Choosing The Right Training School

The decision on selecting a training facility for your rider safety education might seem like an easy choice to the uniformed new rider.

All the programs are MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) and MOST (Motorcycle Operator Safety Training) Certified and should all be equal in training outcomes. That is true only from the standpoint that all training facilities use the same workbook, cover the same classroom questions, and cover the same on-cycle range exercises. However, that is where the similarities end.

Research your options prior to your selection. Don't just choose a site based entirely on their proximity to your home or cost, but call around and talk to the owners, ask some questions, and see how you are treated on the phone. Below is a beginning list of questions that you should find out about before you make a final selection; you may come up with some additional questions of your own as you talk with the person on the other end. Remember, your safety is at stake!
Click each statement below to find out more.

How long has the school been training students?

The length of time that a rider safety school has been in business will usually give you a good indication of the school's business ethics, commitment to rider education and the type of training you will receive. Like any other business, if the customer is not satisfied with the product or service, word will get around and the business will wither away.

MRTC has been in business more than 17 years longer than any of the other training companies in the Denver area.

Does the owner of the business ride a motorcycle?

Usually the quality of the training is driven by the passion of the riding owner. If the owner of the business is not a rider but in the business only as a profiteer, chances are their priority is not particularly concerned with promoting riding safety or passing on the joys of helping others to become responsible riders within the motorcycling community. It's important that the owner(s) ride motorcycles so that they have a good understanding of what it is like to ride out on the highways and to be constantly dealing with risk management and hazard avoidance. Only if the owner is a rider, will they truly understand what the necessary level of instruction needed is to adequately teach new riders the techniques and skills required to become responsible and safer riders.

MRTC's owner has been a rider for over 30+ years and everyone else who works for MRTC are avid riders and passionate about promoting safety in riding. Our RiderCoach group is very diversified with experiences in off-road, dirt-bike and track racing making available to the students a wealth of riding knowledge.

Don't believe everything you read about "Achievement Awards."

Every training company will no doubt make statements about their organization's credentials in their promotional literature and web site. Some will be true and some will be nothing more than marketing hype and fabrications. It will be up to you, unfortunately, to sort out which is what. Once again, if a training program has been in business a very long time, chances are they have strong business ethics and the information in their literature will reflect that.

Just as easy as it is to buy a college diploma on line these days, so it is with buying any accolade or award that a company might want to use to falsely position themselves over other companies. It's just a matter of writing a check and/or playing a game of "smoke and mirrors."

MSF does not send representatives out to make site visits except to those states that they specifically operate and manage; Colorado is not one of them. MSF therefore would not have any idea of what the actual training facility looks like, and the quality of training that students receive in other states. This is a prime example of "smoke and mirrors" marketing.

MRTC's training reputation speaks for itself. Although we have received our share of accolades, we don't need to brag about them as our students and referring dealers do that for us.

Is their training range a full size or a smaller size (modified) range?

MSF does approve of training on both full and modified ranges. A full size riding range training area will be about 3/4's the size of a football field. A modified range can be as small as the "end zone" of the football field or in the area of one-quarter to one-half the size of a full size training range. The sizes vary and are usually determined by where the teaching facility is able to make arrangements with someone to paint a training range. Whether it is a full or modified range, it should minimally be in a safe and controlled area on level ground, while also being free of gravel, potholes, cracks, and confusing markings.

The companies that use modified ranges will tell you they are just as effective as the full size for training. Think about that from a beginner's perspective. If you had the choice, would you rather ride on a larger range that allowed you to get your speed up to around 20-25 mph giving you a better representation of true motorcycle handling or the smaller range where you will probably spend most of your time in first gear going in small circles looking like circus bears? Ask yourself which one will better help you become a safer rider?

Range size is important! Several of the riding exercises require that the students be able to shift into 2nd gear and ride for a distance at a speed that better simulates street riding. The ability to learn how to counter-steer, proper negotiation of a curve, hazard avoidance maneuvers and stopping quickly is best learned by the student when they are able to get up to and maintain a specific speed to properly understand and demonstrate the processes. Ask if the facility uses a "full" or "modified" size range before signing up for a class.

MRTC has always used dedicated full size ranges for student safety and a more realistic riding experience.

What is their school's Student to RiderCoach Ratio policy?

It only makes sense that the smaller the ratio of students to a RiderCoach, the greater the learning benefit for the student. It has been determined through much trial-and-error that a good ratio number is 6:1 (Students/Instructor) as it ensures that the instructor can carefully watch each student as they learn the new techniques and make sure that the student is demonstrating it correctly and reinforcing good riding techniques. RiderCoaches are trained to quickly observe students as they ride the training range looking from their head to their feet making sure the techniques are being properly done. A student- Instructor ratio larger than 6:1 does not ensure that you will be observed in a manner that will allow for proper observation and correction of any potential problems that might be occurring.

MRTC never exceeds six students to one RiderCoach (6:1 Ratio). Many times we will reduce our ratio number even smaller if we feel it will benefit the class and improve learning.

What is the school's teaching philosophy and their RiderCoaches experience levels?

It's important that you select a training facility where the instructors are really dedicated to teaching rider safety, have several years of both riding and teaching experience and are not just there to collect a weekend paycheck. Instructors who are passionate about riding will take your training experience to a totally different level of knowledge and understanding because they really care about your safety on the roadways. Passionate instructors will not just do the minimum standard requirements, but they will also show you how they expect it to be done, why it is important to do it the way demonstrated, and how each exercise technique applies to real street riding. They will watch you carefully and communicate clearly to correct any problems early.

To some training companies, it is more important to stay strictly on schedule and will quickly "council out" marginal students rather than spend an extra few minutes to help a student that is having difficulty grasping the new concept. Maybe it's not the student's fault but the coaching approach and communication skills of the RiderCoach that is causing the learning problem.

MRTC has the reputation of having patience and spending the extra effort with students in helping them to be successful in their new environment of riding a motorcycle.

What is the school's "unsuccessful completion" policy?

Riding a motorcycle for the first time can be stressful and confusing for many people. The concept of balance, using the hands and feet in a coordinated manner, and correct use of head and eye position can be overwhelming initially to the new rider. Unfortunately, some students are slower to overcome these new concepts and are unable to successfully complete the course. Should this happen, and you still really want to learn to ride a motorcycle, what is the school's policy in having you return. You have already paid a substantial sum of money to learn how to ride. Will they require you to pay full price to take the class again, or will they assist with getting you back into a class at a later date at "no charge" or with some minimal additional cost.

MRTC will usually allow the student to return to a future class to finish their training at either no cost or a very minimal fee to cover our rider insurance costs.

Find out if there are any "hidden costs" in addition to the class registration fee shown on their website.

There should be no additional costs required beyond the initial registration fee for the course itself. Classroom workbooks, use of helmets and motorcycles are all included in the registration fee. Some training facilities provide the classroom handbook to you at the onset of the first classroom session, while others may require you to pick it up at a local dealership that they are affiliated with. If you are required to stop by a dealership to receive your handbook, you should not be expected to have to put out any additional money for the handbook as it is supposed to be included as part of your registration fee.

MRTC guarantees "All inclusive fee, no hidden costs!"