Yeah, we know. Taking a motorcycle rider training course doesn’t sound cool. We didn’t see Marlon Brando sitting through hours of classroom training in “The Wild One” or Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda navigating traffic cones on a roped off course in “Easy Rider.” (Though you never really know what may have been left on the cutting room floor.)
But the reality is, whether you’re a newbie just starting out or an experienced rider who’s comfortable on a bike, there are many advantages associated with formal motorcycle rider training. And, as luck would have it, we’ve compiled this list of six of the most compelling benefits for you right here.
1. Easier licensing
While the requirements vary state to state, in many locations, successful completion of a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course or other sanctioned program can put you on the fast track to a motorcycle endorsement, allowing you to bypass the motorcycle licensing exam and rider proficiency testing at your local motor vehicle department (MVD). Of course, you’ll need to do a bit of research (that’s what Google is for) to check the specific requirements in your jurisdiction, but this could be a huge perk for the nervous new rider.
Be sure to check with the motorcycle rider training facility near you to determine whether they require a motorcycle permit (think: learner’s permit) or just a drivers license in order to participate in the course. Either way, earning a passing mark could help you avoid the dreaded MVD testing.
2. Builds confidence
A confident rider is a happy rider and since riding a motorcycle is all about fun, what better reason is there to hone your skills in a motorcycle safety course than to take that fun meter up another notch or two?
New riders benefit from the self-assurance that comes with receiving formal training from a knowledgeable instructor. An understanding of proper technique gained via rider training allows the novice to ride with fewer distractions, and instead focus on further developing their skills. And mastering the basics on a smaller bike provides the foundation that the beginning rider will be able to apply throughout their riding career.
Those with a bit more experience can benefit, too, helping gain confidence when riding 2-up, refreshing skills after being out of the saddle a while, or strengthening safety and maneuvering skills.
3. Discounts on motorcycle insurance
As you may already know, motorcycle insurance can be expensive, depending on your driving record, age, type of bike you ride, where you live and other factors.
One way you can potentially reduce that cost is by successfully completing a motorcycle rider safety course. In addition to discounts which may be available for those having taken the training, you may also be able to remove points from your record, resulting in additional savings.
4. It may be free
It’s difficult to argue that motorcycle rider training isn’t a worthwhile investment. As we’ve already mentioned, completing a course can help expedite the licensing process, reduce your insurance costs, and maybe even save your life. But it becomes an even better investment when it’s free.
Often, manufacturers or dealerships run promotions that offer reimbursement for the cost of the training course. This may be via a gift card, a discount on a new or pre-owned motorcycle or straightforward repayment.
For instance, through December 31, 2016, Harley-Davidson is promoting their “American Heroes Ride Free” program which provides options for current and former U.S. military personnel and first responders (law enforcement, fire and EMS) to receive free Harley-Davidson Riding Academy training.
Check with your local dealership or riding academy to see what offers may be available to you.
5. Discounts on gear/bike purchases
It’s no secret that motorcycle dealerships are continuously seeking new ways to attract business. Lucky for us, one of the ways they do that is by working with their local riding academies to offer special discounts and promotions to academy students.
For new riders, this can be a great way to pick up a serious discount on safety gear or get a break on the purchase of your first bike.
6. It’s a great introduction to the lifestyle
As we mentioned in a another post (“6 Questions Your Motorcycle Salesperson SHOULD be Asking“), test rides are a rarity in the motorcycle industry, unless you wait for an OEM demo event or happen to live near one of the few dealerships that provide that valuable option for their customers.
But one way you can get a feel for riding a bike is by trying it out during a motorcycle training course. Many training facilities offer multiple bike models for students, though, admittedly, most are smaller bikes (e.g., Harley-Davidson Street 500, Honda CBR 300R, Honda PCX 150, etc.).
For beginners, this intro could be the best way to determine if you’re born to be wild or better suited for the cage.