Learn to Ride

Learn to Ride

New rider course

Riding Academy is more than just a class—it's a gateway to freedom, adventure, and the Harley-Davidson lifestyle. Whether you're a complete beginner or looking to refresh your skills, our experienced instructors are here to guide you every step of the way.

Our comprehensive course will cover everything from the basics of motorcycle operation and safety to advanced riding techniques. You'll have the opportunity to learn on our state-of-the-art motorcycles, designed to provide a comfortable and confidence-building experience.

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Get ready

What to do before class

If you're new to riding, or just want to feel better prepared for class, we invite you to attend one of our optional Get Ready to Ride orientations prior to class. In these short, small group sessions we will cover:

  • Gear Up for the Ride: Ensure that you have the right gear for the class and beyond.
  • Get a Grip on the Controls: Practice using controls and shifting gears on a stationary motorcycle. Also learn what to expect in class and on the range.
  • Dealership Tour: Get comfortable with our facility and team

Schedule your Get Ready to Ride Session >

Iron Steed H-D Partners with CMSP

Whether you’re just getting started or brushing up, learn the skills you need to ride with confidence. We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of riders achieve their dreams, let us help you too. 

The California Motorcyclist Safety Program Motorcyclist Training Course is designed for novice riders with no (or limited) street-riding experience. This course includes both classroom and on-cycle instruction. You will learn fundamental skills required to operate the motorcycle and progress to street riding skills and strategies.

Topics covered include fear, understanding how motorcycles turn, proper cornering strategies, and emergency crash avoidance skills. This course is based on the most current research in rider safety and utilizes modern training methods.


There are a variety of schedules. This example of a typical weekend course will give you a feel for what to expect. 

The first class meeting typically runs three hours: You’ll get a tour of the dealership, fill out all the class paperwork and get to know your peers and instructors. During the paperwork session, you will hear a lot about counseling and being on time and having all the gear. Don’t fret, it is just to set clear expectations for everyone.

You’ll get a ROADBOOK - this is a small Harley-Davidson® Journal that you will use to reflect on important points throughout the class. Jump in there and participate! A lot of what is being discussed you have already seen firsthand as a car driver. Then the class will turn to new material – an activity to help demystify motorcycle controls and their use will be held, as well as an activity to help understand important aspects of riding gear.

At the end of the night, instructors usually spend some time talking about the range days, what to bring, where the range is and when to be there.  The range is simply a practice lot; it is a large flat piece of pavement that may be on dealer property or down the road a few miles.

This site is usually blocked off from car traffic and offers a controlled environment to learn in. The classroom will probably conclude with a discussion on the range rules and hand signals. These are all intended to help you understand how the range works and to ensure everyone has a good time during the riding portion of the course. 

Instructor Tip: If you are not sure where the range is, take time to drive by it on the way home versus frantically searching for it in the morning.

Pack whatever snacks you need to keep going physically and mentally, bottled water is usually provided by the dealership

A typical course will include two days on the range. Here is what to expect.


Your first range day will focus on getting to know the motorcycle, how to properly start it up, move it from point A to point B, and shut it off. You learn the fundamentals of clutching and shifting, turning and stopping.

Each exercise is designed to build on the previous exercises and allow you to learn quickly and effectively. Expect each exercise to take about 40 minutes. After every three to four exercises, a break will be held. This is usually a ROADBOOK opportunity and a chance to just rest, get a drink of water and hang out with your classmates.

Programs typically hold a classroom session at the dealership after the first range day. The afternoon classroom session is focused on behaviors and self-assessment. This is important stuff! The more you participate the more you will get out of it.

Instructor Tip: Learning to ride can be mentally and physically exhausting. Make plans to rest Saturday night – you want to be fresh for the second range day.


Day 2 will focus on the skills of riding: cornering, swerving and maximum braking. After every three to four exercises, a break will be held. These exercises are at slightly higher speeds than yesterday's and are a lot of fun! Expect to see smiles spread across the faces of your classmates.

At the end of the second day on the range, the Instructors will set up and score the five evaluation exercises. These are based on the same exercises you just rode and the same skills you learned over the last two days of riding.

Relax and be sure to breathe – This is just a fair measurement of your current abilities to ensure that you are ready to leave the range and venture out onto the open road. Listen to your Instructors and watch each student ahead of you as they ride the test exercises. You want to be sure of the path of travel and the technique being scored.

