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The ultimate guide to your motorcycle licence

Getting your motorcycle licence in the UK is not a challenging process. However, it does require some time and effort on your part to ensure that you are fully prepared for taking all the motorcycle mods. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about taking your theory test and undertaking your mod one and mod two so that you can get out on the road with peace of mind!

What are the different types of motorcycle licences in the UK?

There are three different types of motorcycle licence in the UK:

  • A provisional motorcycle licence
  • A restricted motorcycle licence
  • A full motorcycle licence

Provisional motorcycle licences

Saffy Sprocket - Provisional Motorcycle Licence

What is a provisional motorcycle licence?

A provisional motorcycle licence is only for learner riders and will expire after two years. Your provisional can be upgraded to a restricted or full licence with the successful completion of the mod one and mod two tests.

What can I ride with a provisional motorcycle licence?

A provisional motorcycle licence only allows you to ride a 125cc or less capacity machine. However, your age will also determine the maximum capacity of the machine you can ride. For example:

  • If you are 16, the maximum engine size you can legally ride is 50cc
  • If you are 17+, the maximum engine size you can legally rise is 125cc

Can I ride a 125cc bike on a car licence?

No, you will need to have a provisional motorcycle licence before riding one of these machines.

Can I take a pillion passenger once I’ve passed my CBT?

No, you are not allowed to carry a pillion passenger on the back of your bike until you have passed both parts of your motorcycle test.

How long does a CBT take?

When it comes to taking your CBT, you need to be able to learn basic skills such as riding the motorcycle, gears and brakes. The CBT will take roughly an entire day, depending on whether you’ve ridden before. The CBT is not a test, but a proficiency certificate allowing stating that you are deemed safe enough to continue learning on the road.

Do I need to do a theory test before taking a CBT?

No, you do not need to take a theory test before taking your CBT.

Does my motorcycle have to have L plates with a provisional licence?

The short answer is yes. If you have a provisional licence, you must display L plates on your motorcycle at all times.

Can I ride on the motorway with a provisional motorcycle licence?

The short answer is no. Motorways are for full licence holders only.

Can I ride with a provisional motorcycle licence in the city?

The short answer is yes. You are permitted to ride on roads for which your machine’s engine size qualifies you to be legal. In other words, if you have a 50cc bike and can only legally use 0-50mph (0-80km/h).

When can I upgrade my CBT provisional licence to a full licence?

You may be able to upgrade your motorcycle licence within two years of obtaining your provisional licence. If your test falls outside of this time, then you will first need to renew your CBT.

Want to see how I did on my motorcycle test?

If you’re interested in seeing how well I did on my motorcycle test, then click play below. (hint: I failed a good few times before getting it right!)


Restricted motorcycle licences

SaffySprocket - Restricted motorcycle licence

What is a restricted motorcycle licence?

A restricted motorcycle licence restricts the rider from riding on motorways and as such. They are usually granted for riders aged between 17-19 years old who have held their provisional licence for two years.

What are the types of restricted motorcycle licence?

There are three types of restricted motorcycle licences:

  • A CBT with provisional (Minimum aged 17)
  • An A1 licence (Minimum aged 17)
  • An A2 Licence (Minimum aged 19)

What is the difference between an A1 and A2 licence?

The significant difference between an A1 and A2 motorcycle licence is the restriction on power output. An A1 licence means your motorcycle should not exceed 11kW, whereas an A2 licence means that your bike should not exceed 35kW.


Full motorcycle licence

SaffySprocket - Full motorcycle licence

What do I need to get my Motorcycle licence in the UK?

To pass your motorcycle licence test in the UK, you will need to complete the following:

  • A compulsory Basic training certificate
  • A theory test (you can book this online)
  • Two practical motorcycle theory tests. These are known as Module One and Module Two.

You need to pass your CBT and your module one before being allowed to attempt module two – which is also a practical short motorcycle ride on public roads.

You can also get your motorcycle licence in Europe if you are a UK citizen but will need to take an international theory test.

How do I get my Full motorcycle Licence?

To get your motorcycle licence, you will need to pass a theory test and practical bike tests specific to the type of licence you are taking. These can be booked through your local council or online at GOV.UK.

How much does it cost for a Motorcycle Licence in the UK?

The cost of a Motorcycle Licence will vary depending on what type you are taking and where it is being taken. It will also depend on your licence progress.

What is motorcycle direct access?

