Learning to ride: Why you should take advanced motorcycle training


Learning to ride a motorcycle doesn’t stop when you pass your test. In our opinion, particularly for new riders, some of the best money you can spend in your formative years is on advanced motorcycle training.

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This is optional additional learning, administered by a riding school, an organisation like RoSPA or IAM, or indeed the police. It teaches you techniques to keep you safe on the road, such as where and what to look out for, how to make decent progress without risking an accident, how to look after your bike properly and plenty more besides.

The advantages are obvious: why not benefit from the years of expert knowledge experienced riders can offer? But you may also be interested in the simple fact that some motorcycle training can mean cheaper motorbike insurance premiums too. You’ll be a safer rider, so your risk profile drops.

When you're learning to ride a motorbike, advanced rider training can be hugely valuable

Why should I take an advanced motorcycle course?

Don’t just take our word for it. Joseph Wright, 22, passed his test six months ago and spent a day with Rapid Training’s Rich Evans to sharpen his skills.

“That was a fantastic day”, beamed Joseph. “I learned so much it’s hard to put it all into words, and it was more like

riding with a knowledgeable mate than a lesson. To start with I was riding in the centre of the lane all the time, braking hard and going slowly round corners, doing loads of unnecessary lifesaver checks… and I was stressed.

Joseph Wright and Mark Evans of Rapid Training - a company that specialises in advanced motorcycle training

“Now, just by positioning myself better for corners, I’m braking less, going faster and feeling a lot smoother. I was nervous about overtaking, so I used to get close to cars so that I had less distance to travel while on the wrong side of the road.

“But by staying further back I’m far more relaxed and confident. Also, at the start of the day I was looking about 20m ahead, when Rich was looking a mile ahead and spotting the tops of vans over hedges! Most people make their big mistakes in the first couple of years, but with this knowledge I’ve a better chance of enjoying riding safely. I honestly can’t recommend it enough.”

But what advanced motorcycle training courses are out there?

There are several worth mentioning here, but they all have one thing in common: they’re based on the ‘system of motorcycle control’, which is set out in a book called Roadcraft.

Much of the advanced motorbike training syllabus is based on the book Roadcraft

This is £20 extremely well spent, and we’d urge every rider to have a copy. It’s widely regarded as the ‘bible’ of road riding, and contains evidence-based theories and methodologies the police use to train their riders.

The syllabus is based around the acronym IPSGA – Information, Position, Speed, Gear and Acceleration – and how to optimise each of those things to be a smooth, safe rider.

How much does advanced motorcycle training cost?

This largely depends on the scale of the training you’d like to do. Costs range from free rides with qualified instructors, right up to week-long paid courses that can include track riding as well as road elements. It also depends on your current riding ability, so it’s best to contact an establishment and have a chat about your options.

Advanced motorcycle training can be on road or track, or a combination of the two

Here are three of the best-known advanced riding schemes.

  • RoSPA – or Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents – is a registered charity that offers a range of courses and exams based on your level of ability. You can take advantage of free training with a local group alongside more structured courses to get you ready to pass one of the advanced qualifications.
  • IAM Roadsmart – The Institute of Advanced Motorists, or IAM, is another registered charity that offers an Advanced Rider course for £175 (in November 2023). This features a number of observed rides locally to you, and prepares you to take the Advanced Test.
  • ERS – Enhanced Rider Scheme. Unlike the two above, this is often carried out by riding schools, which means there is the possibility of hiring a bike. The one-day course involves an assessed ride with a trainer, after which you’ll get a certificate of competence if your riding is up to standard. If it’s not, you’ll get personalised training on how to improve to get your riding up to scratch.

Additional advanced motorcycle training offerings

There are plenty of places to finesse your skills… Here are ten great ways to boost your skills and enjoyment.

1. Adventure off-road

Off-roading is a form of advanced motorcycle training

If you want acres of Welsh valleys to explore and impeccable advice to train you to take on rocks, mud and more, then a day at one of the off-road training schools nearby will certainly develop your skills.

