The Illinois Motorcycle Riding Test

Some riders have trouble passing the Illinois Motorcycle Riding test as given at the DMV.Of these riders, many are attempting the test on large bikes. Yet the DMV test is done an a small area and gives advantages to smaller bikes. Many new riders have small bikes. And the State is mostly interested in seeing that a new rider has some familiarity with motorcycle operation such that the new rider will not be a danger to others. However, the test is not so tough that it cannot be passed using any bike from a major manufacturer. If you cannot pass the test on your ride of choice, maybe that should tell you something about the current state of your riding skills?

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Any rider can stop at the DMV and pick up the little motorcycle booklet that explains what the riding test is. And the test area at most DMVs is not locked off to the public. A rider could take his/her bike of choice or availability to the test site on a Sunday or other time when the test area is not in use. And a rider could practice as long as needed to get comfortable with the test riding skills. Tuning up these slow speed and control skills can be fun in more ways than might at first be obvious?

Every once in a great while I hear a rider complaining that the DMV motorcycle test cannot be passed on a certain stock bike. And I rise to this bait so well that tournament bass fishermen would love to have bait that works in kind. My usual response is to invite the complaining biker to Sunday Biker Breakfast. And I explain that we can go to the nearest DMV test site afterwards for some fun experimentation.

If I can get the rider to go, we usually have fun and he/she surprises himself that it turns out to be easier than it looks. The rider starts out on the test site with some difficulty. But a little slow speed clutch work combined with some gentle turning starts tuning up the riding skills needed for the large bike. After some gentle experience taking the speeds down and tightening up the turns, our large bike rider can usually ride well enough to pass the DMV test with a good score and not just squeek by. The whole effort usually take less than an hour of effort.

Having a few riders in a group at the test site teasing each other about how awful they are and picking up pointers from each other on what it takes to have better results makes for a lot of fun. Having a Sunday group ride stop that stops at the DMV test site for a little practice can be fun. Especially if bets are taken or cheap/silly/fun prizes are awarded to riders who do well.

I ride a Triumph Sprint ST sport tourer of some 1050cc. This bike gets ridden at least once per year at a roadracing track just to tune up my high speed skills and personal tilt-o-meter.and I have a great time at the track with my budds. Doesn't it make sense that I should make an effort once per year to tune up all my slow speed skills? I can go to the DMV test site with my budds and have a great time there too. Never pass up a chance to keep your slow speed skills sharp.

As I like to tease my riding budds with, "How can I trust you to ride at 30mph when you are terrible at 10mph?" Riders who are having a tough time doing slow work on their large bikes might want to take an MSF Experienced Rider Course?  It is pretty cheap and only takes a day. A rider is often happily surprised at how much fun motorcycling is when slow speeds are no longer thought of as a problem.

Have a good ride,





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    Yep, I just passed my test on Honda Shadow Sabre, 1100cc cruiser. Other guy there told me, "oh, I have a Harley at home, but I knew I couldn't pass with that" so he rented a f***ing scooter to pass the test! WTF? I have a feeling there are a lot of Harley owners out in the burbs near me who don't really know how to drive their bike.

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