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Old 03-22-2010, 12:54 PM   #1
Thumper
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IL SoS Motorcycle Road Test

Long time lurker on this forum... Thought I'd post my experience with the Motorcycle Road test I took last week at the Elston SoS facility. I got a random hit for a retake M on my last license renewal, and decided to give it a go with my 92 FJ1200. My first time taking this test many years ago, I followed the recommended route, and borrowed a 250cc bike. Without that luxury, and the impending snow storm last Saturday, decided to give it a shot with the 1200. I failed Thursday, strategically reviewed/practiced, then passed Friday. Here's the breakdown of the experience, hope it helps someone else:

TESTS = 4: (all start with front wheel in painted T,wheel straight ahead)
PASS/FAIL:
11 Penalty Points = PASS
12+ Penalty Points = FAIL Test procedure stops when you exceed 11 points
PENALTIES: Cone hit or miss, Stall, Foot-down, boundary line hit/cross, brake distance beyond 13feet at 15mph
Test 1 - start, go 5 feet to tight 90 right (maybe 2foot wide), cross over course to left tight U-turn, stop front wheel in Box
Test 2 - Slalom Course offset cones (start right) , ' , ' , ' , then U-turn stop front wheel in Box
Test 3 - Emergency Braking - Drive 15mph, brake hard at line, time/distance calculation (13feet = +1 point for every foot beyond)
Test 4 - Lane change, drive 15mph, change lane right at line, stay inside penalty line on right

BIKE TESTED:
92 FJ1200 Linked ABS
Wheelbase 59.8in
Rider: 30 year sport bike rider

RESULTS DAY 1
Test 1 -- Dropped foot on 90 right, stalled bike, dropped foot on Uturn = Total Points After Test 1 = 7
Test 2 -- Dropped foot twice, missed cones Total Points after Test 2 = 15 End of Test = FAIL

Gathered Ego, went home, drew out tests on paper, got up early Friday morning and went to a parking lot, did low speed tight turns lock to lock, Practiced tight U-turns (using 2nd gear), back to SoS at 1pm

RESULTS DAY 2
Test 1 -- Clean
Total Points After Test 1 = 0
Test 2 -- blew last 2 cones (wheel base)
Total Points after Test 2 = 6
Test 3 -- 4 feet past 13foot mark
Total Points after Test 3 = 10
Test 4 -- Clean
Total Points after Test 4 = 10
M Endorsement Granted

COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS:
My 1992 FJ has a linked ABS braking system with the original hardware, which made the emergency braking more difficult than my 1387 85 bike which is equipped with non-linked braking. When drawing out the tests, the biggest challenges were wheelbase related 90 right, uturn, and slalom. I was basically knocking full lock on the 90 right, twice on the uturn, and multiple times on the slalom. I figured if I got test 1 clean, I could blow the last few cones on Slalom, and pass the last 2 tests (easiest). He only charged me with 2 cones on the slalom, but I know my rear wheel was inside them. U-turn using second gear was the trick there, less jerky clutch-in-out effects.

SUMMARY:
This 20 year old test is outdated, and IMO, doesn't test MC skills properly. The dunker test bike is in a 150cc scooter, which were the majority of the bikes there Thurs and Friday. Testers and Tested were watching my attempts both days, and respectful congrats from both on Friday.

With 3 tests allowed, I highly suggest taking the test and expecting to fail the first time, and practice what needs to be done. At Elston specifically, the very first 90 right is a bit intimidating because the outside line is less than 6in from a barrier curb.

Cheers

Scott "re-M'd" J
1985 FJ1387
1992 FJ1200

Last edited by Thumper; 03-22-2010 at 01:02 PM..
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:59 PM   #2
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Old 03-22-2010, 01:04 PM   #3
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Congrats on the Pass. Thanks for the info. Now ride out and see us all at Bike Night sometime.
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Old 03-22-2010, 01:08 PM   #4
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the won't let you have a M class with the scooter now though they give you a L class.
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Old 03-22-2010, 01:31 PM   #5
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Welcome -

I have to rib u just a little bit though. Your wheelbase is about 59 inches, a goldwing is about 66 inches. Its possible to ace that simplistic test on a goldwing - just sayin.

Keep practicing and you wont "blow" those last few cones.

Hint: Counterweight, LEAN the bike and effectively shorten your wheelbase.

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Old 03-22-2010, 01:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stumbl1 View Post
the won't let you have a M class with the scooter now though they give you a L class.
IL SoS defines L and M Endorsements as follows:
L class is under 150cc Motorcycle
M Class is 150cc and over Motorcycle

150cc and over Scooter = M class
Lots of those

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kegger View Post
Welcome -
I have to rib u just a little bit though. Your wheelbase is about 59 inches, a goldwing is about 66 inches. Its possible to ace that simplistic test on a goldwing - just sayin.
Keep practicing and you wont "blow" those last few cones.
Hint: Counterweight, LEAN the bike and effectively shorten your wheelbase.
:
30x75feet is small enough, that I'd put "ace" in quotation marks. Pass? Sure. As a longtime Auto-cross competitor, I took one look at that slalom and then down at my wheelbase, then at the tester. 'Leaning' full lock in first gear is something I can't say I find useful to learn or easy to master - just sayin! Me, I see a pass as a pass, and I'm convinced any bike can pass, if you define 'ace' as 11 points or less.

And I'll take the rib anytime. Thursday was a ego crusher day for me. This test is no dunk, and low speed stuff in a 30x75 box doesn't seem to test anything that should be tested, IMO.

