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Matt D · May 02, 2017
Our Top Motorcycle FAQs
Being a beginner rider and getting your motorcycle licence is an exciting but sometimes confusing process. The facts are rarely laid out for you and it can sometimes feel like a barrier to getting started. Below are some of the top questions we hear from customers. Have a look and feel free to chat with us if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for!
I’M NOT GOOD ON A BICYCLE, WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE?
Most people aren’t inherently bad at cycling they just haven’t picked it up as quickly and easily as others. If you want to improve your skills, it’s the same as anything, spend time on it. Stopping and starting and balance are all very similar so the more confident you are on the bicycle the easier you will find it to transfer these skills onto a motorcycle. Don’t beat yourself up about it if you aren’t great at first, the best thing you can do is stay positive and keep practising! Once you get your confidence at riding a bicycle, then you can look to progress to a scooter or motorcycle licence, but make sure you nail this first.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVEN'T RIDDEN A MOTORCYCLE OR SCOOTER BEFORE?
You will be taught thoroughly throughout your CBT (Compulsory Basic Training). However it is a good idea to get as much preparation in beforehand as you can.
It's worth making sure you have a good idea of what you’ll have to do during your CBT, something we’ve covered here.Then get some practice in by trying out some of the exercises on a bicycle.
It’s also worth having a brush up on your highway code too. Then you can book your CBT! The Partner Schools we have are reliable and knowledgeable and will help you every step of the way.
If you’re expecting to complete your CBT in one day and haven't ridden before we’d suggest taking the CBT on an automatic scooter. If you wish to learn to ride a manual motorcycle, most schools offer follow on specific gear conversions courses to learn the art of riding a manual bike.
WHERE CAN I TAKE MY CBT TRAINING?
You must learn to ride at an Approved Training Body (ATB). These are registered motorcycle schools who meet the required standard set by the DVSA. These schools provide off-road training facilities for student to learn to ride in a safe environment. The schools we feature on RideTo.com all meet and exceed these required standards.
HOW DO I BOOK MY CBT?
You’ve come to the right place! All our schools are pre-vetted before joining our website and we’re growing all the time. Just enter your postcode to see if we’re in your area and we’ll get you booked in with your nearest motorcycle school.
HOW MUCH IS A CBT?
It varies on location and whether it’s a weekday or weekend, typically a CBT at a reputable school will cost £100 - £130 with bike and helmet hire included.
DO I NEED TO TAKE A THEORY TEST BEFORE DOING MY CBT?
In short, no. The CBT passes you as a learner for 2 years, you don’t need to pass a theory test. However you will have to pass one if you wish to progress to a full motorcycle licence. We would however recommend you brush up on your highway code! Here are some basic videos that are worth a look..
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO I NEED TO BOOK MY CBT?
This depends on the area and time of year, as we offer a lot of choice we can often book a student into training at a day’s notice if you’re happy to travel. However 7 - 10 days notice will ensure you can choose the best time and location for you.
WHAT PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE DO I NEED TO PASS MY CBT TRAINING?
Because it is compulsory basic training, you are not expected to be an expert. It is CBT training, not a CBT test. However, there are at least 2 areas you need experience in:
Be able to ride a bicycle - We would highly recommend that you can at least ride a bicycle before booking in your CBT training. Being able to ride a bicycle will give you a good idea of how a motorcycle moves. You will understand the balance needed to be on two wheels and how to manoeuvre a two wheeled vehicle. If you can't currently ride a bicycle. we highly recommend you learn to do this first.
Understand the highway code - As part of CBT training you'll spend time learning about riding and road safety theory including the highway code. However, to take this all in and apply it successfully on the day to demonstrate you're safe to ride on the road, you'll need to have a basic understanding of the rules of the road. Brush up on your knowledge with our Pre-CBT online course below.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVEN’T RIDDEN A MOTORCYCLE AT ALL BEFORE?
You will be taught thoroughly throughout your CBT (Compulsory Basic Training). However it is a good idea to get as much preparation in beforehand as you can. It's worth making sure you have a good idea of what you’ll have to do during your CBT, something we’ve covered here. Then get some practice in by trying out some of the exercises on a bicycle. It’s also worth having a brush up on your highway code too. Then you can book your CBT! The Partner Schools we have are reliable and knowledgeable and will help you every step of the way. If you’re expecting to complete your CBT in one day and haven't ridden before we’d suggest taking the CBT on an automatic scooter. If you wish to learn to ride a manual motorcycle, most schools offer follow on specific gear conversions courses to learn the art of riding a manual bike.
DO I NEED A CBT LICENCE?
If you wish to ride a motorcycle, moped or scooter on the road, yes. Unless you obtained your UK driving licence before 1st February 2001, in which case you can ride a 50cc moped.
HOW LONG IS THE CBT VALID FOR?
The CBT certificate is valid for 2 years. If you don't move on to a full licence you will have to renew your CBT every 2 years.
WHAT MOTORCYCLE CAN I RIDE WITH A UK LICENCE?
This is another common question. In short, it will depend on when you passed your test. So the dates matter! Here’s the breakdown below:
Car driving test passed on or after 1 February 2001: Unfortunately this won’t help you with bypassing any tests. You will have to complete the CBT in order to ride a bike. But on the plus side, you’re starting in a really strong position! You have a good understanding of the road and of driving theory. You should be able to pick things up quicker as you already know the basics.
Car driving test passed before 1 February 2001: Lucky you! You’ve got a head start. You can ride a moped (max 50cc) without L plates and take passengers. If you want to upgrade to a 125cc however you’ll have to take a CBT and will then need to display L plate and will no longer be able to take passengers. We would always recommend the CBT, it gives you a good understanding, a reminder of all theory and just as importantly, the confidence to get on a bike!