  • KTM Sweet Lamb Adventure Rally Bike £275 for 1-2-1 (with own bike), discounts available and options for weekends away, couples training, trails training and groups.
  • BMW Off Road Skills – Level one Starts at £595 for a two-day course. Can opt for a women-only experience, and goes up to level three with other offerings such as adventure maintenance. www.offroadskills.com
  • Harley-Davidson Adventure Centre £349 (with Pan America use) for this experience day with Mick Extance.
  • Triumph Adventure Riding Experience £525 for two-day level 1 training, but if you’re just after an experience then it’s around £310.
  • Yamaha Off-Road Experience £260 for 1-2-1 training with own bike (£400 with hire bike) but if you want to just give it a go, there are options for experience courses which are around £250 depending on bike, day, etc.

2. Knee Down School

Get advanced motorcycle training AND get your knee down? It's possible....

No, this isn’t your standard trackday training, this is your chance to take your time without riders zooming past to break in those knee sliders – and learn how to do it safely. Bring your own bike to Mallory Park or Donington and improve your bike

control on track. You can grab three hours in the morning or the afternoon for £295 – but make sure your exhaust is legal.

3. Wheelie School

Improve your bike control and learn how to wheelie all in one day. Tutored by professional stunt riders, you’ll learn all the tricks of the trade, and perhaps a few more. Courses are £250 for the day and take place either in Cornwall’s Perranporth Airfield or at MOD Lyneham near Swindon.

Believe it or not, learning to wheelie can count as advanced motorcycle training!

4. Rapid Training

Rapid Training has a whole host of courses to improve your riding now that your test is done and dusted. The firm’s Roadmaster course will give you handy tips for the road, whereas the Bikemaster course gives you time on track, too. Each has three levels so you can choose what best suits your needs and learn at the right pace. Each level costs £885 each, but for Bikemaster with track time that rises to £1296 – and is worth every penny.

5. Flat Track Slide School

Flat track is huge fun but it's also a form of advanced motorcycle training

Master the art of throttle control at the Royal Enfield Slide School. With adapted Himalayans and all the know-how supplied, all you need to do is bring yourself to master a whole new way of riding. Courses are one day and £185 at multiple venues throughout the UK.

6. Speedway

Ever wanted to go sideways on a dirt track? Thought so. The Amateur Motorcycle Speedway Academy have all the tuition to get your first wheelspins in Speedway and learn how to handle them properly. It’s £45 if you’ve got your own kit, but to hire two 500cc bikes it’s £110. Smaller engines are available for £80 per rider, with kids’ courses at £60.

7. Tips for track

If you’re planning on trying trackdays what better way to learn the proper skills than from the stars? With minimum one coach to 10 riders, you could be getting tuition from James Whitham, Dan Linfoot, Taylor Mackenzie or one of many other decorated riders on offer.

A race track is a brilliant place to learn new skills without worrying about what other drivers are likely to do. A lot of advanced motorcycle training takes place here.

Training takes place at Knockhill, Cadwell, Anglesey, Croft, Snetteron and Mallory Park (check out the noise levels) and you can hire bikes from trackbikehireuk.co.uk and mfmtrackbikes.co.uk. Prices for tuition start from £220 depending on the track, and there are also intensive options available, as well as double-day training courses.

8. Try trials

Trials is unlike any other form of biking but is a great experience for any rider. Taking you through from beginner to advanced, Trials Day have you covered with tuition, bike, kit, and a stupendously fun day for an improved awareness of balance. Beginner prices start from £100 (but you’re probably going to go for the £150 full day option), and the balance skills you acquire will help on the road more than you know.

You'll learn a lot getting muddy on a trials course and it's a great form of advanced motorbike training

9. California Superbike School

Track tuition that teaches elements of riding you hadn’t even thought twice about. From £465, at Bedford Autodrome, Brands and Donington.

10. Ducati DRE

Three-day course sharing expertise on the track. £1850 for the advanced course, £1700 for intermediate, including hospitality, hotels and instruction.

Additional words by Richard Newland and Joseph Wright.