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I'm such a classy guy!

Well, at least, now I'm a Class M1 licensed driver in the state of California. :)

It took almost an hour and a half. Here's how it went: * 9:25 leave for DMV. * 9:40 arrive at DMV, for 10am appointment. * 10:15 get into discussion with examiner, who wanted to claim that my Piaggio Typhoon was not of sufficient size to warrant an M1 license * 10:20-10:40 Wait for examiner to return with some sort of decision. * 10:40 Get to take the test. * 10:45 pass, head home.

Alright, so, here's the beef. I'd totally agree - it'd be nice of the Typhoon was a “moped”, or M2-class vehicle, under CA law. It's not, and there are several reasons why. To be a moped, or “motorized bicycle” in CA, a vehicle has to produce less than 2 bhp (~horsepower, measured directly from the drive-train without emissions systems), top speed of 30, and either pedals, or electric.

The Typhoon has no pedals, tops out over 40mph, and generates more than 2 horsepower. There's no way it falls into the moped class. And there's one really good reason beyond the specifics of the law, much to my annoyance - mopeds are allowed to use the bike lane. Scooters that can hit 40mph or more should really not be allowed in the bike lane. What's more, the current CA law is clearly trying to create some advantages for low-emissions (at this point, == electric) vehicles, ie, giving them access to the bike lane, and removing the yearly registration fee (another moped perk).

I certainly want all of those perks. The bike lane would be lovely. Not having to pay more for insurance, and not having to renew my registration would both be lovely. But there are only two motorcycle classes in CA, one is M2, the other is M1. If my bike's not M2, then I need to pass the M1 test.... which the examiner really didn't want to let me do. I already had an M2 license, who would want to go through the hassle of the DMV just to re-get the same license, and still be road illegal?

sigh It's done. It was a stupid, slow, bureaucratically complicated ride, but it's done.

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Thanks!! for posting the information on actual road test (10/28/2003). I had heard (a loong time ago) that they ask "technical" questions like where's the idle and what's the throttle, but it sounds like it consists strictly of driving the lollipop.

I've just gotten an appointment for my own drive test couple weeks hence. I got my own fun story about the DMV and scooters (registration yuuuhhh), if you wanna read it, see the url. :)

Actually, they do ask questions about how to operate the bike. In my case, they were over pretty fast, because the tester kept asking questions for which the answer was "no, it's an automatic" (where's the clutch, how do you shift, etc.). But, they do ask the questions.

And, yes, then you ride. It's tricky to do, especially the part where you're supposed to complete two entire circles. I'm not sure about the rest of you, but that's a lot harder than completing a single turn of any kind, because you're spending most of your time turning, and not much time starting or stopping the turn. The transitions are the tricky parts in real life, but holding a continuous (exact, perfectly circular) turn can be tricky.

Good luck on your test! Practice will probably serve you well....

Oh, OK, thanks! Mine (cheap chinese scooter) is also an automatic. I kept meaning to do the MTSA class but just never made the time. I may do it in the future anyway -- everything I've heard about it seems like they teach you good information. Plus it would be nice to know how to drive a "real" motorcycle.

The DMV branch I dislike is actually only about a mile or so from my house, easy to go over and do the track.

Thanks for the good wishes.

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