Everything you need to know about different motorcycle licence types

For the young rider desperate to get their mitts on the handlebars and take to the road, the ages of 16 and 17 can be frustrating times. That’s because there are a number of tests and at least five different licence types that need to be tackled first.

Here’s a brief overview of the tests, and possible advice for what to take and when to take it.

Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)

This is the basic requirement for you ever getting on the road in the first place, no matter whether you’re intending to buy a scooter or a 500cc beast. The day of CBT training is not a test as such, but on the day-long course you’ll need to convince an instructor that you’ve fulfilled various practical and theoretical requirements. There are five elements to the training, which progress from a basic introduction through to riding on-site and then on the road. 

The exception to the rule is if you have a full car licence that was issued before February 1, 2001. In this case, you can ride a restricted 50cc moped on-road without the need for the CBT, but anything more powerful will require the training. Following the course you have two years to move on to a full licence, or else you must retake the CBT. Don’t forget that you need a provisional driving licence to take the CBT.

Theory test

As with driving a car, you must pass a theory test before moving on to the practical motorcycle tests below. Essentially that means you should take the test within two years of the CBT.

AM Moped test

If you only ever intend to stick to certain mopeds or scooters, with no possibility of moving upwards, then you could stop with this test. Suitable for people aged 17 or over, those who gain the AM licence can ride mopeds of 50cc or less, with a top speed of 28mph. Once you’ve got this, you can let the L-plates go. One might imagine that this would be a fairly frustrating experience, so you might wish to progress to…

A1 motorcycle licence

Passing this practical test will also allow you to shed your L-plates, and ride motorcycles of 125cc or less. 

A2 motorcycle

The Bike Insurer website believes that it might be better in many circumstances to bypass the two tests above, and move straight to this one when you’re 19. Completion of this test allows you to ride a motorcycle of up to 500cc engine size, which is where many riders would inevitably wish to progress. This test can be taken if you’ve held the A1 for two years, or instead – at the age of 19 – go straight from the CBT to the theory and A2 practical tests in what is known as the Direct Access route. 

Unrestricted A Licence

The final test, which will let you ride any motorcycle of any size. Again, there are several routes to this; holding the A2 for two years and then taking this test, or taking the appropriate Direct Access (24 or over) route. 

There are also licences that allow you to ride further afield; the EU Licence and the International Licence, while conscientious riders might wish to take enhanced tests through bodies such as the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

You can find out exactly what your bike licence entitles you to by clicking here.

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Comments (1)

  • 1. Noobrider89 | 12/07/2017
Cbt has changed now to get a cbt now you have to pass your theory and hazard test it came out this year
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