Most of us want to learn to drive a car at some point in our lives, but for a select few four wheels don’t give us the thrill we need. They want or need to get their hands on a handlebar and sit on the saddle on their very own bike – and to do so they’ll need to start by taking their CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) and eventually a full test.

The good news is that the process is very similar to learning to drive a car, and need not be any more difficult. Just as a provisional licence is the precursor for taking your test to gaining a full driving licence for your car, Compulsory Basic Training enables you to take the first steps towards gaining a full motorcycle licence – once you’ve completed CBT you’ll then have two years to take your full test, otherwise you’ll need to take the CBT again.

Typical CBT training courses will involve five parts – an introduction and eyesight test,

on-site training and riding, and road training and riding. For each part a necessary level of skill and theory appreciation will need to be reached. There’s no pass or fail as it is a training course, but there is a necessity to take the course through an approved training body (ATB) – costs vary depending on the training body.

The course should take one day. As described at, you don’t need to take the CBT to drive a moped under certain circumstances, such as if you passed your car driving test before February 2001. Even so, some experts advise that you take the course for your own peace of mind when on the road. You also don’t need to take CBT if you have a full moped licence (passed after December 1990) and live in some UK islands.

As with most training courses, listening to the trainer is the first step. They won’t be expecting you to know everything, but they will hope that you have a strong understanding of the Highway Code. According to Smart Rider the two most common reasons for failing are a failure to control the bike properly, and a lack of knowledge of the Code. The site also recommends, as preparation, knowing how to ride a bicycle in an urban environment, with the theory that someone who cannot negotiate traffic on a pushbike will probably not be able to do so with a heavier, more powerful vehicle.

Come prepared in appropriate clothing including gloves, boots and waterproofs, with a legal helmet or goggles. If you are using your own bike bring an MOT certificate (if it is older than three years old) and make sure it is taxed and insured, with full sized L plates to the front and rear. However, the easier option is renting one on the day of the course – check with administrators beforehand to see if this is included with the course fee.

Providing you have done your road research the CBT should not be a problem. Once you’ve completed the course you will be advised on how to take the next step and remove those L-plates once and for all.