Left arrow

back to the blog

Learn to Ride a Motorbike in 2019


James F · September 26, 2019

Learning to ride a motorcycle is one of the most enjoyable and exhilarating experiences, whether you have dreamt of riding on two wheels since you were 5 years old or you need a vehicle for inner-city riding. We at RideTo the UK’s #1 motorcycle training platform, are here to help with all the steps to learn to ride a motorbike.

  1. Get the correct licence
  2. Purchase the correct motorcycle training
  3. Take your Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)
  4. Purchase a learner legal motorbike (125 or less)
  5. Insure your bike
  6. Take further training / Full Licence Training

The correct licence for learning to ride a motorcycle in the UK

The first step to getting on two wheels is to ensure that you have the correct licence. To learn to ride a motorcycle in the UK you need one of the following; UK provisional licence, UK full driving licence or EU licence (with UK counterpart licence).

Apply for a provisional licence

Apply for D9 counterpart licence

Purchasing the correct motorcycle training

When learning to ride a motorcycle you need to purchase the right training. There are two certifications for bike licences; CBT and Full Licence. The CBT certificate allows you to ride up to a 125cc motorcycle or less and a full motorcycle licence that takes the CBT restrictions away (depending on age).

Before taking your CBT Training you can take an Introductory to Motorcycling (ITM) course, this gives you a 2-4 hour taster session to prepare you for CBT Training.

The CBT standing for compulsory basic training is mandatory for any rider learning to ride in the UK. The one exception is if you passed your driving licence before 1st February 2001 in which case you can ride up to a 50cc moped.

If you have succeeded in your CBT and are looking to take your full licence training then you can do so as long as your CBT is valid and you also have taken and passed your theory certificate. This theory is a different test to a car driving theory exam.

CBT certificates and theory certificates are valid for 2 years. If you have a valid theory and CBT you can take full licence training.

Finding the right training is important, you have to consider location, price and quality. Prices of CBT’s range from £95 to £170 in the UK and this range depends on the instructors premises and equipment costs. At RideTo we personally visit every training location to ensure the highest quality training for our riders.

If after some research you find training that is lower than this range and it seems too good to be true, it probably is, watch out for additional costs and charges such as bike hire, insurance and equipment. Every RideTo price includes everything you need; bike and helmet hire, insurance and instructor fees.


Taking your Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)

The CBT is a 1 day course that typically takes between 6-8 hours. The day consists of 5 parts from starting with basic vehicle and eye checks to a 2 hour road ride in the fifth and final part of the day.

Although often referred to as a CBT Test, CBT is in fact training, there is no test involved. The qualified instructor is there to support you throughout the day to get you to a level of confidence and comfortability to ride on your own.

At the end of the day the instructor will issue you with your certificate as long as they believe that you are safe to ride on the UK roads and are no danger to yourself or any other road users. The CBT is designed for no prior experience needed. Sometimes a student may require further training, this is for the safety of the student.

After you have succeeded in learning to ride a motorbike and your CBT Training you will be able to ride up to a 125cc motorcycle or moped if you are 17+. If you are 16 you are restricted to a 50c moped. When you turn 17 you do not have to take further training and you will be able to ride up to a 125cc.

Riding on a CBT requires the rider to always display L plates, to not ride on motorways and not carry passengers. For these restrictions to be lifted, you will need to take further training.

Book CBT

Purchasing a learner legal bike

When learning to ride a motorcycle, the light at the end of the tunnel is your first bike. After your CBT you can ride a 125cc or less motorbike or moped. You will need to consider predominantly price and condition.

For the price, this is up to you, there are plenty of bikes that are under £1000 that will get you from A to B and others that will break down round the first corner. Buying new is the safest option and this mitigates potential problems with the maintenance with guarantees and no existing wear and tear.

Buying new is great, however, the majority purchase second hand used motorcycles, due to the cheaper cost. Purchasing a learner legal bike second hand is a comprehensive process. Firstly research second hand prices online and read bike reviews to ensure its the one that fits your riding style and experience.

Once the research is complete you will go to inspect the bike, we suggest taking a close look for rust damage, scrapes and dents, the tyres, leaks and smoke, the chain for slack and the ride (engine and brakes). Finally and most importantly, make sure the documents are in order and get the vehicles history checked.

We have put together our 15 favourite bikes to be riding after CBT training in 2019 and also if you are looking for an environmentally friendly alternative, the top electric bikes to be riding this year.

Insuring your motorbike

For the beginner rider, insurance can be a larger expense than the motorcycle itself. The same as learning to drive a car, insurers charge a large amount for inexperienced riders.

The best way to keep insurance as low as possible is to avoid powerful super-bikes, modified bikes, paying your insurance monthly and by purchasing a low insurance group bike. For more tips go to our top 10 things to consider before buying motorcycle insurance article.

One of the mandatory questions asked by insurers is where the vehicle will be parked overnight etc. Having secure parking or at least a driveway will significantly decrease costs of your insurance, especially compared to road parking.

Keeping your motorcycle safe makes a huge difference to your back pocket and keeping your insurance low, consider taking a look at the top tips to keeping your motorcycle safe.

Finally, when insuring your bike you will need to have a valid CBT so ensure you keep the certificate safe.

Compare Motorcycle Insurance RideTo

Further Training & Full Licence Training

If your riding ambition when setting out to learn to ride a motorbike was to ride a 500cc motorbike, Harley cruiser or go round the world on an adventure bike then you will need to take your full licence training.

To take your full licence you will need to have a valid CBT and valid theory test certificate, both expire after 2 years (Article: Taking Your Theory Test).

There is no requirement to wait an amount of time between your CBT Training and your full licence training. It is recommendable to gain riding skills on a less powerful engine before going to an unrestricted licence.

There are 4 different types of full licences that you can gain depending on your age. These limit the size of engine you can ride with all licences removing the restrictions of a CBT (L plates, riding on motorways and carrying a pillion passenger)

The different licences are as follows:

  • AM Licence - 16 years old - restricted to a 50cc moped
  • A1 Licence - 17-18 years old - restricted to up to a 125cc motorbike or scooter
  • A2 Licence - 19-23 years old - restricted to up to a 35kW motorbike or scooter
  • A Licence - 24+ years old - no restriction

Full licence training can range between £700-£1500 depending on your experience level and how much training you will need. Full Licence training typically takes between 4-7 days, that can be split over a number of weeks.

If you are looking to get you full motorcycle licence we recommend getting in touch so we can help you make the best decision suited to you.

Full 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.