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Looking for advanced skills courses

Discussion in 'Businesses and Service Providers' at netrider.net.au started by Digbot, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. Hi everyone,
    I'm wanting to hear about people's experiences on advanced skills courses, I want to do one and there are so many out there. I'm in south east Queensland so something local would be nice but I am willing to travel. How much are the courses? what kit do you need? What skill levels are they for? I'm also curious about beginner track day tutoring, I've heard about the Californian superbike school and champion riding days - has anyone done these I'd really love to hear your thoughts.

  2. I recently did the Advanced I Riding Course run by 'Stay Upright', I think it was about $350-400. It's held out at Mt Cotton on a friday night for a few hours (theory) and then a full day of re-evaluating riding technique, then out on the small track they had there in the afternoon.
    I found it extremely useful as I learnt how to ride a bike with limited assistance and then got my RE license 3 weeks later. Teaching myself I picked up a lot of bad habits with body positioning, braking, turning and just general knowledge.

    The course theory was really well laid out. They just consolidate a lot of areas where you may not have really considered. Formulating plans & strategies to approach unknown corners and miscellaneous facts which help your general riding.

    I did this at about 2 months after I got my licence, the beginners course, is more about jumping straight onto a bike and the bare essentials. The advanced II course is held at Lakeside Race track and adds to the fundamentals you pick up in the Advanced I course.

    You don't need to be a pro to join in, as they let you take it at your own pace. Eg. On the emergency braking exercise, you can get up to the speed in which you feel comfortable, I was only going 60-70. More experienced guys were trying to get up to 100 before the markers. There were a mix of bikes, Ninja 250s, Ducati Sport 1000s, Monsters, Tourers etc.

    Long winded response.
  3. Ive done California superbike school level 1 and 2. Haven't heard anyone say a bad word about it. $550 per day which ain't cheap but its 3 participants per instructor so you get plenty of feedback. I found level 1 awesome and got plenty out of it. Improved lap times considerably. Level 2 not so much bang for your buck. still keen for L3 &4 though. The things you learn are very much track focused so its not the kind of thing that will improve your safety and skills on your daily commute. If fast backroad scratching is your thing, it will improve your confidence and (depending how you use the new skills) safety. I also bought the level 1 & 2 CSS dvds. The first one is very 80's and pretty average, but the second one is modern and does a good job of applying the CSS skills to road riding.
  4. My partner wants to get into track days, and I want to get rid of bad habits before they become to hard to break, so we figure starting on the advanced skills then moving onto track day training.
  5. I've done the HART Advanced course.

    Depending on what you want and where your riding is at it can be beneficial.

    It is a little more road focused with some real world skills such as E-braking from 100kmh, rapid counter-steer for instant change of direction @ ~60kmh (think shove bar HARD - not tip in), extreme slow riding and counter-weighting the bike (lean out, dip WAY in - think tight U-Turn) etc, etc, etc.

    The conclusion is a track circuit with an instructor - debrief, pointers..........

    It was worth the $$$, reduces your insurance etc - but it is by NO MEANS TRACK TRAINING.

    So again - depends on what you want...
  6. The posts above show two different types of training.

    You should decide if you want to improve mostly your motorcycle control or improve mostly your hazard perception. They are quite different. You will almost never crash on the road as a result of poor motorcycle control, you may crash as a result of poor hazard perception (although on the road your bad hazard perception may put you into a situation where you don't control the bike properly and crash).

    Basically few on-road crashes happen because you exceed the limits of the bike/rider combination, they happen because of a lack of appreciation for hazards, lack of understanding of possible actions of other road users or poor road positioning.

    So.... go faster around a track or improve your safety on the road?
  7. Safety on the road first and develop some good habits. Get that sorted out. Then go faster around the track later.

    Based on the responses here I think the Stay Upright or the HART training would be great during these first steps.
  8. agree ... ummmm ...I think of it as >>> the more you achieve the physical skills of bike control the greater percentage of attention you can direct to hazard perception. The bike control becomes innate.
  9. A lot of the guys who did California Superbike school with me were absolute novices with zero track experience, whereas I had done around 6 track days beforehand. I think I was able to pick up and put into practice a bit more than others having some experience behind me. I also had been road riding for around 10 years so Im sure I had a few ingrained bad habits too, but the CSS teaching method, which gets you to focus on one new skill per track session at a time, allows you to break these bad habits. Anyway If track day enjoyment is the aim, CSS is probably the best training for this.
  10. Hi Digbot. I'm the HART QLD Manager Paul. Don't worry, this is not an ad as it will hopefully help you. I have been an Instructor for over 10 years, raced at club and national level and trained around 9,000 students in that time from people that have never ridden to national level racers at the track. I started riding a little bit as a kid on a farm. When I left school I was straight onto a motorbike with a few mates. I loved it however there were many 'close calls'. I kept riding and my first ever course was around 14 years ago. I had already been riding on the road for around 10 years. I thought that I was a pretty good rider and that it was everyone else out there that was the problem so I almost gave up riding and was going to sell my bike. I really only did the course to verify that I was good and all other road users were bad. I quickly realised that this was not the case. I did a HART Advanced course and watching the Instructors ride and Manoeuvre the bikes had me in awe. I picked up heaps and practised the skills and techniques that I learned including some road strategies. I then completed the Stay Upright and Superbike courses where I learnt more things. Another HART course later and I became an instructor soon after. I have been a HART instructor and Manager for more than 10 years now and love every minute of it. I aways say to anyone in your situation to complete some training every 12 months if you can. It doesn't matter who with but the key is to try and improve your skills for your and your family's sake, you will be able to determine which one makes the biggest difference to your riding but it will not happen overnight. It takes 'you' to make the difference once you have been given the information. All the best and give me a yell if I can be of help. Cheers, Paul.
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  11. Welcome to Netrider Paul, good to have you here as a lot of 1st timers join these boards, hope u stick around :)
  12. Thanks goz. It's good to be here to see riders help riders. Cheers, Paul
  13. #13 Myke, Jul 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013
    I did the HART Dynamic course when I was on my Ls then when I was on my Ps I did CSS Lv1 as part of my first track experience then Top Rider - Track and Coach.

