Ready to get your license? When registering for the MSF Course, they will send you a list of requirements to be able to participate at the range. In this article, we cover everything you need to get ready and rolling for the course.
If you haven’t registered for a MSF Basic Rider Course yet, then use this link to find one near you--just enter your zip code and select your preferring testing location. If you already registered, then you’re in the right place.
The MSF requires a minimum amount of safety equipment. The speeds at the MSF range will rarely exceed 20mph. If you’re looking at riding any faster, it may be worth getting some more protective equipment than what is required for the course. Let's take a look at what is required and some potential upgrades while we’re at it.
A helmet is an obvious requirement. Although occasionally rental helmets may be provided, buying your own helmet provides some straightforward benefits. Not only will you be able to get a better fit, but you’ll need one to ride on the road anyways. It is also quite a bit more sanitary than a shared helmet.
The MSF Course requires only a DOT approved helmet, but a Snell or ECE rated helmet provides a lot better protection than an only DOT approved helmet. From there, choices range all the way from a half helmet to a full face. A full face helmet provides the most protection while other styles, like modular and three-quarter, provide increasingly less.
The MSF Course also requires eye protection. Although some half helmets are DOT approved, most do not come with a face shield, but for almost every other style of helmet, a face shield is included or available. A full face is always recommended because of the extra safety and how it allows for better protection from wind and any weather.
Most beginners will opt for a basic full face. Our beginner pick for ECE rated helmets is the Bell Qualifier. If you’re looking for a Snell rated option in the budget category instead, the HJC i10 is a great option with improved ventilation. Although more upfront cost is added, a quality helmet like the RF-1400 can save you money in the long run. Instead of a starter $200 helmet that gets replaced for a more expensive helmet a year later, sometimes getting the $500 helmet immediately is a better choice, especially with the safety benefits provided.
Gloves are also an important part of a motorcyclist's gear. Your hands will almost always be the first to hit the ground when you try to catch your fall. Having a glove with full leather palm or other durable material will provide the best protection for your skin.
Other protective features to look for are palm sliders and knuckle protection. However, for the course, a standard leather motorcycle glove with full length fingers will serve you well.
Our personal favorite is the Alpinestars SMX-1 Air V2, which combines full leather palm construction with mesh ventilated fingers. This provides a safe yet extremely comfortable and breathable summer glove. A more budget-oriented option is the Noru Kiryu, which offers similar construction with a lower price.
Other requirements of the MSF Course include a long-sleeved shirt and denim or similar material pants. While it's likely that you already own a pair of jeans and long sleeve shirt, there are motorcycle specific options that provide much better protection.
Most motorcycle jackets will be constructed out of abrasion resistant materials such as leather, nylon, or kevlar. Additional armor will be placed in high impact zones such as elbows, shoulders, and back.
A good starter jacket would be the Noru Kaze. With a super lightweight mesh construction and padding built in, it is a great budget option for getting started at the MSF Course. An improved but still lightweight option for street riders is the LS2 Riva, with a removeable waterproof liner included as well for weather versatility.
Similarly regular jeans will suffice for the course, but a pair of motorcycle jeans will provide better protection for higher speed riding, since they will often have traditional denim layered with kevlar and knee armor. They also come with internal pockets at the hips for armor pads, though not all come with the pads themselves.
A good budget option for motorcycle jeans are the Noru Ruto. They have armid reinforcements, an abrasion-resistant material similar to kevlar, and non-CE rated pads. Advanced riders will likely look at more heavily built options such as the Cortech Ventura Jeans or Alpinestars Copper 2 Denim Riding Pants.
Much like a jacket and pants, it is likely you already have a boot that fits the over the ankle, per the requirements of the MSF Course. However, motorcycle boots do provide some other advantages over a work boot or similar.
The largest difference in motorcycle boots is the extra reinforcement around the ankles. Other advantages can include better shifter and brake pedal feel, and many manufacturers offer a waterproof option.
Once again, Noru offers a great array of starter options from sport boots to waterproof touring options. Our pick for a starter boot is the Noru Tori, which is styled as a sneaker but incorporates protective materials and additional ankle support. If you’re looking for a bit of an upgrade, the Alpinestars boot lineup is well priced and offers a lot of options, with the Faster-3 in particular being a great advanced option to the Tori boot.
Even if you decide you don’t want to spend too much before your MSF Course, you may still want to upgrade your gear later on. No matter what level of gear you decide to go with, Sprocketz has an option for any budget and riding style.