Want to become a better rider? You can read books, ask friends for help or practice the stuff we talk about here on RideApart. But, without exception, the most effective method is to get yourself to a track school. Here’s the best performance motorcycle riding schools in America.
California Superbike School
What You Get: If you’re going for the first time, you’ll need to spring for the “Two-Day Camp” in which the guy that literally wrote the book on performance motorcycle riding — Keith Code — will teach you not to fall over and hurt yourself. From there, levels go all the way up to personal tuition for racers.
Unique Value: Specially built “slide,” “brake,” and “lean” bikes allow you to experience extreme motorcycle dynamics in complete safety.
Jason Pridmore Star School
What You Get: A uniquely efficient, arguably more effective, approach to performance riding from a guy that’s been an AMA Pro Racer since 1989.
Unique Value: Two-up rides with Pridmore himself. Known to inflict ego attenuation in even the manliest of men.
What You Get: A DR-Z, A supermoto track, training and photos.
Unique Value: It’s cheap! The relatively low speeds are less intimidating too, allowing you to push that much harder and learn that much more.
Jason DiSalvo Speed Academy
Cost: $1,195 (track dependent)
What You Get: A two-day track school taught by one of the nation’s fastest and nicest racers.
Unique Value: Immediate visual feedback from GoPros on your instructors bike as he leads and follows you. I’ve taken lessons from Jason and I found this feedback to be immediately useful and saw huge advances in my riding throughout both days.
Just Doing A Regular Track Day
What You Get: Any reputable track day organizer will have instructors on-track, who will be prepared to tutor any level of rider. Novice groups are tailored to be introductions to track riding, giving you the opportunity to get out there on your own bike and see what you can do.
Unique Value: More affordable and easier to schedule than most well-known track schools, riders who haven’t yet been on the track shouldn’t feel intimidated. Some organizers even run formal training programs within the track day. Call the organizer and tell them you want to learn. We recommend (based on personal experience) MotoYard in SoCal, Pacific Track Time in NorCal and Sportbike Track Time on the East Coast.
What You’ll Need
Bike: A machine in good mechanical repair with plenty of life in the tires, brakes and other components. Some tracks/schools/track days will require specialty setup like water in the radiator (it’s not slippery if you leak on track), safety wire or belly pans designed to catch liquids. Check before you go. Or, most of the above schools will rent you one of their bikes, which is usually the better option. Regardless, it’s a good idea to drive a four-wheeled vehicle to the track (at least your first time), at the very least, you’ll be exhausted at the end of the day and in no state to be riding a motorcycle a long way home. If you want to ride your own bike, trailer it to the track.
Helmet: A quality full-face helmet which fits well, is less than five years old and meets either Snell M2010 or ECE 22.05 safety standards.
Gloves: Full gauntlet gloves which use a wrist retention strap and are in good condition.
Boots: Real motorcycle boots that extend above the ankle.
Leathers: A one-piece race suit or two piece which zips together around the entire waist circumference. You’ll also need a back protector.
Rental Gear: Some schools and track days offer rental gear. You really, really don’t want to show up on the day depending on using it, they may not have your size or even enough gear to go around.
Looking for affordable, track-ready gear? Our quick, budget shopping list would include the $180 Icon Airmada helmet, $160 Teknic Chicane Boots, $620 Alpinestars Carver suit and $80 Cortech Latigo gloves.
Want more? Read How To Ride a New Track For The First Time. What track schools have you participated in? Which ones are you considering?