Harley-Davidson Rider’s Edge Experience

Hi everyone. My name is Carrie. I am the Social Media & Dealer Relations Manager at ChopperExchange. This blog post is about my Rider’s Edge course experience. I hope it gives those interested in taking the the Rider’s Edge course a good overview of what to expect and what is needed to complete the course.

I took the Rider’s Edge “New Rider” course at my local Harley-Davidson dealership this month. As a new rider, there’s a ton about learning to ride that I did not know about until taking this course. That’s why I’m writing this blog post; to inform you of what to expect when signing up for Rider’s Edge.

After asking some of my friends that had taken the class in the past, and at different Harley-Davidson dealerships, the 4-day course can range anywhere between $150-$230. You’ll also need to go out and purchase riding gear before you’ll be able to ride. Each class size varies. My class was small with only 5 people, but they can go up to around 12 people per class.

This is the gear you’ll need to bring with you to the first day of class to make sure it meets the class requirements:

  1. Department of Transportation (DOT) approved motorcycle helmet => You’ll know if a helmet is DOT approved or not by checking to see if it has a DOT sticker on the back of the helmet.
  2. Sturdy, over-the-ankle footwear with a low heel and rubber soles => This is to protect from foot/ankle injury, getting burned by exhaust, and help you stop better when you have to put your feet down.
  3. Protective eyewear => You’ll either need shatterproof sunglasses or a visor on your helmet that’s at least 3 inches from your eyes.
  4. Full-fingered gloves, preferably leather => They don’t have to be leather necessarily, but they do need to be full-fingered. This gives you a better grip on the bike’s controls.
  5. A long-sleeved jacket or shirt => This will help save you from a more serious injury if you fall.
  6. Durable, long pants (denim or other comparable material), non-flare & without tears/holes => Pants help protect your legs from being more seriously injured in a fall and if any road debris kicks up at you. They should be non-flared/torn because they can become entangled in the motorcycle.

The course is split into 2 sections: Classroom and Range. You should expect to spend the first 2 days of the course in the classroom at the dealership going through the MSF Rider Handbook (given to you on the first day) and watching videos. The last 2 days are spent on the range (usually at a near-by school parking lot) learning how to ride and taking notes in the Rider’s Edge Roadbook (also given to you on the first day) about what you’re learning out on the range. In my experience, we were let out a bit earlier on all 4 days than what was scheduled. You’ll receive the RiderCoach’s schedule on the first day.

I was a bit intimidated on my first day being the only female in my riding group and the only person with zero riding experience. What I came to find though, is that everyone is there for the same reason: to get your motorcycle riding endorsement and to have fun. Riding a motorcycle is a lot of fun, and the coaches do a very good job of keeping the class from being too boring while learning the importance of motorcycle safety. I also was told by friends and my RiderCoach that it’s most often the people that have been riding for a while who have the most difficulty trying to re-learn the basics that are taught in the class. They told me not to be nervous because I’ll be learning the safe way to ride the first time, instead of having to break bad habits like the more experienced riders need to.

In order to pass the Rider’s Edge “New Rider” course and get your motorcycle endorsement for your driver’s license, you need to miss no more than 10 questions on the book exam and receive less than 20 points on the riding evaluation. If you do not meet both of those requirements, you’ll be asked to come back to the class on a different weekend to re-take what you didn’t pass.

  • I found the book exam to be very easy. The MSF Rider Handbook that is taught has all of the test questions (plus some extras) listed in the back of the book, and those test questions are what the RiderCoach goes over during both of the classroom days. The average for my riding class was a 98%, so don’t be freaked out if you don’t think you’re the best test taker.
  • As for the riding evaluation, you really want to be sure to ask questions if you’re not sure about something on the first day of riding. The riding coach goes over about 90% of what you’ll be tested on during the first day out on the range. You’ll have plenty of time to practice each exercise. Before the evaluation, there’s also a “Pre-Test” set up for you to go through everything without being scored.

My class took the book exam on the 3rd day of the course and the riding evaluation on the 4th day. After everyone officially passed the course on the last day, the dealership threw us a pizza party and handed out individual Rider’s Edge certificates to everyone. The certificates were a lot of fun. They have goofy captions on them like “Sure Shift” for the person who might have had trouble shifting, and “Most Likely to Accelerate” for someone in the group that might have had to been told to slow down a few times.

Some things you’ll want to know ahead of time:

  • Squeezing in the clutch to shift gears requires some strength. If you’re one of those people who have difficulty just opening a jar in your kitchen, you may want to do some forearm exercises before signing up. Practice squeezing a “Stress Ball” every day.
  • The Buell Blast motorcycles that we ride don’t look that big, but they are a little heavy if you’re never been on a motorcycle before. Again, forearm exercises will help you hold the bike up.
  • Dress in layers during the riding days. I took my class during the summer in Florida, and it got very hot, very quickly. You’ll want a long-sleeved shirt/jacket that you can take off during the break periods to cool down.
  • Bring snacks/drinks with you in a cooler during the riding days. My class provided water, but you’re out there for about 5 hours, so you’ll want to make sure you have something to eat & drink.
  • Do everything you can to not drop the motorcycle during your riding days. Aside from it being unsafe, the RiderCoach will have to file 2 sheets of paperwork per drop (which they’re not happy about), and it’s an automatic failure if you do it during the riding evaluation.
  • Completing this course will get you an endorsement card. You’ll still need to go down to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and pay for a replacement license that will have your motorcycle endorsement added. To legally ride a motorcycle, you’ll need to have the endorsement on your license, not just carry around the Rider’s Edge card that you’re given.

Overall, I was very pleased with what I learned in the Rider’s Edge “New Rider” course and with my RiderCoach. I went from having zero riding experience to having my motorcycle endorsement within 22 hours. I absolutely would recommend taking this course to anyone who’s interested in learning how to ride. If you’ve always wanted to learn to ride, but have been afraid, you won’t need to be if you take the Rider’s Edge “New Rider” course.

To sign up for Rider’s Edge course and learn more information about the course, you can contact your local Harley-Davidson dealership.

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