California motorcycle driving test question (behind the wheel)

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Racing' started by Madhu, May 17, 2006.

  1. Madhu

    Madhu Guest


    I'm taking my M1 motorcycle driving test next week. I've read about the
    cone weave, riding in a circle and the braking test.

    I've been riding my bike here in San Diego, CA for 2 months now. I have
    taken the written test and have my permit. I'm comfortable riding my
    bike in traffic and on the freeway(though I am not supposed to).

    I hear the driving test is a low speed one and really strict. Can
    anyone please post specific details of the test, details like the
    circle radius, etc? Also any suggestions for the test would be great.
    What kind of skills should I practice in a parking lot to be able to
    take a test?

    Last question : I ride a Ninja 250cc. Is that small enough for the

    Thank you,
    Madhu, May 17, 2006
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  2. Suggest you drive by your DMV office and look for a section of the
    lot that has the "lollipop" painted on it. I've not measured it, but the
    circle looks to a long car length in diameter -- longer than a parking
    space, but small than two spaces. With a path about a foot wide that you
    must stay within... If that isn't difficult enough, from what others
    have said, you have to enter and exit at nearly 90deg turns (the stick
    of the lollipop) again staying within lines.
    Recommendation!: Don't take the DMV test -- put your name down for
    your local MSF equivalent BRC course (here in Sunnyvale, that's nearly a
    three month waiting list) and pay the $200... Their test will cover more
    situations, not be as strict [my understanding is that the lollipop is
    an all or nothing test; first fault and you're out], and passage exempts
    you from the DMV skill test.
    Doing figure 8 turns in the area of four parking spaces

    | | |
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    Swerving in an area the size of two shopping carts...
    Wulfraed Dennis Lee Bieber KD6MOG

    (Bestiaria Support Staff: )
    Dennis Lee Bieber, May 17, 2006
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  3. IAWTP....

    I am currently in the MSF course in San Diego (Palomar) and there are a
    couple of people that are there because they are experienced riders, and
    failed the CA Circle.......
    It's worth the $235

    Chris Bromley, May 17, 2006
  4. Just hop over to the DMV and take a look at the keyhole.
    Spend a Sunday afternoon practicing until you have it nailed.
    Down one side, around the circle twice, and back out the
    other side. Never stop, never put your foot down, never let
    your front wheel go outside of the lines.

    I took it on an EX500, and I navigated it later on a Nighthawk
    700 that I'd never ridden before.

    Patti Beadles, May 17, 2006
  5. Madhu

    mikethebike Guest

    When taking the DMV test, choice of bike is as important as skill. I
    took it on a 91 VFR750F many years ago, and IIRC, the little Ninja has
    plenty of steering lock so you shouldn't have a problem. Bad bikes to
    take the test on are pretty much any Ducati, or something with a really
    long wheelbase like some of the really big cruisers.

    Head down to the local DMV on a Sat (if they're closed) or Sunday and
    practice on their course. You'll also need to demonstrate shifting up
    and down through the gears over a short distance. My advice it to wait
    until at least month 6 of your permit to take it. It will give you
    plenty of time to practice. It is a really easy test and it disturbs
    me to think that anyone would fail it for any reason other than it
    being a physical impossibility for their bike to turn in the given

    91 ST1100 | 83 XLR200R
    San Diego, CA
    mikethebike, May 17, 2006
  6. Not in my experience. When I did the lollipop with my first 750, I
    didn't quite get the circle the first time, and I was allowed to try
    again. YMMV.

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    Joe Schmuckatelli, May 17, 2006
  7. Madhu

    Gregg Guest

    I failed mine because I was unable to understand the directive regarding the
    correct end position after a simulated evasion manouver.

    Listen carefully, politly request repeat of directives if you are not sure
    what is required.
    It would help if you went to a test and observed.

    Sure, no problem there.

    Gregg, May 17, 2006
  8. I went on my 1150GS (not a small bike), without knowing about the dreaded
    'lollipop'. Failed the loop the 1st time, was allowed to go again - passed.
    Not such a biggie. A small bike will do it with ease (Assuming basic rider

    Johan Grobler, May 17, 2006
  9. Madhu

    Madhu Guest

    Thanks a lot to each one of you who took the time to share your
    experiences. Many people I spoke to previously had hyped it up pretty
    big and come to think of it, the idea of riding at 2-5 miles an hr
    between lines in a circle doesnt sound very easy.

    So yeah, I'll practice it in a nearby DMV. The MSF clearly is the easy
    way out but the charge is $200+ since I'm 25 (21+) and that is
    unaffordable for me.

    Thanks again!

    Peace <
    Madhu, May 17, 2006
  10. Madhu

    Spender Guest

    I'm signing up for a similar course in Wisconsin that can earn you a waiver
    for the DMV.

