Practical Test

Next is the practical test, which comes in two modules. Both of these must be taken within two years of the theory test; the first module requires you to perform set manoeuvres on the motorcycle while the second module is an on-road test.

You must decide what type of motorcycle you will be riding; manual or automatic. If you chose to take your practical test with an automatic or semi-automatic you’ll only get a full licence for those types of motorcycles.

Taking a manual practical test will allow you to use you both.

First of all it’s important that you know what you need to take with you for your module 1 and module 2 tests.

You practical test will cost £15.50 for module 1 and £75 for module 2, or £88.50 on a weekend or bank holiday.

What you’ll need for your test

You will also need to wear suitable protective clothing during your tests such as:

  • A motorcycle helmet that meets British safety standards
  • Motorcycle boots or other footwear that provides support and ankle protection
  • Textile, leather or heavy denim trousers
  • Textile, leather or heavy denim jacket with several of layers underneath
  • Motorcycle gloves

If you don’t meet the standards on both check lists then your test will be cancelled and you will lose your fee.

Your motorcycle or moped

There are machine rules and requirements you must adhere to when on your practical test. If you chose to be tested on a moped, it must:

  • Be a solo machine
  • Be no more than 50cc
  • Have a top speed of no more than 28mph
  • Have a speedometer measuring speed in mph (miles per hour)
  • Display ‘L’ plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ in Wales) on the front and rear
  • Be insured, taxed, roadworthy with no engine warning lights showing

If you chose to take your test on a motorcycle, the requirements are as follows:

  • Have a speedometer measuring speed in mph (miles per hour)
  • Display ‘L’ plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ in Wales) on the front and rear
  • Be insured, taxed, roadworthy with no engine warning lights showing
  • Be suitable for the test your taking

There are numerous suitable machines that can be used in the practical riding test.

Module 1: Off- road manoeuvers

Lasting around 20 minutes, you will need to demonstrate competence in the following exercises:

  • Riding alongside the examiner at a walking pace
  • Avoidance and brakes
  • Walking and U-turns
  • Riding around cones and in a figure of eight
  • A curve to be ridden in 2nd or 3rd gear

Hazard perception is also part of the off-road test, you’ll be required to do emergency stop and hazard avoidance exercises, and there are minimum speeds of 19mph for mopeds and 31mph for motorcycles.

This great video shows you exactly what to expect during your hazard perception test. Check it out:

Module 1 test marking

There are three types of faults you can be marked on during your tests:

  • A dangerous fault – involves actual danger to you, examiner, the public or property
  • A serious fault – could potentially be dangerous
  • A rider fault – not potentially dangerous, but if you make the same fault throughout your test it could become a serious fault

To pass module 1 you will need to make 5 or less rider faults, and you’ll automatically fail if you make 1 serious or dangerous fault.

If you don’t pass this module then you will need to wait 3 full working days until you can rebook.

Module 2: On-road test

The final part of the process involves an on-road test to show that you can ride safely on public roads in different traffic conditions and that you understand the Highway Code. The module 2 test takes around 40 minutes.

You will need to make sure you bring the module 1 pass certificate. It’s normally a good idea to book your module 2 test once you have passed your module 1 otherwise you will still be charged if you fail.

Pre-ride test

As a part of the test, your eyesight will be examined if you fail the eyesight test then you will not be able to continue.

You will then be asked some machine safety questions in a ‘show me, tell me’ format.  Examples of these questions could be:

“Tell me how you would check that the lights and reflectors are clean and working.”

“Show me how you would check the operation of the brakes on this machine.”

Check out this video of how the pre-ride test works:

Road riding

After this you’ll get yourself on the bike and begin the road riding element. You’ll be asked to carry out a number of manoeuvres by the examiner via the headset:

  • Angle starts where you move from behind a parked car
  • Normal starts where you move off from the side of the road
  • A hill start

Independent riding

You’ll have 10 minutes of independent riding; this aspect is designed to assess your ability to make your own decisions whilst riding safely.

The instructor will give you directions verbally or tell you to follow road signs during your independent riding session.

You will not be penalised if you don’t remember every direction or if you the wrong way.  Your test result will only be affected if you make a riding fault.

Check out exactly what the independent riding part of Module 2 looks like with this handy video:

Module 2 test marking

To pass module 2 you will need to make 10 or fewer rider faults. If you make 1 serious or dangerous fault, you will automatically fail.

Unfortunately, if you don’t pass module 2 you will need to wait 10 full working days before rebooking this part of the practical test.

Feedback will be given by your instructor at the end of your test, along with instructions on how to upgrade to a full licence if you have passed.

Passing your practical test and gaining your full A licence means you’ll need to notify your insurer of your change in licence.

Now you’ve passed your motorcycle practical riding test – what bike will it be?

Differences in licences before and after 19 January 2013

Since 19 January 2013, the size of the motorbike you can ride for your test and the machine category you will be licenced for will be age dependent.

Aged 16: your practical test will need to be on a moped and your licence category will be AM.

Aged 17-18: you can take the test on motorcycles up to 125cc, giving you licence category of A1.  When you’ve had your A1 licence for two years, you can take another test on a category A2 machine.

Aged 19 and over:  you can take the test on a category A2 machine, which has a minimum of 395cc, with engine power between 25 to 35kw.  This gives you an A2 licence.  Again, when you have held this for two years, you can take a further test to ride a bike in the next category.

Aged 24 and over:  you can take a test on a category A machine of at least 595cc, with engine power of at least 40kw.  A licence in the A category will allow you to ride bikes of any size.