Came here for tips... but seems like a lot of people just write 1 or 2 posts and stop completely; so I'm gonna do my own thread for any future people like myself looking to pass lessons smoothly (currently at lesson 4 - circuit assessment).
Nothing much, just go through the lesson but note to girls: you have to learn how to handle a 100+kg bike and get it off main stand
Part 1: Basics
Main objective: Posture, neutral gear, slight movement at biting point
Tip: From my experience in SSDC, getting neutral gear is difficult on problem bikes. Sometimes you won't be able to get neutral using the standard technique (i.e. tap lightly upwards from gear 1). If your bike is being a ***** when it comes to neutral, try:
a) Going up to gear 2 and tap down lightly (for bikes which have stiff pedals, making it hard to tap upwards).
b) When tapping up, give the throttle a very slight rev.
c) Pulling in clutch 80-95% when tapping up.
I have tried all the above, so yes, some of the bikes are in extremely bad conditions but you'll survive with these 3 ways.
Part 2: Mini circuit
Main objectives: Moving off n stopping (short distance), shift up gear, proper braking
Tip: Biting point and throttle coordination for moving off is very important here. Always find the "feel" where your bike starts moving. Throttle and clutch-out both at same time until bike moves.
Shifting up: Throttle a little harder and let go throttle completely before clutch-in and kick up gear before indicator cone. Dont be afraid to throttle from stopping point so that you learn the "feel" quickly.
Braking: Agar agar the distance to start braking... Brake gently at first then harder as you slow down. Once you are almost stationary, clutch-in and stick left leg out so that the bike will sway left.
Main objectives: Gear shifting up to gear 4, slowing down to turn, stopping and moving off
Gear shifting is slightly easier here since you have more space so not big of a problem. However, now that you are shifting down to slow down for cornering, after a down shift, do not "throw" the clutch but gradually clutch-out. This will prevent jerking.
You will also note that when shifting down, the engine will hum very loud and you will feel your bike slowing down very quickly even without braking. This is called engine braking. This is why you should not clutch in when applying brakes unless you are already close to stopping, so as to let engine braking do its job.
For cornering, always brake to slow down and do not brake or change gear when turning. If you brake or gear shift during the turn, instructor can fail you (seen a few).
Stopping and moving off is about same as part 1, just note that you need to have good half-clutch movement as you will be required to stop, move, stop and then move back into circuit from the stop point (instructor will be here looking for mistakes).
Main objectives: Slope, blind spots, plank and slalom
Slope: The hard part is moving off from stationary position on a slope. To do this, you must rear brake hard after you have stopped on the slope. Without using front brake you should be able to remain stationary on the slope.
To move off efficiently, with rear brake engaged, throttle n clutch-out until your bike starts jerking. Release your rear brake and you shoud move off without issue. When going downslope, do not clutch in until you are near the stop line or else you will free wheel, causing your braking distance to increase even if you brake hard.
Blind spots: Make sure you look over your shoulder, else if you just turn your head you might be penalized during tests. Also, blind spots must be checked after moving off and before turning. It will count as improper checking if you check when stationary before turning.
Plank: IMO, this is the most nerve-wrecking part during tests. However, after applying a trick, I have not fallen off a single time. My average time is 7-8 seconds on plank now.
Go up fast. Yes, fast. A lot of people go up slow, wobble and fall off. Once up, maintain posture and apply rear brake hard. Yes, rear brake. You will be able to feel the traction without tweaking either your clutch and throttle (just maintain both). This releases your brain from having to deal with the ratio of clutching and throttling, hence you can concentrate on balance and rear braking (dont overdo) more effectively. If you are going too fast, de-throttle a tiny bit.
Slalom: Enter at gear 2 from a wide angle but turn left before the line. Do the same for subsequent turns. Do a slight throttle when bike is going straight in between cones. There is a <6 second requirement for this so learn to turn hard from the start. Don't go too fast, the trick to beating the timing is to turn the bars all the way when turning.
Main objectives: E-brake, figure of 8, crank course
E-brake: The trick is to rev hard from the start, kick up to gear 2 and 3 early then maintain >30. Close throttle at first line and brake with normal strength at first, then hit the brakes with very rapidly increasing strength.
Important: Do not hit the brakes hard from the get-go. You will lock the wheels and become a lesson for others once you skid and fall due to locking.
