View Full Version : California DMV Driving Test
10-14-2007, 05:08 PM
I have an R6 Yamaha. I've been riding for a bunch of years, but this is a new kind of bike for me. I am use to an older Triumph Bonniville...then had a Yamaha knock-off for some years. Anyway, I'm back on a bike now. But the DMV erased the motorcycle component from my driver's license, so now I have to take the drivers test again.
I'm getting use to this cafe-style bike. The R6 sure isn't my old Triumph. But anyway, my question is this: Do you guys know of many people who have passed the DMV test, making that 29ft diameter circle, on an R6 or the equivalent? I've been practicing... and it's pretty tight for that bike. In fact, I don't think I can do it (maybe with some practice). What do you guys think? Is it a loosing propostion, and I should just break down and fold into one of those 16 hour beginner courses...or do you think the test is doable on an R6?
But the DMV erased the motorcycle component from my driver's license, so now I have to take the drivers test again.
How did that happen? I'll need to avoid that happening (will get my license tomorrow in Torrance).
Anyway, my wife and I took and passed the MSF class in Long Beach last weekend. Several who were there had failed the DMV test but passed the MSF test. We learned lots, too -- so I recommend the class.
Don't have a clue re the R6 and I've not looked at the DMV course; my wife did and signed us up for the class!
11-08-2007, 11:44 PM
I took the DMV test and passed, and it was hard. I practiced those damn small circles for weeks for an hour a day, every day...round and round, until I was so sick of small circles I was ready to scream. I also practiced weaving in and out of the cement parking stops in the parkin glot where I set up cones to practice circles. And I have been riding for years. And my balance is pretty good. I race downhill mountain bikes. What I found is that if you set up the circle just right, you can go around pretty easily. If you don't, and you have to make adjustments, your chances drop dramatically. It's a crap shoot, really. Very difficult.
Since then I've learned quite a bit. I have read six or seven books on riding, and a ton of articles from websites. Since I'm riding a pretty hot bike that isn't all that easy to handle (you might call it "physical"), in some of the worst commute traffic in the country, I am a little paranoid. So I'm trying to stack the deck in my favor as much as possible. Lane splitting with no more than inches of clearance, every day, rain or shine, for 20 miles each way (before things open up enough to stop the lane splitting), and maneuvoring through the streets of San Francisco during rush hour, is working without a net. One slip and I'm going to be toast. So I've read every book (except Total Control, which is on my list next) that I can afford to buy.
Good luck guys, and try hanging 3 or 4 of those bike flashing red led lights off your backpack when you ride at night. My goal is to look like a friggen blinking Christmas tree.
11-10-2007, 07:51 PM
I never took the test in Cal when I lived there but some of my freinds back in the early 90s said that if you owned a bigger Harely you simply could not physically do the test. Up here in Canada I yook my motorcycle skills test on my 750 Virago and failed the test because I took my foot off of the peg on my u turn. The test is done by walking your bike in it's tightest circle and then marking off 3 feet over that radius. I should have practiced these close turns but just got the Virago and as I have been riding and owning bikes for over thiry years I just assumed that I could handle anything. Doh.
After failing the test I went through the whole test without the dnv guy there and did it perfectly. Of course!!!!
04-08-2008, 06:19 PM
I remember taking the test in 1987 on a V45 Sabre. It was a bloody joke at that time. The rider was expected to ride between two white lines that formed what looked like the coil end of a safety pin. The rider was to ride up one line, around the circle (keeping one's feet up, of course) down the other line, turn around and do the same thing the other way. Keep your feet up and stay basically within the lines, and you passed the driven part of the test.
I would look into the technique of counterBALANCING (as opposed to counterSTEERING) to make that tighter turn. You lean a little on the peg away from the direction of the turn, allowing the bike to lean a bit and tightening up the circle you can turn. (Biker cops do this as well as lock turns all the time...it's quite cool to watch.) Also, practice with your clutch to variably direct power to the wheel, rather than clutch AND throttle. As you know, using both can lead to the rear wheel stopping you, causing a rather embarassing (sometimes painful) show with gravity. That kind of show, of course, usually doesn't result in a passing grade if done in front of the DMV evaluator.
04-17-2008, 07:28 PM
If you look up techniques that motorcycle cops use there is a lot there that helps with this kind of tight circle stuff. They do it on decked out Harleys so it's certainly possible on any sportbike.
04-18-2008, 06:07 PM
I can't imagine things have changed much (or have they?!). I remember taking my very first MC written then driving test at the Santa Barbara (CA) DMV downtown at 15-1/2 years old in 1972. I did it on a 1972 Honda XL250 Enduro - needless to say it WAS a piece of cake with such a bike. :D I remember the consensus among other already licensed riders was back then that WAS the way to go: beg or borrow a street legal small displacement enduro bike to go take the test on – pass – then go back to riding what you did normally. :D
06-11-2008, 09:15 PM
Damn, LRG, we're about the same age. Here I am just starting out and getting some rather good advice from these "kids" around here. Never too old to learn something!
06-12-2008, 12:18 AM
My cousin took the DMV test and passed, but I think he had been riding for about 2 years without a license.
I went the "easier" route and am taking the MSF course (almost done, last one is this friday) since I have never ridden before.
On a side note I believe my cousin did the test on a friends dual-sport, much easier than on a sportie.
06-16-2008, 05:19 PM
I’ve done the 29 foot circle on my 1500 Goldwing and if a Goldwing will do it just about anything else will. The other option is find someone with a small bike and take the test on it. However it is my opinion you should be able to handle whatever bike you are riding well enough to past the DMV test.
It seems like the dmv test is the minimum standard. You should not only be aiming to meet it, you should be able to do better than what it requires without too much effort.
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