Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit



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Thread: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

  1. #1

    Question Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    I have my M1 Exit test scheduled in less than a week, so I recently began practicing with pylons in a parking lot, and I realized my little BMW F650CS doesn't do quick turns that easily (without threatening to fall). I failed miserably trying to go past more than one pair of pylons. (I mistakingly put them 11 feet apart instead of 14, but I would be back in the right position only after about 20 feet) Any attemps at going back at the pylons to pass more pairs would mean making very large detours.

    I know from past training (I did a course last year when I lived in Quebec where rules are different) that this kind of exercise involves rear brakes, clutch and (some) throttle, but now after some road experience my reflexes are to use the front brake! What gear should ride in, and at what speed? (I tried at around 15 km/h). Any tips on how to practise?

    If I fail only this exercise next week, do I have any chance of getting my M2 if all the rest is Okay? I have had the M1 since early June, so...

    Otherwise, took a trip to Montreal where they have some expressways and highway bridges with a 70 speed limit (which no one respects, of course!) where M2 skills seem easier to acquire... Defnintely worth a detour!

    Thanks in advance for any clues.

    P.S. My test is in Cornwall, so it can be in the afternoon!

  2. #2
    laydee's Avatar
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    Re: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    ACE the inspection and road test and you can pass if you fail the serpentine. Take it as slow as possible and make your turns as wide as possible you don't have to make it close or sharp at all take as much space as you need and you can touch the floor you just get docked marks.

    I took my dad for his m2 and he failed the serpentine miserably because he did it so fast and sharp he got all the way to the last set and he blew threw the last set of pilons but he did everything else perfect so he passed.

    Good luck, it's actually pretty easy compared to what i had to do in the course i would have preferred to take the mto's m1 exit!

    Quote Originally Posted by icitla View Post
    I have my M1 Exit test scheduled in less than a week, so I recently began practicing with pylons in a parking lot, and I realized my little BMW F650CS doesn't do quick turns that easily (without threatening to fall). I failed miserably trying to go past more than one pair of pylons. (I mistakingly put them 11 feet apart instead of 14, but I would be back in the right position only after about 20 feet) Any attemps at going back at the pylons to pass more pairs would mean making very large detours.

    I know from past training (I did a course last year when I lived in Quebec where rules are different) that this kind of exercise involves rear brakes, clutch and (some) throttle, but now after some road experience my reflexes are to use the front brake! What gear should ride in, and at what speed? (I tried at around 15 km/h). Any tips on how to practise?

    If I fail only this exercise next week, do I have any chance of getting my M2 if all the rest is Okay? I have had the M1 since early June, so...

    Otherwise, took a trip to Montreal where they have some expressways and highway bridges with a 70 speed limit (which no one respects, of course!) where M2 skills seem easier to acquire... Defnintely worth a detour!

    Thanks in advance for any clues.

    P.S. My test is in Cornwall, so it can be in the afternoon!

  3. #3
    losttourist's Avatar
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    Re: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    Practice as much as possible prior to the test. This may seem obvious but do it as much as you can so you can gain confidence at it. A big part of it at test day is the pressure. The test is also not about speed so if possible do it in first gear and like you said use the rear brake not the front. Practice practice practice.

  4. #4

    Re: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    Work on slow speed balance all the time, practice even while riding....this may help: when approaching any stop, don't put both feet downright away...put left foot down first one time, and right foot first another time....keep switching it up.....don't drag feet when going slow ...have feet ready but don't touch the ground unless necessary. good luck.

  5. #5

    Re: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    The RTI instructors teach the following when rounding pylons. First gear, use the clutch to stay slow, and turn your head completely in the direction you want to go. This is key. And for goodness sake, don't look down at the pylon. That's how you'll drop your bike. The key thing to note here is that the bike will go where you look (including down...)
    In fiscal year 2010/11, the average cost of one hospital intervention in Ontario involving a skin flap or graft as the result of trauma was $28,000, with an average length of stay of 18 days. Wear your gear. The healthcare system really has better ways of spending the money.

  6. #6
    losttourist's Avatar
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    Re: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    Quote Originally Posted by dodgingwrenches View Post
    The RTI instructors teach the following when rounding pylons. First gear, use the clutch to stay slow, and turn your head completely in the direction you want to go. This is key. And for goodness sake, don't look down at the pylon. That's how you'll drop your bike. The key thing to note here is that the bike will go where you look (including down...)
    Very true the looking is key. You have to literally crank your head in the direction you want to go. It may be a little weird at first but once you get used to doing it, its a snap.

  7. #7

    Re: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    Keep practicing. There's nothing better than more seat time. Don't blame the bike. How long have you been trying for?
    - Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom

  8. #8
    killerkeith's Avatar
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    Re: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    Super wide turns are key. Don't try and cut the angles. Cut the turns short and you'll fail. They don't care how wide you run, so long as you make it.
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  9. #9

    Re: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    It's all clutch control, I honestly just kept practicing and practicing until I finally got it. I just feathered the clutch and had my foot on the rear brake most of the time. Never once had to use acceleration and I didn't have to go wide around the pylons. I remember when I did my exit test some guy with an R1 did the serpentine without his foot touching the floor once.

    It also depends on the person doing the evaluation. I had a guy who told us if your foot hits the floor more than 2 times you're failing, only 4 out of 12 passed. However, my friend had an evaluator who simply said don't drop the bike and let people put their foot down as many times as they wanted, some harley rider even walked his bike according to my friend.

    Good luck anyhow, hope you pass.

  10. #10

    Re: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    After reading all of this and another practice in a more confined lot where I zigzagged only every 28 feet or so, even knocking a pylon, I am considering locking the throttle at minimum after starting the bike. Each time I have to make a tight left turn, the throttle goes crazy from contact.

    Still a few more days and trials...

  11. #11

    Re: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    Latest update: it's now possible to do something close to a figure 8 to go through each pair without putting any foot on the ground, but using space as far as 30 feet past the pylons on each side. See pic:

    Is this good enough for the test? Do they have this much space? I'll keep on practicing to reduce the distances needed...

  12. #12

    Re: Having a hard time practicing the serpentine for M1 Exit

    Examinator was a no-show due to health problems, so the test has been rescheculed two weeks later.

    However, I took a look at the location of their orange spots replacing the pylons, and I can't run as wide as in the practice lot I found. There is a wall some 10 feet right of the pylon row, so I will be forced to counterbalance. Tried it this way, and once my dropped my bike (which would have been a definite fail for the whole license).

    So it is back to practicing. At best, reproducing the exact distances I found there, I miss one pair of pylons while not putting one foot on the ground. Otherwise, a few times I ran on one of the orange spots (which I replaced by rocks for discreation).

    Can someone tell me what the points scale for this exercise is, so as to manage potential failure and choose the least costly mistakes?

    I hope patience was a great quality of mine, but it's clearly not.

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