Our on-road motorcycle training courses take us across the beautiful Kent and East Sussex countryside.
Towns and villages in the South East that we ride in include...
For further information from the DSA on the motorcycle test click here ...
Checklist: For Test Days!
The new Modular Test includes some additional special manoeuvres for riders including:
(Click here for diagrams of the manoeuvres)
The test is in two parts. The above exercises are tested on off-road
sites at new Multi Purpose Test Centres (MPTCs).
The U-Turn and emergency stop exercises will not be repeated on the road, so this
will allow a longer time for normal road riding. On road exercises will still include hill starts and angle starts.
Please Note: Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) is unchanged.
All our instructors have carried out the Module 1 manoeuvres under test conditions, here is how we found it...
Well, the first thing you notice is the sheer size of the area marked out for the test course; It's 125 metres by 40 metres (which is about the size of a football pitch!), and it takes 86 coloured cones to mark out the course. Initially it seems bewildering and quite intimidating, even to an experienced rider who is there to evaluate it rather than being on test. I would have liked the opportunity to walk the course first, but, just as with test candidates there is no time for that.
The examiner accompanies me as I wheel my 500cc bike over to the starting point. He gives me the choice of which 'garage' of cones I wish to park it in initially, I chose the nearest one.
The first exercise is to wheel the bike backwards from one cone 'garage' into another and put it on its stand, (side-stand is fine) - you are allowed to do this in one arc or by a three-point-turn if you like, as long as the bike ends up in the new coned area facing outwards and you don't fall over any cones on the way! I do think some of the more slightly-built candidates will struggle with this one, and it may mean some will have to take their test on a smaller bike because of it.
Slalom & Figure-of-Eight
The examiner now gives a briefing about the Slalom and Figure-of-Eight exercise using a diagram on his clipboard. There are 5 yellow cones to slalom around and 2 blue ones to ride a figure-of-eight twice around. The reason we took a couple of 500cc student training bikes to Cardington rather than our own instructor bikes was to get a feel for the course through a student's eyes. We know our own bikes so well that it wouldn't have been a true evaluation. And now I'm ever-so-slightly starting to regret this fact as I set off on the slalom. It's actually quite challenging, not hugely difficult but certainly no walk in the park either, the slalom cones are 4.5 metres apart which means you have to concentrate.
Then straight into the figure-of-eight, which is even more challenging. These cones are 6 metres apart which sounds huge until you get there and then it doesn't look it. After my second figure the examiner waves me over and briefs me for the next part.
Off I head, diagonally across the yard to begin my first curve, feeling fairly pleased with how it had gone so far, and the fact that I hadn't made a fool of myself in front of an examiner and fellow instructor (not that I expected to, but there's always that chance, and then you never live it down etc etc..).
The curve is fairly gentle but a bit damp compared with the rest of the yard. There's no speed measuring equipment on the bend but you are supposed (indeed recommended) to get to 30kph (19+mph) as you go round it. A quick glance at the speedo as I enter the bend reveals that I'm not going quickly enough, damn.
Coming out of the bend I accelerate towards the cone 'gate' that holds the speed measuring device, up into third gear, no time to look at the speedo, the gap I'm aiming for is only 1.5m wide, it's a bit like threading a needle and I don't want to miss it. Through the gap, throttle off, flick to the left, through the offset cone 'gate' and I'm braking, braking, slowing to a halt at the cone 'box' at the end. And even before the examiner tells me, I know it's not fast enough! 46kph, the minimum is 50kph (just over 31mph), on test you get two goes at it so I do it again.
No mucking about feeling pleased with myself this time, keeping it at about 20mph in second around the curve, accelerating before I'm fully upright as I come out of the bend, through the speed trap, throttle off, flick left, hard braking, controlled stop in the box and it's 53kph this time, so 3kph above the minimum.
From here the U-turn is conducted, I am reminded by the examiner to treat the manoeuvre as if I am on the public road. So with a duly diligent look behind me I carry out the turn. This is probably the only part that, in my opinion, has got easier. It seems fairly wide (it's 7.5 metres) by comparison to some of the roads used on the current test, and is on the flat of course, without any camber, drain covers or kerbs!
The examiner then briefs me to ride slowly behind his outstretched clipboard between two sets of green cones, again, not really tricky, but then I do a lot of walking-pace riding in my job...
E – Stop
Now the final part, the same curve again but without the swerve, just with an emergency stop at a minimum of 50kph (just over 31mph). This time there was no way I was going to be under-speed on my first run. Indeed the speed monitor indicated in excess of 60kph. So that's it, the new part of the test all done in about 6 minutes.
Going back in the van we had time to discuss our thoughts on the day having done several runs of the course. Some of it is straight-forward, some of it is a bit more tricky. I think a lot of smug full licence holders would struggle with some of the exercises. But then that's always been the way, most car drivers would probably sweat a bit to pass the current car test. Remember, without blowing our own trumpets too much, we are full licence holders, as well as experienced riders and motorcycle instructors, we rode it and found it needed concentration and ability and was certainly not a simple formality. As instructors we teach novices to pass this test but it takes students' application and effort and is certainly no walk in the park.
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