    I'm looking forward to it. For some reason my body seems to resist leaning
    over on a bike. I have the sense memory of doing it decades ago on pedal
    bikes, but it isn't coming back all the way to practical use.
    Spender, May 18, 2006
  11. If you can't afford to take the MSF class, then you can't afford
    to ride.

    $200 is pocket change compared to the price of the protective
    gear you'll need, not to mention a bike.

    Patti Beadles, May 18, 2006
  12. Chris Bromley, May 18, 2006
  13. Dennis Lee Bieber, May 18, 2006
  14. Madhu

    Madhu Guest

    If you can't afford to take the MSF class, then you can't afford
    Nice of you to offer the gratuitous financial advice.

    First of all, I'm a full time graduate student. So I need to separate
    my "necessities" from "luxury".

    I bought my 2003 Ninja and my riding gear a few months back. I've
    ridden the bike all over SD since then; I should say I have been able
    to "afford to ride" (which is basically the cost of gas). I've been
    riding bikes for 6 years now (not in the US), so I know a thing or two
    about bikes.

    Spending $235 on the MSF is unaffordable, since I'm a student and its a
    $235 I can save by taking the DMV test.
    Madhu, May 18, 2006
  15. Madhu

    TomJ Guest

    I took the test on a 50cc Honda scooter (by the way, no matter what
    anyone tells you, in CA that is considered a "motorcycle" and requires
    an M1 endorsement).

    Compared to a motorcycle, the scooter is easier in some ways (shorter
    wheelbase), but more difficult in others (small wheels = less stable;
    auto clutch engages when it wants to).

    I Failed miserably the first time; moaned about how impossible the test
    was. The examiner chuckled and suggested that I use the DMV lot on
    weekends to practice (actually, I went over several times on my lunch
    hour, and no one objected). I re-took it 6 weeks later (earliest
    available appointment) and passed with no problems. I was amazed at how
    much easier the test had gotten in the six weeks. ;)

    -- Tom Jupille
    TomJ, May 18, 2006
  16. Go to the and look up motorcycle licenses and read until
    you find the link to the CHP motorcycle safety program, and that link
    will list schools.
    Melinda Meahan - take out TRASH to send, May 19, 2006
  17. Madhu

    Madhu Guest

    Madhu, May 20, 2006
  18. Madhu

    barbz Guest

    Yes, that's a fine size for the test. Go on over to the DMV on Normal
    street in san diego after hours and take a few turns around the circle.
    You may not let your tires wander outside the double line. They'll fail
    you for that. Hint: use the back brake! The rest of the test is
    comparatively easy. A little cone action, if I recall, and riding up and
    back going through all gears. No biggie. Really, the hardest part of the
    test is the one thing you'll never have to do...ride around within a
    circle. But, a 250 is a fine sized bike for it, and remember, RELY ON
    YOUR BACK BRAKE ONLY, another useless skill that hopefully you will
    never adopt in real life. It will help you keep control and stay in the
    circle at the low speeds you'll be utilizing.

    BTW, you can avoid that stupid and useless test if you take and complete
    the more adequate and useful Motorcycle Safety Course. They will teach
    you things you will actually use in real life. Talk to your "friendly"
    DMV representative for more details.

    Chaplain, ARSCC

    "Comparing Scientology to a motorcycle gang is a gross, unpardonable
    insult to bikers everywhere. Even at our worst, we are never as bad as
    -ex-member, Thunderclouds motorcycle "club"
    barbz, May 20, 2006
  19. Madhu

    barbz Guest

    Nah. Hein Geritchy jacket, swap meet, $100
    heavy leather jeans, swap meet $50
    1979 BMW motorcycle $1300 (purchased 1989, still running strong)
    Good helmet, okay, $250, ain't gonna skimp
    good gloves, Xmas whine
    saddlebags, traded a junkie for $20
    knee high Frye boots, swap meet, $20

    All the bling without the sting!

    Chaplain, ARSCC

    "Comparing Scientology to a motorcycle gang is a gross, unpardonable
    insult to bikers everywhere. Even at our worst, we are never as bad as
    -ex-member, Thunderclouds motorcycle "club"
    barbz, May 20, 2006
  20. Madhu

    barbz Guest

    It's cool, dude. We don't all have to have top-of-the-line gear and
    $20,000 motorcycles. What matters is, getting over 50 mpg, right? ;)

    Chaplain, ARSCC

    "Comparing Scientology to a motorcycle gang is a gross, unpardonable
    insult to bikers everywhere. Even at our worst, we are never as bad as
    -ex-member, Thunderclouds motorcycle "club"
    barbz, May 20, 2006
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