As I posted on another thread, I passed Part 1 of the new test yesterday.
Some people mentioned it’d be useful for me to do a quick run-through of Part 1, with hints and tips I picked up from other candidates, instructors, and the examiner I passed with, so here it is!
As you probably know, the testing for part 1 is done on a large tarmac “pad”. Cones are set out in the arrangement shown in the link belowhttp://www.dsa.gov.uk/Documents/MPTC/2009/dsa_moto...
You are allowed five minor faults before failing the test. I have put the “common” minor faults where appropriate (according to instructors/examiner) for each manouevre below, and major faults where they aren’t obvious. Manouevres are in the order in which you do them on test.
When you first arrive at the test centre, the examiner will look at your paperwork (licence, theory test certificate and CBT certificate) sign you in on his mark sheet, then take you out to your bike. You won’t be in radio contact with the examiner on test - he’ll be walking around on the pad, and will talk to you between manoeuvres by walking over to where you’re stopped.
The examiner will probably emphasise that you need to ride on the pad as if you were riding on the road, and that touching any of the cones will be a bad thing! He/she will also explain that he will talk you through each manoeuvre (showing you a laminated card of the above plan) before each manoeuvre.Onto the pad
The examiner will ask you to start the bike up and manoeuvre it to the edge of the pad (somewhere below the positions marked 1 and 8 on the plan above). The examiner then asks you to either ride or push your bike onto the pad and into one of the 2 green-coned “garages” (1) and park the bike up facing forwards, put it on its stand, and get off the bike. It is your choice which garage you go into.
Minor fault - Failing to do appropriate observations before pulling away onto the pad. Wheel the machine
You must then take the bike off its stand, and push it backwards out of one “garage” into the other, so that it is facing forwards out of the second garage, then put it on its stand.
This does not have to be done in a single “move” (i.e in an arc backwards).
Having discussed it with the examiners, my training school taught it like this:
i - push the bike straight backwards until the rear wheel is approximately level with the first of the yellow slalom cones;
ii - then push the bike forwards with full lock until it is on the other side of the same cone;
iii - then push the bike straight backwards into the other garage. You can really take your time with this.
That’s how I did it on test and the examiner didn’t comment - other candidates have done the same with different examiners with no issues. Personally, I think it’s a lot easier than trying to push the machine (especially if it’s a 500cc and you aren’t tall/strong) in a single arc. Slalom and Figure of Eight
You are then asked to get on the bike, ride out of the garage, slalom between the 5 yellow cones (3), then ride directly into doing two figures of eight around the 2 blue cones (4). The examiner will stop you when you’ve carried out the two circuits (you don’t have to keep count!).
In my practice for this test, we were told that examiners would allow you to make the figure of eight larger (and easier) by doing it around the last blue cone and the last yellow cone (so the first of the blue cones is at the centre of the 8).
There seems to be slightly mixed messages on this point, as I know one examiner who allowed it, and one examiner who gave a minor fault for using the yellow cone. I guess the advice is don’t use it unless you have to - much better making the 8 larger and getting a minor fault than putting a foot down and failing the test!Circuit Ride, Avoidance and Controlled Stop
You will then be asked to ride the circuit (5) at 30 km/h or more, passing through the speed trap (6) at 50 km/h or more, swerve through the blue cones and stop with your front wheel in the box (7).
This is obviously very difficult to practice (unless your school hires the official pad). The key to this manoeuvre is to look through the corner, opening the throttle quite firmly on exit to get up to the speed.
