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My wife and I decided a couple of months ago that she should go through the motorcycle safety course. She saw Ewan McGregor's wife ride on part of the Long Way Down series and decided that it looked like fun. We are taking a trip to Alaska on the V2 next year and she wanted to consider the option of riding her own bike. She wasn't (and still isn't) sure that she wants to get a bike to actually drive, but we thought she should at least know how for safety reasons.

I have a V2 that she rides as a passenger on (she has been a passenger for years on my other bikes as well). Living in Nevada, things can get remote really fast when you leave the pavement. We enjoy going to hot springs, hiking, camping, and getting off the beaten path, so we are frequently out in the middle of nowhere. We decided that it would be good for her to know how to ride in case of an emergency (ie. I am unconscious or unable to ride). We also have a Spot GPS for this reason, but it's still nice to have another safety.

There are only two places in Reno to take the safety course.... the community college and the Harley Davidson dealership. The community course classes didn't fit in with her schedule, so we signed her up at the Harley dealership. I think that is where it started to go downhill.

The class was Thursday and Friday night from 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm, and then all day Saturday and Sunday. Thursday night they spent the night talking about Harley's, meeting all of the salesmen, and then doing a some bookwork. Friday night they were required to try on Harley riding gear and fill out a sheet to turn in with their sizes and preferences and then do some more bookwork. She isn't at all interested in anything Harley Davidson, so a lot of those two nights was a complete waste of time when she should have been learning about how to actually ride a motorcycle.

This morning (Saturday) I dropped her off at the course where she was doing some riding in the morning, and then the rest of the bookwork in the afternoon. When we pulled up, we saw the behemoths that they are teaching the course with. 500 cc Harley Davidson's that are the size of a 1000 cc bike. WHY IN THE WORLD AREN'T THEY TEACHING ON 250 cc BIKES???!!!!! My wife is 5'4" and weighs about 130 lbs. She can't hold up a 500 lb bike on her first day on them! 500 cc is way too much power for somebody to learn on. My first bike was a 1983 Suzuki GS550L (I'm 6' and 255 lbs) and I thought it was a Ferrari the first time I got on it after getting my license. She dropped the bike 3 times in the beginning and then was able to hold it up the rest of the time, but they said that she was a danger to herself and others so they aren't letting her take the test tomorrow. It's supposed to be a motorcycle safety course teaching new people how to ride, and all of the actual riding they are doing was for a few hours this morning and a few hours tomorrow morning before expecting them to pass a test (riding was from 8:00 am - 12:30 pm today and then the same tomorrow before the test). She can retake the riding portion for another $100, but it isn't going to do any good if she doesn't have any way to practice between now and then and still can't handle a big bike.

Has anybody else had this experience with Harley Davidson? I wasn't a huge fan of their pretentious brand before, but now I'm really frustrated with them. It seems like all the safety course was, was a 4 day sales pitch. (No offense to those of you that love Harley's.... I'm just frustrated and venting :headbang:)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just to clarify... I'm not blaming them for her failing, but I am blaming them for setting her up for failure from the beginning.
 

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Rider's Edge is a terrible course for the reasons you've stated. It's all about marketing and trying to get more riders who will buy Harley.
 

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Terrible experience for you wife but please encourage her to continue! On my course way back when I was on a KLR 250--what an easy bike to ride! Very tall gearing, very nimble.

I was on a local ride for Prostate Cancer a couple of weeks ago and I was behind a young woman riding a Sportster. She could not, to save her life, make a proper right turn from a stop without going into the oncoming lane. The bike was too heavy and powerful for her level of experience.

Like many other activities, riding a motorcycle is fantastic when rider and machine are matched in capability and execution, and a miserable time (with sometimes severe consequences) otherwise.

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Terrible experience for you wife but please encourage her to continue!
There is a place in Fallon, NV (about an hour from here) that teaches on Yamaha XT-250's. I'm thinking about investing another $300 to send her there, where she can learn on a bike that is more her size and style. I'm going to have a chat with the people at the Harley stealership and see if I can't get at least part of our money back. I'm pretty aggravated with them.
 

