You might be aware that you need to complete a CBT before you can start riding, but you may not know exactly what this means. In this article, we cover some of the most commonly asked questions about the motorbike CBT to help you get a head start on becoming a biker.
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What exactly is the CBT anyway?
Compulsory Basic Training, more commonly referred to as the CBT is the first step to obtaining your motorcycle license. Open to anyone over the age of 16, this short course teaches you all of the basics that you need to know to allow you to ride on the road. It is not a test, as such, but it will provide you with a certificate of competency and all the practical knowledge you will need to keep you and your bike safe on the roads.
Once you have completed your CBT you are legally able to ride a 125cc motorcycle for up to two years. After this time you must either take a full bike test or renew your CBT to allow you to carry on riding.
CBT courses usually only take a day to complete, and while there is a lot to learn, this is a practical course that teaches you not just the basics of riding a bike but one that will also help you to achieve a better understanding of the bike itself.
How much will the course cost?
This will depend on where you live and who you choose to do your training with. Typically, courses cost anywhere between £100-£150, but be careful not to jump at the cheapest course you can find, as not all CBT courses are equal. Before you sign up, check exactly what the course fee includes as not all of them provide you with a helmet, gloves and other accessories that you may need on the day.
How do I choose who to train with?
There are plenty of companies throughout the UK that offer CBT courses for novice riders, all of which are taught by qualified instructors. Some of the larger motorcycle manufacturers also offer their own courses, often linked to dealerships, so it might be worth asking you local dealer next time you are in there.
You should also check for facilities approved by the Motorcycle Industry Association as their accreditation scheme ensures that training schools meet the high standards needed to transform learners into safe and well-versed riders. If you can, try to choose an MCIA accredited facility as they usually offer a much higher standard of training and facilities. You can find MCIA accredited schools here.
Should I take my Theory Test first?
You do not need a Motorcycle Theory Test before you take your CBT. However you will need to be in possession of a valid provisional licence. These cost £34 and you should wait to receive your licence before you book your CBT.
It would also be useful to familiarise yourself with the Highway Code and other learner rider material before you take your Compulsory Basic Training, as the course does require you to have an awareness of potential hazards and general road safety.
Do I need to buy my bike first?
No. Nearly all training centres will provide you with everything you need to complete the course, including the bike! If you do happen to have your own bike, you will need to make sure that it is fully road legal and that you bring your MOT certificate, as well as proof of tax and insurance with you in order to take part in the course on the day.
What will the CBT course teach me?
The CBT is broken down into 5 manageable “Elements” to help new riders understand their responsibilities on the road. These include:
starts with an eyesight test where you will need to read a UK number plate at a distance of 20 meters. If you wear contact lenses or need glasses, make sure you have them with you on the day. During this element they will also discuss the appropriate type of clothing to wear while riding, and how the right gear can help protect you in the event of an accident
offers a more hands-on approach and is designed to help you familiarise yourself with the controls and features of your motorcycle or moped. After this portion of the course you will feel more confident about the use of hand and foot controls and the instrument panel as well as knowing how to start your bike, apply the brakes and use the bike stand.
This element also covers the general maintenance of your bike and will show you how to check your brakes, steering, cables, suspension, tyres, chain, wheels, spokes, lights and fuel levels to ensure you bike is in good order before you hit the road.
is the bit you have all been waiting for and offers you around 2-3 hours of practical riding experience under the watchful eye of your instructor. During this time you will learn how to ride and stop in a straight line, master clutch control, change gears, keep your balance, ride in a figure of eight, brake effectively, undertake an emergency stop, practise your rear observations, learn how and when to indicate and how to behave at a junction.
Offers classroom based learning that covers some basic theory including the Highway Code, defensive driving and hazard perception, rear observations, road positioning, how to keep your distance, speed limits and how to drive safely in different weather conditions and on different road surfaces. This section of the course also covers other legal requirements including safety helmets and why you must display L-plates as a learner rider.
Sees you out on the open road, while staying in radio contact with your instructor at all times. For a couple of hours you will get to practise dealing with traffic lights, using roundabouts and positioning yourself correctly at junctions, as well as how to best cope with bends, obstructions, pedestrian crossings, road gradients and even how to make a U-turn.
Do I get a certificate?
Once you have completed your CBT your instructor will present you with a certificate of completion, which is also called a DL196. This is the piece of paper you need to ride your moped or motorcycle up to 125cc on the road with your L plates on, and your first step to a lifetime of being a safe and road legal motorcyclist.
The Next Steps
If you’re ready to take your first steps towards a life on two wheels, then check out our motorcycle licence hub, which will help you choose the best path to take, depending on your age and your expectations.
If all you want to do is ease your commute than a CBT and a 125 is by far the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to get onto a motorbike or scooter.