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Did a Stay Upright 'Advanced 1' course (QLD)

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by dangerous_daveo, May 28, 2009.

  1. As per topic title I did a Stay Upright Advanced 1 course a couple of weeks back. It was partly Rudd money (the tax return I should have had last year) and my birthday present to myself.

    So this is basically my spin on it. I'm also a defensive driving instructor, and do most of my work at the same location. So I guess my view might be a little different to others on how the thing was run etc. (yes, yes I understand bikes aren't cars before anyone comes up with that)

    Basic jist of the course, all performed at Mt Cotton (south east of Brissy). There was an optional 3hour seminar the night before. Then the day of riding, did some pretty basic stuff to start off with, being normal speed braking. Then some emergency stops, then some slalom stuff. All fairly straight forward. 2nd half of the day was spent on the 'circuit' its just a bunch of corners like you'd find on the road, with some line markings. More on that later.

    The 3hour seminar. For me, I think it went too long, and or started too late. Started at 7pm, so 3 hours after that its 10, 10.15 by the time you leave the place, then minimum 30mins to get home for most people and then and its getting pretty late. Given you need to be back at the venue at 8am the next morning. Maybe I'm being whiny, but I like my sleep especially before a long day learning and on the bike. But it is worth going along to it, most of it is common sense, and 90% of is the same as defensive driving techniques but all the same worth the effort. That and you got some faces to names before the next day.

    So and on to the next day. Good variety of bikes turned up, a lot more than were there the night before. So classroom again for about 30mins, just quick run down of the day, and a quick bit of theory. Hi how ya going sorta stuff.

    Then down to the bikes, bit more theory 10mins max then in to it. Started out with some normal braking. Had a couple of examples. They do this as it would appear not everyone knows how to brake a bike normally. They apparently had one person a while back that ONLY used the rear brake as a standout example. Quick run down with each stop. Then we did some emergency braking, again quick demo. Fairly simple, but they just push you to the limits of the braking a bit more than you might expect. We did some slow speed stuff when going back to the start as well. For these braking exercises, the group was too big I felt. Given what the training place is like tho, you can accept it.

    Then a quick break and some more basic theory, and in to the slalom. Fairly straight forward, but it makes sense doing it, it does show up faults fairly quickly, and where people are looking etc. They were just pulling people over and giving them pointers where needed. Guy on the Goldwing in front of me successfully hit EVERY cone.

    Then we had a quick break for a spot of lunch. Back in the class room, just run over what we are going to do next, and split in to 3 groups according to what we think our riding (madcore) skill(z) were.

    The circuit is about 2.5kms, and has all your typical road stuff in the one place. So crests, blind corners, big camber, off camber, tightening, opening, along with different braking points. It also has line markings making it your typical decent mountain style road. There was also some wildlife about, and some gravel in spots from the gravel traps. Fairly realistic to the real deal.
    The idea of this was to make us ride how would be the safest/best to ride on the actual road. I.e. not end up on the wrong side of the road, have the best vision etc. Again its fairly basic stuff, but in real world conditions its not always comfortable to practise and experiment. For me I found this really good. You are relaxed, you know that if you do stuff up you aren't going to be wiped out by an mitsu evo sliding in towards you from the other direction. So once working out how it was meant to be done by following our instructor, we got a turn in front with them following, with the rest of our group following them. We then have a quick run down of where we could improve, and what we were doing right. Once everyone had their go, we went back around the other way, just to show how much difference going back down the hill can make. This was also the opportunity to correct our mistakes from the first round.

    So while I wasn’t leading and getting examined, I was mucking about. Basically going in to corners way too fast (for me and my current skills), and just seeing how I would react, and more importantly how the bike would react to trying to correct those stuff ups. All the time knowing if you DID stuff up you were going to be ok. That was probably the best bit for me, was starting to find the limits of the bike a bit more without the fear of getting axed.

    My little chat the guy was very impressed with my riding, he was rather shocked when he found out that my total kms on a bike in my entire life is 1200kms. So that’s reassuring as well.