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What a bummer, I took a course from Motorcycle Safety Foundation here in Spokane, WA. Maybe there is one in your area. $150.00. I day course. First reride (new word) is free if you don't pass the first time. Great instructors. Manageable bikes, mostly 150's. No B.S. Sales gimmicks either. They also have advanced courses for cornering and stuff (use your own bike for those).
 

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Please find another place to teach her and encourage her to continue! If she wants to learn and can do so on no bike that she is physically capable of handling and comfy on she will do just fine.

In general women don't do well being instructed by their husband so encourage her but don't offer advice except for direct answers to questions she asked.

She'll do fine given a chance! (My wife has become a great rider and is my favourite riding partner!)

..Tom
 

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In general women don't do well being instructed by their husband
I'll second that! When my wife was learning to handle and shoot a handgun we enrolled her in a 1/2 day course taught one on one by a female instructor.
Somewhat expensive but worth every penny!
 

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I learned on a 500cc Velocette in the 1960's (on my own -- there was no training in those days), then gave it up for 30+ years while my kids grew up. When I decided to go for it again in 2003, I took the MSF two day weekend course on 250cc Hondas and got my real MC license, rather than the learner's permit I always used before. My brother and one of my daughters took the MSF course a few years later and also got their licenses.
 

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I guess I am a little confused?

It was a Harley class. They have no smaller bikes. Did you expect them to have a fleet of Honda Rebels.

A little research might have saved some time, money and trouble.
 

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I guess I am a little confused?

It was a Harley class. They have no smaller bikes. Did you expect them to have a fleet of Honda Rebels.

A little research might have saved some time, money and trouble.
But It's presented as a beginner's CLASS, right? So if they're gonna be honest they must provide bikes appropriate for beginners, regardless of brand. Otherwise it's just a marketing trap not a class. I steer clear of timeshare pitches because they're clearly labeled. This "class" apparently was not.


Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I guess I am a little confused?

It was a Harley class. They have no smaller bikes. Did you expect them to have a fleet of Honda Rebels.

A little research might have saved some time, money and trouble.
It was just presented that they do the beginner classes there... not that it was actually Harley putting them on, specifically. Harley is a big company who has been very successful, so I expected them to do a really good job on the safety course... that includes providing appropriate equipment and instruction.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
We are looking at three different options now.

1. She can do just the riding portion again at Harley. I think that it will probably be a waste of $100 and that she probably won't do any better with them, but I'm going to try to get them to throw it in for free. If it's free, then she'll try it again.

2. She could go take the course over again in its entirety at another place. I talked to another place yesterday that uses 250 cc dual sports. The instructor was very helpful and seemed knowledgable. She said that she has no interest in talking poorly of another motorcycle school, but that she does get a lot of people who retake her class after failing the Harley class. She also keeps it to 6 students per class max at her school.

3. Get her a small bike (looking at finding a used Suzuki Tu250x) and using a combination of teaching her myself and/or a couple of private lessons. Many of you guys have said that your wives couldn't learn from you, but I know that mine can. We have both taught each other how to do things with never an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
We all know that HD is a poser POS.
Did she get a bustier? How can you not get sucked in om the marketing?
It was really a huge waste of time for her to try all of that gear on considering she already has all of her gear... and none of it is leather with patches sewn all over it. She told them from the beginning that she found their bikes and gear to be ugly and that she wasn't interested. One instructor was from the dealership and didn't say anything, but the other instructor is a traveling instructor for her own company and contracts with different places. She agreed.
 

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It was really a huge waste of time for her to try all of that gear on considering she already has all of her gear...

Oh come on now....she needed to be assimilated- if nothing else they could sew fringe on the gear she already has:mrgreen:


As for the class using Dual Sport bikes- you said she is 5'4"....might want to see what the bikes actually are first- most DS bikes a person under 6' has trouble reaching the ground- not a confidence inspiring situation for a beginner.
 

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Oh come on now....she needed to be assimilated- if nothing else they could sew fringe on the gear she already has:mrgreen:


As for the class using Dual Sport bikes- you said she is 5'4"....might want to see what the bikes actually are first- most DS bikes a person under 6' has trouble reaching the ground- not a confidence inspiring situation for a beginner.
The Yamaha XT250 is probably really good to learn on. It is a DS bike but is shorter and softly sprung. I have a friend with a 28" inseam and could flat foot a stock XT250.
 
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