Do you have your UK motorbike licence? If not, we're here to tell you how to pass the full UK motorcycle licence test and become a legal rider.
In a nutshell, the first step is to book an appointment with your local DSA centre.
Once there, head up to the booking desk and let them know that you are there for a theory session.
You will then be sent through for your theory lesson where they'll teach you about road safety, bike maintenance, and much more.
After this, it's time for the practical exam which involves showing off your riding skills on a closed course before taking another written exam.
Obtaining a category A UK motorcycle licence opens the door to one of the most liberating experiences but acquiring this type of licence can be off putting.
Latest news: As of December 2018 DVSA has changed the classification of what constitutes a C1 vehicle in order to ride it and take your test on, making them a motorcycle with 67.1bhp or more, maximum weight 180kg.
The first steps to getting your UK motorbike licence – CBT course
To ride a motorcycle legally on the road, you'll need two documents - a provisional motorcycle licence and Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) certificate. These qualifications will allow you to operate a 125cc or less motorcycle with 14.8bhp (11kw) of power and display L-plates when on the road.
A provisional driving licence is granted to applicants who fill in an application form at a post office or online. You must be at least 17 years old to get a full British motorcycle license. At 16 years old you can get a British moped license, defined as having an engine of no more than 50cc and a top speed no greater than 30mph.
You already have provisional motorcycle entitlement if you have a full car licence.
It is advisable to check your licence and make sure that it has lifetime entitlement for vehicle category (A) before taking a moped out on the road. If you have obtained a full car licence in the past, you need no further certification and can operate (A).
However, if you want to ride a motorcycle on the road after completion of your CBT course, you will need to take some additional courses and tests.
The course generally includes practical training at the ATB motorcycle training centre and on the side of the road.
It costs £100-£135 and most ATBs provide motorcycles and helmets for use during the course. On completion of this course, you’ll be issued a CBT certificate that is valid for two years.
The next step in the process is to pass the theory test.
Getting a full bike licence by passing the motorcycle practical test – mod 1 and mod 2
To pass your full UK motorbike licence you need to take two theory and practical riding tests that each require you to have a mod 1 and mod 2.
If you're over 24, you may be able to skip certain parts of the process known as 'staged access' and go straight to your full UK motorbike licence.
If you're 17-18 years of age, you can take the theory and practical test for a full motorcycle licence, which will enable you to ride on the motorway without being limited by L-plates.
You will only receive a motorcycle A1 license which means you can only drive 125cc motorcycles.
Alternatively, you can take a CBT on motorbikes up until your 19th birthday and then take a two-part practical test to qualify for an A2 licence.
You will not be allowed to exceed a power-to-weight ratio of 47bhp (35kw) per 0.26bhp per kilogram (0.2kw/kg).
After two years as an A2 licence holder, you can take a practical test to pass your full UK motorbike licence. The minimum age requirement for unlimited bike qualifications is 21 years, as long as the person has the relevant experience.
Alternatively, if you are 24 or over and have already passed your car driving test, then you can take one theory and practical motorbike licence exam. The UK driving theory test involves multiple-choice questions and a hazard awareness exam using video clips. Both parts are taken on a computer, which you must pay £23 for.
The UK motorcycle licence process consists of two modules. In module one, a manoeuvres test must be passed at a centre and in module two, an on-road exam for motorcycles is taken.
Both modules must be completed within 2 years of the theory test is passed in order to become fully licensed.
Here's what to expect from a Mod 1 practical test on your motorcycle
- Riding the bike and balancing it on its stand
- In order to receive your UK motorcycle license, you’ll have to take a slalom and figure of eight course.
- It's a slow ride.
- A U-turn.
- Controlled stop and cornering.
- The learner will be taught how to corner and perform an emergency stop.
- Cornering and hazard avoidance, during which you must be riding at a minimum speed of 19 mph or higher.
Once you complete your test, the examiner will provide feedback on how well you performed.
They may note if your performance involved any dangerous, serious or riding faults; they'll also give a general opinion and mention any weakness that should be addressed before taking the test again.
To pass Module one, you must have no serious or dangerous faults and less than five riding faults.
If you pass, the examiner will tell you what mistakes you made and give you a certificate. You will need to take this with you to your Module 2 test.If you fail your Module 1 test, you will need to rebook your test and pay again. You'll be required to wait at least three working days from the date of your failure before retaking it.