    So to sum the whole thing up. I would say its more of a defensive course than 'advanced'. A lot of the concepts are the same as what you would do to be a good defensive driver, general road position, etc. It really is the same, just less exaggerated than on a bike. As above the biggest thing is learning in a safe controlled environment with experienced guys able to give you pointers where needed. I think I'll do the course every time I get a new bike, as a number of other guys on the course were doing. Well worth the $375 or so.

    I'd recommend it to anyone who hasn't done one recently. They cater to your skill level, so for beginners like me it was good, for the older guys getting back in to it, they could stop bad habits re-emerging, and for everyday riders to reacquaint themselves with some skills they might have got lazy on. I don't think you need to go with Stay Upright, but I got a discount because of work, that’s my reason for using them :p

    BTW, I don’t work for Stay Upright, the company I work for has no affiliation with them, and I stand to gain nothing by this post other than hopefully convincing someone to go out and improve their riding. Also I’m not sure how the courses differ from state to state, and from venue to venue.

    PS, sorry for the long post. Nothing on telly tonight…
  2. Very good read.

    I'm fairly new to riding myself, only 350kms travelled on the bike myself, so i can't really comment on anything that you said other than one point; price.

    I realise that doing this course would be brilliant for my riding skill, experience and attitude, but at $375, i could put that money towards my upgrade bike (looking at something around $10k). $375 is a fair chunk of that $10grand. And i'm sure i'm not the only person who would be thinking about it the same way i am.
  3. Nice write up.
  4. I know you might think that, but having done a similar course myself, it's so worth it I can't begin to tell you.

    $375 out of $10k isn't even beginning to be a fair chunk, the investment in your riding will make your new bike that much more enjoyable.

    Courses like this give you a whole lot more confidence which allows you to enjoy your riding a whole lot more.

    I for one would gladly do another one, if only I could find one that wasn't booked out!

  5. That $375 could keep you alive. I've done a Stay Upright advanced course in Canberra (sounds very similar to the one the OP did) and it will teach you much needed skills, improve your cornering, braking and roadcraft skills, and increase the chances of you arriving home safely.

    I reckon $375 spent on a course is a much better option than spending it on a bigger bike before you have the necessary skills to do so.
  6. Or just make the dealer throw the course in with the sale of the new bike, that generally works as well.
  7. For me i think it's a waste of money. Would rather do the Advanced thingie at QR or the new one at Lakeside
  8. Excellent write-up, thanks :)
  9. I think the course can also reduce your insurance. Or at least in some cases.

    But yeah, $375 is nothing if your are dead, or in a wheelchair.

    Tunelliner, I think they went in to different stuff with the 'better' riders, such as the basics of suspension set up etc, just teach different things.

    But you need to keep in mind this course is aimed at keeping you safe ON THE ROAD. It isn't a how to ride flat out at a race track, which (as least for stay upright) their other courses are. I'm not preaching, or saying you must do it. Just pointing out the two are different, and serve different perpouses.
  10. I would rather read some books and do a couple track days. Same price but you learn a lot more.

    That said. Good on you for taking the effort to improve your riding and road-craft skills.
  11. I did the same course last year after a few weeks riding experience, and I can tell you that even if it was double the price it would have been worth it in my eyes.

    For a new rider it teaches you essential skills in a far safer environment than the road, and it's fun to boot.

    When it was my time to lead, with the instructor behind me and I was leaning as far as I could, I remember thinking to myself 'This is very possibly the funnest thing I have ever done in my life'. To me it was like being on a rollercoaster that I could control.

    I will be going overseas and not riding for a few years, but the second I get back and hop on a bike I will be there for another refresher course.
  12. I understand, i wasn't having a go at you. Always good to see a rider spending money on training rather than splashing it on mods lol.
    But as i was saying and didn't explain clearly enough, Stay Upright does an Advanced Course at QR and Lakeside is starting up the same thing. It's not about going flat out around a track, but pushing the riders to be more confident in braking, cornering and throttle control in the safer confines of a track.

    Further down the track as a refresher, I probbaly would do the one at Mt Cotton. Good review though

    ps. You should come riding with us more instead of doing o-so-little-kilometres in such a long time :p
  13. Yeah yeah... I know I know! I've done more than 1000 when I think about it. Just I don't go out in the wet, theres been a bit of that lately!