Mod 1

What is Mod 1?

The Mod 1 test is a test of your basic bike handling. It takes place in an off road testing area (as in an area that’s not on the road, but all tarmac, not a green lane!). It takes about 20 minutes to do. Essentially it’s intended to make sure you can handle a bike safely before an examiner takes you out on the roads for Mod 2.

What do you have to do?

There are 9 elements to the test (there’s probably official names for these, but this is what I call them)

  • Park in a bay
  • Move the bike by hand
  • Slalom
  • Figure of eight
  • Slow ride
  • Controlled Stop
  • U-Turn
  • Emergency Stop
  • Hazard avoidance

You also need to show that you can do basic observations whilst you’re taking the test -treat it like you’re on the road and if in doubt do shoulder checks.

Starting the Test

This might vary by centre, so this is based on my experience at Colwick in Nottingham. You’ll have parked up near the test centre office – the examiner will come out and give you a quick briefing, then ask you to ride down to the gate to the test area. They will be watching, so treat this as if you were on the public roads – shoulder checks before you set off, use mirrors and signal.

Park up in front of the gates (leave enough room for the examiner to open them!), the examiner will then ask you to move though to the training area and stop – again remember the shoulder checks.

Parking in a Bay

This is as simple as it sounds. Shoulder checks, move off slowly, don’t hit any cones and park in a bay. It’s better to park in the bay that’s not directly opposite the yellow cones for the slalom – this means that you’ll be lined up for the slalom after you do the moving the bike by hand bit.

Moving the Bike by Hand

This is simply a case of moving the bike from one parking bay to another. It’s not rocket science, but, make sure you do shoulder checks and don’t kick the cones!


No real rocket science to this one either – ride between the cones, don’t hit them. It’s best to keep your speed low – 5/6 mph, but not too slow as this can make it hard to keep the bike stable. Keep looking at where you want the bike to go and don’t fixate on the cones.

Figure of Eight

Ride in a figure of eight until the examiner tells you to stop. Focus on the point you want the bike to go, don’t fixate on the cones. Whilst you don’t want to be fast, it’s easier if you keep your speed up a bit – around 8 mph or so. If you’re too fast squeeze the clutch in a bit and use a bit of back brake.

Slow Ride

Sounds simple – ride along at walking pace. It pretty much is… it’s ok to go a wee bit faster to start to get your balance, but, squeeze the clutch and use a bit of back brake to cut your speed as soon as you have. If you start feeling it hard to balance, then let the clutch out a bit to speed up and stabilise.

Controlled Stop

Ride around the curve and come to a controlled stop between the blue cones. Treat this exactly like you would pulling up to a set of traffic lights – use front brake and then rear brake, let off the front just before you come to a stop to make it smoother. There is no speed specification for this one, but, I found it useful to treat it like there was as a bit of a practice for the last two elements.


Set off (shoulder checks) slowly, do a shoulder check, look back forwards, then turn your head to pick the spot you want to arrive at on the far side. Use the clutch to keep your speed low, but, fast enough to be stable – if you’re too fast, a wee bit of back brake can cut your speed down.

Emergency Stop

This is what worked for me, but, other strategies are available…

Get up to third gear before you enter the curve and ride round at 18mph. As soon as you’ve stood the bike up, open the throttle and line up on the speed trap. You need to be doing 50kph (32 mph) when you pass the it. If you’re a wee bit slow, you should get a second opportunity, but better to nail it first time.

Look ahead to the examiner and try not to pre-empt the stop signal. As soon as the examiner signals, squeeze progressively on the front brake, shortly followed by the rear brake. Keep squeezing the front until you’ve stopped – don’t worry about it being smooth or if you get a rebound as the suspension expands again – this is about stopping as quickly as you can, not as prettily. Don’t worry if the ABS kicks in (obviously be careful if you don’t have ABS).

Hazard Avoidance

Like with the emergency stop – get into 3rd, ride the curve and open the throttle as soon as the bike is upright. Swerve between the blue cones – don’t focus on the near-side cone, make sure you’re looking towards the far side of the gap. This one is all about using counter-steering – push on the outside handlebar to tip the bike – don’t try to steer directly. Once you’re through, come back in line and slow down progressively.

Ending the Test

Make sure you keep doing shoulder checks as you move off, every time – you’ll ride back to the parking bays. You’ll find out straight away that you’ve passed (or not).

Key Things to Remember

Take a deep breath each time you set off – remember to do your shoulder checks. If you’re not sure what the examiner is asking you to do, then ask them to repeat or clarify it. It’s normal to be nervous, but, your instructor wouldn’t have put you forwards if they didn’t think you could do it… you’ll ace it.

Have you got any hints or tips to ace a Mod 1 – comment below!

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