly hot, and I know some southern states run the class very early in the morning to avoid the heat. Drink LOTS of water, more than you think you'd ever need or could take in, because you shed water and dehydrate SO fast, especially under the stress of learning riding.

I saw on an earlier post about four students dumping their bike, and an instructor dumping the bike. That class should have been held up well before that happened, especially if an instructor dumped a bike. Don't take this wrong, but from an instructor point of view all of the BRC exercises are easy to do on any bike. If an instructor dumped a bike during any exercise something was definitely wrong. Instructors do make mistakes, I have too, but an instructor dumping a bike makes me really question the riding abilities of the instructor. Perhaps the heat and a physical issue affected the instructor.
That was my post. Actually it was cold, well below freezing, and they should have called the class. There was no visible ice on the course, but like I said, several folks had traction problems, including me, but I didn't go down. It had rained a day or so before, so there probably was a very thin layer of ice in some areas. The instructor had the bike simply slip out from under him doing a decreasing radius curve demo. It happened so fast there was absolutely nothing he could have done.

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post #22 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 10:08 PM
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Aha, that explains a lot. Cold weather is an issue up here in Wisconsin, and traction issues do come up. But, the instructors should have determined that well before any students were on the range. It is always the instructors responsibility first to insure and maintain a safe riding and learning environment.

But, you say the instructor was demonstrating a decreasing radius curve? In the BRC? Unless there has been a drastic change in the BRC, there is no decreasing radius curve in any BRC format. The only exercise close to a decreasing radius curve is exercise 11, the third exercise on the 2nd day of the range.

Even the BRC2 (the old Experienced Rider Course that you do on your own bike) has no decreasing radius exercise. In fact only the ARC (Advanced Rider Course, that you do on your own bike) has a decreasing radius curve. Sorry to seem nit-picky, but I know the BRC in any MSF run program has no decreasing radius exercise.
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post #23 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Rice Girl View Post
Any tips on conquering the fear?
Just some easy backroad riding on a plain asphalt stretch of road.

I watched youtube videos on riding and learned quite a bit before I ever sat on my bike. I took the written test for a permit and rode with my wife (licensed) on easy roads out to the lake and back. Key things I learned: 1) countersteering, 2) turning your head and dragging the rear brake in slow speed maneuvers, 3) controlled heavy braking, 4) playing with the friction zone. I worked on those in the cul de sac of my neighborhood quite a lot until I was much more comfortable.

I took my MSC last weekend and passed it easily, but I agree with what you: they blow through the course way to fast. It was more like they were passing you based on reaching a very basic level, not comfortably turning you loose with all you need to know. I was pretty good at what they had me doing, but I'm definitely going to practice a lot more on the slow speed stuff.
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post #24 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 07:47 AM
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The MSF BRC is set up, and intended, to ONLY give you new riders the BASICS of riding. It does not cover all you need to know because that would require at least four times the classroom and range time than is currently used for the BRC. Personally, as a 23 year MSF instructor, I feel the BRC could easily be a minimum a 50 HOUR total class/range time to really go over all the aspects of being ready to ride. But, a question for you new riders, would you pay up to four times the current cost (which would be over $1000 in Wisconsin), would you be willing to give up to 50 hours or your time? Rider training and ease of obtaining a license in the USA is FAR easier and less expensive than it is in England, or Germany, or Japan. In those countries, just to gain a license to only ride a 250cc max size bike for the first two years of riding can cost you over $1200.

We have to "blow through" the exercises because we only have ten hours of allotted range time to teach the basics on the bikes. The BRC is only 16 hours total time in part to make it affordable, and USA riders don't want to put in the time. They want their license in only a weekend of their time. The BRC provides a time line, in a safe, controlled environment, in which a high percentage of new riders can obtain the basic skills. Some riders need more time, and may have to take the class twice. Which, to a point is a function of the MSF BRC. That being not everyone is intended to be license ready in only 16 hours of class/range, because some riders either need more time or are simply not intended to be riders. Sounds crass, but it is the truth. In many years of teaching the MSF classes I have seen many people who simply should not be riding.
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post #25 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyvh1959 View Post
Aha, that explains a lot. Cold weather is an issue up here in Wisconsin, and traction issues do come up. But, the instructors should have determined that well before any students were on the range. It is always the instructors responsibility first to insure and maintain a safe riding and learning environment.

But, you say the instructor was demonstrating a decreasing radius curve? In the BRC? Unless there has been a drastic change in the BRC, there is no decreasing radius curve in any BRC format. The only exercise close to a decreasing radius curve is exercise 11, the third exercise on the 2nd day of the range.

