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Learning to ride a motorbike

Learning to ride a motorbike is one of those things that many people wish to do but never get around to it. Often, people are put off by the complexity of modern motorbike licensing rules, which involves sitting several tests and restricts you to certain bikes depending on age and experience. However, nothing offers as much freedom as taking to the open road on a bike, and for those that want to learn, here’s what you need to know.

Bike categories

Bikes fall into three main categories: mopeds, light bikes and standard bikes. Bike specialists such as have a full range of all categories of bike, so finding the right bike for you isn’t hard.


Mopeds are defined as bikes that have an engine no larger than 50cc, don’t exceed 50 kph and weigh less than 250 kg. If you passed a car driving test earlier than February 2001, you can ride a moped without L-plates. Other users will need them and will be required to pass Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) before going out on the road. However, you can ride a moped at just 16 years of age.

Light bikes

Light bikes, often referred to as learner bikes, can be ridden once you pass 17 years of age. These have an engine no larger than 125cc. You need a provisional licence and L-plates to learn on a light bike, plus you need to pass your CBT.

Standard bikes

Standard bikes can only be ridden once you have passed your CBT and a theory test. These range from 125cc to over 1000cc. You must use L-plates until you pass your practical road test, after which you may find you are restricted to the size of bike you can ride. However, if you pass an Accredited Access course you can move on to any sized bike you like.


Bike tests

Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) is required to ride all motorbikes and is a basic course designed to ensure you can start, stop and steer a bike. Before you can ride a bike on the road alone, you need to pass the CBT. Once you have obtained your CBT certificate, you can ride alone on the roads, but you must affix L-plates to the bike. Only after passing a theory test, and then a full practical road test, will you become a fully qualified motorbike rider.

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