Harley-Davidson Riding Academy

Hot Bike weighs in on Harley's Riding Academy versus the MSF riding course.

There are a few ways to go about learning how to ride a motorcycle. One is to get on, ride, and hang on for dear life and hope you don't run into a brick wall. You can also thrash a dirt bike around with your pals on the weekends in whatever off-road community that's available to you. Or three: you can take a motorcycle safety course, which teaches you the basic fundamentals of riding and the rules of the road that apply to bikes and those boxy things with four wheels that share the road.

I've always wanted to buy a Harley-Davidson Sportster. So when I heard about the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy, I had to check it out. It's a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) accredited program taught by certified Riding Academy coaches. After completion of this 5 day class you receive a MSF Basic RiderCourse Completion Card which will save you money on your motorcycle insurance and bypass the riding portion of your DMV test.

I've actually taken both the MSF and (now) the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy. One major difference is the bike you learn on. Both courses provide entry level bikes but at the H-D Riding Academy we got to ride a 2014 Street 500. Another notable difference is you get double the amount of riding/classroom time. MSF is a two-day course you take over the weekend. H-D Riding Academy is a five-day course with smaller classroom sizes.

Out of a class of eight students, four completed the class and graduated. In both classes I took, there were a few people who looked like it was their first time on two wheels. So, get on a bicycle and ride around a few weeks leading up to the class if your balance is a little rusty.

If you're looking to get your motorcycle license and want to learn on a Harley-Davidson, take this class. Plan on working hard, learning, and having fun.

Special thanks to my Riding coaches Mitch Spector and Jeremy Johnson as well as the entire San Diego Harley staff and Rose Marshman for setting this up. For more info visit here or go to sandiegoharley.com.