Even the BRC2 (the old Experienced Rider Course that you do on your own bike) has no decreasing radius exercise. In fact only the ARC (Advanced Rider Course, that you do on your own bike) has a decreasing radius curve. Sorry to seem nit-picky, but I know the BRC in any MSF run program has no decreasing radius exercise.
the decreasing radius turn was probably my favorite exercise in the ARC. I never got to practice the quick stop at the end of the exercise since the rider in front of me needed more coaching than most. I guess I was having too much fun getting through the turn at speed

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post #26 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 08:49 AM
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I also have some imput on this to help you.
The Vulcan S is nimble and quick turning so at low speed it feels unbalanced....The rake on the fork makes it that way.

So at slow speed in a empty parking lot on Sunday Morning...do slow speed clutching manuvers before the stall to feel where your centrifugal force keeps you up. Like your in traffic on the highway.
From there you will get a sense and a feel for the Vulcan S. I did this on the Kawi Versys which the seat inseem was almost 32" high.
Just learn to feel the bike under you. Feel the limits of the lean angle (tipping Point).

From that point you will get more confident on the bike. I also suggest brake stabbing for emergency stops, but don't flat top your tires. This will show you and teach you stopping limits which a lot don't practice or know.

Enjoy it be safe and happy ridding

Ralph D II
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post #27 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 10:32 AM
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Slow speed maneuvers like the offset cone weave, u-turns, tight turns from a stop, are all best done with enough power applied with the throttle and clutch (always in the friction zone) to in effect, "push" the front tire on the path of travel. With power applied pushing the front tire, especially when it is turned into the path of travel makes the bike want to stand up. That makes it much easier to balance the bike. The motorcycle cops on you tube do it basically that way. They apply a bit of throttle, leave it set and vary the speed with the clutch and rear brake. NO front brake.

Next, you have to plan your path of travel by looking well ahead. In the case of the offset cone weave, as SOON as your path is committed for the cone you are at look ahead PAST the next cone. By looking at least one cone ahead you are setting the path you want the bike to take. But the real emphasis of this is planning your path of travel. In order to make a cycle go where YOU want it to go, accurately, is to always plan your path of travel. That applies at parking lot speeds and highway speeds.

Now, the comment from the previous post, if I understand it correctly, is WAY off: "I also suggest brake stabbing for emergency stops, but don't flat top your tires. This will show you and teach you stopping limits which a lot don't practice or know."

Brake STABBING? What do you mean by stabbing? The word "stabbing" is way to close to grabbing, stomping, locking the brakes, all very dangerous ways to apply brakes. NEVER stab the brakes unless you are highly skilled. To refine your braking skills you have to feel the weight transfer forward during braking, and then learn to progressively apply more front and less rear brake. Effective high effort braking is always done with firm, progressive, increasing effort on the front brake and progressive relaxed effort on the rear brake. Do repeated practice stops in a straight line on a clean, level surface. Get used to feeling the weight transfer to the front, while looking WELL ahead of the bike to maintain stability. SQUEEEEEEZE firmly onto the front brake with firm progressive action right to the end of the stop. Then, once you have developed the feel for the weight transfer of braking, practice again using that feel and squeeze quicker to reduce your stopping distance. Note I emphasized squeeze again and again, doing that will teach you weight transfer and effective braking without skidding either tire.

IF you do apply too much brake and skid the front tire IMMEDIATELY release the front brake and squeeze back on the front brake. If you do apply too much rear brake and skid the rear tire, ride the skid to the stop, and then apply MUCH less rear brake on the next attempt.

I've have students tell me/ask me, should I apply the rear brake first and then the front brake? Nope, no reason to apply the rear brake first. Effective braking is done with both brakes in progressive balanced action. Especially for high effort/emergency stops, that split second of wasted time applying the rear brake first wastes very precious braking distance that may stop you short of impact. Also, most everyone I've taught that use the "rear brake first" technique very likely are not effective and practiced on the front brake. Most often they lock/slide the rear brake and do not use enough of the front brake. Effective braking is a critical skill to master. ALL these braking actions on cruiser style bikes must be done with the heel of your right boot on the floorboard and you modulate the rear brake with the ball/toe of your boot.
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Last edited by andyvh1959; 06-27-2016 at 10:37 AM.
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post #28 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 10:42 AM
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Well said Andy thank you for the correction.
My terminology is off but you explained it better than I could have ever done.

We always learn on these forums that's why were here.

Thanks

Ralph D II out of Boston, MA
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post #29 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 11:20 AM
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Glad you didn't think I was saying "you're wrong!" The internet and cycle forums are great for talking about things with riders all over the globe. But also, a word or phrase taken wrong, even with the right intent, can have serious bad results. I'm still surprised by the numbers of students who hear or read something totally out of context and then apply it wrong to motorcycling. We all can learn from each other, myself included.
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post #30 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-01-2017, 07:48 PM
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California doesn't use MSF anymore - but, the best advice I will always try to remember is "look where you want to go" - if you stare at the cones, you're going to hit them.
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