The 7 Most Common MSF Student Rider Fails


Category: Guest Blogger

3) The Need to Speed Up! (Or In Some Cases Slow Down)
Speed is a motorcyclist’s raison d’être. It is the core of why we do what we do. So you might be surprised to hear that many students can have a sense of hesitancy when it comes to throttle use. This is a huge roadblock. Students will often stay within their self-prescribed comfort zones, not wanting to use the throttle and letting an idling engine pull them along. This leads to a feeling of instability and reduces confidence. Others will use the throttle as an On-Off switch, upsetting the motorcycle’s stability while giving an unwelcome and fearful ride for a student. These behaviors have larger consequences, as a slow student can backup an exercise and compound the problem for the rest of the class.

Trust your Rider Coach. If they signal for you to speed up, it is safe to do so. Get a feel for the feedback one gets with minute variations in throttle position. Take some time to practice rolling the throttle on smoothly as you engage the clutch. The second you trust the motorcycle to do what it is designed to is the second you can realize how stable it is at speed.

4) Too Much Tension Inhibiting Good Posture and Riding Habits
We all know to approach riding with a relatively relaxed posture and a vigilant attitude. Students can easily feel overwhelmed and too inundated with information to stay in that mindset. While fun, the expectation to perform something in a class setting that you’ve never really tried before can be stressful. I’ve seen students Superman through turns, arms rigid, locked and straight out in front of them. Their head doesn’t turn to follow corner exits, often forcing them wide. If you’re body is a tightly coiled spring of stress, you cannot react or learn easily.


This one can be tough to fix since we are adjusting attitude instead of technique. As hard as it might be, try to relax. Instructors and students alike are there to have fun, even if it is by way of practicing proper technique. Get some nervous energy out during the breaks if you can. Talk, laugh, or take a quick jog. Ask questions about anything you’re unsure about. That’s what we’re there for.

5) So You’ve Dropped The Bike…
It happens more often than you think. Students often drop a motorcycle after trying to balance at low speeds, or they forget to put the sidestand down, or end up braking a little too vigorously. Students have lost control and in a panic moment grabbed the front brake. Inevitably the bike meets the ground in more ways than can be accounted for in this article. What commonly follows for the student is hyper-intensive stress and nervousness. They feel like they’ve let down the class, the instructors and themselves. Cue the immediate departure of anything taught to the student the past few hours.

Here is a little experiment for you. When you take the MSF Basic Rider Course anywhere as a student, take a close look at all of the bikes. Try to find one without scrapes or scratches on the handlebar ends, fairings, rider and passenger footpegs, and exhaust. You will most likely come to the realization that these drops happen all the time! Your Rider Coach will be happy as long as 1) you are safe and 2) you managed not to run over him or her with the motorcycle.

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