Want to improve your riding skills from the comfort of your computer or tablet? The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) has the digital solution for you. Releasing four courses onto the iTunes U store for free, the MSF has made available a wide variety of tips and strategies to help motorcyclists to sharpen and hone their two-wheeled craft.

The four courses are “An Adventure in Motorcycle Physics,” “Dr. Ray’s Street Strategies,” “Dr. Ray’s Guide to Group Riding,” and “Dr. Ray’s Seasoned Rider,” with each class consisting of 20 or so chapters.

“An Adventure in Motorcycle Physics” provides explanations of the dynamics of motorcycle handling, braking, tire grip and traction distribution, while “Dr. Ray’s Street Strategies,” builds from the MSF’s that it recommends in the American Motorcyclist magazine.

“Dr. Ray’s Guide to Group Riding,” as the name implies, focuses on the riding with other motorcyclists, while the “Dr. Ray’s Seasoned Rider” course is designed to help motorcyclists remain safe on the road through all phases of their lives.

The iTunes U courses are just one part of the MSF’s larger digital/online education strategy, with the venerable riding instruction group offering other apps and services for motorcyclists. We highly recommend you give them a browse, even if you have a plethora of miles on your odometer.

Source: AMA

  • Huh Oreally

    WOW! What a deal!!

    All you need is an open mind to absorb this knowledge and improve your likelihood of coming home in one piece, assuming, of course, that you can safely get past all those distracted driver’s that are texting while at the wheel!

    Riding these days is trickier than it was decades ago, but give them a read for FREE and hopefully you will end up stacking the cards in your favour!

    Motorcycling is a gas, but it does have its’ risks. Stay safe – good luck to all!

  • Cool. I’m looking forward to having a peek at these.

  • dagoof

    Wow. I didn’t realize all motorcyclists used iTunes. Oh, wait, they don’t. Oh well…

  • KSW

    Very cool they did that. The British driver training series has been online at iTunes for awhile. I had my nephew look at as an addition to the crap driver training in the USA or lack there of. He was blown away what was required in Britain and that phone use in your hand was illegal. Lots to learn.

  • James

    I had my daughter take a 3 day MSF course in New York before coming to California to ride the Ninja 250 I was passing on to her. She came with some interesting mythology, such as “never look at your kickstand.” The bike hit the ground because of that. They did no clutch control training. I made up a little clutch control course to remedy that. She had no prepared ritual for stopping the bike in a panic situation (e.g. off gas, on clutch, brake) and the bike jumped over a curb and hit the ground for that reason. She was told she could never start the bike moving in any gear but first. So when she couldn’t get the bike into first (you know they can be stubborn sometimes), she was dead. So I had her watch me launch the bike from a standstill in first through fifth gears and then had her do it in first through third. These are basic skills. How did they discourage her from looking to make sure her kickstand is down and locked and not teach these basic skills. I’m not sure I want to read their stuff.

  • Huh Oreally

    Hey James……

    Sounds great that you were able to cover the shortcomings of the New York MSF course instruction. I’m surprised they would have those short comings, certainly a concern!

    On the panic stop situation, a suggestion…….

    I’ve always taught my students to use “Both Hands, Both Feet, Complete Stop, Foot Down, Shoulder Check! You might want to suggest she think of it and practice it in this manner.

    “Both Hands” represent her Pulling In The Clutch, as well as Rolling Off The Throttle and Squeezing the Front Brake Lever, not a grab but a quick progressive application so that the weight can move forward on to the front tire allowing for harder braking without locking the front wheel potentially causing a slide-out.

    “Both Feet” represents her progressively applying the Back Brake short of lock-up, and also tapping the Gear Shift “as many times as necessary until it bottoms out” so she ends up in 1st gear, a MUST if her “Shoulder Check” tells her she might get rear ended and need to get out of the way in a hurry!

    Hoping she might find this comment helpful, ride safe, ride well, HuhOreally.

  • talljones


    I like the simplicity of both hands, both feet…

    However, I find the risk of rear lock up, and the overall stopping distance increases if I pull my clutch in at the start of my panic stops as “both hands” suggests.

    What works much better for me is everything you mentioned above, only pulling the clutch in once the speed drops below 10mph or so. This was taught by my MSF instructor, and I solidified it through later practice (where I tried both methods and left a lot of rubber on the ground through mistakes).

  • HuhOreally

    Hey there, Talljones,

    Thanks for the input but in the situation I was referring to, I felt there was no extra time to do the exercise in stages! It all happens at once!

    The brake application is a progressive one short of lock-up. If you are leaving rubber on the ground because of locking up the rear wheel, you are actually increasing your stopping distance and the likelihood of potential impact – the whole idea was to avoid this and safely stop in the shortest amount of time and distance and LIVE!

    To clarify the clutch action, the clutch comes in and STAYS IN while the gear shift selector is pressed down repeatedly until it will not downshift any further, thereby ending up in 1st gear, should the clutch be released to engage the transmission and power to the rear wheel. The clutch doesn’t come out until one wants to move off again, possibly to avoid being rear-ended.

    The timing of the pulling of the clutch is really not affecting your stopping distance at all! Your travelling or stopping distance is affected only by your delayed reaction in analysis of the situation, the timing of your throttle roll off, and your application of both front and rear brakes. I’ve yet to find a system that is as simple and works as well!

    The best motorcycle riders fine tune their skills so they are capable of having all their appendages working independently, yet at the same time, also working in a co-ordinated effort! I’ve personally been involved in teaching over 8,000 students in just over 3 decades – after a while you do realize, not everyone is made to ride a motorcycle well!

    To any riders interested – good luck in perfecting this quick stop technique, the life you save may be your own!

    Ride safe, ride well, Huh!