How to get a motorcycle licence!!

In order to get a motorcycle licence, there are many factors to consider. Things like how much a licence costs, the different categories of motorcycle, and Compulsory Basic Training (CBT), which is the course a person needs to take before they can ride a moped or motorcycle on the road legally.

People tend to feel a little bit overwhelmed when they first read about getting a motorcycle licence, but there really is no need to be. Getting a full motorcycle licence (or upgrading an existing motorcycle licence) is a relatively simple thing to do.

How much is a motorcycle licence?

Riders must start by getting a provisional licence, which costs £34 if applied for on the gov.uk website, or £43 if applied for through the post office.

     

Riders will then need to complete their CBT, which costs between £110 to £130. Theory tests will cost around £23, then practical tests will cost £15.50 for module one and £75 for module two.

How much is spent after that depends on the type of licence wanted. An A2 licence will cost around £400 – £600, whilst an unrestricted A licence could be as much as £1,100.

Then, don’t forget motorcycle insurance, which is an additional and ongoing cost.

How to get a motorcycle licence

To ride a motorcycle, the first step is to get a provisional licence then complete Compulsory Basic Training, or CBT. A CBT is an obligatory course all aspiring riders need to take before they can ride a motorcycle or moped legally on the road. There are two parts to the practical test and riders must pass them both within two years of taking their theory test, or else they must start the process again.

What is a CBT test?

A CBT test is also known as Compulsory Basic Training and it is a course that must be taken by aspiring riders before they can ride a moped or motorcycle legally on the road.

The training makes sure riders can ride safely on their own whilst they practice for their actual motorcycle test, and it is not a test in the sense that it can be passed or failed. Still, if a rider is caught riding without a CBT certificate, they could be fined up to £1,000 and get up to 6 penalty points, so it is important that the course is taken.

After a rider has completed their CBT they can ride a moped (so long as they are 16 or over) or a motorcycle up to 125cc and with a power output of up to 11kW if they are older than 16.

Do I need a provisional driving licence to learn to ride?

Yes, riders will need to apply for a provisional driving licence before they can drive a moped or motorcycle. Aspiring riders can apply for a provisional driving licence when they are 15 years and 9 months old, so that it will arrive in time for their 16th birthday, but it is important they do not drive a moped until they are 16 or over, and that they wait until they are 17 before they drive a motorcycle or car.

Provisional driving licences can be applied for on the gov.co.uk website. There is a charge of £34 and riders should make sure they are applying through the right website, as there are fraudster websites out there looking to make money. Licences can also be sought by completing a D1 application form at the Post Office and applying for a licence that way, but the charge in this case is £43, and the service usually takes longer.

     

The different categories of motorbikes

There are three main types of motorcycle to consider when riders are looking to buy one.

Category A1 (small motorcycles up to 11kW – 125cc)

Riders can learn to ride this category of motorcycle when they are over 17, and have a provisional licence and have completed the CBT course.

Category A2 (medium motorcycles up to 35kW)

Medium sized motorcycles with or without a sidecar. Riders must be 19 years old to drive this vehicle.

Category A (medium motorcycles up to 35kW)

Category A covers unrestricted motorcycles above 35kW and includes tricycles over 15kW.

What kinds of motorcycles are there and what licence do they require?

There are 8 different licence categories for motorcycles and they all have different requirements and minimum ages to ride.

Licence Category

Requirements

Minimum age

Mopeds with speed range of 25 km/h to 45 km/h

AM

Compulsory basic training (CBT), theory test, practical test on all powered 2-wheeled moped

16

Small 3-wheelers (up to 50 cc and below 4 kW)

AM

CBT, theory test, practical test

16

Light quadricycles (weighing under 350 kg, top speed 45 km/h)

AM

CBT, theory test, practical test

16

Same as AM plus 2 or 3-wheeled mopeds with top speed of 25 km/h

Q

Granted with AM

16

Light motorcycle up to 11 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.1 kW per kg) and 125 cc

A1

CBT, theory test, practical test

17

Motor tricycles with a power output not more than 15 kW

A1

CBT, theory test, practical test

17

Standard motorcycle up to 35 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.2 kW per kg), bike must not be derived from vehicle more than twice its power

A1

Direct access route – theory and practical

Progressive access route – 2 years’ experience on A1 motorbike and a further practical test

19

Unrestricted motorcycles in size/power, with or without a sidecar, and motor tricycles with power output over 15 kW

A

Direct access route – CBT, theory and practical (age requirement is at least 24 years old)

Progressive access route – held an A2 licence for a minimum of 2 years – practical test (21 or over)

24 (direct) or 21 (progressive access)

How do I get a full motorbike licence?

Riders must first get a provisional driving licence (which can be applied for at age 15 years and 9 months) and then complete a CBT course, which can be done when aspiring riders are age 16. This will allow riders to ride mopeds on the road, but they must not ride a motorcycle until they are 17.

     

To get a full licence, riders have to complete a set of steps, including practical and theory tests, which include two sections known as mod 1 and mod 2. This is called staged access. Riders aged over 24 can take a direct access route, which bypasses certain parts of this process.

If a rider is 17 years old they can sit their theory and full practical test for a motorcycle licence, which will give them permission to take off their ‘L’ plates and ride on the motorway, but riders are still limited to riding 125cc and 14.8bhp bikes.

There are ways to get a full licence before age 24, but riders will still be 21 years old minimum before they can hold an unrestricted motorcycle licence.

Can I upgrade my existing motorcycle licence?

Riders can upgrade from an A1 to an A2 licence as long as they are over 19 years old or if they have held their A1 licence for more than two years, whichever comes first.

Riders can upgrade from an A2 licence to a DAS unrestricted motorcycle licence if they have had their A2 licence for more than two years, or if they are 24 and over.

There is more information on how to do this here.

     

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