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Qualifications And School Prerequisites

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I couldn't find this question to be answered on the main site, nor could I find it on the forums, so here it stands. . . .


How much riding experience should one have before attending a SS?


Honest and upfront, I'm 31 and have been wanting to ride for well over 12 years now. I bought my first bike two months ago, and aside from just finishing my 3-day motorcycle safety course, I am as green as you can get.


I've seen it said that the schools (listed on the site) are geared for every type of rider, but I still haven't found the buzz-word "experience."


On the upside, I haven't picked up/honed enough bad habits that can't be fixed.

On the downside, I have roughly 12 hrs of riding experience and 30ish miles under my belt.


Qualifications - Prior training needed?

Prerequisites - X-# of miles/hours under the belt


I figure everyone has to start somewhere, so here I stand.

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Paroxysm, Here's my two cents. While I am sure the staff at CSS can work with someone of ANY experience, I felt the need to do a few track days before attending the school, and am glad I did. Track riding is VERY different from street riding, and becoming somewhat comfortable with the track experience was very valuable in sorting out some of the "personal barriers" to learning that exist in everyone. I am not saying to attack the track straight out, but, perhaps do a novice program that most track day outfits provide. Having some of that under your belt will make you so much more able to work with the CSS staff. Let me add that the instructors are AMAZINGLY able both on the track and off. Also, be sure to read the TOTW books , as many of the drills revolve around them.

Best of luck to you.

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CSS is a great place to start if you have limited experience. I would think that if you can use a clutch to get the bike rolling down the road and you can bring it to a stop without falling over, you have the experience that you need to get started. I know that this is very basic stuff and my examples are not meant to be anything but constructive.


Think about it this way, if you have never been to a track before and don't have close friends that have, you would have no idea of what to expect or what flags stand for, etc... The most important thing to consider is your saftey and the other riders that you will be out there with. If you do not have the proper equipment such as boots, gloves and a proper riding suit, you can really hurt yourself in the event of a fall. At the school, these items are available in the right sizes to fit anyone so you would be protected. Also, your bike is carefully looked over to make sure it is safe to be on the track. Your tire pressure is checked and parts are removed that could hurt you if you fell. The basics of how to behave on a track are covered such as what to do when faster riders are passing you and what to do if you see the different colored flags waving.


The skills that you learn are not only for track use. They are geared for both on track and examples are given and discussed to benifit your street riding as well.


The idea that you are asking questions such as "do I have enough experience?" tells me that you are ready to take the school.


Good luck.



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I could not agree more with Jaime. If you can work the basic controls of the bike as required to pass the CMSP/MSF course, you can ride on the track with us. Of all the great benefits listed, there is one more that I would like to share. Safety.


We are very strict about safety. We do not under any circumstance tolerate close passing (minimum of 6-8 feet), or dangerous behavior. We have a high instructor/student ratio (no more than four students per instructor, and often less) on the track with you looking after you and your classmates. Our instructors are highly qualified, highly skilled, and are very interested in you and your progress. Typically, you will not find this sort of dedicated assistance at a normal track day. Along with demonstrating the techniques you learn in the classroom, instructors help to maintain a safe learning environment.


At a track day, you may encounter other riders who are out there charging around the track, riding well beyond their abilities while not necessarily understanding how a motorcycle works. At a normal track day, you are likely to see all sorts of interesting riding techniques, best observed from a distance :)


I think it is best to attend the school [first] before you develop bad habits at track days. This way, when you do go to a track day, you will get much more out of it, and you will have things to practice. At the end of your training day with the Superbike School we will give you a booklet listing the drills you learned and practiced that day. The next time you go to the track, bring the booklet and practice the drills. It worked really well for me when I was a student.


I hope this helps and hope to see you soon!



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I purposly waited until some CSS Track Coaches waded into this stream because I didn't know if there was a school policy that would discourage your enrollment. Now that they are encouraging you, there is only one option - GO!


I bought my first Sport Bike about four years ago. Regardless of my previous riding experience, sport bike riding/track riding is so-o-o-o- completely different from riding a vintage British parallel twin street bike that I was pretty much where you are right now except I was self taught and self taught poorly. I have been to a number of CSS Schools since then and I am signed up for a bunch more in 2004. Why keep coming back? Because every time I go, I learn tons more. I also go to track days but believe me when I tell you, there is a HUGE difference between riding at a Track Day and attending the California Superbike School.


You will become so much more proficient if you are properly trained now because as you said, "I haven't picked up/honed enough bad habits that can't be fixed". You should also heed the other's advice here about reading the Twist of the Wrist books over the off season to get familiar with program.


Good Luck!

Kevin Kane

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Dear Paroxysm


I couldn't quote you a percentage but I would say more than 50% of the students at the schools I have been to as both student and instructor are level 1 students. That means, for most, that this is their first foray onto a track. I well remember my first track session at the Glen about 7 or so years ago with my head filled with exactly the thoughts you have. "Everyone will be quicker, I'll get in the way, I will be too inexperienced to learn anything" etc. I can only say that at the end of the day my only thought was "Why didn't I do this before???" At the end of every new student's day there are SMILES -EVERYWHERE.


