Ready to learn how to get a motorbike licence? Find out what motorbike you can ride on a car licence, as well as all types of motorbike licence explained.
Getting your hands on a powerful, sleek motorbike is an amazing feeling, but it doesn’t come without hard work. Earning a motorbike licence takes time, money and effort, so make sure you are appropriately licensed before you secure motorbike finance for the ride of your life. In this guide, we explain motorbike licence courses for riders of all ages and abilities, and which types of motorbikes you can ride with different licences. Keep reading for all you need to know about getting a motorbike licence.
What motorcycle licence do you need? Types of motorbike licence explained
There are four different types of motorbike licences, which can be pretty hard to wrap your head around. Do you need an A1 or A2 licence, and what motorbike can you ride with a car licence? If these are questions that you need answering, keep reading...
Provisional driving licence
Before you can complete any training at all, it’s essential that you get a provisional licence. This licence is what allows you to practise riding a motorbike, and will kickstart your journey to getting a motorcycle licence. If you have a full car licence, you don’t need to apply for a provisional licence to ride a motorbike.
Requirements for provisional driving licence
- At least 15 years and 9 months old
- Ability to read a number plate from 20 metres away
- Permission to live in Great Britain for at least 185 days
Compulsory basic training
Compulsory basic training (CBT) is a course that all new riders in the UK must complete before they can legally ride a motorcycle, moped, or scooter on public roads. Upon completion, you will be given a DL196 certificate as proof that you have completed your compulsory basic training. You’ll need this certificate to take any motorbike licence course. It’s only valid for two years, so if you plan on taking the test for other licences, make sure you consider this time frame. Unless you have a full driving licence acquired before 1 Feb 2001, you need to complete CBT to be able to ride a moped with L plates or to qualify for a licence to ride more powerful bikes.
A DL196 certificate allows you to ride a moped up to 50cc and below 4kW, as long as you hold a full valid car licence. With just a provisional licence, completing your CBT only allows you to ride with L plates until you complete your theory and practical test.
Requirements for compulsory basic training
- Hold a provisional or full driving licence
The AM licence is available for riders who have completed CBT and hold a valid DL196 certificate. This is usually the first step riders take to obtaining a full motorbike licence, and is a great option for beginner riders. It’s ideal for riders who want a small motorcycle with a maximum speed of 28 mph and an engine size of up to 50cc. This licence also allows riders to carry a pillion passenger.
It is important to note that the AM motorbike licence is not the same as a full motorcycle licence. If you want to ride a motorcycle with a larger engine size or faster speed, you will need to obtain a full motorcycle licence by completing additional training and passing further tests.
Requirements for AM motorbike licence
- Aged 16 or over
- Completed CBT or full valid driving licence obtained before 1 Feb 2001
- Passed theory and practical tests
An A1 licence is the next level up for motorcycle riders, and allows them to ride any motorcycle up to 125cc and not exceeding 11kW, with a pillion passenger. Riders with a valid licence with provisional motorcycle entitlement, plus a completed CBT, can ride an A1 motorcycle with L plates. Only after completing the theory and practical tests can riders benefit from a full A1 licence.
Requirements for A1 motorbike licence
- Aged 17 or over
- Hold valid licence with provisional motorcycle entitlement
- Valid CBT certificate
- Pass theory and practical tests
An A2 licence is an intermediate level motorcycle licence that allows you to ride any bike not exceeding 35kW. If you have held an A1 licence for more than two years, you can obtain an A2 licence after passing the practical test. For riders who’ve held an A1 licence for less than two years, you must obtain a valid theory test certificate before completing the practical tests.
An A2 licence is also achievable for those without an A1 licence. To get an A2 licence, riders must hold a full licence with provisional motorcycle entitlement, and also complete CBT, and both theory and practical tests.
Requirements for A2 licence
- Over 19 years old
- At least a valid licence with CBT certificate, or an A1 licence
- Pass both theory and practical tests
A licence (ages 21-23)
An A licence lets you ride motorcycles of any size, but there are some restrictions depending on your age. For riders aged 21-23, you must have held an A2 licence for at least two years in order to complete a practical test. This is a two-part test, and both modules must be completed within six months of each other. If you haven’t had an A2 licence for over two years, you won’t be able to get an A licence. So, your options are to wait until you turn 24, or until you have held an A2 licence for two years.
