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MSF Basic Rider Course - Range Exercises
The major component of the MSF's BRC is a series of carefully choreographed range exercises which take place over two sessions of roughly five hours each. In Memphis, the students gather at 7:30 AM on both the Saturday and the Sunday for these exercises. The range part of the skills assessment is at the end of the Sunday range session.
Although the MSF and the Tennessee Dept of Safety require one Rider Coach per six students, and there were only six taking the course this weekend, both Debbie and Kevin were on hand at all times, and Vickye also played a consultative role, mainly observing from the sidelines.
Range safety rules were briefed late in the Friday classroom session, and continually referred to during the briefings.
The exercises are carefully graduated from the very simple early steps to some demanding maneuvers that might challenge some experienced riders.
In this part of the review, we present all 17 execises in turn.
Basic Range Exercise Format.
Each set of exercises, except for the first controls discovery session, followed a general format. One of the Rider Coaches gathered the participants in a huddle, and talked the riders through the exercise. The coaches worked from a deck of laminated cards. Then a rider coach demonstrated the exercise. After an opportunity to ask questions, the riders mounted up and performed the maneuvers. The coaches typically stationed themselves near the end of each circuit, and discussed with each rider any errors or poor form that he displayed during the maneuvers. In some exercises, the riders were divided in two groups and the session was split, sometimes to allow for a crossover between right and left turns, and sometimes for a further presentation by a rider coach.
All exercises ran until every student could perform the required maneuver. Most exercises are completed in 20 minutes, or a little longer. MSF published typical times of 20 to 35 minutes per exercise, although there is provision for sending the class on a break if there is a student requiring individual tutoring.
Rider coaches have the option of sending any rider home at any point, if their performance is so poor as to be a danger to themselves or others, although this did not happen that weekend.
In general, after every two exercises there was a 15 minute break, and state regulations require water and shade to be provided when the temperature is above a certain level, although this didn't happen this pleasant September weekend.
Most exercises start and finish at a set of cones located to the side of the range. Riders are required to follow a correct procedure for starting and stopping their motors, which has safety in mind. Coaches are not allowed to turn their backs on a running bike.
We provide range layouts courtesy of
Exercise 1: Basic Controls
A little before 7:30 AM on Saturday morning, and six riders convened at the end of the range. Six metric bikes, twins and singles ranging from 125 to 250 cc, in cruiser and standard styles with one dual-sport sat outside the trailer they came in. Each bike had a name tag and the riders found their rides.
After a safety reminder, the riders sat on their bikes and were given a tour of the controls by Kevin, standing in front of the row of bikes. Eventually, they invoked the procedure for starting the engines, and the students pushed the bikes the 150 feet to the range.
Exercise 2: the Friction Zone Duck Walk.
After briefing, the riders mounted up, started engines and, in line abreast, duck walked the bikes about 120 feet across the range, turned and went back and forth until everyone had a feel for the clutch friction zone. Proper stopping, engine stop using the cutoff switch, gas cutoff, ignition key deactivation and sidestand use was enforced throughout. This exercise concluded with a debriefing and a short break.
Exercise 3: Stopping and Starting.
Kevin briefed the students on the proper technique required for this exercise. They really want the students to take several steps when taking off, pulling their feet up on the pegs only after eight or ten feet of duck walking. The exercise is done in first gear, with braking by using both brakes, declutching, stopping in first gear, and the proper engine stopping pricedure. A debrief followed this exercise.
Exercise 4: Shifting and Stopping.
The riders shift into second, stop by a coach for advice, then start and make a 90-degree turn. There are two slow lanes in the center of the range for practicing with the friction zone. They are in a crossover so that the exercise is done with both left and right turns. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com.
Exercise 5: Cone Weave and Turns
This exercise is done on a circuit, with 30 foot separation of cones on one side and 20 foot spacing on the other. The cones are in a straight line. There are four gently-curving 90-degree turns at each corner, and the course is reversed part way through so that the turns are done on both directions. The exercise is done in second gear. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
Exercise 6: Offset Cone Weave
This exercise features two offset cone weaves, with cones 15 feet apart with a 3-foot offset on one side, and 20 feet apart with a 6-foot offset on the other. There is a slow area and a pause each side, so the risers practice friction zone control and stopping. The course crosses over in the middle and has 90-degree turns at each end of the weave line. A break followed. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
Exercise 7: Cornering
This exercise is done on an oval. It is done slightly faster, with braking, looking, press and roll. This is the MSF formula for countersteering. There is a break in the middle for corrections from the rider coaches, with a turnover from left to right turns. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
Exercise 8: Cornering, Third Gear and Engine Braking.
This exercise is the first time the students get into third gear. It is done on a large oval. A break follows. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
Exercise 9: Emergency Stopping Drill
This exercise is done on a double-triangle course, with 90-degree turns at each end of the straights. The student downshifts from second to first for the quick stop. There are also two crossed pause-and-go stop gates, done in first gear. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
At this point, roughly noon Saturday, a final debriefing and lunch break, to reconvene at 1 PM in the classroom for the second classrom session.
The Sunday session starts on the range at 07:30 AM
Exercise 10: The Box.
This is a standard u-turn exercise done in a 24-foot box. After duck-walking the bikes from the trailer, the students are briefed and start this exercise. The box is feared by all, although it is not considered one of the absolute-must-have skills, which are cornering, swerving and quick-stops, so there is some room for making mistakes here in the final test. This exercise also features s-turns and some 90-degree corners. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
Exercise 11: Turning exercise.
This is a split exercise, with 90-degree turns, a cone weave and several stops. The emphasis is on pressing to initiate lean and countersteering. It is followed by break time. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
Exercise 12: Cornering Judgement.
This is another turning exercise, emphasising braking, downshifting and cornering skills. The Rider Coaches aggressively counsel rides on cornering technique here. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
Exercise 13: Decreasing Radius Turns.
This exercise uses a circuit with 135 degree decreasing radius turns painted on the asphalt. The rider coaches put a lot of emphasis on this and the previous turning exercises because turns are the most common issue in single-bike crashes. A break follows. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
Exercise 14: Braking in a curve.
In this exercise, riders brake during a turn. They must straighten the bike, apply brakes and come to a stop in good form. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
Exercise 15: Crossing Obstacles.
This exercise has an arbitrary lane change, where the rider has to change lane to the right or left on a rider coach signal, and to demonstrate proper technique for crossing a 2X4 piece of lumber on the ground. (break) Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
Exercise 16: Avoiding Hazards.
This exercise is a combination, with a cone weave down one side, an emergency stop, done on a rider coach signal, and a swerve around a car shape marked in cones on the ground. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
Exercise 17: Control Skills Practice.
This is a practice session for the final test. It incorporates a stop, a box, and a swerve around an obstacle. Layout from DaytonaMotorcycleTraining.com
The range session ended with a final test briefing at around 11:40 AM.