Instructor Tip: Don’t score yourself during the evaluations. Not all areas of the riding exercise are scored, and most mistakes are just a few points. Riders that get worked up because they made a riding error often ride worse and make more errors. Ride on and do your best!

At the end of the evaluations, your Instructor will let you know how you did. If you did not pass, don’t freak! There are often opportunities to take a portion of the course over or to retest later. See your Riding Academy Manager as soon as possible regarding these options.

On the last classroom meeting there might be state specific content to cover, more paperwork to complete and some celebrating to do. This is it, you are in the family now, enjoy the ride!

Students who successfully complete the classroom and range sessions will be issued a completion document. In many states this document will excuse the person from taking a motorcycle operator skills test through the Department of Motor Vehicles.  However, it does not count as a license and is not recognized by law enforcement as a license to ride.  Your Instructor or your local DMV will provide you with instructions on steps to take to convert the completion document into a license.

You will need to  take your completion document to your DMV and complete any additional steps required to get the motorcycle endorsement on your driver license. Once you’ve gotten your license, get out and enjoy the ride! 

Riding training graduate financing program

Riders who complete the Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy Course can take advantage of special financing options and flexible terms.



Our Riding Academy Program proudly partners with Travis Air Force Base on setting up active military members with our New Rider Couse, required for on-base riding. See the Safety and Occupational Department on-base to get started! 


Get geared up for class

Shop women's motorcycle gear for new riders.



Essential gear

Having the best experience in class requires appropriate motorcycle gear. Check out what you should bring on day one.



Get ready to ride

Shop men's motorcycle gear for new riders.


Need to know

The course fee at Iron Steed Harley-Davidson is $425 for 21 & older. Course fee for those under 21 years of age is $395

You'll need a valid automobile driver's license or learner's permit, and have the ability to ride a bicycle.

You'll need to bring the following:

  • Valid government issued I.D.
  • Any materials provided to you prior to or during class
  • Long-sleeve shirt or jacket
  • Durable long pants with no rips or holes
  • Over-the-ankle boots (sturdy, not canvas, low heel)
  • Eye protection (helmet visor, eye glasses, sun glasses, goggles acceptable)
  • Full-finger leather gloves (motorcycle specific recommended)
  • Full Face DOT-certified helmet. (Loaners available upon request)



For the riding portion, the H-D® dealer will provide you with a Harley-Davidson®motorcycle suited for the course.

Yes, learn more about the exclusive offers available only to Riding Academy graduates.

Contact us by phone or text at (707) 455-7000, with any questions you have about Riding Academy

You must attend the entire course and participate. You must come to class with all the required safety gear and have completed the CMSP course and pass the riding evaluation at the end of the range sessions. Upon completion of the course (Riding & Written portions), you will be issued a DL389. You will need to take that form to your DMV office where they will issue you the California Mandated DMV Written Motorcycle Endorsement Test. Upon passing, the DMV will issue you a temporary paper license, stating your M1 Endorsement and you will receive a new license in the mail. 

Yes. A lunch break is incorporated to all full days of Riding Academy.

Yes. However, we recommend that all riders take the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy Class to learn the rules of the road

There will be no refunds if you do not pass the class, do not show up to the first class for any reason, or are dropped for not following all of the requirements:

  • Fees are non refundable for ANY reason once the course begins.
  • If you are late to any portion of the class for any reason, you forfeit the entire course fee.
  • Refunds and/or rescheduling must be requested at least 14 days prior to your class.

Contact us by phone or text at (707) 455-7000 as soon as possible to get rescheduled into another class. 

Riding Academy classes take place rain or shine, hot or cold. Be ready for whatever your local weather might have in store for you. In the event of dangerous weather, the class will be halted. Arrangements will be made to adjust the schedule around the weather if possible. Consult with your Instructors and or Academy Manager if weather results in a class being rescheduled or cancelled.  

Yes! The bike you try is a 100% street-ready Harley-Davidson® motorcycle.

The classroom is located at 100 Auto Center Drive, Vacaville, Ca 95687. The Riding Range is located at the Solano Town Center (Solano Mall), the parking lot behind JCPenney's parking lot off of Gateway Blvd.

Click here for Directions

You will be contacted upon the cancellation of an enrolled student for your class date to see if you are available. If you have signed up for a waitlisted class, be advised that you are only on a waitlist for that specific date, once that class date passes you will need to enroll in an open course or add yourself to an additional waitlisted date. Waitlist enrollments are not guaranteed a seat in the class.