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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there folks.... So I'm finally getting around to taking the test for my MC license. I've been riding for about 20 years, 10 on the street as an adult and 10 on dirt bikes and scooters in a small town and in the dirt.

I *know* I should have gotten legal a LONG time ago but at least I'm doing it now.

I don't know how similar courses are from state to state, I'm in Indiana, and what I'm taking specifically is the Experienced Rider Course. It's a 6.5hr condensed course for people who have more saddle tme.

I'm wondering if anyone has taken this in Indiana through ABATE or taken a similar course? What to expect and how an X would fare with the swerving and braking they ask you to do.

My X is an 1800 C but it's lowered 2 inches in the rear and has the Undertaker fender which comes down to the ground. The good news is I have a fresh set of Dunlop Elites to make the handling better. My wife does have a Vstar 650 Custom which rides like a dirt bike. The suspension on it is worthless in my opinion (nose dive) but it's light and very flickable which much more ground clearance than I've got... So riding her bike is an option but I don't have more than 4 hours seat time on it.

Most of my riding days are on big bikes. I've taken the X from Indy to Maryland and back, through the mountains on Hwy 50. I've ridden my last bike a Yamaha Venture from Tampa, FL to Indy (1K miles in 24hrs) and before that I had a Suzuki Intruder 1500 that I put a whole bunch of miles on.

So yeah, if anyone has any stories from their courses or tests I'd love to hear them. If anyone has taken a course or test on a lowered X I'd REALLY be interested in hearing what you have to say!
 

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Personally I would take the basic MSF course to get your license. I am not even sure that you could/should take the experienced MCF course without taking the basic or having your motorcycle license already.
 

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I just took the ERC on my bike. Its a 1300. I do consider myself to be a good rider, but I must say, I found certain exercises to be fairly challenging with the 1300. the tight figure 8's especially. they allowed me extra room in the box because of its turning radius. I think the 1800 might even be more challenging. that said. Id still take the ERC course. its designed to make you a better rider on YOUR bike. Worst case, both they and you should recognize if your having difficulties and you can always decide to give the BRC a go from there. I took the BRC after about 4-5 yrs of riding with my 'permit' and did take away quite a bit from it. so it is valuable as well. but given you total ride time ERC in my opinion (for whatever thats worth)
 

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Like Marc said, I would also take the basic course first; you probably need a license for the ERC.

My experience with the ERC is that they are a little more relaxed about some of the maneuvers--probably because they're not testing you for your license. The whole point of the ERC is to sharpen your skills on the big bike. So, if I were you, I'd use the 1800 to see what I could learn.
 

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I know every state is different, but there were people getting their license at the ERC they were just scored a little more closely I assume. I thought there was a lot of similarity between the two courses, except in the ERC 2 or 3 items are combined that are individual exercises in the beginner course. Hell, just take em both..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the comments, keep'em comin'

As for the ERC and a license, it's not a requirement in Indiana. When I talked with ABATE they explained that the purpose of the ERC was to get my license and they reccomended the ERC based on my background. The minimum requirement for the ERC in Indiana is two years or 3,000 miles on a bike. I've got 3,000 miles tied up in just one road trip so I would expect I'll be at a similar level to riders in this course.

They told me the ERC was very similar to the BRC except some of the turns were sharper and some of he requirements were more demanding than the BRC.

From the sound of it though they might make some accomodation for bike size. I feel very safe handling my X on the street but I'd be the first to tell you I'm not going to get out there and maneuver it like a Honda Nighthawk!! That's just part of riding a big bike in my opinion. Give yourself more braking distance, slow down more for turns, etc. Just respect the bike both with it's strengths and weakness.
 

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Keep this in mind… putting 3,000 miles on a big cruiser cruising down the highway at 70 MPH is much easier than putting just 1 mile on the same bike in a parking lot making tight figure 8 turns and other challenging maneuvers at speeds of 0 to 20 MPH. Passing many State required road tests on a big bike requires “practice” and not just miles and miles of “riding.” And some riders CAN maneuver an big bike like a Honda Nighthawk. It can be done and the ERC will determine just how well you can do it. Why not just take the BRC to get your license on their bike and then take the ERC to get more training and experience on your bike. Or you could watch a ERC being given and then decide if you think you could handle and pass it. Either way… take a course and get your license.
 

