- Are lessons private?
- How long are the lessons?
- DOES MMS PROVIDE A MOTORCYCLE? / DAMAGE POLICY
- Will I fit on your bike?
- Can I use MMS’s gear?
- Will you teach me on my bike? (see notes for new and pre-owned machines)
- Do I need a license before I take the class?
- CAN I BYPASS THE DMV RIDING TEST?
- What do I need for class?
- Does MMS teach scooter/MP3 lessons?
- HOW MANY LESSONS WILL I NEED?
- Can you meet me at my house?
- Where will the lessons be held?
- Can you come to the East Bay?
- Can I sign up for two lessons back-to-back on the same day?
- CANCELLATION / RAIN-OUT POLICY
- Class schedule
- RATES & PACKAGES
- Payment methods
- Can I tip my coach?
1: Are lessons private?
A: As advertised, lessons are totally private. 100% of class time is yours and we will always move forward at a pace that is manageable for you. Two-person semi-private lessons are available by arrangement.
2: How long are the lessons?
A: All in-the-lot lessons are approximately two and a half hours long. Advanced lessons may go longer as we will cover much more mileage. For those you will need your own motorcycle and a full M1 license.
3: Does MMS provide a motorcycle/scooter for use during the class? What is the damage policy?
A: Our training motorcycles are available during your class at no extra charge. Our current fleet consists of a 2020 Kawasaki Z400 and a 2009 Kymco People 150 scooter. They are light, nimble and super easy to learn on. The Z400 accommodates to about 5’2.5″ or a 28″ inseam. We are working on replacing the smaller bike for shorter riders hopefully sometime in spring 2020.
Damage policy: “In consideration of Monkey Moto School not requesting an up-front damage security deposit I agree to pay for the replacement of any parts broken, damage done to the motorcycle or repairs needed as a result of my use. This includes towing fees, public transportation and taxicab costs required due to the motorcycle being out of commission but excludes repairs needed due to normal wear and tear of the motorcycle or scooter.”
4: But I am height-challenged. Will I be able to put my feet on the ground?
A: Recommended minimum height for the Z400 is 5′ 2.5″. (listed seat height with no weight on it is 30.7″) If you are shorter but somewhat athletic you may be fine. Monkey Moto School teaches effective techniques to manage the taller saddle height.
Older or more sedentary short riders should chat with us about these options (as well as about purchasing a bike that will be a good fit for you.)
5: What about a helmet* and gloves?
A: Our loaner helmets and gloves are included with your fee although getting your own helmet is encouraged because it will likely fit you much better than our loaner. If you have a particularly large noggin (about 20% of the population) then our helmets may be too snug. Do let us know if you have a big head. …Yes, our loaner helmets are DOT approved and are in good condition.
*Note on helmets: Please consider purchasing a helmet that has the DOT safety rating and at least one of the following: Snell Foundation and ECE (European) safety rating. Your skull is worth the investment. Here is a good video explaining the differences between the three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmj6bSOq66Y It is best to purchase your helmet from a local shop where you can try on several brands and sizes to make sure you walk away with the one that is best for you. We recommend that you keep a helmet on your head for about 20 minutes inside the store to really know if this helmet will work for you.
6: Can you teach me to ride on my motorcycle?
A: Yes, we are delighted to teach you to ride on your own bike although we may not be able to meet you where the bike is to bring it to the lesson location. Enlisting a licensed riding friend may be necessary. You may also consider using our motorcycle for your first class and possibly riding your own to the second lesson.
*Note on purchasing a new motorcycle: Before you actually pull the trigger and buy that brand new BMW GS1200R or Harley Road King please call us. We need to talk. Keep in mind, your learning curve is dependent to a large degree on which motorcycle you decide to learn/grow on.
*Note on used motorbikes: When deciding whether to buy your used motorcycle or scooter from a private owner (such as from Craigslist) or from a motorcycle shop there are several things to consider. The first thing you may want to do is a web search for “how to shop for a used motorcycle,” “used motorcycle buyers guide” or something like that. There are several links with helpful information and “tire kicking” guidelines. Feel free also to send us an email : [email protected] We are more than happy to assist you to become informed when purchasing your used motorcycle or scooter.
Important: Please make sure your motorcycle is operating properly prior to the lesson. If you had it running two weeks ago it does not mean it will start today. You should turn the engine over once or twice per week and leave it running for a few minutes. A trickle charger or battery tender is a good investment for bikes that will sit for awhile unused. If there is not enough air in your tires we can ride to a gas station prior to the lesson and fill the tires with air together.
7: Do I need to have a motorcycle license (M1) or permit before taking the class?
A: Monkey Moto School does not require that you have a permit or M1 license for riding lessons. It should be known that state law mandates that people have some level of certification to drive in public spaces, however the likelihood of being approached for identification at our practice space is extremely low. In short, it is a good idea to secure a permit but it won’t be a roadblock to booking your riding lessons. Download the current version of the California Motorcycle Handbook and view practice tests by visiting the DMV website ( http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/pubs.htm ). The permit test is 20 questions, multiple choice. Making an appointment for your written test or showing up to the DMV early in the day are your best bets for a less stressful and time-consuming visit.
