Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy

Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy

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. Learn more about our Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy motorcycle training courses and find a class today.

New Rider Course

Never ridden before? Want to get your motorcycle license? The New Rider Course will lead you through the steps to learn to ride a motorcycle and get you on the road.

Successful completion earns a Motorcycle Safety Course Completion Card and the ability to take the riding portion of your state license exam with a Riding Academy Motorcycle provided by the dealership.

That's right! You don't have to have your own motorcycle to start learning how to ride.

Find a class

What to Expect

  • Learn to ride on a genuine Harley-Davidson® motorcycle
  • Classroom and range instruction from state & Riding Academy certified coaches
  • Learn to safely accelerate, shift, brake, and turn, along with maneuvers like controlling skids and surmounting riding obstacles
  • Earn a Motorcycle Safety Course Completion Card and take the riding portion of your state license exam with a Riding Academy Motorcycle provided by the dealership.
  • Receive an exclusive invite to the Kegel Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy End of Year Party to celebrate your success and connect with other riders. Enjoy pizza, snacks, cake, beverages and enter to win various prizes. We'll even let you bring a friend!

Get a Jumpstart™ on Your Journey

Get comfortable on a motorcycle before you even walk into your first class. Make the most of your class by getting in the saddle at Kegel Harley-Davidson® and trying a Jumpstart™ demo. Getting knowledgeable before your class begins will get you on a bike and feeling comfortable faster.

Schedule Your Jumpstart Experience

New Graduate Financing Available

Riders who complete the Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy Course can take advantage of special financing options which include no down payment or rates as low as 5.79%* and flexible terms.

Learn more

Your Journey is Just Beginning

You’re on your way to becoming a fully licensed rider. The open road is calling, and we can’t wait to help you answer the call. Check out our additional opportunities to learn and gain confidence and hear from our students about their experiences.


New Rider Course:

One of our dealership staff or Riding Academy staff can help get you signed up either over the phone or in person. You'll need to have your valid driver's license ready, and you'll be asked a series of questions about any previous riding experience. After that, all that's left to do is pay the course fee and show up for class! Please keep in mind that the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy requires all students to be at least 18 years old in order to take the class.

After enrolling, you should be contacted by your dealership with any specifics to your course, including what to bring, what is required, and where and when to meet. We will contact you, welcome you, remind you of items to bring and answer any questions you might have about the class.

The Kegel Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy utilizes the Motorcycle Safety Foundation curriculum and the MSF Basic eCourse as a component of your overall class.

The eCourse replaces a classroom session at the dealer and can easily be completed at your convenience prior to the first night of class. 

Within 30 days of your scheduled class, the dealership will send you a link to the MSF Learning Center so that you may complete the eCourse before you begin your Riding Academy adventure.

Be sure to budget time prior to the first day of class to complete the eCourse –  even if you have previous experience with motorcycling, you cannot fast forward through any sections of the eCourse.

You will receive a completion certificate at the end of the course, be sure to print that out and bring it to the first day of class.


You will need to bring these items to class with you:

  • Your valid Driver's License and/or Motorcycle Learner's Permit (preferred by not required - you earn this by passing the approx. $10 written exam at the DMV)
  • Proof of completion of any pre-required course study
  • Any materials provided to you prior to or during class
  • Wear, or bring, all the items on the "CLASS GEAR CHECK LIST"*

*This can be found in the "What to wear" section of this page.

Gloves and a helmet are the only essential motorcycle specific items, but we recommend that sometime before the first night of class, take what you have to the dealer to get it checked out.

They can help you ensure that you have the right equipment.


  • Long-sleeve shirt or jacket
  • Long pants (heavy denim or riding pants recommended - NO HOLES)
  • Over-the-ankle boots (sturdy, not canvas, low heel)
  • Eye protection (helmet visor, eye glasses, sun glasses, goggles acceptable)
  • Full-finger gloves (motorcycle specific recommended)
  • DOT-certified full-face or 3/4- helmet (we have some available to borrow during class)


A helmet is the most important piece of motorcycle gear you will invest in. A helmet is a very personal piece of gear.