Once you are almost stationary, clutch-in and stick out your left foot at the same time without shifting gear.
Figure of 8: Kick up to gear 2 before turning and off signal when entering. When turning, maintain slight throttle. Don't go too fast, but bear in mind <11 seconds requirement (which is quite hard to achieve TBH). Firstly, you should get used to either banking with leaning or banking with counterweighting (google). For me, I prefer the counterweight method. Also, the most important thing is your eye point; always look at where you want to go, not down at the asphalt in front of you. I have managed to get <11 seconds consistently only after correcting my previous bad habit of looking down.
The other hard part is exiting. If you are lucky and there is no oncoming traffic, check right, signal left, check blind spot and you are good. If there is traffic, shift down to gear 1 and stop. You likely will experience this during revision and tests so be on the lookout.
Crank course: Again, if you are unlucky, you have to account for oncoming traffic. When entering, shift up to gear 2 just before line. The timing requirement is extremely easy; use this time to check left and right (remember to signal right) and do the SOP before turning right.
Lesson 3 Part 2 + Lesson 4
Not much to say about these 2 "lessons", except I discovered that you can shift up gear during turning. This is to prevent the examiners from penalizing you for gear dragging (very applicable right at the start after you have exited the starting point and should gear up when turning right).
Memorize the route, go to internal assessment (lesson 4), and pray you don't **** up. I only passed lesson 4 on the 5th attempt due to nervousness issues. To put things into perspective, some people can get very lucky and pass on 1st attempt (maybe they are just good or have steady nerves). My friend failed 11 times before passing and there was someone I recognized and talked to a few times in lesson 4 (last time I saw him, he was at his 10th attempt).
So, don't be demoralized if you fail a lot because it is normal. Keep trying but do work on your weak areas in circuit revision (remember the 2 magic words: EYE POINT!), or else you will get swallowed up with self-doubt and still not improve with each time you fail. For those who pass very quickly... don't be too happy because it might have been a fluke. You should still practice before the actual TP to see if you can consistently pass the circuit with zero immediate failures.
Main objectives: Road riding, U-turns, lane switching, filter lane
Just passed this on 2nd attempt.
Road Riding: Your general riding attitude should be defensive in nature, keep in mind 2 second rule. I have seen 1 or 2 people get failed due to tailgating during lesson 5.
Traffic lights can also be quite a *****. You have to be on the lookout as I kena this on my 1st attempt when I was just behind the instructor and the lights went yellow. We stopped in front to wait for the others and he insisted I could've stopped in time (rubbish lah); of course, I was penalized.
U-turns: I don't know about others but the 1st time I did an actual U-turn on the outside roads, I found that it is surprisingly difficult. Most of my U-turns were wide on my 1st attempt. However, as always, the answer is pointing your eyes to where you want to go.
If you are in gear 2 with no oncoming traffic, make sure you slow down to around 10+ kmph and then bank as if you are doing the figure of 8 with eyes looking at the center of the desired lane.
If you are in gear 1, half-clutch, throttle until you have a steady speed and maintain. Same for eye point. Turning in half-clutch gear 1 is probably a new thing for everyone (not tested in circuit) here so you might want to practice this in circuit revision.
Lane Switching: This is the part which gets most people (including me) deduction points for abrupt switching.
2. Check mirrors, form up close to dividers
3. Check blind spot
4. DO NOT "TURN" IN! Bank SLIGHTLY, almost straight even, and make sure you drag out the transition into the intended lane's center (around 3 to 4 seconds). If you are in the middle of the lane within 1 or 2 seconds, chances are, it is considered abrupt.
5. Also do remember, accelerate about +5 kmph when switching lane if the traffic is clear.
Filter lane: There are many, many things to look out for here.
1. Before turning in, remember to signal, check mirrors + blind spot etc (as per normal lane switching procedure).
2. Once in start of filter lane, check for pedestrians.
3. Check the riders in front of you. Your speed should be slow enough to stop before the crossing's indicator line if there are 2 riders in front of you who are giving way to the oncoming traffic from the right.
4. Check blind spot again before turning left (before the zebra crossing).
5. As you pass the zebra crossing at low speed, check right for oncoming traffic.
6. Give-way line procedures apply; vehicles from the right, u-turning or turning right.
7. If clear, check blind spot again, speed up, gear 2 etc.
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