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The ERC is for experience riders but also for people with a license already. I dont know if they would let you take it if you dont even have a learners permit for MC.
I believe you should take the BRC to get all the safety tips that you might not know and make you aware of many things not known otherwise.
Then you can take your time and take the ERC on your bike to see how good you are on tight space and emergency situations on your own bike. Good Luck and take advantage of either the soonest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I appreciate the comments folks but I'm already signed up and paid for on the ERC, I'm taking the course. I'm mainly looking to hear anyones experiece in these types of courses.

I'm not an arrogant rider, I just mentioned the miles above to indicate that I'm not just a weekend bar hopper.

I know a good rider could do things I'm not capable of on my bike BUT they couldn't ride it like a nighthawk. My bike is lowered an touches down much sooner than a nighthawk or any other tall bike. The X is very heavy and I'm another 250lbs so it will not stop like a nighthawk or other light bike either. More weight takes more distance. I know a good rider can do amazing things on just about any machine but all machines are not created equal, it's just plain physics.

That's why I ride defensively, know my limits, wear a helmet and respect the bike, the road and others around me who most likely don't see me.

Now, with that said, I'm taking the ERC and if anyone has comments about their experience in any MC courses I'd be happy to hear them.
 

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I have taken both courses and I tell you that the basic was great information and awareness wise (small bike). The ERC was very much to remind you of your bad habits and go back to basics and stay alert to stay alive (big bike). Take the course get your license and enjoy!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, I'm hoping to break any bad habits. I took a drivers course a couple years ago to get a ticket waived and got some good tips out of it.
 

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I live in Nevada and I too am about to take the ERC. I am taking the ERC because when I called to set it up they asked about my riding experience, about 4 years, and then they recommended the ERC. They actually offer it as a license course. They said that the amount of time I had been riding the BRC would just bore me. I hope I made the right choice. I am a little worried about making the tight figure 8's and u-turns, but, I have been practicing daily and think I will do fine. I would much rather spend one day in the course than 3. Just my opinion. I also figure if I fail I will go practice some more. Good luck in what ever you decide to do.
 

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I did the same thing about 10 years ago after riding illegal for quite some time. The course was approved for a one day high intensity course with your road test at the end. I think you'll like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah I've been pretty lucky on the illegal riding part. Pulled over once on my bike in the last 10 years for expired plates (Obviously I'm bad about regulations) The cop didn't seem to mind my lack of an MC endorsement and just took my regular license.

I'll still be glad to have it done and am looking forward to the course.
 

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Basic Rider Course vs. Experienced Rider Course

Can only speak to what I know...

I had never really been on any bike prior to my 1800 C, unless you count my 10 and 18 speed experience !!! LOL...

But i took the basic on the state provided 250cc bikes. And it was a great course, lots of good fundamental basics... but the actual riding and physical course itself on the 250cc was not very challenging at all, with the exception of the figure 8s...

Not having ever done a figure 8 in the confined space... it took some doing to perform this and not put a foot down and stay inside the box.

I did the BRC in order to get my certificate so that I would not have to take a ride test at the GSP-GA State Patrol office....

I do want to take the Experienced rider course... but probably after I've been on my bike a bit longer... Aug 07 will be a year, and after I've found a parking lot and practiced a figure 8.... get the dimensions of the ERC box this has to be done in...

I believe the ERC will be much more challenging for me as well as providing much more knowledge that I may need when handling my bike...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I found these requirements on the ABATE of Indiana website...

Sharp left turn inside the boundaries of a 90 degree (square) corner that is 6 feet wide.
---(I'm assuming an approach of 15-20mph?)