Consider buying a helmet vs. borrowing one, that way it is yours and it fits you perfectly and allows you to focus on learning to ride.

The staff at your dealer are trained to fit a helmet and will ensure you get the right one. Helmet fit is so important that they will most likely suggest you wear the one you settle on around the dealer for about 15 minutes.

It takes that long for the helmet to really let you know if it will be comfortable in the long run. Remember, helmets are not typically returnable once they leave the dealership, so take the time to find the right one.

Coach Tip: The more helmet the better, full face is the best, followed by a modular. An open face helmet or ¾ open still provides good protection if you feel too cooped up in a full face. Half helmets, while very popular, offer the least amount of protection and ARE NOT APPROVED FOR RIDING ACADEMY USE.

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 coaches. 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. A review of the eCourse will be next, which gives you a chance to better understand important points of the eCourse. 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, coaches 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 located behind the dealership. (See photo below)

This site is 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. 


Coach Tips: 

  • In order to ensure your timely arrival, feel free to stop by the dealership for a tour of the property. Any of the Kegel Krew would be happy to assist you. 
  • The best place for students to park is in the back of the service lot. 
  • Feel free to whatever snacks you need to keep going physically and mentally. 
  • Bottled water, soda, and light snacks are 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 other exercise, 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.

Coach Tip: Learning to ride can be mentally and physically exhausting. Make plans to rest up the day before and throughout the duration your Riding Academy Course.


Day 2 will focus on the skills of riding: cornering, swerving and maximum braking. Just like the first day, expect two exercises back to back with a ROADBOOK break in between. 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 coaches 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 coaches 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.

Coach 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 coach 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. However, it does not count as a license and is not recognized by law enforcement as a license to ride.  

After you complete the dealership portion of your Riding Academy Course, your Coach will coordinate with you when to meet at the DMV to take the riding portion of your state license exam. They will bring a Kegel Harley-Davidson® Riding Academy motorcycle with them for you to use during your test.

Once you’ve gotten your license, get out and enjoy the ride! 



Hello, my name is Stan Palmer. My riding began in 1974. While in the U.S. Navy, I got my license and first motorcycle. In order to ride on base, I was required to take a motorcycle safety class which was no where near the classes of today. 

Later that year I got married and we rode all over California. When I was discharged from the service, we moved back to Rockford. I got a job and worked there for 32 years. As part of my job in the 90s, I did driver instruction where I would give hands on, one on one instruction. 

In 2004 I bought my first Harley-Davidson. I retired in 2010 and took the MSF Rider Coach Prep class at NIU, then began coaching at NIU; which later moved to Harper College. 

Later I became a Harley-Davidson coach and have been coaching at Kegel Harley-Davidson for around 5 years. Over the years I have taught with 18 or so different coaches and about 100 or more classes.


Hello, my name is Karla Stringham. I am a mom of 3 and grandma of 5.  I ride a 2017 H-D Ultra Limited, her name is “The General”. 

My first ride as a passenger was 1988, after that I swore never again! Then my husband decided to buy a motorcycle, against my wishes. He persuaded me to ride with him, this time I loved it and I knew I had to learn to ride my own. 

I have enjoyed riding my own motorcycle since 2010. I am an Office Assistant by day and to share my passion of riding, a Motorcycle Rider Coach by night.

 I have been helping others work toward achieving their goals of learning to ride since 2018. 


Hi, my name is Dave Diveley.  I started riding a motorcycle in the year of 2000 after taking the Basic Rider Course. I decided that it was the safest way to learn how to ride a motorcycle. I purchased my first ride in July of 2000, a dual sport motorcycle.

