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How I got my Class 2 licence in Singapore & upgraded to a bigger bike

Class 2 licence gives you the right to buy a motorcycle of any cc & you no longer have to come back for any further licence except for the 5-year renewal process.

BHPian narayan recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

It was that time of the year when any true blue motorcyclist in Singapore waits for the day when their previous category license reaches the minimum required 1 year period to start the application for the next category license. The same was the case for me on August 27th, 2022 when I completed 1 year of having held the Class 2A (<400cc ) category license and not having accumulated any demerit points (max is 12 at the time of application).

A recap of my license journey and motorcycle purchases can be found in the following threads:

Unlike my Class 2B to 2A journey which involved me staying up till around midnight to immediately sign up for my Class 2A license process upon completion of the 1 year period with Class 2B, this time around, I wasn't rushing so much - mainly due to some work commitments - but I ended up registering after about 3 days of completion of the 1 year period in Class 2A to pursue my Class 2.

The Class 2 license is like reaching Mt Everest in terms of motorcycle licenses in Singapore. It gives you the right to buy a motorcycle of any cc and you no longer have to come back for any further license (other than, of course, the routine 5-year renewal process). It is, hence, a very coveted piece of achievement. But not all motorcyclists go all the way to this license category for a few reasons:

  • Cost - Even in the best-case scenario (where you don't have to repeat any preparatory lessons, book off-peak slots and pass your traffic police test on the very first attempt) - it will cost you ~$355+ (INR20,000 at prevailing rates).
  • Time - That is a big downer. There is a sequence in which you need to complete your lessons and you can't block slots until you clear each step. Once you complete all the lessons and evaluation by the driving school - the wait time for a traffic police test is at least 35-45 days. Which means, you also have to enroll for a few practice lessons before your test so that you don't forget things during that wait. Overall, it's a time commitment of around 2 months at least end to end
  • What is the point - If you are purely commuting within Singapore for work or on work (e.g you are a delivery rider full time), you do not need a ride >400cc. In fact, a Class 2B is more than sufficient where you have tons of options from 125cc-200cc and all kinds of body types from motorcycles to maxi scooters to step through and even taller adventure-styled bikes.

I didn't fall into any of the above categories (although somewhat cat 3- my commute doesn't require a larger bike but why not). Also, touring through South East Asia was in my bucket list. So what better time to start than now - with borders opened up and COVID (hopefully) behind us.

The Overall Class 2 license process

The process is very similar to Class 2A.

  • One registers with any of the 3 driving schools for the Class 2 course
  • Book slots for the various lessons
  • Attend and pass them and be cleared by the school to appear for the traffic police test
  • Book, appear and pass the traffic police test

Since I moved houses earlier this year, I couldn't register in my Class 2A school since it was around 20kms away. This was something I really hated because there are reasonably noticeable differences in the circuits of each of the schools and I wanted to avoid having to learn a new circuit. But there was no choice and I went ahead to register with the one closest to my current house - and it was very close to be honest - just around 2kms. This was a boon since I had to spend very less time getting there and then getting back home or work.

Having registered around end Aug/early Sep, I quickly went through the paces with the lessons. The Class 2 circuit is exactly the same as the Class 2A circuit except for the below differences:

  • The time to be spent on the obstacles that test your slow speed manoeuvring is higher
  • The time to be spent on the obstacles that test your high-speed maneuvering is lower
  • Additionally, there is a Class 2 demo bike controlled drop and pick-up evaluation

On my first day at the new school, there were a few more surprises beyond being in just a new school compared to the previous year.

  • The Class 2 bike used by this school was the Honda NC750X (Honda's mid-size adventure tourer) - the taller stance was going to add to the challenge with quite a few obstacles. In comparison, my previous school uses an MT-07, which due to its street build, is much more low-slung and easier to throw around.
  • The course was quite long and additional checkpoints were present - which equates to an additional probability of failure.

Nevertheless, it was time to look forward and take these changes in one's stride and I went on with my lessons and managed to complete all of them on the dot and was ready to book my traffic police test. The good thing at this stage was.

  • The NC didn't turn out to be as bad as I thought. The forward-facing twin set up means the C.G is really low and the seat height was also a very friendly 800mm.
  • The trainers in this school were very methodical (and strict as well) than the previous school. They went to great lengths to break down the technique into smaller components and got us to really understand well how to crack each obstacle, whereas, at the previous school, the trainers largely just demonstrated the overall technique and expected the learners to learn by sight.

