Took the 5 day Harley learn to ride course. I took this course because the waiting list for the state course is two monhts out. I wasn't sure at first if it would be worth $300 or serious, as opposed to a 'push them through' then sell them a Harley. It wasn't. The guy told us straight up before we paid that the fee was for the private certified instructors and bike useage and there was no guarante of passing. The pass rate is usually 70%. Very serious class. I would reccomend it if you can't get into the state class 3which is usually only $35 or so. That's why I took it.
There was the obviously Harley pitch from the marketing guys when we took the dealer tour the first day but that was the end of the sales stuff. The instructors themselves took no prisoners. Three days of classroom and two straight 8 hour days of out in the sun on the course. Instructors were fairly friendly but were very serious. I got reamed at the beginning for starting out before another guy left the practice lane. I got pulled asside and after a private five minute 'course safety consultation' e.g. ass chewing, I was allowed to start back in line.
There are multiple lectures on safety and handling and such and you have to memorize stuff about the controls and characteristic and pass a test before you can even touch the bikes. There is also a written test and the skills test. Writing part was actually a little more broad than the BMV temporary test. More detail you have to know.
Out of 11 in the course, two failed the skills test and one quit. One guy kept dropping his bike in the class and one time got his shoelace from the boot stuck on the shift lever and he did a serious flacepant. He just said it wasn't for him and left the course. One lady dropped the bike during the test and was automatic fail. Another guy failed the skills test as he kept stalling and couldn't do the figure eight, slow speed turn test inside the 10 foot box without putting his feet down.
The only thing I didn't like was the bikes. They used these tiny Buel Blasts with poor tunes and tempermental clutch. One time, my bike just wouldn't start and I had to get another one. Being 6'1 with a 32 inseam, it was like sitting in a high chair.
After riding my uncles yamaha tourer a bit, the Yamaha 950 was ten times easier to ride, balance, and the throttle is very smooth and linear. These old and crappy Buels are twitchy as hell and the friction zone doesn't start until the clutch is nearly fully released. One of the best thing about finishing the class, in addition to passing, was that I know I will never have to ride that bike again. If I did have to ride it, I honestly would not ride again. It was that bad. Think driving a jerky and tempermental 500cc lawn mower.