I was introduced to the Gold Wing Road Riders Association November 2001 by a friend and in joining GWRRA it prompted me to purchase my second motorcycle, a touring motorcycle. I had to stretch my legs to get my feet flat on the ground. After joining the GWWRA, I had the experience of riding in a group, the opportunity to travel to meet other GWRRA groups and to enjoy motorcycle rallies. I have been to a rally in the state of New York in May and in the July of same year, a rally in state of Texas. I have traveled to 23 states to date.

A friend suggested that I become a range aid for the Basic Rider Course for a way to make extra money. The range aid is the person that sets up the cones for the exercises for the new students to learn basic riding skills.

June of 2011, I completed the Basic Rider Course instructor prep at Northern Illinois University from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Since, I have average between 10 and 20 classes a year working with many other instructors helping new riders gain the skills to have fun of riding a motorcycle.

In 2020 I joined the Kegel Harley-Davidson riding program as a instructor in learning and last year received state teaching credentials.  I will continue to help new riders to have the experience of riding a motorcycle and to have fun.


Hello, my name is Brian Stringham. My love of riding started when I was 14 years old riding dirt bikes. Life happened and I did not ride again for several years. Although my wife did not want me to ride a dangerous motorcycle, I bought a motorcycle anyway. We both took a Motorcycle Safety Course and have been riding together ever since.

Now it is my joy to share my passion of teaching others the basics of safe motorcycle riding, I may also share my favorite movie quotes and dad jokes along the way.


If you are looking to get geared up before your Riding Academy Class, we strongly encourage you to stop by the dealership to try on various items.  If you would like to setup a one-on-one consultation, contact our Motorclothes Manager, Kim Affinito, at 815- 332-7125 ext.225. 

Kim has been with the dealership for over 20 years. She is passionate about rider safety, full of product knowledge, and always good for a smile.

Men's Riding Gear

Get ready for any adventure with our top selling riding gear.

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Women's Riding Gear

Gear up and get going with these women's riding favorites.

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Help Me Choose

Want to start riding but unsure which bike is right for you? 

We can help you choose!

Browse our online inventory, or better yet, call our Motorcycle Sales Team to set up a one-on-one appointment to get a hands on feel for all of your options.

Call today 815-332-7125 Press 1 for Motorcycle Sales

Browse our online inventory


Contact the Riding Academy

Questions? Concerns?

We're here to help!

Our Riding Academy Coaches have put hundreds of riders on the road, and they would love for you to be the next one. Don't hesitate to reach out to us for additional information, resources, or encouragement.

Contact us now


Join us at the Dealership

We host a variety of events throughout the year, and a lot of them are open to the public. You don't have to be a rider to have a good time at Kegel Harley-Davidson®. 

If you are interested in taking the class, we encourage you to join us for some fun before you get started. Get familiar with the dealership, meet our staff, and talk to riders that have been enjoying the open road. This will get you more comfortable with the environment and get you excited for all of the adventure that awaits you. 


Follow us on Social Media, so you don't miss a thing!

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Consider Joining Your Local H.O.G.® Chapter

Kegel Harley-Davidson® has its own affiliated H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group)® Chapter. Consisting of roughly 110 members, these riding enthusiasts are passionate about the H-D®  lifestyle. 

This year's riding agenda will be packed with interesting rides. These may be trips up North, weekends away, day trips, morning or evening rides, all planned and led by our members. 

Monthly Meetups take place the last Wednesday of the month and everyone is welcome. So, even if you aren't riding yet, it's a great opportunity to meet other riders in the area.


Connect with Area Riders

Here at Kegel Harley-Davidson® we pride ourselves on being connected with the local riding community. 

We work closely with various riding organizations, associations, clubs, and individuals that enjoy coordinating events in the area. 

We are more than happy to share our knowledge with you so that you can find your riding tribe and make the most out of your motorcycle journey. 

Here are some things you can do:

  • Check out the community board at the dealership
  • Join local, riding Facebook Groups like Rockford Area Riders and Let's Ride 815
  • Call our Marketing Department for further information regarding other riding organizations in our area. You can connect with them at 815-332-7125 ext. 234.