8: Will private motorcycle lessons allow me to bypass the DMV driving test?
A: Monkey Moto School has no affiliation with the DMV and we are not authorized to administer your driving test or issue form DL-389 waiving the driving test. While this is the case Monkey Moto School believes that our training offers a much more comprehensive skills and safety package and that our rider education more thoroughly prepares students for the streets than group courses are able to do. In effect, these basic rider courses may be a fast track to getting your M1 but are by no means a standard-bearer for street riding competence.
That being said, private motorcycle training can certainly complement any group course should you decide to do both. For a consultation regarding your best course of action please contact us. Regardless of whether you choose to take classes with MMS we are committed to providing the most useful information possible to new and improving motorcyclists. We are riders too and we truly want you to be as informed as possible as you set out on this new adventure.
9: What do I need for class?
A: Before you take motorcycle or scooter lessons you must be able to pedal and control a bicycle. You are paying us your hard-earned dollars to teach you how to ride a motorized two-wheeled vehicle, not how to balance. We reserve the right to terminate the lesson early if after making a solid effort (coach pushing you with the motor off) you are unable demonstrate proficiency in keeping the bike/scooter balanced. We will not refund your class fee but we will likely offer you a discounted rate upon returning with the requisite skills.
Regarding apparel: It will always be up to you to decide which protective gear to use (other than a helmet which is required by law) but for beginner lessons we suggest comfortable weather-appropriate clothing such as jeans, a pull-over shirt, hoodie and/or zip up warm-up jacket. Being too hot or too cold will decrease your comfort and your ability to concentrate on the lessons. Shoes: Over-the-ankle boots (or motorcycle-specific boots) is preferred but sneakers will be okay. Flat soles are much better for riding than a separated heel. Please double knot and tuck in shoe laces. Open-toed shoes are highly discouraged. If you wear open-toed shoes to class it most certainly tells us something about your common sense. Motorcycle gloves are snug fitting and will protect your hands from road rash even in a slow speed drop. MMS can provide gloves as well as a helmet if you do not have your own. Sunglasses: Head-fitting plastic sport frames (the type used for running, biking and sailing) will function best under your helmet. If you are shopping for gear and would like suggestions on what to buy and where to shop please feel free to ask! Food/drink: Definitely bring a thirst-quenching beverage along. Feel free to bring a snack. Make sure you are well-fed and well rested prior to your motorcycle lesson so that your concentration can remain high. We have a lot of material to cover!
MMS will provide a helmet and gloves for you at your request and at no extra cost. If your head is particularly large you may want to go helmet shopping ahead or your lessons.
*Note on safety equipment: Your brain is your best asset for improving your “safety quotient.” A well-trained rider who makes good decisions is the best way to save your skin and your motorcycle than any brightly colored or armored clothing that you can buy in a store. …Always ride within your comfort zone.
10: I want to learn to ride a scooter. I bought/am getting a scooter. Can you teach me to ride it?
A: Absolutely! Our scooter is a 150cc Kymco. If you have your own scooter please make sure that it is running well prior to the lesson. Start it up at least twice per week prior to your lesson, including once on the day of.
Q:I have a 3-wheeled Piaggio MP3. Can you teach me to ride that?
A: MP3s are neato. We have taught several lessons on MP3s and are happy to instruct you with yours. As stated above, you may need to get a friend to bring it to the lesson. Additional fees may apply to pick you up at your house (see below).
11: How many lessons will I need?
A: Monkey Moto School runs through a protocol of skills that we believe are essential for rider safety on the streets. Each person comes to us with a different background and a different capacity for learning in this particular environment so it is not possible to provide an exact number of training sessions that a given student will need.
We promise you two things: First, your coach will neither rush you nor hold you back. Second, you will know when you are ready for the streets right about when we do. The process of becoming a motorcyclist begins as “instructor-to-student” but manifests into a much more collaborative relationship.
12: Can you meet me at my house?
A: Perhaps. Depends on that day’s schedule and where you live. If you would like to be picked up please do ask. We will make every effort to make that happen for a small additional fee. If you have your own motorcycle and are not comfortable riding it to the lesson space we might be able to arrange a pick-up. The MMS bike can stay at your home and your coach will ride you on yours to the lesson space. If your bike is at the shop where you bought it or a garage or other third party location we may be able to meet you there. Following the lesson we will bring you and your motorcycle back to the same location or to your home in which case we request either a ride back to the MMS bike or taxi fare to retrieve it. A small fee may be requested for these services as well.
**Update 2019: Due to increased demand it has become more difficult time-wise to travel beyond our practice space and the ability to do so is now less likely. While training on your own motorcycle/scooter may feel preferred, the skills and muscle memory developed on the MMS training bikes are most definitely transferable. We apologize for the inconvenience and sincerely hope that this does not deter you from training with Monkey Moto School.
13: Where are the lessons? Where shall we meet?
A: Lessons are held in a top secret government location that is under heavy guard and requires a special ID with fingerprinting and blood sample to enter. Seriously though… We use a few locations in/around San Francisco. Prior to your lesson we will decide which space to use and whether to meet there or elsewhere. Please do not show up to the “office” location listed on Google. It is merely our home and administrative HQ.
