Compulsory Basic Training Course (CBT)

The purpose of the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course is to make sure you can ride to a decent standard before attempting to go on public roads.  All learner riders (aged 16 and over) are required to undertake this course. Before you can ride a moped or motorbike on a public road you must have valid insurance and hold a CBT certificate.

A CBT can usually be completed within a day, with costs varying depending on where the training takes place. A certified training school can charge anything from £100 upwards, and an extra charge on a weekend.

To take your CBT test you’ll need to have your provisional licence as a minimum. It’s highly recommended you take your CBT before heading on to booking your theory test as it will give you more exposure and experience to the road.

Just like your theory certificate, your CBT is only valid for 2 years and if you do not pass your practical test within this time you will have to take the CBT course again.

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What does the motorcycle CBT entail?

CBT is made up of 5 main elements:

  • Introduction and eyesight check
  • Practical on-site training
  • Practical on-site riding
  • Practical on-road training
  • Practical on-road riding

Introduction and eyesight check

As your CBT can normally be completed in a day, you’ll have a prompt 8am start (for most training schools) so you can make the most of your time with your instructor. After a short introduction about the CBT entails, your driving licence will be checked and you eyesight will be tested.

It’s extremely important that you’re able to read road signs, number plates and also checking the distance of your eyesight. If you already wear glasses then it’s crucial you bring these with you otherwise you will not be able to continue with your CBT.

You’ll then be fitted in to appropriate clothing and equipment before heading outside to see your bike for the day!

Practical on-site training

The practical on-site training begins with you being shown the control of the motorcycle. You’ll be shown basic safety checks and how to take your bike on and off the stand to start with.

After that you’ll move on to working on starting and stopping the engine, and pushing the bike braking to stop.

During this element you’ll be assisted by your trainer, once they are happy you are confident they will allow you to progress to the next step.

Practical on-site riding

The on-site riding will teach you all the basic skills you need for riding a motorcycle. You’ll begin with learning how to slowly move off then stopping, using both brakes and changing gears.

Once you become comfortable with this, you’ll learn more skills such as cornering, figure of 8, U turns and left and right turns.

Just like when you learn to drive a car, you will need to know how to perform an emergency stop. It’s crucial you are able to perform all these skills at a safe, basic level so you can progress to the next element.

Practical on-road training

This element differs from the practical on-site training (element 2), it teaches you all about the legal requirements of the road; the importance of visibility and how to ride in different weather conditions.

It is important you have read the Highway Code before taking your CBT as this will help you a lot during this element of the training. You will be taught about how to keep safe distance and road positioning too.

All subjects that are taught during this element will be tested when you take the fifth element of the CBT.

Practical on-road riding

The fifth and final step is to get out on the road and put everything you’ve learnt into practice. You’ll be kitted up with a headset so you can communicate with your instructor so they can give you instructions and information when you’re on the road.

After that, you’re out on the road for 2 hours where you’ll be assessed on your skills.

These elements will be covered over the course of a day and you’ll move on from each element when your trainer is happy you’ve learnt the theory and practical skills to a safe, basic level.

You may not be a lone rider when taking your CBT; you can train with a maximum of 4 learners per trainer for the on-site elements and 2 learners per trainers for the on-road elements.

You’ve passed!

Once you’ve completed CBT you’ll get a certificate of completion – also known as a DL196.

During the course, you’ll also learn important information on:

  • clothing and equipment
  • various components of a motorbike and what they do
  • how traffic and weather conditions can impact a rider
  • the highway code theory and other legal matters


Your certificate allows you to ride a moped or motorbike up to 125cc on the roads with L Plates for 2 year. You will not be able to travel on motorways or carry passengers when riding on a CBT certificate.

Do you need a CBT to ride a moped?

There are exceptions for those who do not need to CBT to ride a moped:

  • Already hold a full car licence, or if you passed a car test before 1 February 2001
  • Have a full moped licence from passing a full moped test after 1 December 1990
  • Have a full motorcycle licence for one category and want to upgrade to another
  • Live and ride on some offshore islands
Do Police ask for your CBT?

Your CBT isn’t held on police databases, but under Section 165 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 the Police can ask you to produce your CBT Certificate. If you can’t produce this it can lead to fines, penalty points and could invalidate your insurance. It’s always best to ensure you have access to it and make sure you know when you have to re-take the CBT as they do expire.


Devitt do highly recommend some form of motorcycle training if you’re new to riding, regardless of age, to make sure you are as safe as possible on the roads.

Watch Dame Kelly Holmes undertake her CBT for the Get On campaign.

CBT passed, now it’s times to get ready for your Theory Test

Check out the rest of our Beginners Guide to Motorcycling now...

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