The day of the traffic police test

After having completed all my lessons in a span of around 3 weeks, the earliest date available for the traffic police test was around 40 days away. Went ahead and booked it and after that, the wait was painfully long. More than the wait, the mental stress is just too much - it's like how you start off something important - but can't be done with it for external reasons and have to endure that phase until you can finally be back in control and complete the task in hand.

In that 40-day period, pretty much 24X7, I was mentally playing the circuit and technique so that the muscle memory doesn't fade. I also had booked a practise session around 5 days before my test.

As D-day approached, there was a minor setback (which it wasn't eventually) by way of my 2nd COVID infection. It turned out to be as bad as the first one and this was just around a week before my practice session. I took a decision to postpone my practise session (and a good one at that because, on that particular date, while I had recovered, I was horribly brain-fogged and tired). The next available practise session slots were either the day before my test or 2 days before. I really didn't want to practise so close to the test, so I chose the one that was 2 days before.

The practise session was largely uneventful. All those 40 days of playing back the circuit and technique in my mind was helping because I found my muscle memory was largely intact. In fact, I was overdoing the slow and fast obstacles and one of the trainers advised me not to aspire for very lofty timings and just do the bare minimum required to clear the test - because anyway there is no credit to doing better than the traffic police stipulated timings.

A quick recap from my earlier thread on how the test evaluation works like.

The entire circuit is a combination of riding techniques to be followed in various live traffic situations and you are evaluated at every step by watch eyes of the traffic police who would be manning the multiple posts created across the circuit.

The obstacles are as under:

  • S course - shape of 8 to be completed within a certain time with a specific technique - no clutch or braking inside the course and indicator on/off at the right times and correct blind spot checking.
  • Crank course - simiar to S, but a shorter and sharper turning course with the same rules as above.
  • Narrow plank - balance through a narrow plank and stay on it for a minimum stipulated time.
  • Pylon - go quickly through a set of cones placed close to each other with a quick movement of body weight to both sides.
  • emergency brake - pick up speed to 45kmph and carry out an emergency braking manoeuvre over a wet road with a specific technique.
  • bumpy course - go over a set of narrow/sharp bumps in the half-stand position with a specific technique (throttling into every bump and maintaining a minimum time within that course).

Dropping the bike, foot down, dropping off the narrow plank, hitting outer barriers/cones all qualify as IMMEDIATE FAILURES - you can park the bike and go home). Any other defect will fetch between 2-6 points.

That apart, you have an incline start-stop segment and a blind wall crossing over the segment.

In the end, you can earn between 2-8 points for all kinds of ridiculous things like:

  • Did not signal at the correct time
  • Incorrect technique
  • Did not wait at junction/did not give way to oncoming traffic
  • Waited too long
  • Wobbly during lane changes, etc, etc, etc

If you total up to 20 points (and even if you did not fail any obstacle) you are still out.

My test largely went uneventful. I was the first one out in the sequence. The line up is based on age (first) and residency status (next). So older foreigners go first - and that was me. The youngest local would have been last in the sequence.

Going first has the below considerations.

  • The traffic police is fresh from their morning breakfast and all charged up to keep a close eye on you AND ONLY YOU before no one else has come into the circuit yet.
  • Once you finish - you also have the LONGEST WAIT - waiting for all the rest of Class 2 and Class 2A aspirants to complete their course, the traffic police to complete their evaluation and for the results to be announced.

Except for 1 area where I thought I made a technique error (during the emergency brake, my left foot got off the peg a bit earlier than I reached the full stop). Otherwise, I was largely confident that I made it through. But the wait was around 2.5 hours after I finished and you can't go home. You remain within the school until the results are announced.

Surprisingly/shockingly, when they announced the results, while I had cleared and got my license, when I received my evaluation sheet, I noticed, I had accumulated 18 points! That was a shocker but I was also relieved that I made it because just one more negative mark and I would have failed (there is no item that carries a negative 1, the minimum negative mark is 2. Hence 18 is the absolute borderline).

This also brings out how important it is for one to be absolute to the point in this test because, even for someone like me who thought that I had completed the course really well, I ended up with 18 points. So if you are even slightly casual about it, you will definitely have to go home and wait for the next test appointment after a month.

With the outcome in my favour, I was quite pleased and headed back home with a lot of relief. After 40 days, I got good sleep on that day. But the next challenge was to start from the very next day - the hunt for the next ride.

Continue reading narayan's thread to know about his next motorcycle purchase & for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

 
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