Smooth, non-skidding stop with the front tire inside a box that measures 5 feet wide by 3 feet deep.
---(need to ask them about the braking distance and approach speed)

Weave through 5 cones that are set 12 feet apart with a 2 foot offset.
---(I'm assumng the offset is to the left and the right of the centerline at each 12 foot segment?)

Make a U-turn inside of a box that is either 20 or 24 feet wide (depending on engine size).
---(wondering about speed here as well?)

Stop within a prescribed distance from a speed of 12-20 mph.
---(distance?)

Swerve to avoid a 6 foot obstacle line while remaining within a 6 1/2 foot boundary, at a speed of 12-20 mph.
---(So I'm guessing an approach from the center of the obstacle line, swerving to either side an stopping withing 6.5 feet behind it?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I found these requirements on the ABATE of Indiana website...

Sharp left turn inside the boundaries of a 90 degree (square) corner that is 6 feet wide.
---(I'm assuming an approach of 15-20mph?)

Smooth, non-skidding stop with the front tire inside a box that measures 5 feet wide by 3 feet deep.
---(need to ask them about the braking distance and approach speed)

Weave through 5 cones that are set 12 feet apart with a 2 foot offset.
---(I'm assumng the offset is to the left and the right of the centerline at each 12 foot segment?)

Make a U-turn inside of a box that is either 20 or 24 feet wide (depending on engine size).
---(wondering about speed here as well?)

Stop within a prescribed distance from a speed of 12-20 mph.
---(distance?)

Swerve to avoid a 6 foot obstacle line while remaining within a 6 1/2 foot boundary, at a speed of 12-20 mph.
---(So I'm guessing an approach from the center of the obstacle line, swerving to either side an stopping withing 6.5 feet behind it?)
 

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Experience?

Well, might as weel give you my .02. I have taken both courses here in CA, the BRC is required here no matter how long you have bben riding unless you already have your license. That siad lets go take a peek at the course.

You have an 1800, I took my ARC on a vstar 650 and I had difficulties, not the course, but 25 years of reinforced bad habits. I hope you dont have the same.

Dont sweat the course materials as much as paying attention and doing exactly what you are told to do, They will wash youif you dont give it a good college try and pay attention. That is the key.

I personnally recommend you take the BRC as it is usually given on small bikes you dont need to sweatbreaking, they belong to the course folks and are usually bashed as it is.

Oh, and If you really like your 1800 and it is really nice looking, I would find some other bike to ride on the course, You can do more damage at low speeds in their exercises than all your riding experience put together.

This said just to advise.

So, summary, Pay attention to the instructor, not the babes taking the course. do exactly what you are told, listen and ask questions when told you did something wrong. And above all don't look like you are enjoying the course, You may get a second helping.

Ride safe, be educated!!!

notofthisworld
 

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A few months ago I had to take the Advanced Riders Course to be able to ride my bike on base.....(by day I'm a cell phone guy, and most of my stores are on bases)

I found that ACTUALLY I was able to outperform the sport guys in the figure 8 box, given the lower center of gravity and the smoother steering helped a LOT in the slaloms.

BEFORE YOU TAKE IT, go somewhere and practice shutting down HARD from 20 MPH, mark off somewhere a 20X20 box and do figure 8s inside the box (you'll be hanging off the outside of the saddle "counterbalancing" and barely clutching, but you'll do it :) )

You're an old dirt biker like me, so get away from 2 fingering the levers before you go...they'll eat your face of for that.

Get in the habit of keeping your head up and looking through the turn...us dirtbike guys tend to watch for ruts and stuff right in front of us instead of looking through and outta the turn....

You MIGHT have an issue with grinding your pegs on the tighter slaloms, but best of all HAVE FUN!

It's a really fun course that you'll find yourself itching to practice the next exercise as they're setting it up.

OH.... 06 C model 1800 here....you'll be FINE! :)

TJK
 

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Just remember....when you go out of the box on the figure 8 you get 5 points...so if you go out, go WAY out...its still just one time out of the box ;-)
 
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