How Hard Is It To Get Your Motorcycle License? Tips

Mar 13, 2024


Getting your motorcycle endorsement is a rewarding experience, but the written and riding DMV tests can be nerve-racking or even downright impossible. What’s a rider supposed to do if they don’t own a motorcycle or have a trusting friend they can borrow from? In many states, motorcycle dealerships won’t sell you a street bike unless you have a motorcycle endorsement. It’s pretty tough to pass the riding test if you don’t have anything to ride.

Thankfully there’s a much better way to demonstrate your ability as a rider. It satisfies the riding portion of the DMV motorcycle test… and it’s so easy it might as well be cheating.

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Getting your motorcycle endorsement is an exciting experience, but the written and riding DMV tests can be nerve-wracking or even seem impossible. What’s a rider to do if they don’t own a motorcycle or don’t have a friend willing to lend one? Many states require you to have a motorcycle endorsement before motorcycle dealerships will sell you a street bike. It’s tough to pass the riding test without a bike.

Luckily, there’s a better way to prove your skills as a rider, making the riding portion of the DMV motorcycle test much easier—almost like finding a loophole.

This method is not only a fantastic riding test hack for newcomers but also includes tips to get a motorcycle license for riders seeking their road endorsement. If you’re just starting out, our next section offers helpful advice. And if you’re an experienced rider, skip ahead to the section designed especially for you.

How to Get a Motorcycle License for Beginners

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers nationwide classes ideal for beginners to meet the DMV's riding skills test requirements. Over a weekend, you'll learn riding theory and practice skills in a safe setting. Passing the MSF's test demonstrates your ability to the DMV, a step every novice should consider.

The MSF, established in 1973, is supported by leading motorcycle manufacturers, promoting safe riding techniques. Their courses, costing between $150 and $300, significantly reduce new riders' crash risks and are seen as an essential investment. Remember to bring the required gear, including a helmet and protective clothing.

Despite the course's benefits, it’s still important to have cautious riding habits. Now that you have all of this in mind, you may still be asking: Is it hard to get a motorcycle license? With proper training like the MSF offers, it's more accessible than you might think.

Tips for beginners getting their motorcycle license:

  • Prioritize safety courses like the MSF.
  • Wear the right gear.
  • Choose bikes with ABS for better safety.
  • Start with a smaller or lower bike that fits your size.

Since you are a beginner, we should also talk about the kinds of motorcycles you should ride after you get your license. A lot of it depends on your height: your first bike should be one where you can firmly and comfortably plant your feet on the ground. Most people these days start with used bikes because chances are you will tip over your motorcycle. Even experienced riders do it, especially on taller, heavier machines. 

Can You Take a Motorcycle Test on a Scooter?

You might be surprised to learn that many states answer the question: can you take a motorcycle test on a scooter? Because yes, you can, and it’s a game-changer for many. Taking the motorcycle DMV test on a scooter eliminates the need to shift gears, making it significantly easier to pass. Their smaller size and lower stance also make scooters more manageable on the tight courses of the riding test.

However, there's a catch. The scooter must have an engine size over 150cc and be registered as a motorcycle, meaning you can't just roll up on an electric scooter like the Bird.

What Do I Need For My Motorcycle License Test?

The California DMV, specifically, offers a comprehensive overview of what you need for test day. It’s wise to verify these details with your local DMV, as requirements vary by state.

This strategy is especially beneficial for riders relocating to a different state who need a new motorcycle endorsement or those returning to motorcycling after a break. For riders shaking off the dust, consider a track class. It's helpful for reducing accident risks, particularly errors in cornering, by allowing you to refine your skills in a safe setting.

Tips for Getting Your Motorcycle License:

  • Simplify the DMV motorcycle test by using a scooter
  • Check with your local DMV or their website for any particular scooter requirements or test details for your state
  • Refresh your skills with a track class
  • Consider renting a motorcycle once you’ve received your motorcycle endorsement for practice that’s cost-effective

So, How Hard Is It To Get Your Motorcycle License?

Securing your motorcycle license is a journey that varies for everyone. It all depends on how prepared you are and the specific challenges of both the driving and written DMV tests. Yet, with the right resources and mindset, it's an entirely achievable goal.

The Riding Part of the Motorcycle DMV Test

Tackling the driving portion of the motorcycle DMV test can be stressful, but it's your chance to shine. It's about demonstrating your control and safety on two wheels. This test evaluates your ability to perform essential maneuvers, from navigating curves to stopping quickly. Success in this test reflects your dedication and practice, showcasing the practical skills honed through training or experience. It's proof that, with commitment, even the most nerve-racking parts of the test can be mastered.

The Written Part of the Motorcycle DMV Test

For any rider, beginner or experienced, the written test is a big step. It's often seen as tougher than the car test, but thankfully, there's a DMV guide filled with all you need to know. Make the DMV motorcycle test guide your study buddy to pass with flying colors on your first go.

This online tool is also a great way to prep. If you've paid attention in the MSF course, the written test might even feel easier, thanks to its deep dive into theory, including the stark realities of road accidents and the critical importance of wearing proper gear.

Don't assume it'll be a breeze if you've passed the car test. Motorcycle test questions differ greatly and vary by state. My own journey saw me passing on my first try in Texas but stumbling twice in California. The lesson? Embrace the study grind, especially if you're tackling the test in a new state. And if at first you don’t succeed, remember, most places let you retake it a couple of times for free, so perseverance is key.

How to deal with long lines at the DMV

We find that in general, it’s best to show up without a DMV motorcycle test appointment during lunchtime, and just wait in line – it’s usually less crowded. That, at least, was my experience with my California DMV motorcycle test appointment. However, the best way to avoid a line at the DMV is to look up the DMV location on Google Maps. There, Google can tell you what times and days the DMV is least busy.

Celebrate Your Motorcycle License With a Motorcycle Rental from Riders Share

Now that you've earned your motorcycle license, it's time to truly embrace the freedom of the road. While new riders may need to wait a bit before they can start renting, this pause ensures you're fully prepared for the experience ahead. With Riders Share, exploring the world of motorcycle rentals becomes an exciting next step in your riding journey. Whether you're looking to try different models or plan a special road trip, we offer a wide range of motorcycle rental options all around the country, giving you a chance to find the ride that’s right for you.

Last Tip

You can continue taking classes after you get your license to become a better and safer rider. On Riders Share, we now offer Experiences that aggregate everything from MSF classes to cornering classes and even wheelie classes. Check out Riders Share Experiences in Los Angeles, for example.