Different Types of Motorcycle Licenses

There are different levels of motorcyle licences and it can be a bit daunting to know which is right for you when first looking. We have the complete guide for you here.

The key difference in the different motorcycle licenses is the power of bike each licence allows you to ride.

Here’s a brief breakdown of each kind:

Provisional Licence

Everyone needs a provisional licence before they can begin their motorcycle training.

If you have never driven before (so don’t hold a car licence) you’ll need to apply for a provisional licence via the Gov.uk website (at a cost of £34).

If you have a car licence, this usually contains a motorcycle provisional licence – just take a look at the back to check you’re covered.

The provisional motorcycle licence differs from a car provisional licence, as it does not enable you to start lessons to ride a motorcycle, as you must first take Compulsory Basic Training.

What is Compulsory Basic Training?

Compulsory Basic Training is most often referred to as CBT.

You must do your CBT before you can begin motorcycle lessons or ride with L plates on the roads.

The CBT is available to anyone with a provisional licence (or car licence) from the age of 16 and is intended to show you the basics of the bike, such as how to use brakes, gears, turning around etc.

The CBT is not a test that you can pass or fail, as its there to ensure you can ride safely while you learn and practise for your full motorcycle test. It’s really important you demonstrate understanding and responsibility.

As soon as you have completed your CBT, the motorcycle entitlement on your licence will be activated and you’ll be able to begin driving on L plates and having lessons.

While you’re able to ride on L plates with a CBT, you are restricted to:

  • The power of the bike (up to 125cc and with a power output of up to 11kW if you’re 17 or over, or a moped if you’re 16 or over).
  • Types of roads you can ride on.
  • You cannot carry passengers.

It’s worth noting that you could be fined up to £1,000 and get up to 6 penalty points for riding if you don’t have a CBT certificate.

How much is CBT?

CBT can cost around £130, but the price can vary so use Gov.uk to find your nearest training body, and for more information about what’s involved in the CBT itself, read our blog!

Different types of motorcycle licences and categories:

AM Licence

You can be 16 or over for this motorcycle licence but are restricted to:

  • Mopeds with a speed range of 25km/h to 45km/h
  • Small 3-wheelers (up to 50 cc and below 4 kW)
  • Light quadricycles (weighing under 350 kg, top speed 45 km/h)

You must complete CBT, the Theory Test, and a practical test.

Q Licence

This licence is the same as the AM Licence plus 2 or 3-wheeled mopeds with a top speed of 25km/h and is granted with the AM Licence.

A1 Licence (also known as a restricted licence)

You can get this from the age of 17, but you must sit your theory and practical test.

You are restricted from the type of bike you can ride though including:

  • Motorcycles up to 11kW (plus a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.1kW per kg) and 125cc
  • Tricycles with a power output not more than 15kW

A2 Licence

This can be taken from the age of 19 and has some limits on the power of the bike.

The A2 licence consists of passing the theory, and practical on an A2 compliant bike, but you still can’t ride the big bikes (up to 35 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.2 kW per kg).

Fortunately, after 2 years on an A2 licence, you can retake your training and upgrade your licence to a full A licence.

This means if you take your A2 at 19, you could have you’re a licence by the age of 22!!

The A licence

The highest of all bike licences, and the holy grail if you want a big motorcycle!

The A licence can be taken from a direct access route from the age of 24. You are not restricted in size or power of a motorcycle with an A licence.

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