There are different levels of motorcycle licence and it can be a bit daunting to know which is right for you when first looking. The key difference is the power of bike each licence allows you to ride, here’s a brief breakdown of each kind:
Everyone needs a provisional licence before they can begin their bike 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 direct gov 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. The provisional motorcycle licence differs from a car provisional, as it does not enable you to start lessons or ride a bike. You must first take a CBT training.
CBT stands for ‘compulsory basic training’. You must do your CBT training before you can begin motorcycle lessons or ride with L plates. The CBT training 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 training is not pass or fail, but you must demonstrate understanding and responsibility. As soon as you have completed your CBT training, the motorcycle entitlement on your licence will be activated and you’ll be able to begin driving on L plates and having lessons. Whilst you’re able to ride on L plates with a CBT training, you are restricted to the power of the bike, types of roads you can ride on, and you cannot carry passengers.
Different types of licences.
A1 Licence (also known as restricted licence)
You can get this from the age of 17, it doesn’t lift many of the restrictions from the CBT, but you must sit your theory, mod 1 and mod 1 on an A1 bike. You are restricted from the type of bike you can ride though, and many people chose to stay on a CPT until they are able to get their 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 theory, mod 1 and mod 2 on an A2 compliant bike, but you're still can’t ride the big bikes. Fortunately, after 2 years on an A2 licence, you can retake your training and upgrade your licence to a full A licence. Which 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. 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.