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What You Need to Know about Basic RiderCourses to Get your Motorcycle License: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Updated: Apr 15

Intermediate Class, April 2024
Dirty riders coming clean!

Most beginners who want to get their motorcycle license but have never operated a motorcycle or 3-wheeler can be a little apprehensive about riding for the first time. This is healthy! After all, you are making a decision to eventually accept the risks associated with riding your machine in traffic on public roads. The Basic RiderCourse starts at the very beginning. What follows are some of the more frequent questions we receive about the courses offered.

Are there any requirements before I take the beginner class?

You need to know how to ride a bicycle, but how long has it been since you've ridden one? If it's been a long time, it wouldn't be a bad idea to just ride a bike again for a while. Ride it often, on safe streets where you can get a little speed, negotiate curves, and practice stopping. Ride also in empty parking lots where you can practice making smooth, slow, tight turns. For you future motorcycle riders out there, you'll need to have a good sense of balance on a bicycle in order to do well, and getting back on a bicycle for a little bit might make you feel more comfortable and confident coming into the class.

Consider the time of year and assess your health honestly. The course can be strenuous, especially in the summer. Some of these bikes are slightly over 350 pounds, and there is a requirement in the beginner motorcycle course to sit on the bike and push it around for a little bit with the engine off. It doesn't last long, but this has proven to be quite tiring for older students. Also, classes are held year-round. This means you might be in a parking lot in the full sun with temperatures over 100 degrees and little to no breeze or on a blustery winter day with temps in the upper 30s - oh, and we also hold classes in the rain. We do take a lot of breaks with plenty of shade.

You will be required to complete a free, online eCourse before the first day of class. This satisfies the state's requirement to hold classroom training and a written test. Prepare to spend 4-5 hours at your computer to accomplish this, but it doesn't have to be all at one time. The program saves your progress when you sign out, so when you sign back in you'll pick up where you left off. The format involves watching a series of videos followed by a quiz with a final test at the end.

Can I use my own motorcycle/3-wheeler for the class?

Yes, all three classes offered allow students to bring and use their own machines. All personal machines must be fully insured and will be inspected by a rider coach to ensure it is in a safe operating condition. For the beginner motorcycle class, the size of your engine must be less than 600cc. For the intermediate motorcycle class, you are encouraged to use your own motorcycle, but if you have a larger bike and are concerned about dropping it, you can use one of ours at no additional cost.

Can I use my own scooter for the class?

Yes. While the curriculum is designed around manual transmission machines (clutch and gear shift), you may bring your own scooter if it has automatic transmission. The 3-wheelers we use have an automatic transmission.

How do I know if I'm ready for the Intermediate Motorcycle Class?

You need to have at least a couple years of experience on a motorcycle before you take this class, preferably riding on the street. This course is ideal for those who are already familiar with motorcycles and who possess basic riding skills. You should be highly-functional at using the clutch, starting and stopping, changing gears, and performing sharp turns while riding very slowly in the friction zone while keeping your feet on the pegs. The goal of this course is to help you further refine your motorcycle handling skills and grow your confidence in your riding ability with your motorcycle - and to get your license! While we cover most riding situations, what usually proves to be the most difficult are the slow-riding exercises like cone weaves and U-turns. If you aren't sure whether you're ready or not, we can meet with you on the range in advance and visit about this before you enroll.  You can see a demonstration of some of the exercises you will ride, and get a feel for what the class would be like.  Just call us!

What kinds of machines does ETEX use for their classes?

For the beginner Basic RiderCourse, we use new Hondas, Yamahas, and CF Moto Papio bikes, all less than 300 cc. These are also available for the Intermediate Class (see the "First Motorcycle" blog for pictures).

For the 3-wheeler class, we use the brand new Can-Am Ryker and Ryker Rally.


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