Shires Motorcycle Training Ltd

Getting Started

Some helpful information to get you on two wheels

CBT, A1, A2, A & AM Licence Information

If you're new to scooters and motorcycles, the UK laws about what motorcycle test you need to pass in order to ride different motorbikes and scooters can seem complicated. But they're not, so don't worry. Here we will take you through the steps you need to take to get on your way.

Getting Your UK Provisional Motorcycle Licence

To start your journey you need a provisional Category A licence, either included in your full car licence or as part of a provisional licence. If you don't already have a provisional driving licence you can apply online.

Things to do before you can ride

CBT (Compulsory Basic Training)

Compulsory Basic Training or CBT as it is often referred to as, is the first step you need to take in the world of motorcycling.  You can chose to do the CBT course as a 'standalone' activity or it can be the precursor to a longer, more involved Direct Access Course. 

Launched in 1990, the CBT introduces the new rider to five 'elements' designed and delivered to make their riding both safer and more enjoyable. It aims to equip the rider with information thus enabling them to make informed decisions about their new found love, the motorcycle. 

MCIAC instructors have all proved themselves to be highly proficient in delivering CBT instruction. They have all studied the course material and been rigorously examined at the DVSA's training establishment in Cardington, Bedfordshire. 

After a basic eyesight check, Element A is delivered in the classroom. Your instructor will discuss with you the options when choosing a motorcycle helmet, which visor you can and can't use, the different jackets that are available together with options when choosing gloves, trousers, boots and reflective or high visibility clothing. 

Element B is an introduction to the machine you are going to be riding. The instructor will show you where all the controls are and let you familiarise yourself with their operation. You'll be coached on how to take the machine off the stand (both center and side stands) and more importantly, how to get it back on again! The final part of Element B is the starting procedure. Fuel, ignition, gears and then start.

Now the real fun starts! Element C is all about learning new 'motor skills' Under the watchful eye of the instructor, and in a safe environment, with up to three other students (look, you've made three new friends already!), you will have certain skills explained to you, then demonstrated before being encouraged to have a go yourself. 

  • Using the brakes – A useful tool to learn first!
  • Riding in a straight line and stopping - note the 'stopping theme'
  • Riding the machine slowly under control – clutch and throttle balance
  • Riding in a large oval – a bit like lunging a horse
  • Riding in a figure of eight – to practice left and right cornering
  • Changing gear – now you'll be doing all of the above faster
  • Emergency stop – a useful tool if you get carried away
  • Turning right and left with rear observation – getting used to junctions
  • Performing a U turn – for when you need to go back the way you came
  • Again, your instructor will work at your pace and won't introduce any new skills until you and they are comfortable that you've mastered the last one.

This will probably be quite tiring for you so Element D may well be done allowing you to take a break from all that riding. In an informal question and answer session your instructor will discuss the need to be seen, legal requirements before riding on the road, being a vulnerable road user and careful use of speed. They will discuss road positioning, observation and hazard perception all of which will get you ready for the bit you've been waiting for – the road ride.

Now it's time for the best bit of the day, Element E. Legally you have to be out with your new found friend the instructor for a minimum of two hours with the wheels rolling. You will ride round the local roads, quiet side roads initially, practicing all the skills you've learned through the day so far. You'll practice hill starts, the emergency stop and a U turn all in a safe environment under the watchful eye of the instructor building up to busier roads as the ride progresses. When they are satisfied that you have shown you're competent to carry out these skills, it's back to the training school for tea and medals.

The 'medal' comes in the form of a DL196, your CBT pass certificate. So, now it's time to go and practice what you have been taught, but remember, the CBT holder is restricted from riding on motorways and may not carry a pillion either.

Theory Test

You must pass a Motorcycle Theory Test, including a Hazard Perception Test, before taking any Practical Motorcycle Test, even if you have a full car licence. The Theory Test Pass Certificate is valid for 2 years.

Choices after your CBT

AM Moped Licence

Aged 16 or over

You can ride a moped with L plates on a provisional licence, but not carrying a passenger after completing your CBT. Or if you want you could opt for a full AM licence by taking your theory test and then the practical tests. This will allow you to ride a moped (either scooter or motorcycle style) up to 50cc with a top speed of 45 km/h (around 28mph) without L plates, and to carry a passenger.

Even if you decide not to get your full moped licence, we recommend that you take further training after CBT to improve your riding skills, your road sense and your enjoyment of your moped.

A1 Motorcycle Licence

Aged 17 and over

At 17 you can ride a motorcycle (either scooter or motorcycle style) up to 125cc (maximum power 11KW) on your provisional licence after completing a CBT course. You must display L plates and cannot carry a passenger or use motorways.

Your CBT certificate is valid for 2 years.

After passing your CBT and a motorcycle Theory Test you can also choose to take the 2-stage practical test to gain an A1 licence. This category will allow you to ride a motorcycle or scooter up to 125cc (with maximum power of 11 KW) without L plates, and to carry a passenger. You might find that passing a full motorcycle test can also reduce your insurance costs.

Again, even if you opt to ride on L plates after completing your CBT instead of gaining your A1 Licence, we strongly advise you to get additional training for your own safety and confidence. KRTS offer an excellent Commuter Plus course that will help ensure you enjoy your motorcycle and stay safe.

What you can ride:

Below are a list of Kawasaki models you can ride with this licence. Click on any of the images below to be taken to the Kalculator website to find out the monthly repayments.


J125 ABS


A2 Motorcycle Licence

Aged 19 and over

At 19 can get an A2 Motorcycle Licence allowing you to ride a motorcycle or scooter with power up to 35KW (46.6 bhp) which will typically mean up to 500cc engine size, or a restricted version of a bigger more powerful model.

There are two ways to qualify for an A2 licence: First if you have held an A1 Motorcycle Licence for 2 years, you can take another practical tests on a larger A2 motorcycle.

Or second if you are 19 or older you can take the Direct Access route you will need to complete your CBT and pass your Theory Test as well as both practical tests. Until you have passed both practical tests you must be accompanied and in radio contact with your KRTS instructor. Once you have gained your A2 licence you are then allowed to ride any A2 category motorbike or scooter without L plates and to carry a passenger.

After holding an A2 Motorcycle Licence for 2 years, you can retake the practical tests and get an unrestricted A Motorcycle licence (see below).

What you can ride:

Below are a list of Kawasaki models you can ride with this licence. Click on any of the images below to be taken to the Kalculator website to find out the monthly repayments.

Ninja 300

Ninja 250SL

Ninja 250SL KRT Edition


Versys 650 ABS

Versys 650 ABS Tourer

Versys 650 ABS Grand Tourer



J300 ABS


J125 ABS


Vulcan 900 Classic*

Vulcan 900 Classic SE*

Vulcan 900 Custom*

Vulcan S ABS*

Vulcan S ABS SE*


Versys 300

* These models require a power down kit

Unrestricted A Motorcycle Licence

Aged 24 and over

At 24 you can get a full A Motorcycle Licence, allowing you to ride any motorcycle or scooter of any size or power. There are two ways to qualify for an A Motorcycle Licence:

One, if you have held an A2 Motorcycle Licence for 2 years, you can retake the practical tests.

If you haven't held an A2 licence for two years or have not ridden before as long as you are aged 24 or over, you can take the Direct Access route to gain your full licence. You will need to complete your CBT, theory test and 2 practical tests. You can then ride any motorbike or scooter without L plates and to carry a passenger.