Beyond the Basics

John L. Stein
by John L. Stein

Enroll in the Yamaha Champions Riding School and feel your skills grow.

Whether you’re just getting interested in riding, a newly licensed rider, an experienced one, or even a racer, you can always improve – both in skills and safety. That the mission and role of the Yamaha Champions Riding School (YCRS), or ChampSchool for short. Led by racing and coaching veteran (and incredibly nice guy) Nick Ienatsch, the school literally has something for everyone, no matter your location or experience level. thanks Yamaha for sponsoring this new rider series.

The Core Mission

A few telling words from ChampSchool set the stage for their approach and the desired benefit for students: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue, on any bike. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.” Further, ChampSchool says, “Riders who are properly trained are safer, have more fun, and will enjoy motorcycling longer. Invest in the Rider. Invest in You.”

What You’ll Learn

Borrowing directly from YCRS, here are some of the key elements you can expect at the street and track schools:

ChampStreet – This program is for street riders of all levels. The course is taught on your street motorcycle with your street gear, no leathers required, and no racers or race bikes are allowed. “Your motorcycle does not know if it’s on racetrack asphalt or public-road asphalt; it simply works as directed by you, the onboard engineer,” YCRS says. This (usually) 8-hour program is typically taught at a racetrack but limited to highway speeds with a curriculum specifically designed for street riding.

ChampSchool – This immersive, 2-day curriculum builds upon the company’s dual overarching principles: How the best riders in the world ride; and how a modern motorcycle is designed to be ridden. “We shortcut your learning curve, make new riders excellent, make veteran riders even better by limiting class size and focusing on each student’s needs,” YCRS says.

ChampGrad – When you’re ready, jump up to this “intensive program for specific goals.” For starters, YCRS says, “it’s designed for students who have been through our 2-Day ChampSchool program and are ready for more specific coaching.” This includes a “semi-private format with personalized instruction at a 2:1 student-to-instructor ratio.” The program begins with the instructor interviewing students to determine their needs and then prioritize solutions; ChampSchool then uses “all the tools available including filming, data acquisition, two-up rides, and specific training drills to address each challenge with laser focus.” You’ve heard racers talk about “look at tape” or “review tape” before and after their events? It’s included here. And maybe best of all, YCRS says, “There is no classroom time but a ton of riding!”

Flexible Instruction

The Yamaha Champions Riding School prides itself on flexibility. Accordingly, YCRS offers three additional instructional options to fit specific circumstances. They include:

  • As its name implies, the ChampPrivate program includes private one-on-one lessons with a YCRS instructor. Win! The cost is $1,595 per day.
  • With the ChampCoach option, you and your friends, dealership or club can hire a YCRS Instructor to meet at your preferred location (which obviously must conform to YCRS standards). The cost is between $1,200 and $1,800 per day, plus travel expenses.
  • Contact YCRS for information on ChampTeam Corporate Training Events, which can provide ChampSchool instruction for teambuilding or other corporate uses.

On-location and in-person riding classes run annually from January to November, with online classes (see Online Options below) available to take and explore anytime. All on-location classes are taught in closed-course environments (e.g., tracks but sometimes parking lots). A brief list of classes includes:

  • The ChampStreet courses, obviously for street riders, are typically one-half to one day and pricing can range from $150 to $500, depending on location.
  • Check out the ChampSchool racetrack courses, available as either one-day events for $350 to $600 (depending on location and program type), or as 2-day events for $2,195 to $3,695, including meals.
  • If you’re really on the gas, ChampGrad program is for graduates of the 2-day ChampSchool who want to take things further and faster. Costs range from $1,395 to $2,995 for this semi-private instruction.
  • Motorcycle rentals are available for between $400 and $700, depending on location.
  • Gear rentals are also available, from boots and gloves to back protectors, helmets, and leathers, with costs ranging from $10 to $125.
  • Damage insurance is separate.

Online Options

As mentioned above, if your riding career includes more keyboard time than twistgrip action (at least so far!), YCRS smartly offers Champ U: The Core Curriculum. Priced at $89.95, this is an affordable series of 40 videos, 30 drills, and 40 quizzes – complete with recorded instructors and useful animation – whose goal is making you a safer and more confident rider.

And for total newbies, there’s Champ U: New Rider, priced at an agreeable $19.95. As stated by YCRS, “…this course goes beyond the parking lot to provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to be a successful motorcyclist in the real world on real roads.” Could there be a finer way to start?

Sponsors of the Yamaha Champions Riding School (YCRS) include Yamaha, Yamalube, GYTR, Dainese, Dunlop, Arai, and more. Get all the info including schedules, locations, pricing, and contact information at or visit them on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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John L. Stein
John L. Stein

John L. Stein brings 30 years of both automotive and motorcycle experience, having written for AutoWeek, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Sports Car International, Chevy Outdoors, Truck Trend, Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Adventure Travel, and Men’s Journal, just to name a few. His articles have been published in the US, England, Japan, Australia and France. His technical knowledge combined with his ability to understand and effectively communicate what a motorcycle is doing underneath him is an invaluable resource to the team.

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Join the conversation
  • Tech Tech on Nov 24, 2023

    And despite all that, I am accident and insurance claim free in over 40 years of riding. Hell, I never even took rider training because back then in 1975 in Quebec, a car driver's licence allowed you to also operate a motorcycle. But my countless years riding the twisties in the Alps helped.

  • Harold Lancaster Harold Lancaster on Mar 12, 2024

    Hi, I've been driveing over >25 motorcycle's!At "82".Yrs.Young.I still go to a gym.Lift weight's& cardo exercise's. Also been known to swim close to 3 mile's in under 3 hrs .Ever so often.= Discipline! What's this "bull".When registering a motorclye.A [educational motorcycle tax]? Huh? To often young people.Are willing to pay for a school taught myself in 1972.In 1or 2 gear's.I'm still accident free&ticket free.I don't ride with any another wanna be biker.I also wax

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