NEW RIDER INFO:
Thanks for taking the time to check out our 'New Rider Info' page and congratulations on entering the next phase of your life; life on two wheels! We genuinely believe that learning to ride a motorcycle can be a life-altering experience (it was for most of us!) and we want to help as many people as possible learn to ride motorcycles in a safe and enjoyable manner. Even if you have no immediate plans to buy a BMW motorcycle, we know that if you enjoy motorcycling you'll eventually give BMW's a try, so we welcome and encourage everyone with motorcycle-riding aspirations to read through this page and contact us if you have questions. All of us have been in your shoes at one point or another and are more than willing to share our experiences or offer advice, so don't hesitate to call us at (415) 503-9954 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need some help getting into the fun and exciting world of motorcycles!
MOTORCYCLE LICENSE & PERMIT INFO:
In the state of California there are actually two classes of motorcycle licenses: M1 and M2. With an M2 license you can only operate motorized bicycles, mopeds or any bicycle with an attached motor, but with an M1 license you can operate any two-wheel motorcycle and any vehicles covered in class M2. To keep things simple we'll go ahead and assume that you are interested in learning about acquiring an M1 license and will therefore only address M1 licenses and permits moving forward.
If you have never operated a motorized two-wheel vehicle of any kind, we recommend that you first acquire a motorcycle permit before attempting to get a fully endorsed M1 license. Furthermore, if you are under 18 years old, you are required to get and maintain a motorcycle permit for 6 months before you will be allowed to get your M1 license. With a motorcycle permit you will be able to ride motorcycles of any size on city streets, during the daytime without a passenger but riding on freeways, at night or with a passenger is prohibited until you get your full license. Given the relatively limited restrictions for a motorcycle permit holder, we think permits are a great way to get some miles under your belt before going for the full M1 endorsement. To see the steps involved with getting a motorcycle permit click here (or if you're under 18 years old click here).
If you have previous experience riding motorcycles or have already had a motorcycle permit for a period of time, you're probably ready to get your M1 license. In the state of California, you are required to pass a motorcycle riding skills test as well as a written test before you will receive your motorcycle license. The cool thing is that the motorcycle riding skills test does not have to be performed at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. The California DMV recognizes the final skills test of any Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic RiderCourse as a legitimate replacement for the standard motorcycle endorsement test that would be performed at a DMV office. Therefore, if you enroll in and complete an MSF Basic RiderCourse you won't have to take a motorcycle down to the DMV office to ride slow figure-8's in front of an unfamiliar DMV employee. Even experienced motorcyclists can find the test at DMV challenging, especially if the test is taken using a large, heavy motorcycle that can be cumbersome while changing direction at slow speeds. The skills test at the MSF Basic RiderCourse is a much more complete and accurate test of a motorcyclist's ability to operate and control a motorcycle safely, plus you can use the motorcycles provided by the RiderCourse while taking their test and they typically provide small, agile motorcycles that will allow you to focus on your technique instead of worrying about scratching your neighbor's shiny (but very hefty) Harley ;-)
Regardless of whether or not you have taken a Basic RiderCourse you will be required to complete and pass a written exam at a DMV office before you can get your M1 license. This test is similar to the written test that the California DMV administers for a car (or 'C') driver's license but the questions focus on specific situations that present additional complexity or difficulty for motorcyclists. The best thing that you can do to prepare for the written portion of the motorcycle license test is to read the California Motorcyclist's Handbook from cover to cover. This isn't exactly light reading but the Handbook does cover a number of real-world hazards and the techniques required to handle these hazards. In addition to reading the Handbook you can also review example tests that DMV makes available on their website by clicking here. If the unimaginable happens and you fail your first attempt at the written test, don't worry as the DMV will give you up to three attempts to pass the written portion of the exam.
MSF Basic RiderCourse:
The fact that completing an MSF Basic RiderCourse fulfills the riding portion of your motorcycle test is the most common reason why people end up enrolling in a Basic RiderCourse but there is a lot of excellent information and instruction provided throughout the in-classroom and on-bike sessions of any Basic RiderCourse. This training is why we recommend that riders of all ages and experience levels attend a Basic RiderCourse before getting their M1 license. The skills that you learn as a novice rider will be with you throughout your riding career, and the same can be said for any bad habits that might be acquired due to a lack of proper training and instruction. If you invest the time and money to participate in a Basic RiderCourse you will be a better, safer and, in all likelihood, faster rider for it. But wait there's more!!!
Some insurance companies will offer discounts on motorcycle insurance premiums for riders that have completed an MSF Basic RiderCourse. Make sure you check with your insurance agent about possible premium discounts as these savings often mean that the Basic RiderCourse pays for itself within a year or two.
Finally, BMW of North America has its' own way of encouraging riders to participate in the MSF Basic RiderCourse with their new 'Ride Smart Reward' program. This program basically entitles MSF grads to $500 of free BMW Riders' Apparel with the purchase of a new BMW Motorcycle within 90 days of completing the MSF Basic RiderCourse. For more information on this program please visit our 'Ride Smart Reward' information page here.
IS A BMW MOTORCYCLE REALLY A GOOD IDEA FOR A FIRST BIKE???
The simple answer to this question is, YES! I'm sure everyone expects to hear that from a BMW Motorcycle dealer but we've seen this work time and again and here's why.
Hopefully, we'll see you out there and remember keep the shiny side up!