UK motorcycle licence options explained


Let’s start at the very beginning…

If you’re thinking of learning how to ride a motorcycle, the very first step is to obtain a provisional driving license – if you haven’t got one already.

A provisional driving license is essential as you won’t be able to take your Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) without one. But don’t panic, getting your mitts on one isn’t hard. They can be purchased on the Government website and cost £34 if you apply online, or £43 is you apply by post.


Once you’ve sent it off, you should then receive an envelope containing the license. Ensure that you keep it somewhere safe and secure

What motorcycles can I ride?

Unfortunately, due to recent changes in the rules and regulations, people are finding themselves confused at all the age and bhp restrictions now in force when it comes to getting your hands on a motorcycle licence.

At age 16 you can take your CBT, but you’re limited to a scooter, as opposed to a geared motorcycle. You cannot get a full motorcycle license at 16 years old, but you can ride a scooter on the road if you have a provisional driving license, a valid CBT certificate and L-plates on your machine.


At 17 you can take your CBT on a 125cc geared motorcycle and, if you want to take your riding further, you can go for your A1 licence. You have to be 17 years old or over to undertake the tests to get your A1 licence and you must have a provisional driving licence, a valid CBT certificate and you need to have passed your theory test.

The theory test only costs £25 to take, but you’ll have to pay the same price again if you are unsuccessful the first time round, so revise hard if you don’t want to take it twice!

You’ll then take your two practical tests, the Module 1 and the Module 2. If you pass, you will legally be allowed to ride motorcycles up to 11Kw (14.8bhp) and a power-to-weight ratio that does not exceed 0.1kW (0.13bhp) per kg – these are usually 125cc motorcycles.


At age 19 you’re able to get your A2 licence. If you’re 19 years old and haven’t done your A1, don’t fret – you can skip a step and go straight for your A2. You’ll need the same little cluster of information as before (provisional license, valid CBT certificate, passed theory test), but once you complete your Module 1 and Module 2 you will legally be allowed to ride motorcycles up to 35kW (46.9bhp) – with a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.2kW (0.27bhp) per kg. This can include restricted motorcycles – i.e bigger bikes that have been fitted with restrictor kits – but the bike mustn’t be derived from a vehicle more than twice its power – I.e. the original bike must not produce more than 70kW (93.9bhp).

At age 21 you’re able to get your full unrestricted licence – if you’ve held your A2 licence for two years or more. Alternatively, if you’re 24 you can go for ‘Direct Access’ which gives you a full licence straight away. You’ll need to pass your CBT, theory test, module one and module two test.