Safety Course


As some of you know, the Busa is going to be my first (street)bike, and before I get my license I am going to take the Motorcycle Safety Course... The only thing Im worried about is turning at slow speeds.

They will have us do a figure 8, and a 90 degree turn from stop... how difficult are these to achieve and how easy is it to drop the Busa when turning at slow speeds? Primary question: What do I need to focus on?

Please, although I respect everybody's opinions, I dont want a lecture about why I shouldn't have this as my first bike, I heard it already when I first came to this board

Are you up on AIM/MSN/Yahoo?

I will guess you are in the Air Force in Japan, yes? I used to teach the course for the military.
Keep your head up, eyes looking at the end of the cones and use the back brake along with feathering the clutch with some throttle. Don't look down, look where you are going, not where you have been.
The MSF Basic Rider Course will have bikes there for you to use. You do not have to use your Busa to take the class. Depending on the US state you live in, if you pass the class you get a license. I'd look into that if I were you. Because I'd move mountains to avoid taking the state test on my Busa.

The Busa isn't great at low speeds. In fact it is very heavy feeling and a bit awkward at speeds under 5MPH. The very speeds motorcycle tests are given. Add to this difficulty the fact that you are inexperienced and that test is going to be hard. Harder yet, because you'll worry about dropping your new Busa. Heck you just might drop it. Then you fail the test and have a messed up bike.

The Basic Rider Course has bikes to use that are small and managable by beginers. They will provide ample time to practice the skills they teach you, and allow you to build on those skills with more compicated manuvers. You will surprize yourself by the end of that course with how sharp you are turning a bike.

The test involves some tight turns and a few looser, fast curves. Plus stopping quickly. Then the figure eight. This is challenging for beginers. The whole figure eight is inside a box about 3 bike lengths by 7 bike lengths. This is pretty tight. And for most people the most challenging part of the course's test. Everything done on the test is covered in detail in the class with loads of practice time.
Like FLCN72 said, the MSF course had their own fleet of bikes...mostly Ninjas when I took the end of the two days of pushing a bike around a course, it really wasn't that difficult to turn at the slower speeds. It was awkward for those that hadn't ever operated a bike, like me, but I'm happy to report I passed everything with flying colors...

The figure 8 was only nailed by one person in our class, if I remember correctly. I rode just outside of the box once, and did many riders; some put their foot down. It's only a point or so off your score, so don't sweat it. It won't keep you from passing if you do well on everything else.

The class is great...good luck and don't worry! :D
I second and third ALL this... Don't take a BUSA to your test. Use thier little test bikes. If you DO take the BUSA, I demand to hear about how you dropped it, messed it up, failed the test and are humbly mumbly, "ok, ok you were all correct and I shoulda listened, but I didn't... after all that IS why I asked in the first place." :) Good luck.

Nice first bike. Too bad you now have nothing else to look foward to. ;) There is no greener grass
I too would do anything to avoid using my Busa in the test, IT SUCKS AT SLOW SPEEDS. I have been riding for 17 years and I actually don't think I could pass the test without at least some minor problems, at least on a bike as big as a Busa.

However, the local community college has the MSF course that counts as the test (in VA) and they use those little tiny Honda Rebel cruisers (250cc?). It would be a joke on those little things. They weigh little, have little power, and have a much lower center of gravity. This makes them much easier to maneuver at slow speeds like in the test.

Point is, take the course, use their bikes, or at least don't risk taking the test on yours. Borrow someone's 250 Ninja if you have to to. DON'T USE THE BUSA, IT WILL BE A MISTAKE!!!

Nuf said?
I took my test in 1976 on a Honda trail 70. I was 15 yrs old and made all the turns and stops... even the cops who demo'd for me on their Harley's couldnt make it. You definately should get a small bike for this. Honda nighthawk 250 would be perfect. :thumbsup:
I rode without a motorcycle license for years but took the test and passed on my 1800 VTX  2 years ago.  Now that's a hard bike to go through cones with, 68 inch wheelbase and 750 pounds.  I practiced for about a week and passed.  If I had the chance to do it on a smaller bike it would have made things a lot easier.
Yep. BIG mistake taking the busa.

It is one thing to test the bike in a parking lot by yourself without the pressure of others looking. It is a WHOLE other ballgame when you have instructors and other students looking and judging the whole time. Yeah, it is possible that you might do fine and won't drop the bike, but really now, is that a risk you want to take?

