A super-simple guide to the different types of motorbike licence

If you’re desperate to get into motorcycling and want to cut straight from the boring stuff to choosing what type of bike you’ll be riding, we’ve got some bad news.

You need to do some of the boring stuff first.

Principally, you’ll need to brush up on the different types of motorcycle license. Oh, and then there’s the myriad of tests you’ll need to take, too!

Consider this blog post a super-simple guide to motorbike licensing and tests. Don’t leave home without it!

The CBT

‘CBT’ stands for ‘Compulsory Basic Training’, and the name says it all - it’s a basic requirement for anyone looking to ride a motorcycle.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re going for a scooter or a beast of a bike, the CBT is an intrinsic part of your qualification.

It’s not quite a test - more a day-long course during which you’ll need to convince an instructor that you’ve nailed the theoretical and practical requirements for riding a bike. The day will progress through five elements, from a basic introduction to riding on-site and then, finally, on the road.

There’s one exception to the rule, which is if you hold a full car driving licence that was issued before 1st February 2001, you can ride a restricted moped (50cc) on-road without a CBT.

Theory test

Just like learning to drive a car, you’ll have to go ‘back to school’ and do some classroom-style stuff, too.

Sorry.

You can’t move onto practical tests until you’ve passed the motorcycle theory test, therefore you should make sure you take it within two years of the CBT.

AM Moped test

If you simply want to ride a moped or scooter and have no desire to move upwards, this test is all you need.

Providing you’re 17 or over, you can gain an AM licence that lets you ride mopeds with engines of 50cc or less and a top speed of 28mph.

A1 and A2 motorcycle licences

Practical tests come in two forms. The A1 lets you ditch the L-plates and ride on bikes of 125cc or less, while the A2 moves you up to 500cc engines.

Most riders will want to progress straight to the latter, but it’s sensible to make your way there carefully by taking the aforementioned tests first - no matter how laborious that may seem.

Those who are 19 or older can go straight from the CBT to the theory and then to the A2 in what is known as the ‘Direct Access route’. Otherwise, you’ll need to have held onto an A1 for at least two years before moving up to the A2.

Unrestricted licence

Otherwise known as the ‘A Licence’, this will let you ride any motorcycle, regardless of engine size.

You’ll need to have held your A2 licence for at least two years to qualify, but you could opt for an appropriate Direct Access route if you’re over the age of 24.

We hope we’ve untangled the web of confusion that often surrounds motorcycle licensing and tests!

Good luck!

Disclaimer: the advice above is correct at the time of publishing, but we always recommend speaking to an approved motorcycle training body for confirmation of the specifics.

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