I WANT TO RIDE A LARGE BIKE WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
Ultimately you will need a full (A) motorcycle licence. So there are a few steps to take here. Here’s what you’ll have to do:
- You must be over 24 years of age. You can do a restricted licence from 19 - Check our guide here.
- Have a provisional licence showing Category A.
- Take the theory test. We’ve covered what you can expect from that here.
- You will also need to take your CBT.
Once all the above is done - You can take your Motorcycle Practical Tests. There are 2 modules to this and it has to be taken on a motorcycle over 54Bhp or 40kW. You can go straight to full motorcycle licence by taking a Direct Access Course (DAS) which includes the training and tests for CBT, Module 1 and Module 2. You'll need to take and pass the theory test before your module 1 and 2 tests.
WHERE DO I START WITH GETTING A MOTORCYCLE LICENCE?
The very first thing you should do is get hold of a provisional driver’s licence, if you don’t have a full driving licence or provisional already. Make sure to check you have category A entitlement if you have a licence of any kind. This is visible on the back of the licence itself. To apply, go to the government website here. Next up you can book your CBT through our website here!
THE CBT TRAINING COURSE
CAN I USE MY OWN MOTORCYCLE DURING THE CBT?
Yes that’s fine. However you cannot ride it to a school unless you have a CBT already, it must be fully insured, taxed and have a valid MOT.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO IN A CBT?
There are 5 main parts to a CBT. These involve a mix of both theory and practical lessons and both on and off road. We have written a full article on the 5 parts to a CBT here
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T GET THE CERTIFICATE ON THE FIRST DAY?
It’s no problem. This may happen if your instructor feels they cannot safely let you on the road. However you can re-book another day’s training whenever suits, it’s not a test! The CBT is there to make sure that you are competent enough to ride unaccompanied on the roads. So once you have demonstrated this, the instructor will give you the nod. Just keep learning and paying attention and you’ll get there.
CAN YOU FAIL A CBT?
As mentioned, it’s not technically a test, however an instructor will ask you to come back for additional training on another day if they feel you require it.
HOW LONG DOES CBT TRAINING TAKE?
You need to leave an entire day. Typically classes run from 9am to around 4pm. This varies on a lot of factors (other students, weather, road conditions, etc), but expect to spend around 8 hours at the training.
WHEN WILL I PASS MY CBT?
Providing the instructor is happy with your ability at the end of the day, once all elements of the CBT training are complete they will give you your CBT certificate then and there. You can now legally ride on the road.
IS THE CBT A GUARANTEED PASS?
No, CBT stands for Compulsory Basic Training and takes along as required to ensure you're safe to ride on the roads. Most people can complete the course in 1 day of training however it's not uncommon for the instructor to ask you to return (at a discounted rate) for additional training.
WHAT CAN I RIDE
WHAT CAN I RIDE ONCE I COMPLETE THE CBT?
This will depend on your age. If you are 16 you will be restricted to a 50CC moped. If you are aged 17 or older you can ride a light motorcycle up to 125CC. Check our favourite 50CC and 125CC motorbikes you can ride on a CBT here.
WHAT CAN I RIDE IF I HAVE A FULL CAR LICENCE?
This will depend on when you passed your driving test:
If you passed your driving licence before 1st February 2001, you can ride a 50CC moped without L plates, without the need to take a CBT. You can also take a pillion passenger (but be careful up hills with the extra weight). However if you want to ride a 125CC you will have to take your CBT.
If you passed your driving test after the 1st February 2001 a CBT will be required before you can ride any scooter or motorbike.
I TOOK MY CBT ON A 50CC MOPED WHEN I WAS 16 YEARS OLD. NOW I’M 17, CAN I RIDE A 125CC MOTORCYCLE?
Providing your licence shows category A, you can move onto the 125cc. Check our favourite choices before buying!
CAN I RIDE ANYTHING BIGGER THAN A 50CC WHILST I’M STILL 16?
Unfortunately not. However you can take the full licence route to get an AM licence. This will allow you to take passengers and ride without L plates. You will have to take a theory and both practical tests to do this.
CAN I CARRY PILLION PASSENGERS AFTER COMPLETING A CBT?
No. In order to carry a pillion passenger you need to get either an AM, A1, A2 or A licence by taking a theory and both modules of the practical test. All of these we have covered in detail here.
CAN I RIDE ON MOTORWAYS AFTER TAKING MY CBT?
No. You can only do this once you’ve attained your full licence.
DO I NEED TO DISPLAY LEARNER PLATES AFTER PASSING MY CBT?
Yes. Unless you have a full car licence issued before 1st February 2001 and your riding a 50cc moped.
CAN YOU RIDE ON A DUAL CARRIAGEWAY WITH A CBT LICENCE?
Yes you can.
DO I NEED A CBT TO RIDE AN E-BIKE?
If it has an electric motor no more powerful than 250 Watts then no. It should also not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph. Any electric bicycle which exceeds these rules is classed as scooter or motorcycle and you therefore would need a CBT.
DO I NEED A CBT TO RIDE AN ELECTRIC SCOOTER?
Yes. You need a CBT to ride any 2 wheel vehicle with a motor over 250 Watts, classed as a scooter, moped or motorcycle.
WHAT SIZED ELECTRIC SCOOTER CAN I RIDE ON A CBT?
The equivalent of a 125cc engine if you are 17 or older, which is no more than 11Kw of power.
There's our list of some of the questions we often get asked, we’re constantly updating and adding in new questions, but we're all ears. If there's anything you still need help with or want us to add, just drop us a message.