Rent a bike if they don't provide them. I know they have plenty of shops in Japan that will. The only reason I could possibly think of taking the busa is to try to show off.

Leave it and your ego at home for that day. ;)

I am stationed down at Kadena. I know that that the military MSF course here does not have any motorcycles to let you use. More than likely, the course at Yokota is the same story... If not, the wonderful.

If you do not have any friends up on mainland that would loan you a bike without fairings, I would suggest going to the course and practicing before the class. (assuming they would allow you too.) Also, you could consider taking the lower fairings off or buying a good set of frame sliders before taking the course. Just some options to ponder if you do not feel comfortable taking it through the course.

My wife was worried when she went through the course last year, and she ended up dropping her bike in it. But no big deal, we bought it used, and I knew better that to buy her a bike with fairings on it. :tounge: If you were down south a little, I would loan you my wifes Honda 250 that she took through the course... :D
Thanks for noticing that he's NOT INCONUS...  I've emailed him and advised like what you had your wife do, a used bike that you do not mind dropping as much.

For the rest of you...  The military course (normally) does NOT provide bikes to take the course on.  It's a bring your own bike course. (you get to skip straight to lesson 4 on the range) This means the Busa is NOT a good bike for the course.  I taught it for a couple of years and demo'd on my ST1100.  I made it look EZ.  ALL the sport bikes had trouble with the offset weave and other tight steering manuvers.  The course never get's out of second gear and about 20mph is MAX.  The best bikes for the course are the "all purpose" bikes like the V-strom or the old CB900 I had.

Also, I believe the permit rating there is based on CC'z of the bike tested.  If he take and passes the course on a 600, he can only permit for up to a 600.  

:devil: :type: :devil:
Also, I believe the permit rating there is based on CC'z of the bike tested.  If he take and passes the course on a 600, he can only permit for up to a 600.  

Negative.  They did away with that rule (in Okinawa anyway) back in June 2002.  My wife got an all CC liscense in Nov 2002 riding a 250cc Honda Hornet. Hopefully they play by the same rules in Yokota.    :beerchug:   :)
Oh man, you have to provide your own bike in the military's MSF course? That blows! :sad:

If there is any way you can get your hands on a small, light, cheap bike -- then do it. Like a Honda Rebel 250 or something equally small, light, and cheap. Even if you have to buy the darned thing. A used Rebel will still cost you less than the replacement plastics for your Busa. And you can sell the Rebel when you are done with it, making its "cost" to you pretty small.

Let's assume someone takes their Busa to the class. Oh and I've seen all of these things happen in the Rider Course on the provided bikes. During the quick swerve maneuver they miss-time the turn, panic, grab the front brakes, and flop the Busa down on the right side at about 7 MPH. Then later during the emergency stop lesson they lock the rear up and it gets out to the side a bit, in trying to correct the drift with the handle bars the bike ends up partly sideways at the moment of full stop, causing momentum to dump the bike over onto the left side. Then the dreaded figure-eight... practicing it nine times results in two more low speed drops.

That would be four drops total. Which would pretty well ugly up both side fairings, the nose fairing, both mirrors, both bar ends, the strator cover, both exhausts, clutch lever, brake lever, possibly the front turn signals, possibly the tank, and possibly the rear fairing. Replacing all of those damaged parts could cost over $3000. Buying the cheap bike and reselling it after the class would be much more affordable.
Generally speaking, for a MSF Basic RIder Course, you should never be allowed to ride your own bike. There are specific training requirements for that class and the type of bike is one of them. You ride their bike or you don't ride.

For the Experienced Rider Course, you have to ride your own bike. You must also show proof of ownership, insurance and have a valid motorcycle license.

The busa will do the sharp turns for the ERC, and every exercise in the program. I've ridden every exercise several times on my busa. Still, I always practice the U-Turn box a few times on the bike before every class. It is tight for the long bike. Hey, GoldWings do the course. You gonna say those are better handling?
For the offset figure 8's, what I was told was to lean the bike in and offset your body to outside like its cool. Every time that I have tried it just to practice it feels like I am about to drop the busa and back off for a bit. Have yet to see someone do it on first try with a busa but am sure that it could be done.
Its called the counter-weight technique. Its neat to see a wing blow the box by such a huge margin then when the rider finally moves out of that huge bucket seat and actually counter-weights, they make it just fine. But ya gotta move the butt.