Riding a motorcycle is a constant learning curve, regardless of whether you’ve just passed your test or if you’ve been riding for the last 40 years, there’s always something to learn, hone and perfect on two wheels.
While getting motorcycle training is one of the most useful things you can do to improve your riding, the training itself has stayed the same for decades. And, often the feedback from instructors can differ from school to school, as each instructor’s opinions are subjective in nature when it comes to what you’re doing right, and what you can improve on.
That’s where the new streetSKILLS 101 course from MotoDNA comes in. Rather than opinion-based feedback, streetSKILLS 101 uses real-time rider data captured during a series of drills to help motorcyclists improve in areas covering throttle control, braking and steering ability, with the sole purpose of improving rider safety in real-world conditions.
So, we headed over to the Tarmac Lake facility at the Donington Park Circuit to give streetSKILLS101 a go for ourselves. Following an introduction from MotoDNA founder Mark McVeigh on the structure of the day, it was straight into the drills.
The course is for fully licenced riders only, so those who enrol will already be familiar with the drills used in streetSKILLS 101. It’s how your performance is monitored and the feedback process which is completely new and sets it apart from any form of training we’ve done in the past.
Using a GoPro camera mounted on your motorcycle – a brand new Honda CB650R in our case – students are recorded during a series of drills set up in a controlled and safe environment, like the Tarmac Lake we were using at Donington, to simulate hazards riders regularly face on the road. The manoeuvres included figures of eight, emergency stops and hazard avoidance, with all footage and data then uploaded to the bespoke MotoDNA software.
The smart AI-driven software analyses your riding performance in each drill and grades your ability compared to thousands of other riders who have also completed the training around the world. Over 100 algorithms also highlight where you can improve across each area. All of this data is displayed in a unique and easy to understand, visual dashboard which is fascinating to see, and which each student gets access to as part of the course fee once the day is done.
And that’s the beauty of streetSKILLS 101 – the actionable data. There’s no more guess work involved in understanding where you need to improve and how you go about actually improving in those areas, it’s there in black and white and is accessible for you to look back over at home via your own login, and put into practice. The graphs, charts, step-by-step instructions, and tips for improving are part of the package, which is pretty impressive.
If you go with a friend or as a group, it’s fun to see how you stack up against one another and it gives you a bit of extra motivation to get the best score and try to improve it. And that was certainly the case on the recent press day.
MotoDNA and streetSKILLS 101 has been developed by former Irish 250GP Championship runner-up and MotoGP engineer Mark McVeigh using his road-riding and racing experience combined with his engineering know-how. Through the MotoDNA and streetSKILLS 101 system, McVeigh’s aim is to reach zero motorcycle crashes and fatalities. An ambitious aim, but one we think the whole industry can get behind.
McVeigh said, “When the students go back on the open road, they don’t ride the same way they do during the course, but they have better control and understanding of the motorcycle’s grip, and if they have a problem or come up against a hazard on the road, they can react more quickly and intuitively to that hazard. Using this system, we aim to get to zero crashes and zero fatalities for motorcycle riders.”
The streeSKILLS 101 course is run in the UK by Phoenix Motorcycle Training, and it’s available at multiple locations across the country. Prices start at £109 for the half-day course or £189 for a full day’s training. If you’d like to find out more about MotoDNA and the StreetSKILLS101 course, visit: https://phoenixmotorcycletraining.co.uk/streetskills-101-motorcycle-training-days