I hope my random number doesn't ever come up again, either.

SJ

Last edited by Thumper; 03-22-2010 at 02:19 PM..
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kegger View Post
Welcome -

I have to rib u just a little bit though. Your wheelbase is about 59 inches, a goldwing is about 66 inches. Its possible to ace that simplistic test on a goldwing - just sayin.

Keep practicing and you wont "blow" those last few cones.

Hint: Counterweight, LEAN the bike and effectively shorten your wheelbase.

^^^ I agree with Kegger on this. The MSF ERC will prove that over/over again. My H-D touring bike is 63.5".

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Old 03-22-2010, 02:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
IL SoS defines L and M Endorsements as follows:
L class is under 150cc Motorcycle
M Class is 150cc and over Motorcycle

150cc and over Scooter = M class
Lots of those



30x75feet is small enough, that I'd put "ace" in quotation marks. Pass? Sure. As a longtime Auto-cross competitor, I took one look at that slalom and then down at my wheelbase, then at the tester. 'Leaning' full lock in first gear is something I can't say I find useful to learn or easy to master - just sayin! Me, I see a pass as a pass, and I'm convinced any bike can pass, if you define 'ace' as 11 points or less.

And I'll take the rib anytime. Thursday was a ego crusher day for me. This test is no dunk, and low speed stuff in a 30x75 box doesn't seem to test anything that should be tested, IMO.

I hope my random number doesn't ever come up again, either.

SJ
I have completed every test on an '87 Yamaha FZR1000, without hitting any cans. Its not hard once you know the trick. Kegger, outlined the method, but it is up to the rider to practice and become fluent in such skills.

Any and all skills learned on a bike will help to reinforce all other skills normally used when riding.

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Old 03-22-2010, 02:44 PM   #9
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hey welcome and congrats on your re-M
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
30x75feet is small enough, that I'd put "ace" in quotation marks. Pass? Sure. As a longtime Auto-cross competitor, I took one look at that slalom and then down at my wheelbase, then at the tester. 'Leaning' full lock in first gear is something I can't say I find useful to learn or easy to master - just sayin! Me, I see a pass as a pass, and I'm convinced any bike can pass, if you define 'ace' as 11 points or less.

And I'll take the rib anytime. Thursday was a ego crusher day for me. This test is no dunk, and low speed stuff in a 30x75 box doesn't seem to test anything that should be tested, IMO.
Yep- thats why I said it was a "simplistic" test - all it really shows is that you can navigate to a parking spot in a parking lot, no real world road simulation there. By "ace" I meant getting zero points, which I am sure many people on this site have achieved, even on bikes larger and with longer wheelbases.
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Old 03-22-2010, 03:12 PM   #11
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They should just take everyone out on the interstate and see how they react to semi trucks changing lanes into them, people on cell phones vearing in/out of their lane, etc. They could then go on some backroads and have them react to gravel mid-corner, or the farm tractor taking up 1-1/2 lanes. Now that would be a good test.
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Old 03-22-2010, 03:12 PM   #12
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Welcome to the board

Seems like it is a good time for a repost though...

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Old 03-22-2010, 03:46 PM   #13
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how fast did people go on the 2nd test with going around the cones?

at the time, i think the only way to pass it was to go 2mph and counter balance the bike cuz the cones seemed so close together.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:18 PM   #14
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I passed the test on k5 gsxr 600 and my friend did it on k7 1000. It helps if you go there after they close and practice for about 30 min. Also took it on elston.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:15 PM   #15
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I took mine on an 84 yamaha 750. It stalled in the middle of the test. I push started it because the battery was dead. The guy stopped the test and told me to come inside. I parked the bike, expecting to get my fail paperwork. The guy passes me, saying anyone who can push start a bike can ride around cones, and gave me my M endorsement.
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taledarkside View Post
how fast did people go on the 2nd test with going around the cones?

at the time, i think the only way to pass it was to go 2mph and counter balance the bike cuz the cones seemed so close together.
Thanks, was my experience. Going lock to lock at walking speed, makes the issues at play: wheelbase, cog and turning radius. As I learned auto/bike 'slalom' courses, you maintain or accelerate as you steer. In first gear at low speed that can be quite a challenge. Add in a soft front fork, you have a lot of physics in play that I just don't believe makes this exercise simple to do.

The cool video above is not a good reference to this test. First, the cones are tighter, and second, you get points for putting a foot down.

I do recommend kurczack's recommendation of practicing it on site, but not sure how the cops look at that - those SoS police aren't known to have a sense of humor. I just spent the second pre-test morning doing very low speed lock to lock turns. I don't see the need to practice all this for anything beyond the SoS test.

my .02 and HTH

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Old 03-24-2010, 10:38 AM   #17
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Welcome to this crazy place
I didn't recognize who you were until I saw the 1387 and the SJ sig.
Scott is a good guy!
bet that test would have been easier on a supermoto
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And had I known you had gone to the dark side of minime's, I would have called and borrowed one of yours! What happened to the extended swingarm Gixir?! Sure wouldn't have borrowed that!

Yes, Thor is still running strong, and the new 92 FJ just doesn't feel the same. Awfully tempted to do the motor swap, but I know that would put both out for the season.

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Old 03-24-2010, 11:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurczak323 View Post
I passed the test on k5 gsxr 600 and my friend did it on k7 1000. It helps if you go there after they close and practice for about 30 min. Also took it on elston.
I do it every year with my first real ride of the season. Almost always mess up the first time. Reality check for myself that I'm out of practice.
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