As Jaime says there is solid instruction from 7 am till you leave. How to get on the track safely, how to exit safely, what the flags mean and, of course, how to ride the bike smoothly and with more confidence. Do the drills and you WILL improve- that's how the days are designed.

Anyone who gets a little carried away is always spotted, pulled in and counselled. 'Hooning' (as we English call it) is not tolerated and will not be allowed to spoil your day. The off track drills will assess and address your steering skills, body position and comfort on the bike.


There are all levels of experience there and it's like learning algebra- it might look unfathomable to begin with but you can be lead through it, one drill at a time. there is no minimum speed. All you need to do is apply the drill of the moment. You will improve. You will have fun.


Johnny Robshaw

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Great feedback folks! I ordered both Twist of the Wrist books, and look forward to buffing up on the cirriculum. Hopefully will have the funds saved up by/for a summer class, where ever it may be.


Again, thanks for the insight and look forward to working more with you.

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Dear Paroxysm


Our normal answer in the office to this is, is the rider still concerned about the control actions of the bike? Letting out the clutch, shifting, etc. If not, you can come. We had a student at yesterday's school--he had ridden a total of 2 HOURS before coming to the school! We were all pretty impressed with him, and he had a great day, learned a lot.


His view was--why learn a lot of bad habits and practice those, and have to un-learn them?




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  • 2 weeks later...

One more thing you can get from CSS:


Most street riders don't quite know what safety gear to get, or what is available. Although the magazine guys note that there are more jackets out there from Joe Rocket and the like than there used to be, the high cost and limited inventory of some outlets makes finding the right suit, boots, and gloves difficult. In my case, it's a long ride or several shipping transactions between me and any new bit of apparel I might want.


If you go to CSS, you can find out firsthand what comfort and protection levels are available in apparel, and speak to assorted folk - the "poster children" of diversity! - about their expensive Dainese or cheaper AGV gear.


Yes, it's important to have good gear on the street - and most "motor clothing" is totally useless. The good stuff is expensive, but it will last for twenty years or a hundred yards, if you get my drift, and will pay for itself "on contact".

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As a recent student of CSS, (Dec. 10-11 - Sears Point) in Levels I and II, and a Newbie to motorcycle riding (possibly the student Cobie refers to in above post); the instruction given from the CSS staff was excellent.


Students had a variety of riding experience, street and track. At first, I was intimidated by "the track", "track conditions" (raining), and the experienced riders enrolled. Although, once we had gone through the preliminary introductions, course rules, class topics and expectations, and a few guided laps around "the track" the humming birds turing around in my stomach quickly reduced to just butterflies. The individual attention given by the on course instructors provides instand feed back, and your confidence starts to build. Lessons and skill lectures allow students to hear feedback from the other students and the wise interjections from Keith and Cobie are added value.


You should have a real comfort level about using the controls and being on a bike. The drills taught are necessary skills for on the road and are HUGE benefits to being a safe rider on the street.


Don't be afraid to learn from these guys - they are not afraid to teach you the proper skills and build your confidence to become a better rider.


I am already planning ahead to attend Levels III and IV classes (once I have put the Level I and II to practice and need the additional instruction to post better times at track days). I am 40, just got my first bike a few months ago, got the bug to learn correctly and now want to spin laps at the local track - now I understand the addictive nature of motorcycle riders.


Thanks CSS - I am enjoying my new hobby even more

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  • 1 month later...

Just go and enjoy the experience, I promise you that you will not regret the choice. The instruction is world class, and they

are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Everyone there will have one thing in common and that is their love of riding.

Just remember that the class is not a competition

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Hi I would like to thank the CSS staff for adding there comments in this forum.

You have given me more confidence in attending your school.

I am a motorcycle instructor in Adelaide, South Australia. This is a part time job that gives me a great deal of pride and satisfaction.

To ride to one of the local towns in the Adelaide Hills. Pull up and have some guy walk over and say

?Do you remember me you taught me how to ride.? Sporting a big cheesy grin.

This is a great feeling.

Then on the down side im always asked to follow them through the twisty bits and further there education. Now its not that I?m a slouch on a bike im considered to be pretty quick ?on the road? but I?m not Mic Dohan. And because I mentor these guys they seem to think I am.

I have never been on a track before and I wont attend track days in Adelaide because im afraid of loosing face amongst my peers. ( talk the talk but cant walk the walk)

Im always worried that I might be too slow or taking the wrong line because the track is different to the road.

My saving grace on the road has been the two TOTW books by Keith. book 2 in particular. (a must read for any new motorcyclest)

Now I almost booked in to the school in Australia at but I thought if im going to learn to ride a bike the right way ill get it from the bloke that ?wrote the book on cornering?

So what?s my point you have one of the best schools in the world on your door step its costing me over $6,000 to get there and learn from the best so you have no excuse!

The instructors have a great repour on the net and im very excited about going to there school.

And as we say at Rider Safe ?The more you know the better it gets??.

Good luck and stay upright .

Jeff. B)

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I'd like to think that you'd get the same level of training, instruction and attention here in Australia, as you will in the USA, and as you would at the UK schools.



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