The instructors I spoke to said it was pretty much impossible (on either a 500cc (Kawasaki ER-5 and Suzuki GS500 were tested) or a 125cc (Honda CG tested) to get up to the 50 km/h speed unless you remain in 2nd gear for the whole manoeuvre - you really do need that extra acceleration, and you need to get on the throttle relatively sharply to get up to speed. The swerve itself is actually quite gentle (and comes pretty easily if you’re looking through to the box). U-Turn
Next comes the U-turn (8). The examiner will again talk you through it, and you will ride straight on and into the turn. This is probably the most straightforward manouevre on the new test, as the width allowed is 7.5m (wider than pretty much any road on which the U-turn on the old test was carried out) there is no slope (or road camber) on the pad, and there is no traffic! Obviously you still need to do the observations.Slow Ride
After the U-turn comes the slow ride exercise (9). The examiner will walk a few paces ahead of you before asking you to move off, and will then walk briskly with his arm held out - you must remain behind him at all times for the length of the ride (17m).
Again, this is a pretty straightforward exercise. I know of one candidate who stalled the bike towards the end of the exercise, and was allowed to restart the bike, do the observations again, and carry on (with just a minor fault). He was told afterwards that he would have failed the test had he not done his observations again. I have no idea whether another examiner would take the same view - I would guess it depends on their overall view of your riding and how picky they're feeling!Circuit Ride and Emergency Stop
You will then be asked to ride the circuit again (10). As far as I know the examiner will pick the same circuit (right or left hand) that you used for the avoidance move. Again, ride the circuit in second gear, accelerate out of the corner up to 50km/h, and perform the emergency stop (11) when the examiner raises his hand.
It was much easier to get up to the required speed on this manoeuvre than on the swerve, as it is just a straight shot out of the corner through the speed trap and beyond it.
Instructors riding on the new pads said it was easy to lock up the rear (resulting in a fail), as the new tarmac used is are not bedded in yet. This is especially the case on bikes with rear disc brakes (GS500, Honda CB500) but the examiner’s tip was to stay away from the rear brake entirely. Locking up either wheel will result in failure. You can practice the emergency stop on road, and it’s well worth practicing at 35mph+ as you may well be doing this speed on the test. Speed Readings
After completing the emergency stop the examiner will review the speed trap readings for the avoidance manoeuvre and the emergency stop. As far as I know, every examiner will have a hand-held display that shows the speeds.
If you have made it up to 50kp/h for each manoeuvre, the test will end, and the examiner will feed back to you whether you’ve passed or failed. The examiner I had did this on the pad, immediately after the stop, but I know others have been taken back into the reception area at the centre.
If you haven’t hit the required speed, the examiner will ask you to repeat the manoeuvre/manoeuvres where you were too slow. You then have one further chance to get up to speed. Failure to do so on the second attempt will mean you’ll fail the test overall.
According the examiner and instructors I spoke to, failing to get to the right speed (especially on the avoidance manoeuvre) is already the most common way candidates fail to pass the test.
In terms of actually finding out how “slow” you were - and therefore be able to judge how much faster to go, again experiences differ. The candidate I took my test with was shown his speed readings before making his second run. Two other candidates with a different examiner were given no clue as to whether they were far too slow or just missed the speed.
Good advice may be to use the first run as a “sighting lap” so you can get a feel for the corner and the swerve/stop. I also think it’s really important to get a good idea of how your bike feels (revs/noise-wise) at 30-35mph before taking the test, as you certainly don’t have time to look down at the speedo during either manoeuvre.Examiner Comment
In addition to the failure to get up to speed, the examiner I spoke to said that people were also failing after incurring more than 5 minor faults for lack of observation. He felt that people were being thrown by the fact they were essentially riding off-road, and that the observations that may come naturally on-road weren’t being done on the pad.
I was also told that knocking down any cone will end the test immediately, and any locked wheel when stopping will result in failure.When you pass
The examiner will give you your mark sheet and a Part 1 Pass Certificate. These will be needed when you have your Part 2 road ride.
Sorry if that’s all a bit long-winded, but I started writing and thought I might as well make the post as full as possible. Hope people doing the new test find it helpful - and do let me know if I’ve missed anything out!
I found this video summary on YouTube which seems useful too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGIzCyiiADY
Good luck with Part 1