Taking Your Bike Test – A Step-by-Step Guide
Everything you need to know about passing the UK motorcycle exam, and the new laws/requirements which will come into place in January 2013.
In the UK you have to do a series of tests before you can go riding your bike on the road. Depending on the tests you take, you might only be allowed to ride certain bikes so it’s worth knowing and understanding the laws behind the tests too. On January 19th 2013, the motorbike test laws will change even further, altering what you have to do to ride a larger motorcycle and the age at which you can do it.
The Bike Test.
The test is split into multiple parts, consisting of the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT), theory test, module 1 and module 2. The motorcycle you do these tests on (usually dependant on the age of the rider) depends on what you’ll be allowed to ride after passing. Only after one part is passed can you move on to the next.
Here’s a quick rundown of each of the parts:
CBT – The CBT isn’t a test, so to speak. It’s a one day course for new riders to learn the basics in riding a motorcycle so that they can get out on the road. The day involves a mix of learning how to ride in an off road paved area like a car park, some basic theory regarding road usage and finishes with an instructor taking you out on the road for more practical experience.
If the instructor considers you safe enough to be on the road, you’ll be presented with a certificate that entitles you to ride either a 50cc moped restricted to 30mph if 16 years old, or a 125cc bike at 15bhp or under if you’re 17 or older. With a CBT certificate you have to have L plates on the front and back of the bike. You’ll also not be able to take passengers or ride on motorways.
The CBT only covers the basics, so it’s very worth going for the full bike test to learn how to be safe on the road.
Theory Test – The theory test is almost the same as the one done for the car test, only that a few of the questions are more motorcycle related. It consists of two parts – a 50 mark multiple choice test you have up to 57 minutes to complete and a hazard perception test that consists of 14 videos of a car going down a road. While the multiple choice test requires you only pick the right answer from a list of 4 possible ones; the hazard perception test has you click when you see a potential hazard and then click again as it develops.
The multiple choice section has a pass mark of 43 out of the 50 questions, and the hazard perception part test is 44 out of 75 possible marks.
Module 1 and Module 2 – These are the practical parts. Module 1 takes place in an off road paved area where you’re instructed to carry out certain manoeuvres like a figure of 8 and U turn amongst others. This is to demonstrate your ability to handle a motorcycle. Upon passing this, you receive another certificate.
Module 2 takes place on the road. It doesn’t involve any manoeuvres – you’re simply asked to ride along a road making turns as the examiner asks to demonstrate that you’re a safe road user and are capable of operating a bike on the road. Pass this and you’ll receive another certificate, allowing you to ride a bike on the road without L plates, take passengers and ride on motoways.
The size and power of that bike depends on the factors discussed before, like your age and what bike you do the test on.
So what bike can you ride after passing your test?
At the moment, completing these tests between 17 and 21 ( 17 being the minimum age to do module 1 and 2, but not CBT or theory) or on a 125cc bike will allow you to ride any size engine as long as it is restricted to 33bhp for the first two years. Because of this, and that they’re generally easier to learn on than a bigger capacity machine, many riders often go for a 250cc or 400cc bike. After two years are up, that restriction automatically lifts and you can ride any bike with any size engine.
Those completing the tests aged 21 or over tend to go down the direct access route, which means the tests are done on a 500cc bike instead of a 125cc. This means that upon passing, you can ride any bike without restriction.
But on January the 19th 2013, this will change.The tests themselves will stay identical – but the age required to ride different sizes of bike will change drastically, as well as the amount of training required.
Between 17-19 years old, upon passing your full bike test, you’ll only be able to ride up to a 125cc bike with 15bhp just like after taking a CBT – but without L plates, with motorway use and the ability to take passengers. This test is done on a 125cc bike and gives you the A1 classification of licence.
At 19 you can ride any capacity bike restricted to 46.6bhp, as long as it doesn’t produce more than 93.5bhp before being restricted. This is called the A2 licence. However, this progression isn’t automatic. Module 1 and 2 must be done again on a bike of at least 395cc and 33bhp.
Alternatively – it is possible for someone of 19 to just do this test straight from doing their CBT and theory test.
After 2 years of this, you can move up to the full bike licence which is just called A. This category lets you ride any bike with no restrictions, providing you do module 1 and 2 again. This test is done on a minimum of 595cc bike with at least 54bhp. The earliest you can possibly do this test is 21, after doing the A2 test at 19. Direct access is still available, allowing you to jump straight on a bike with a category A licence, but this is now only available at 24.
This article was written by avid young motorcyclist Ben Frisby on behalf of Ride Direct.