When you set out to get into motorcycling, the different license types may seem completely confusing and bewildering to you. This page tries to dispel some of the confusion by setting everything out in sensible straightforward ways.

Simply put, if you want to start riding, you MUST start out with a CBT. This is the minimum needed to get you riding on the road. From there, the license that you train for will be dependent on your age and what (engine) size bike you want to ride. The table below shows at what age you can take which license, and which engine size you will be restricted to on that license at that age.

UK Motorcycle License Types, Ages and Restrictions

UK Motorcycle License Types, Ages and Restrictions


CBT

Compulsory Basic Training is the first step in riding motorcycles. It takes you through all the basics in a safe and controlled manner, starting out with the basics. You will train off the road at an approved training site where you learn motorcycle safety, basics, handling, accelerating, braking, riding, corner and maneuvering. It is the minimum standard required to begin riding a motorcycle on the road (with a few restrictions). Training is undertaken on 125cc motorcycles or scooters (under 17’s are restricted to motorcycles or scooters with a 50cc engine).

The CBT day is generally divided until the following:

  1. Introduction and Briefing
  2. On-site training
  3. On-site riding
  4. Lunch Break
  5. On-road training
  6. On-road riding

It is important to stay well hydrated throughout the day, and keeping your energy levels high is important – make sure to eat a good breakfast and bring some lunch with you.

In order to take a CBT

  • You must be at least 16 years old
    If you are less than 17 years old, you will be limited to 50cc motorcycles or scooters
    If you are more than 17 years old, you will be limited to 125cc motorcycles or scooters
  • You must have read and understand The Highway Code
    You are not required to have taken a theory test prior to undertaking a CBT
  • You must have a Provisional or Full UK Driver’s License, or EU License
  • You must be able to read a number plate at 20.5 metres away

You will need

  • A pair of motorcycle gloves
    Ski Gloves, DIY Gloves, regular gloves, etc are not suitable
  • A pair of jeans, heavyweight trousers or motorcycle trousers
  • A pair of sturdy boots (Dr. Martins, etc) or Motorcycle Boots
    Do not wear steel toe-capped boots or heals
  • A strong jacket or motorcycle jacket
  • Lunch
  • Plenty of water

Most trainings centres will be able to provide you with the following, however it is a good idea to check with them prior to booking your CBT:

  • Motorcycle Helmet
  • High-visibility tabard or vest

Upon successful completion  will entitle you to ride a 50cc motorcycle or scooter for two years (from the date you pass your CBT). If you are 17 or over you are entitled to ride a 125cc motorcycle or scooter.

Once you have successfully completed your CBT

  • you can ride unaccompanied
  • you are restricted to the 125cc maximum engine displacement size (50cc for under 17’s)
  • you must display L-Plates on the front and rear of the motorcycle or scooter at all times
  • you cannot carry a pillion passenger
  • you cannot use motorways
  • you must have valid motorcycle insurance (at least third-party)
  • your motorcycle must have a valid MOT Certificate

Your CBT is valid for two years from the date of pass. In order to progress to a full license, you must pass an A2, A1 or A license (including Theory, Module 1 and Module 2) before the two years are up. Once this date elapses you will need to retake your CBT.


Training

Training is the next step in the journey. This technically comes before the licenses, even though riding schools market their training as part of the license itself. Strictly speaking the training is separate, and should be broadly the same no matter which license you’re going for at the end. The biggest difference will be the bikes you train on, which will depend on your age or the license type that you’re planning on.

Module 1

For the Module 1 test, you will be required to:

  • Pushing the Motorcycle into a parking space.
  • Riding a slalom.
  • Riding two consecutive figure of 8’s.
  • A slow ride, as if in slow moving traffic.
  • Perform a u-turn manoeuvre
  • Controlled cornering and braking exercise.
  • Emergency stop, to be completed at 30mph.
  • Hazard avoidance exercise, to be completed at 30mph.

Module 2

The Module 2 Test is conducted on public highways. The examiner will give you directions and instructions by radio. Part of the Test will be and independent ride, the examiner will give you a direction to follow i.e. Aldershot, you will then continue to follow the signs to Aldershot until the examiner starts to give you instructions again.


Test Requirements

In order to undertake a Motorcycle Test (beyond the CBT assessment), you will be required to declare the following:

  • The use of the test vehicle for the purposes of the test is fully covered by a valid policy of insurance which satisfies the requirements of the relevant legislation.
  • I normally live/have lived in the UK for at least 185 days in the last 12 months (except taxis\private hire).

A1 License

The A1 license is effectively a “permanent CBT”, that does not expire, with added benefits of being able to ride without L-Plates, and the ability to carry pillion passengers

In order to take the A1 license:

  • You must be 17 years old or older
  • You must hold a valid CBT
  • You must have taken and passed the Motorcycle Theory Test
  • You must have a Provisional or Full UK Driver’s License, or EU License
  • You must be able to read a number plate at 20.5 metres away
  • You must have read and understand The Highway Code

The training and test is taken on a motorcycle between 120cc and 125cc (11kW).

You will be required to complete tests for Module 1 and Module 2.

You will need:

  • A pair of motorcycle gloves
  • A pair of motorcycle trousers or motorcycle jeans
  • A pair of Motorcycle Boots
  • A motorcycle jacket
  • A motorcycle helmet
  • Lunch
  • Plenty of water
  • Waterproofs are recommended

Once you have successfully passed both Module 1 and Module 2 of your A1 license:

  • you can ride motorcycles up to 125cc maximum engine displacement size
  • you no longer need to display L-Plates on the front and rear of the motorcycle or scooter
  • you can carry a pillion passenger
  • you can use motorways

A2 License

In order to take the A2 license:

  • You must be 19 years old or older
  • You must hold a valid CBT
  • You must have taken and passed the Motorcycle Theory Test
  • You must have a Provisional or Full UK Driver’s License, or EU License
  • You must be able to read a number plate at 20.5 metres away
  • You must have read and understand The Highway Code

The training and test is taken on a motorcycle at least 395cc and between 33bhp and 46.6bhp)

You will be required to complete tests for Module 1 and Module 2.

Once you have successfully passed both Module 1 and Module 2 of your A1 license:

  • you can ride motorcycles up to 46.6bhp / 35kW
  • you can ride a larger motorcycle but the power must be capped at 35kW (46.6bhp), as long as the bike is not restricted to less than half its original power.
  • you no longer need to display L-Plates on the front and rear of the motorcycle or scooter
  • you can carry a pillion passenger
  • you can use motorways

A License

(a.k.a: Direct Access Scheme)

In order to take the A license:

  • You must be 24 years old or older, or have held a A2 license for 2 years or more
  • You must hold a valid CBT or have passed your A1 or A2 license
  • You must have taken and passed the Motorcycle Theory Test
  • You must have a Provisional or Full UK Driver’s License, or EU License
  • You must be able to read a number plate at 20.5 metres away
  • You must have read and understand The Highway Code

The training and test is taken on a motorcycle at least 595cc (40kW) (54bhp)

You will be required to complete tests for Module 1 and Module 2.

Once you have successfully passed both Module 1 and Module 2 of your A license:

  • you can ride motorcycles of any engine size
  • you can ride a larger motorcycle but the power must be capped at 35kW (47bhp), as long as the bike is not restricted to less than half its original power.
  • you no longer need to display L-Plates on the front and rear of the motorcycle or scooter
  • you can carry a pillion passenger
  • you can use motorways

DL25 - Driving Test Report