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  • Writer's pictureACBT London

Which Motorcycle Licence?

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

Welcome back to our weekly blog about motorcycling and motorcycle training. It has been an exciting week this week at ACBT London as our instructor, Joe, took and passed his DVSA assessment for DAS (Direct Access Scheme). This means that we are now able to also offer the full range of courses for trainees who wish to pass their full test.

With this in mind we thought it would be a good idea to write about the different motorcycle licences that are available to you in the UK and how we at ACBT London Rider Training can help. It is a straight forward process but can be confusing so hopefully this will help to clarify matters and make it easier for you to understand and, therefore, apply for the correct course.

If you still don’t understand how to go about passing your full motorcycle test don’t worry, simply call us and we will be more than happy to help you. Our office telephone number is 0208 331 1103 or we can be reached on mobile 07594 799340. Alternatively please feel free to send us an email via

We asked Joe to write this week’s post, we hope you enjoy reading it.

girl on a harley davidson on a road at sunset
Live the dream!

Where to start

The best place to start is always at the horse’s mouth. In this case, that is the DVSA who govern all aspects of driver and vehicle standards. The examiners are DVSA staff. I often get asked if our instructors complete the test. We don’t, we provide the training, the DVSA carry out the test.

This link to the .gov website has a flowchart that will help to clarify what you need to do at each stage. This link provides further clarification to what is involved at each stage and how it works.

The basic process for passing your motorcycle test in the UK is that you need to pass your motorcycle theory test (including the hazard awareness test), then what is called Module 1 and after success in that you need to pass what is known as Module 2. You may book your theory test here.

If you have taken CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) in the past you will remember that the practical side of the course was divided into two main sections. You completed some exercises on the training area and at the end of the day you had a road ride to practice in live traffic what you had learned.

Think of the training area exercises as Module 1 and think of the road ride as Module 2 for a basic understanding of the principle. On CBT all those elements are completed in one day whereas Module 1 and 2 are separate tests. The test process is the same for all sizes of motorcycle. What changes is the size of motorcycle the test is being taken on and the age of the rider. The graphic below explains that further. Please feel free to download the image if you wish for reference or even to share with someone who you know to be interested.

graphic showing the different types of motorcycle licence in the uk
UK Motorcycle Licences

I you have not taken CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) that is your starting point. This provides you with the grounding you require. Successful completion of this course grants you a two year window in which to pass your motorcycle test. If you pass you don’t need to re-take CBT but if you don’t then you must complete a further CBT course. Your examiner will expect to see an original copy of your in date CBT certificate (DL196). We have a blog post about how to start motorcycling which has more information on CBT, here. We have provided a link at the foot of this post to enable to book your CBT if you wish.

DAS (Direct Access Scheme)

Approximately thirty years ago, as a young lad, I took my motorcycle test on a 125cc motorcycle, a Honda CG125. After being followed by an examiner on the road for something like 45 mins I was asked a few Highway Code questions and that was that. The following day I could have purchased a 1000cc sportsbike but fortunately I had the presence of mind not to. My first “big” bike was a 350cc which later became a 500cc, then a 750cc and so on. I decided to build myself up gradually over the next few years to give my experience, ability and confidence a chance to keep up with the bike upgrades.

Some years after I passed my test I started hearing about DAS and soon found out that legislation had change to stagger the testing process taking into account the rider’s age and limiting the power escalation. I seemed that not everyone had that same presence of mind and many motorcyclists were getting seriously injured.

The DAS scheme then is a process by which a rider can ascend the power and size scale of motorcycles but limited by age. Why? Because statistically people of a certain age are more likely to be road casualties. The scheme also makes it possible for someone to take a test for a given size bike and keep to that. For example, someone who is happy to stay on a 125cc motorcycle but wishes to lose the L plates and maybe carry a pillion can take a specific test for that purpose.

The training process is the same for all sizes of motorcycle and whether they are manual or automatic however, as stated above, what changes is the age and size of machine. The training is designed to ensure the rider reaches both a theoretical and practical standard sufficient to not only pass their test but also to remain a safe rider.

The training may only be completed by an instructor who has attended and passed the DVSA DAS assessment. They are identifiable by being in possession of a blue DVSA instructor badge. Those that are only qualified to complete CBT training are issued with a yellow badge. The instructor should always have this badge on their person. If you have any doubts ask to see it first. It carries an expiry date, the name of the ATB (Authorised Training Body) they work for and a photo. The image and ATB name should match the instructor completing your training and the card should be in date. If not, you should report the matter to the DVSA for investigation.

Your training will be delivered according to DVSA regulations but each instructor will have their own technique and method for doing so. Our training is designed to be tailored to you and to give you the best possible chance of success. If you are new to ACBT London we may ask you to attend a short assessment to enable us to see you on a big bike and to make the best recommendation for your training.

The motorcycles.

There are specific motorcycle requirements for each of the different tests and this link to the DVSA guide explains all in detail. The motorcycle we provide will meet the requirements for the test you will be taking.

If you pass your test on an automatic bike you will only be issued a licence for those bikes. If you pass your test on a manual motorcycle you will have a licence to ride either type.

The theory test

After completing CBT you must pass your motorcycle theory test. You must have passed this before commencing your training. It is possible to book your training in advance but it cannot commence until you have passed your theory test and you are in possession of the relevant certificate.

Your theory test certificate also lasts for two years. You should aim to complete this as soon after your CBT as possible so that both these documents run concurrently to maximise training time as they both last for two years.

The following link to the DVSA site gives you all the information you need about it and the hazard perception test and allows you to find your nearest test centre and make your booking.

What you will need for training

When you attend for training you must bring with you each of the following documents:

- Your driving licence

- Your CBT (DL196) certificate (must be in date).

- Your theory test certificate (must be in date).

What you will need on test day

Each time you attend one of the modules you will be expected to show all your previous certificates. So, when you attend the Module 1 test your examiner will need to see the following:

- Your driving licence

- Your CBT (DL196) certificate (must be in date).

- Your theory test certificate (must be in date).

When you attend for Module 2 your examiner will need to see the following documents:

- Your driving licence

- Your CBT (DL196) certificate (must be in date).

- Your theory test certificate (must be in date).

- Your Module 1 certificate (must be in date).

For both Module 1 and 2 you must attend the test centre with an approved motorcycle safety helmet*, sturdy boots above the ankle, an appropriate jacket, at least denim jeans and motorcycle gloves. We provide all this for you.

*If you are a member of the Sikh faith and wearing a turban you are not required to wear a motorcycle helmet.

How much does it cost?

As the training we at ACBT London provide is tailored to each individual the cost may vary from one trainee to another. Simply give us a call and we will discuss all the available options including payment by instalments.

We hope the above is a useful guide to the different licences and paths available to you. If you any questions at all then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Next week: What makes a good learner bike?

If you wish to book a CBT you may do so here:

Wish to try a motorbike first? Why not book a taster session? Click here.

Gift cards: Give the gift of motorcycling with one of our e-Gift cards. See our website for details.

©️ 2022 ACBT London Rider Training. No part of this article may be reproduced without permission.

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