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Motorcycle Licences and Laws

A beginners guide to Motorcycle licences and what motorcycle you can ride with each licence

Let’s be honest, the motorcycle licensing laws are an absolute mind boggle. Whether you have a full driving licence, a provisional licence or experience of riding a moped on a CBT. It’s still likely you’ll need to take a number to tests to get on the road with the bike of your dreams.

Below is our short summary of each motorcycle licence category and the relevant information you need to know.


CBT - (Compulsory Basic Training)

  • Minimum Age: 16
  • What you can ride: Restricted 50cc for 16 year olds or if you are 17 years old or over, with category A on your licence, you can ride a learner legal motorcycle up to 125cc and 11Kw max power. No passengers.
  • L Plates: Required
  • Duration: 1 day of training
  • Cost: £99 - £140 for CBT training, depending on location, day and equipment required

*If you were lucky enough to pass your driving test before February 1st 2001, you can ride a 50cc moped, without L plates and carry a passenger. Everyone else must take a CBT to ride anything.

If you want to learn more about CBTs, have a read of our beginner’s guide.


Book Your CBT

Theory Test

Even if you have a full car licence, you have to pass a motorcycle theory test before taking any practical motorcycle test, (remember CBT is not a test). It’s pretty much the same as a driving theory test made up of 50 multiple choice questions and a hazard perception test. Your theory test certificate is valid for 2 years.

  • Minimum Age: 16
  • What you can ride: You need to take further motorcycle practical tests to move on from a CBT
  • Duration: Around 2 hours
  • Cost: £23

To book your motorcycle theory test, visit the government website here.


AM Moped Licence

At 16 after passing your CBT you have the option to remove your L plates and carry passengers by obtaining your AM licence. This requires passing your theory test and a 2 stage practical test. It can be a lengthy and expensive process, so usually worth waiting until you are 17 and taking the same tests for an A1 licence.

  • Minimum Age: 16
  • What you can ride: 50cc restricted to 28 MPH and carry passengers
  • L Plates: Not Required
  • Duration: 2 days for each test: Module 1, Module 2 and any training you require. Module 1 lasts about 15 minutes and Module 2 test lasts around 50 minutes on the road.
  • Cost: Module 1 test fees are £15.50 and Module 2 £75 or £88.50 at the weekend. Any training you take with a school can set you back £400 - £900 depending on duration and usually includes test fees, bike hire and training.


A1 Motorcycle Licence

  • Minimum Age: 17
  • What you can ride: 125cc with a maximum power output of 11Kw and carry passengers and ride on motorways
  • L Plates: Not Required
  • Duration: 2 days for each test: Module 1, Module 2 and any training you require. Module 1 lasts about 15 minutes and Module 2 test lasts around 50 minutes on the road.
  • Cost: Module 1 test fees are £15.50 and Module 2 £75 or £88.50 at the weekend. Any training you take can set you back £400 - £900 depending on duration and usually includes test fees, bike hire and training


A2 Motorcycle Licence

  • Minimum Age: 19
  • What you can ride: Any sized bike but must be restricted to no more than 35Kw (47bhp) and a power to rate ration of no more than 0.2 Kw. You can carry passengers and ride on motorways. Typically any motorcycle under 500cc. A2Bikes.co.uk is a website dedicated to listing all the different bikes you can ride on an A2 motorcycle licence, worth having a browse.
  • L Plates: Not Required
  • Duration: 2 days for each test: Module 1, Module 2 and any training you require.
  • Module 1 lasts about 15 minutes and Module 2 test lasts around 50 minutes on the road.
  • Cost: Module 1 test fees are £15.50 and Module 2 £75 or £88.50 at the weekend. Any training you take can set you back £400 - £900 depending on duration and usually includes test fees, bike hire and training


A Motorcycle Licence

  • Minimum Age: 21 having held an A2 licence for 2 years or more or 24
  • What you can ride: Any sized motorcycle and you can carry passengers and ride on motorways.
  • L Plates: Not Required
  • Duration: 2 days for each test: Module 1, Module 2 and any training you require. Module 1 lasts about 15 minutes and Module 2 test lasts around 50 minutes on the road.
  • Cost: Module 1 test fees are £15.50 and Module 2 £75 or £88.50 at the weekend. Any training you take can set you back £400 - £900 depending on duration and usually includes test fees, bike hire and training


So depending on your age, experience and what route you decide to take, unless you are 24+ and take a Direct Access Course to your A licence, it’s likely you’ll end up taking your module 1 and 2 more than once...

After my CBT, I personally took my A1 licence on my 125cc Vespa which I now regret as being 26 I could have done the exact same tests on a 600cc motorcycle and have the luxury of riding any bike I feel like. So if you learn one thing from this guide, it’s always worth doing the furthest licence you can as choice (like motorcycles) is freedom!


For a more detailed guide to starting your motorcycle journey, read our beginner's guide here.


Pop in your postcode and we'll book you in with a trusted local motorcycle training provider.


This information is given to you as a guide to support you in your choice of licence and RideTo has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided about motorcycle licence and training requirements. However, RideTo cannot guarantee the information is up to date, correct and complete and is therefore provided on an "as is" basis only. RideTo accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage howsoever arising. We recommend that you verify the current licence and training requirements by checking the DVSA website.