How to Prepare

Both versions of the Skilled Rider Course begin with a pre-ride inspection of your motorcycle. Plan ahead and conduct this before your class, so you aren’t sorting things out at the range. Check these items and your bike will pass the inspection like a boss.

Tires- check your tires for dry rot, that is cracks in the side walls, tread depth and air pressure. Be sure to use the tire pressures recommended in your owner’s manual.

Controls- Check your levers, pedals, cables and hoses for function and condition.

Lights and Mirrors- Make sure your headlights, turn signals and taillights are functioning and your mirrors are tight.

Oil and fluids- Check your oil levels and verify that there are no obvious oil leaks.

Chassis- Check out your suspension front and rear for function and tightness and have a look at your final drive too.

Stands- make sure your side stand or center stand function correctly and stow fully. These checks take about ten minutes and will ensure that your bike is as ready for the class as you are.

What to Bring

You will need:

  • DOT approved Helmet
  • Eye protection
  • Full fingered gloves
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Sturdy jeans or riding pants 
  • Sturdy over the ankle footwear

The course is rain or shine so be ready for the weather as you would for any day long ride - pack your rain gear. Also, plan for shifts in temperature. Dressing in layers will help keep you warm in the early morning if it’s cold. Then you can peel off some layers in the afternoon to get relief from the sun. Be sure to pack some snacks. You’ll want to be prepared to keep yourself mentally and physically in the game with an energy bar, fruit or whatever keeps you focused. Most programs provide bottled water and time for a lunch break - ask ahead to be sure.


At the range you will start the day with that pre-ride inspection on your bike, if you prepped it before the class you’ll be feeling confident about passing the pre-ride inspection. Your coaches will explain the course layout, read exercise objectives and instructions, ride a demo ride to show the path of travel and desired technique, and occasionally have you practice a skill on your bike with the engine off. Then it is your turn to ride. Exercises are generally about 30/40 minutes long and most programs will run two or three and then take a break. There will also be some range side “chalk talk” and activities, these are intended to sharpen your mental riding skills. In some states a riding test is provided to help each rider better understand what skills they are proficient at and what they still might need to practice up on.