14: I live in the East Bay/South Bay/Marin. Can you teach me near my home?
A: By arrangement we may be able to travel to your location. There will be a travel fee. The farther out you book the more likely it is that we can travel to you. Since you are likely more familiar with your area than we are some help may be needed in locating a suitable training range.
**Update 2019: Due to increased local demand it has become more difficult to travel beyond our traditional practice space and the ability to do so is now less likely. We apologize for the inconvenience but sincerely hope that traveling to us does not deter you from training with Monkey Moto School and we assure you we’ll make it worth the trip.
15: Can I sign up for two lessons back-to-back on the same day?
While taking two classes in one day may seem like a great way to bang out your basic rider training all at once it is NOT the most effective way to learn and as a result will not be as valuable in terms of your investment.
Learning to ride a motorcycle involves a lot of concentration. Many skills are covered in the course of one class and we have found (over and over) that most students reach a saturation point typically around the 2.5 hour mark.
In addition to a diminishing ability to absorb information peoples’ bodies (particularly their hands) become very fatigued which further inhibits the learning process and limits the efficacy of training.
Trust us, you will want at least an evening to rest and process before adding new skills.
Here is a list of conditions in which we *might* consider offering an individual two classes back-to-back on the same day, often a combination thereof rather than just one of the following:
- You are particularly athletic and are accustomed to multiple sports training sessions in one day.
- You were in the Marines or have other military special forces training.
- You ride a bicycle regularly in urban traffic or do lots of mountain biking.
- You have stick shift car experience.
- You have extensive experience in race conditions in some form or other.
- You previously rode a motorcycle or scooter at some point in your life.
- You absolutely ONLY have one day available to complete this training.
16: Oops, I need to cancel/re-schedule my lesson. …What if it rains? What’s the policy?
A: In the event you must cancel/change your appointment we will make every effort to fill the spot -and often we can given enough notice- in which case your payment will carry over to the new date we choose. If we cannot fill your spot MMS will retain the fees paid for that lesson; no refund is given. We ask you to understand that it is not easy operating a small business. We do our absolute best to accommodate every person in every way we can. We are delighted to leave folks feeling satisfied. A deposit or full payment is requested at the time of booking to hold the space for YOU. Scrambling to find a replacement amid the other administrative duties can be challenging and time-consuming. If your space is left vacant we don’t get to earn our living. Yes, special circumstances will be considered but we ask that you be as certain as possible that your calendar is cleared prior to scheduling your lesson and sending in your payment. Thanks so much for understanding!
In the event that rain is on the forecast we will make a “game-time” call. If we cannot go because of poor conditions we’ll need to re-schedule for the next available opening. Understand, we want to teach you as much as you want to learn but safety is our primary concern. You will not lose any of your payment due to naughty weather.
*Note on cancellations involving pre-purchased gift certificates: Again, the block of time has been set aside for YOU and we are thus not going to schedule that time for anyone else. In the event that you must cancel we will do our best to fill the spot but if we cannot do so the cancellation policy applies.
17: Class schedule:
Wed – Sun: 1045am & 230pm
Classes are approximately 2.5 hours duration.
When inquiring about lessons please let us know your preferred days and whether morning (1045am) or afternoon (230pm) is best. Keep in mind that our weekends fill up fastest and we would like to reserve those spots for people who really, truly cannot train during the weekdays. Also, we can generally get you on the calendar much sooner on weekdays.
18: Rates for 2019:
Lesson time is approximately 2.5 hours. Advanced training that goes beyond the lot may last 3 hours or more.
Smart Start two-lesson program (beginners start here!) $350. Covers ground-up private training, rider psychology & philosophy, traffic theory, guidance on the licensing process and appropriate bike/gear selection. This is the most complete introduction to (or re-acquaintance with) motorcycling that is available in the Bay Area and we regularly re-evaluate all techniques and methods to provide the best education possible.
Additional single class following Smart Start. $170, in-lot.
Third or more single in-lot class $160. Some learners require more time. We offer a lower rate for those in need of additional basic training.
Ride-On / Toe Dip single lesson $180. This is for riders with some prior experience seeking to build on their existing skills or for those wishing to try out motorcycling to see if they like it.
Scooter training $180
Partner training (two students, one instructor): $260. ($130 each)
Partner Smart Start $300 per person. First lesson is with partner; second lesson is private.
Advanced Starts at $250. Lesson begins in the lot to assess and refresh skills then continues to urban, highway and twisty roads. You must have completed at least one lesson with Monkey Moto School prior to taking any advanced training with us. M1 endorsement and your own motorcycle in good repair are required. Reserve about 3 – 3.5 hours of your time for this class as we will likely be traveling outside of the city limits.
**Ask about group advanced lessons! Six riders max.**
Travel outside of San Francisco: Rate varies. Please inquire.
19: Payment Methods:
*Credit card (MMS uses the Square system). We will send you the link to our web store.
20: Can I tip my coach?:
Uhm…Yes! Coaches totally appreciate gratuities, just like everyone else in the service industries.
Thank you for choosing to ride with us!!