A licence requirements (ages 21-23)
- Have held an A2 licence for two years
- Pass a two-part practical test
A licence (age 24+)
Once you’re over the age of 24, it’s much easier to obtain a category A licence and ride a motorcycle of any size. If you’ve held an A2 licence for two years, all you need to do is pass the category A practical test. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to complete CBT, pass the theory test, and then take the two-part practical test. If you already have an A1 or A2 licence, you won’t need to repeat CBT.
A licence requirements (age 24+)
- Over 24 years old
- Valid CBT or A1/A2 licence
- Pass theory and practical tests
What motorbike can you ride on a car licence?
With a full car licence obtained before 1 February 2001, you may ride a moped up to 50cc without using L plates. If you got your car licence after this date, you’ll need to complete a compulsory basic training (CBT) course in order to ride a moped without L plates. You can get a full moped licence by completing both CBT and passing your car driving test. If you choose to complete CBT before you have a full driving licence, you’ll need to ensure that you pass your driving test within two years of your CBT course completion.
How to get a motorbike licence
Now that we have explained all the different types of motorbike licences, you can choose which is best suited for you and take the right steps to achieve this. Keep reading for a simple, step-by-step guide on how to get a motorbike licence.
1. Apply for a provisional licence
Unless you have a full driving licence, you need to apply for a provisional licence. Applying for a provisional licence can be done through the GOV.UK website, and costs £34 to apply online. When applying, you’ll need an identity document such as your passport, and you’ll also be asked to provide the addresses for where you’ve lived over the past three years. You may also be asked to give your national insurance number. Once you’ve applied, you will receive a confirmation email from the DVLA.
2. Complete compulsory basic training
A CBT training course can be booked directly with any motorbike training school. Each school determines their own prices, so this will vary depending on the company you choose. The price may also reflect whether you provide your own moped/motorcycle, or whether you are loaned one.
The CBT course usually takes one day to complete and includes both theoretical and practical components. During the course, you will learn how to ride a motorbike, basic road safety rules, and how to handle different road conditions. After you complete the course, you’ll have a DL196 certificate as proof that you can safely and legally ride a bike up to 125cc.
3. Pass the theory test
You can take the theory test before or after completing CBT, however you must have a provisional motorcycle licence to book a theory test. The test costs £23, and you also must have lived in England, Wales or Scotland for at least 185 days in the last 12 months. The theory test can be booked online here.
If you have held an A1 licence for at least two years, you do not need to complete the theory test in order to advance to A2.
The theory test consists of two parts: the multiple-choice test and the hazard perception test. The multiple-choice test is designed to test your knowledge of road safety rules, traffic signs, and other important topics related to riding a motorbike. The hazard perception test assesses your ability to identify and respond to potential hazards on the road.
4. Pass the practical test
The final step towards getting a motorbike licence is to pass the practical test. The practical test consists of two parts: the off-road manoeuvring test and the on-road riding test.
During the off-road manoeuvring test, you will be asked to perform a series of manoeuvres such as U-turns, slalom, and figure-of-eight. The on-road riding test, on the other hand, involves riding on public roads with a DVSA examiner who will assess your ability to ride safely and handle different road conditions.
To take the practical test, you must have a valid CBT certificate and pass the theory test. You can take the practical test at any DVSA test centre. The cost of the practical test varies depending on the location and the type of test you are taking.
5. Work towards your next licence (optional)
You may not be able to get a full category A licence straight away. Whether you want to work your way up by riding smaller motorbikes, or you’re restricted by age, you may need to undertake additional training courses after achieving your first motorbike licence. If so, you can revisit this guide to learn more about how to achieve a more advanced motorcycle licence.
Once you have followed the steps to getting a licence, you’re ready to own your own motorcycle. At Superbike Loans we understand that a motorbike is an investment, which is why we offer motorbike finance deals for riders of all abilities. Whether you have bad credit or simply need a hand with financing your bike, take a look at our finance calculator to plan your motorcycle journey. Want to learn more? Get in touch with us.