The Direct Access Scheme or commonly referred to as a bike DAS, is a scheme that allows older riders, aged 24 years old and over, the option of receiving professional motorcycle training and taking the full motorcycle tests on a large motorcycle of over 595cc with a minimum power output of 40 kW. The end result is that once all tests are completed, you will receive a full unrestricted motorcycle licence.

What is the difference between a restricted


Motorcycle Theory Test

Saffy Sprocket - Motorcycle Theory Test

I have completed my motorcycle theory test, but I’m not sure how it went?

You will be able to tell if you passed by looking at your pass certificate, which will show whether you passed your theory test or not. This will be indicated on the certificate and paperwork handed to you once you have sat the theory test. If you are unsure whether you have passed or not and have lost your paperwork, you can also sign in to your account online to check your current licence status.

What are some other ways I could prepare for my motorcycle theory?

There are several ways in which you can prepare for your motorcycle theory test. One way to do this is by downloading the DVSA’s FREE Theory Test app, available on iTunes and Google Play stores as well as from any PC/laptop. This will give you access to more than 400 multiple choice questions with fully explained.



Saffy Sprocket - Motorcycle Theory Test

What do I need to ride a moped?

To ride a moped, you must

  • be 16 or over
  • have a provisional moped licence
  • complete CBT training


General Motorcycle licence FAQs

SaffySprocket - General Bike Licence Questions

Is ABS compulsory during my motorcycle test?

ABS is not compulsory; it’s just available on some bikes, making them safer than non-ABS models.

Can you start taking driving lessons with a motorbike licence?

You cannot start your driving lessons until you have passed both the theory and practical tests.

How long does it take to get a motorcycle licence?

For most, the minimum time taken is six months, but this varies depending on how much training you’ve done previously or if there are any other issues with your health that may affect your ability to ride a bike.


Understanding motorcycle categories

What does each category mean on your licence?

  • AM: Mopeds (2 or 3 wheels) with a maximum speed of 28mph.
  • A1: Motorcycles up to 125cc. Tricycles are permitted in this category too. Maximum power output 11kW.
  • A2: Motorcycles with a power output up to 35kW. This licence enables you to ride any motorbike type.
  • B1: 4 Wheel vehicles up to 400kg or 550kg if carrying goods.
  • B: General cars. See direct.gov website for rules on entitlement pre-1997*
  • BE: Car/vehicle with a trailer up to 3,500kg in weight.

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

Category A1 covers small motorcycles with:

  • a cylinder capacity not more than 125cc
  • power output not more than 11kW and a power/ weight ratio not exceeding 0.1kW/ kg
  • motor tricycles with a power not exceeding 15kW

The minimum age for A1 is 17 years.

You must have a valid CBT certificate and pass the motorcycle theory and practical tests to get this entitlement.

Category A2 (medium motorcycles up to 35kW)

Category A2 covers medium sized motorcycles, with or without a sidecar, which have:

  • an engine power output up to 35kW
  • a power/weight ratio not exceeding 0.2kW/kg – the motorcycle must not be derived from a machine of more than double its power

The minimum age for A2 is 19 years.

There are two routes to get this motorcycle entitlement:

  • Progressive Access (also known as ‘staged access’) – you can get entitlement to category A2 from age 19, provided you have a minimum of two years’ experience on the lower motorcycle category (category A1) and pass the relevant motorcycle tests; the period of two years will start from the date you receive full licence entitlement for the lower category
  • Direct Access – you must be aged 19 years or over, hold a valid CBT certificate and pass the theory and practical category A2 motorcycle tests

Category A

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

There are two routes to get this motorcycle entitlement:

  • Progressive Access (also known as ‘staged access’) – you can get entitlement to category A from age 21 years, provided you have a minimum of two years experience on a category A2 motorcycle with a full licence and pass the category A practical motorcycle tests
  • Direct Access – you must be at least 24 years old, have a valid CBT certificate (only if you do not have full entitlement to A1 or A2) and pass the theory and category A practical motorcycle tests

All learner riders of category A2 and category A motorcycles must be accompanied by an Approved Motorcycle Instructor (AMI) at all times when riding on public roads.

Saffy Sprocket
Saffy Sprockethttps://www.SaffySprocket.com
Alongside her ever-growing coffee addiction, Saffron is well versed in the art of waffle and text jargon. She can often be found behind the screen of a computer grumbling about the youth of today.

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