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Category AM motorcycle licence guide

When you are a minimum of 16 years old, you can ride a 50cc moped with just a Provisional Driving Licence and a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) certificate. You’ll then be able to ride with L-plates on. The CBT certificate will last you two years until it expires and then you’ll have to retake the CBT if you want to carry on riding.

Our simple guides walks you through the process so you can ride a moped.

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What bike can you ride aged 16?

You can ride: up to 50cc scooter (known as a moped)

You’ll need: A CBT, which lasts for 2 years

It’ll cost you: £34 for a provisional driving licence. Around £90 for the CBT test

You can opt for a: Full 50cc (AM) moped test

What is the definition of a moped?

Your moped can be a maximum of 50cc and produce no more than 4kW or power and have a minimum speed of 15.5mph and a maximum speed of 28mph.

These numbers may look confusing but in the real world, pretty much any 50cc scooter will fit the above criteria.

How do I get started?

You must first ensure you apply for a provisional licence. If you have a provisional licence or an existing driving licence, you will then need compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate to ride on public roads.

Se our guide on applying for a provisional motorcycle licence here and our guide on the CBT here.

How much does it cost to get on a moped?

If you opt for the easiest route, the CBT, that’ll cost you around £90 and it takes a day. A moped CBT is the same as a motorcycle CBT.

If you want to take your AM licence, you’ll also need to take the theory test, which costs £23. Then you’ll be able to take the two-part practical motorcycle test. Module one costs: £15.50 and Module two costs: £75.

CBT vs AM licence

If you’ll only ever want to ride a 50cc moped, then you might want to consider passing your AM licence. The AM licence involves a theory and practical test on top of your CBT but once passed, it means you can ride your moped without L-plates and you won’t need to retake your CBT (or any test) every two years. You can also carry a pillion passenger.

However, the AM licence is seen as a bit of a heavyweight, considering you go through most of the hoops of a full licence but you’re restricted to a 50cc moped. Most people opt to either stick to renewing their CBT every 2 years or moving up to a more powerful machine, like a 125cc scooter or motorbike.

What does an AM licence allow you to ride?

You can ride 2-wheeled or 3-wheeled vehicles with a maximum design speed of over 25km/h (15.5mph) but not more than 45km/h (28mph).

This category also includes light quad bikes with:

  • unladen mass of not more than 350kg (not including batteries if it’s an electric vehicle)
  • the maximum design speed of over 25km/h (15.5mph) but not more than 45km/h (28mph)

Average 50cc moped insurance prices

Let’s take two theoretical riders, looking to insure their 50cc moped in two different locations.

The first hypothetical location is a city centre postcode (SE5), medium to high risk. The second hypothetical location is a suburban postcode (RG45), low to medium risk.

The moped is worth £1500 and garaged at night.

Rider 1 is 16 years old. Rider 2 is 35 years old. Both have zero No Claims Bonus.

RG45 postcode (low to medium risk)

Rider 1, 16-year old: Fully Comprehensive Insurance £300 per year, £250 excess

Rider 1, 16-year old: Third Party Only Insurance £150 per year, £250 excess

Rider 2, 35-year old: Fully Comprehensive Insurance, £125 per year, £250 excess

Rider 2, 35-year old: Third Party Only Insurance, £100 per year, £250 excess

SE5 postcode (medium to high risk)

Rider 1, 16-year old: Fully Comprehensive Insurance £500 per year, £250 excess

Rider 1, 16-year old: Third Party Only Insurance £300 per year, £250 excess

Rider 2, 35-year old: Fully Comprehensive Insurance, £200 per year, £250 excess

Rider 2, 35-year old: Third Party Only Insurance, £100 per year, £250 excess

These are just estimates but they give you an idea of how much it would cost to insure a 50cc moped or scooter. Remember that other factors will affect the cost of your insurance, including:

The moped make and model, how many years you have been riding and your No Claims Bonus, where you live and where the moped is kept overnight, whether you use the moped for commuting, your annual mileage and the level of cover you require: Fully Comp, Third Party Fire & Theft or Third Party Only.

50cc vs 125cc insurance

If you are over 16, you can ride a scooter with a larger engine size than the 50cc moped you are limited to if you are 16. You can ride up to a 125cc motorbike or scooter with a CBT if you are 17-years old or older.

A 125cc motorcycle or scooter may work out to be a better and cheaper alternative to a 50cc moped. The trouble with mopeds is that they are mainly ridden by 16-year olds with limited experience both in terms of road use and looking after their machine. This can cause moped insurance quotes to be higher than a 125cc motorcycle or scooter as they are involved in more accidents and are stolen more frequently.

Therefore your running costs for a 125cc machine might be the same or in many cases, lower than a 50cc machine. The benefit of a 125cc machine is that they have more power and you have more choice. A 125cc motorcycle is capable of 60mph and therefore arguably safer to ride if you’re riding on A-roads or dual-carriageways as you can keep up with the traffic.

Neither a 50cc moped or a 125cc motorcycle or scooter are allowed on the motorway. If you need to ride on a motorway and you’re over 19 years old, you can take your A2 motorcycle licence.

Common Moped (AM Licence) Questions

How much does it cost to tax a moped?
It costs £18 per year to tax any motorcycle under 150cc which includes all mopeds as they are under 50cc. You can only buy this tax for a 12-month period but you can pay for this road tax monthly on Direct Debit, with the total cost being £18.90 for 12 months. You cannot buy this tax for a 6-month period.

How much does it cost to insure a moped?
Average moped insurance costs vary, depending on the age and location of the rider. The good news is that mopeds are among the lowest insurance groups of any motorcycle. There are 17 motorcycle insurance groups and most mopeds are Group 1  and all are below Group 3, whereas a powerful superbike will be group 17.

What is the top speed of a 50cc moped?
Mopeds aren’t technically allowed to exceed 28mph (45kmh). Most will be able to get to the heady speed of 28mph but you won’t find many standard mopeds capable of more than 30mph. However, some older 50cc mopeds use a 2-stroke engine, which produces more power per cubic centimere than the modern 4-stroke equivalent, so you might be able to find some older 2-stroke mopeds that are capable of breezing through the 30mph barrier.

Questions or Comments?

If you’ve got a question about this article and you need a bit more guidance, drop a comment below and we’ll get back to you.

Likewise, if you’ve got something to add to this article or an experience you’d like to share, let’s hear it!

We love reading your comments and helping our readers.

  • michael odonnell says:

    when did am licence come in?

    • Ben Cope says:

      All licences issued on or after 19 January 2013 will show moped categories as AM and q in place of category p. But if you held full category p before this date you’ll keep this entitlement and it will be shown on your licence together with new categories AM and q.

  • Jason Bevan says:

    hi i got a full car licence 2013 can ride a 125 am on the licence

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