    Dynamic was good and have some useful tips about riding and general bike craft - like how to pick up a bike safely by yourself. The coach was a bit concerned that I was on my Ls, but it was fine - as long as you can control the bike, countersteer and be sensible its fine. My missus did it as well on her cruiser and we both had a ball. Any form of controlled supervised environment to practice new skills or extend existing ones is great especially with people you know are trained for it. I must say though the coaches at HART are one of the best around. And totally agree with Paul above the skill and finese of moving the bike around! Wish I had a bike with a crash cage to practice on!!!

    For CSS I think I would have gotten more out of it if I had done a track day first or had some track experience like the Top Rider-Track and Coach. I didn't as I was very nervous of what its like on a track and wanted a super controlled environment.

    That being said, CSS was very well organised and controlled, with the coaches lapping around etc. Is it worth the $550-600? I'm not sure, It's one of those things where you get more out, the more you put in / willing to risk. The coaches can only work on what you show them - but it is great to have someone who is willing to lead you around a track at your pace and try to push your pace. The lead-follow format is the valuable bit.

    That being said, it would probably be the same if you had an experienced mate which was willing to coach you around the track- heck I'd pay for at least half their track day! lol
  14. True.... the type of bike control needed to pilot a bike around at road speeds is not the same as that needed for a track.

    Note - I've never been on a track except for 5 laps around the Nurburgring, so about 110km in my entire life. Yes, you can lean it over a long way and give it some serious stick out of corners without being able to "stop in the distance that you can see to be clear" but it is not like road riding.

    Anyway in my limited experience of track work, you could go around a track 1000 times and be really good at riding fast, but it would not help your road riding that much as the position you take on a track for speed is not the same as the position you take on the road to make safe progress and the hazards you get on a track are quite different. The only area where it might help a lot is the common road crash of failing to negotiate a bend, which usually happens even when it would be quite possible to make it around the bend if the rider did not fixate on the ditch.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. #15 bretto61, Jul 12, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2013
    The question is assessing yourself and taking the course most beneficial to your level of riding.
    Hart, Team Moto, Stay upright, Ageis, champs and a few other do the course in SE QLD.
    I've worked a few of them. And all are good if your in the right class at the right time.
    A couple of these schools are apart of a motorcycle chain. They sell, service and have all you need in the motorcycle world. And they run what they believe to be advanced riding courses. They are if all you've ever done is Qride and rely on mates and urban myth to get through so far. So most places you buy a bike you can haggle a starter advanced riding course. One place I worked had 17 stores and Pro has about as much I guess...... And they will give them away if you haggle. We did on every new bike sold. Use the bloody things cause so so many don't.
    Once through a few of these we advance to the CSS ot Champions school of riding.
    Then we start doing lots of track days so we get our own style and riding ability.
    So the whole way through your learning curve the option to really learn is up to you.
    Being the fastest isn't being the best rider and far from the most technical or correct rider. For mine that's the rider that can jump from one bike to another and each and every discipline and adjust quickly to it enough do it well.
  16. Welcome Paul.

    Paul describes the path I followed minus the racing. I jumped on every course I could afford - I still do an intermediate for fun every couple of years for a tune up. You are your worst own reference point so having a professional instructor observe your bike skills under test conditions is worthwhile in my books. I think the courses are a must and they are a heap of fun.

    The courses will focus on you riding a bike and also riding a bike safely higher up the performance envelope. The CSS courses in particular get you working in harmony with the bike so forgivable errors at low speeds don't trip you up at high speeds. The better you ride a bike the safer you should be, in theory - though the bulk of research shows otherwise as riders go out to test their new skills. Newer research shows that the theory may be right especially if some attitude training is included.

    Fractalz is partially right, the more confident and capable you are in riding skills (bike handling, bike controls) the more of your brain CPU left for riding decisions. This is good in traffic - id say essential in traffic - and is a good outcome of training. When you are out in the hills though, these skills allow you to bring your focus onto the right things - and that is important when carving lines and choosing tipping points.

    But just back to freed up brain cpu, my experience is that using this brain space is not innate in everyone. I still see plenty of experienced riders riding in very reactive styles, putting themselves in situations easily avoided, with poor Observation and Anticipation.

    Get your bike skills down, but think about your riding decisions. Like Creampuff said, they are what keep you alive more often than not.
  17. I got nothing really out of CSS but I only did level one, and some people definitely do get good results from them.
    HART really opened my eyes though, and I even enjoy my road riding more following what I learned from them.
  18. #18 RowanOn2Wheels, Jul 13, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2013
    Back on topic:

    I'm enrolling in the HART course in September and a few other riders are thinking of joining me and making a day of it. We have all been on the bikes for a few months and going well, but still pretty green around the edges with hazard awareness etc. Paulhart, I'd love your feedback on which lesson type you'd recommend for our group. Start at the bottom with the Intermediate, or maybe the Advanced Level 1?
  19. Interesting you should say that. I walked out of level one feeling the same way. Whilst still a bit of a freshman when it comes to experience as a package I could not put value on the level 1 course as other have like leaps and bounds of improvements. Its when someone pointed out. If you get one thing out of a course its worth it. that I thought of it.
    IMO level 1 needs level 2 combined to be of true value.
    Its still a great course and run well but doing level 1 on its own left me wanting to learn more
  20. and that's what one calls 'success' from the business POV ;)
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