Learning to Ride a Motorbike

Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)

CBT or Compulsory Basic Training for motorcycle riders and moped riders was first introduced in the U.K. in 1991 and is a legal requirement for all learner riders. The CBT certificate is valid for 2 years and will need to be shown to the examiner prior to the practical test of all categories of motorcycles and mopeds.

Who requires a CBT?

  • 16 year olds (up to 50cc bikes only)
  • 17 - 21 year olds (up to 125cc bikes only).
  • 16 year olds must have category P on their Licence to ride a moped.
  • Full CAR licence holders are entitled to ride up to a 50cc bike without undertaking CBT and don't currently have to display L Plates. If they are going to ride anything over the 50cc they must have a have a current and valid CBT certificate.


Within each element of the CBTthe trainer is free to deliver the required training in any order they see fit

How many people will you train with?

During your CBT you might train with other learner riders up to a maximum of:

  • 4 learners to every trainer during on-site elements
  • 2 learners to every trainer during on-road elements

How to find out more about CBT

You can find more detailed advice and information about what to expect during your CBT in the book The official DSA guide to learning to ride.

Direct access scheme

Allows a person over the age of 21 to avoid the two year/25 kiloWatt (kW) restriction by taking a test on a machine of at least 35 kW (46.6 brake horse power)). A test pass will allow you to ride any size of bike. Any instruction given on a machine that exceeds the normal learner motorcycle specification must be supervised at all times by a certified motorcycle instructor who should be in radio contact. You should also wear fluorescent or reflective clothing and follow all other provisional licence restrictions.

Accelerated access

Riders who reach the age of 21, while still within the two year period where they are restricted to maximum 25 kW (33 bhp) machines, but who wish to ride larger bikes need to pass a further test on a motorcycle of at least 35 kW (46.6 bhp). They may practise on bikes over 25 kW (33 bhp) under the same practice conditions for direct access riders.

You will revert to learner status while practising on a motorcycle greater than 25 kW (33 bhp) although test failure will not affect your existing bike licence.

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