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A1 Motorcycle Licence: Requirements & How to Get It


Olivia C · May 29, 2024

Key Highlights

  • The A1 motorcycle licence is available to riders aged 17 or above, who want to ride a scooter or motorbike with a maximum engine size of 125cc.
  • It’s considered as a "permanent CBT" with the added privileges of using motorways, carrying pillion passengers and riding without L-plates
  • To get the A1 licence, you need a valid driving licence (provisional category A), a CBT certificate, a valid motorcycle theory pass certificate, and to pass the A1 assessment day.
  • Upgrading to higher licence categories such as A2 or A licence is possible after turning 19 years old.


The A1 motorcycle licence is a popular choice for individuals who want to ride a scooter or motorbike with 125cc engines or less. It’s available to riders aged 17 and up, and can be a good transition from the CBT licence. Getting an A1 licence does require some preparation and other licences prior to booking the assessment in. We’ll go over A1 motorcycle licence in detail, including what it is, its benefits, and the steps involved in obtaining it.

Preparing for Your A1 Licence

Before you can begin training for your A1 licence, you’ll need to meet certain requirements and to obtain certain documents.

Necessary Documents

The documents needed to complete the A1 Light Motorcycle Course are:

  • Driving Licence: You must have a valid driving licence. This can be a provisional UK licence, a full UK driving licence, or an EU driving licence.
  • CBT Licence: You’ll need a valid CBT certificate, so book your CBT training if you don’t have your licence yet.
  • Motorcycle Theory Test Certificate: You’ll need to have passed the motorcycle theory test before booking onto your A1 test, so be sure to prepare with the DVSA theory test book and book in your theory test on the Gov.uk website.

What You Can Ride on an A1 Licence

There are limits on what you can ride on an A1 licence, so you’ll need to consider this when picking a bike to ride.

Power limitations on your A1 bike:

  • Engine: Your engine must not have a capacity above 125cc.
  • Speed: The bike will need to be able to run at at least (55 mph) to meet the A1 licence requirements.
  • Power: The maximum power output can be no more than 11kw (14.6bhp).

If you’re 17 or over, the power limitations will be the same as on a CBT, so you can practise on your own bike and ride it to the test centre. Plus you may feel more comfortable taking your A1 assessment on a familiar bike. But, you will need L plates on until you’ve passed. Instructors will also provide bikes so if you don’t have a bike yet, no problem, you’ll be provided with one on the day.

How to Get Your A1 Motorcycle Licence

Step 1: Completing the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)

The first step to getting your A1 licence is completing the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course.

CBT training is essential for all new riders and provides the foundational skills and knowledge required for riding a motorcycle safely. The CBT course consists of both theory and practical components and covers topics such as road safety, basic motorcycle controls, and hazard perception. 

Need more information on CBT courses? We cover what a CBT test is and what to expect in our article.

Once you’ve completed the CBT course, you’ll be given a CBT certificate, which is valid for two years. You can’t book your M1 course until you’ve got a CBT, so make sure it’s valid and up to date.

Step 2: Passing the Motorcycle Theory Test

The second step in obtaining your A1 licence is preparing for the motorcycle theory test. This test assesses your knowledge of the rules of the road, traffic signs, and general road safety principles.

It’s really important to study the Highway Code to ensure you are well-prepped for the theory test. Familiarise yourself with the test format and practice answering sample questions to help your chances of success. You can also buy the motorcycle theory test book, the only official expert revision guide from the DVSA.

You’ll need to have your motorcycle theory test certificate before booking your practical A1 Motorcycle test, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to pass the theory before then.

Don’t know what to expect from a theory exam? We lay out what you need to know about the motorcycle theory test in our guide.

Step 3: Booking Your A1 Licence Test

With your CBT and motorcycle theory under your belt, now you can book your A1 test!

RideTo has a multitude of schools offering A1 courses, check out the schools nearest you offering A1 licence assessments with our search tool. Simply select A1 licence type when you’ve selected a location.

The test day will be made up of tests Mod 1 and 2, the same as if you were going for a full motorcycle licence. The only difference will be the size of the bike you do your test on. A1 riders have to complete the test on a 120-125cc motorcycle capable of 55mph or above, that produces up to 11kW of engine power. 

  • Module 1: This module focuses on off-road manoeuvres, including controlled stops, slalom, figure of eight, and a slow ride. It also includes a U-turn and an emergency stop. You’ll do this module at the training centre, around cones. The manoeuvres assess your control and handling skills. The test will last around 20 minutes.
  • Module 2: This module will take place out on the roads. You’ll be riding on the streets followed by a DVSA examiner, for around 35 minutes. It includes normal stops, hill starts, and independent riding. 10 minutes of this will just be  independent riding, i.e. not instructed on what directions to take by the examiner. You’ll likely be told to follow road signs to a specific destination, in order to test your ability to multitask while keeping safe.

You can read more about the Mod 1 and Mod 2 motorcycle tests in our post of passing the full motorcycle tests.