If you have already booked your M2 you may need to reschedule now and be aware that if you do not give three full days’ notice, then you will lose the fee.
More than half the people who apply to take the motorcycle driving test fail it. While there is no set-in-stone training method that guarantees you will pass your UK Motorbike License, we do recommend specialist motorcycle training.
In particular, the U-turn, slalom, and figure-of-eights can cause issues if you've not learnt slow riding correctly.
This part of the test is a fair bit more challenging than what you'll do on the CBT, so it's worth spending some time on.
What to expect from Mod 2 practical motorcycle test
Module 2 of the UK motorcycle licence qualification includes more complex manoeuvres. It lasts around an hour and starts with an eye test. – you’ll need to prove you can read a standard number plate from 20.5 meters away (or 20 meters if it’s a new-style number plate), as will have been checked when you did your CBT.
You’ll then be set with a number of questions about motorcycle maintenance and safety.
Following the theory section, you will drive for about 30 minutes with a range of situations.
The exam is conducted in contact with your instructor via radio waves. You will be graded on the ability to follow instructions and/or road signs over a 10-minute period independently from your tutor.
At all other times, the instructor will tell you which direction to go, and don’t worry if you make a wrong turn – this is not a test of your navigational skills, it’s more about how well you ride.
There will be two different fees for the Mod 1 and Module 2 of this test. The first is £15.50, and the second is £75 on weekdays or £88.50 for evenings and weekends, bringing the total cost to around £700 for a whole shebang including training
Getting your motorbike licence: A1 and A2 restrictions
There are still steps to take. You can take a motorcycle practical test on an automatic twist-and-go.
If you want to ride a motorcycle with gears, it means taking your test on a manual geared bike.
Motorbike licences can be attained by training on three different sub-categories of bikes, and you must use the same type of bike for both modules of your test.
A practical test is taken on sub-category B1 motorcycle, which is a bike between 120cc and 125cc, and has no more than 15bhp (11kw) and is capable of at least 50mph (80km/h).
These restrictions apply to only small bikes with a maximum engine capacity of 125cc and power output of 15bhp. Examples include the Honda CBR125 and KTM 125 Duke. You’ll be able to use motorways or carry a passenger, and you'll be exempt from wearing L-plates.
To get an A2 licence you’ll need to use a bike that meets the following requirements:
1) The bike must have engine displacement whose numerical value is not less than 395cc, and produces no more than 47bhp (35kw), and has a power-to-weight ratio of no more than 0.26 bhp.
A list of bikes that satisfies strict UK bike regulations is the Yamaha MT-03 or KTM 390 Duke but many bikes with ample engine size to satisfy those criteria have to be set into subcategories A2, including the Kawasaki ER-6F and Suzuki GSX650F.
If restricted, the normal power can't be more than double its new restricted power.
In order to complete a full UK motorbike licence on an A2-restricted motorcycle, you will need to bring proof of your restriction.
Proof of ownership from the main dealer or official importer should include the bike's registration number.
A motorcycle in the unrestricted category must be at least 595cc and supply 54bhp (40kw).
Training for a bike licence
If you are overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of these choices and hurdles, do not worry.
No matter which route you take toget your full UK motorcycle license, you will need training and a decent school will guide you through the process from start to finish.
Many organisations will provide everything from CBT to a place on the practical test in order to get you your desired bike licence.
Should I do a Direct Access Scheme course?
If you are over 24 with car driving experience and a desire to get your full motorcycle licence, then the Direct Access Scheme might be right for you.
These courses can be as short as four full days and have a cost that might well exceed £1,000.
Before undertaking such a scheme, be sure to shop around and talk to different schools. Of course, you'll want to research customer reviews before making your final decision.
CBT courses are a great way to get started on the road to passing your full UK motorbike licence.
You can take them at home and in your own time, which is perfect for many people who work during normal business hours.
The theory test is taken in advance, so it's not included on the day.
If you don't have a UK driving licence already, make sure to take your passport or identity card with you to prove who you are and show that you're eligible for a provisional motorcycle licence before booking your practical test.
You will need to bring this identification when travelling back from the exam centre too as this is where they'll collect your certificate of successful completion - which we hope will be good news.