After Obtaining Your A1 Licence

Congratulations, you’ve got your A1 licence! You can enjoy the privileges and benefits that come with it. 

But, it’s important to be aware of restrictions that apply to your licence, and the opportunities for upgrading to higher licence categories, if you’d like to. 

Restrictions and Benefits of the A1 Licence

As mentioned, the A1 licence comes with more restrictions than a full A licence, but more freedoms than a CBT licence. These include:

  • Maximum Engine Size: You are limited to riding motorcycles with a maximum engine size of 125cc, not more than 14.7bhp, the same as if you were 17+ years old on a CBT licence.
  • Pillion Passenger: Unlike with a CBT, you can now carry a pillion passenger on your motorcycle!
  • L-Plates: Are no longer needed.
  • Riding motorways: You are now legally allowed to ride on motorways with your 125cc bike, however given that this is a light vehicle category it’s not recommended you do this….

Upgrading to Higher Licence Categories

There are a few ways riders can get their motorcycle licence, whether they have an A1 licence or not. You may find that your A1 licence is too restricting, and you want to upgrade your licence to open up your options. The upgrading process can seem confusing, but there are two common routes.

Direct Access (DAS)

This route allows you to upgrade directly to a full, unrestricted A licence, without needing to have held your A1 for 2 years. The process will be different depending on your age.

  • Upgrading from A1 to DAS (under 24 years old): If you’re under 24 years old, then you have to either wait until you turn 24 or go for the A2 test and hold the A2 restricted licence for 2 years before taking the DAS test.
  • Upgrading from A1 to DAS (over 24 years old): If you’ve held an A1 motorcycle licence for 2 years, then you can only upgrade to DAS if you satisfy the minimum age requirement (24 years old). Your motorcycle theory test must still be valid. If your motorcycle theory certificate has expired, then you’ll either need to re-take the motorcycle theory test.

Progressive Access

This route involves progressing through different licence categories over time, starting with the A1 licence. You’d progress like so:

A1 (hold licence for 2 years) >  A2 (hold licence for 2 years) > A (unrestricted licence). 

You’d only really need to do this if you’re under 24 years old, but there is nothing stopping you from going this route if you would prefer it.

It’s essentially the same process each step, as the Mod 1 and 2 are the same for all these licences, the only difference is taking the test on the next engine size up motorbike. There may also be price differences between the course depending on which licence you’re upgrading.

Not sure what route to take to upgrading your licence?  We’ll get you the right training for your riding ambitions with a few questions.

Can I skip an A1 licence?

Yes, you can skip any of the licence levels, except for the CBT certificate, so long as you meet the age requirements. 

If you’re over 24, once you’ve got your CBT you can take a DAS course and go straight to a full licence. Or, if you’re 19 or older you may opt to go straight from your CBT licence to an A2 licence via a DAS course.

If you’re not sure what route is best for you, feel free to contact us on our live chat and we’ll gladly advise you and get you booked in as soon as possible.


Absolutely consider an A1 licence if you’ve got a CBT under your belt and you're looking for a gentle introduction to the world of motorbikes. An A1 motorcycle licence can be a good choice for riders who don’t want to ride big bikes, and aren’t keen on the idea of re-taking their CBT every 2 years. It can be seen as a bit of a pointless licence level by some, but if you only want a 125cc ‘light’ bike to commute and occasionally take a passenger for short distances, an A1 gives you more road experience without an expiry date. An A1 licence can also potentially offer a lower cost motorcycle insurance over a CBT.


Frequently Asked Questions

Should I bother with an A1 licence, or should I go straight to an A2 or DAS?

There are pros and cons to whatever route you decide to take, and the right path will depend on your age, and preferences. An A1 course will include Mod 1 and 2 tests, so as a younger or less experienced rider having an A1 licence rather than just a CBT will mean you are a much better, safer rider. You also won’t have to keep taking your CBT every 2 years, or need L-plates. 

It can be seen as a bit of a pointless licence level by some, but if you only want to use your bike to commute and occasionally take a passenger for short distances, it can be a good option. Some would argue that progressing from an A1, then A2, then A is a waste of money as you’re repeating the same tests every 2 years. But, you may never feel a need to upgrade your licence - it all depends on your circumstances.

How long does it take to get an A1 motorcycle licence?

The time it takes to obtain an A1 motorcycle licence can vary depending on factors such as the individual's previous experience and availability for training and tests. Generally, it can take several weeks to a few months to complete the necessary training and pass the required tests.

How much does an A1 licence cost?

The costs involved in obtaining an A1 licence can vary depending on factors such as the training school, test centre location, and the number of attempts required to pass the tests. Typically, the costs include training course fees, test fees, and any additional fees for equipment or resits.

Can I do my A1 without a CBT?

No, the CBT certificate is a prerequisite for obtaining an A1 licence. The CBT training provides the foundational skills and knowledge required for riding a motorcycle. Without a valid CBT certificate, you can’t get your A1 licence.

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.