Category A Motorcycle Licence | A1 and A2 Licences
If you want to ride a motorbike or scooter without L plates, or carry a pillion passenger in the UK, you need to pass your motorcycle test and gain a full motorcycle licence.
Under new rules, what type of licence you can hold depends partly on your age. See our Routes to Riding guide for a complete breakdown of how the new rules work.
However, whether you’re aiming for an A1, A2 or A (unrestricted) licence, the process is the same. The only difference is the size and power of the scooter or motorcycle on which you take the test and which you’re then allowed to ride.
- CBT: You need to complete CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) on a motorcycle up to 125cc and get your DL196 certificate of completion. You must show this certificate to be allowed to take your motorcycle practical test.
- Theory and hazard perception tests: you need to pass both of these before you’re allowed to take your practical tests. The theory test is specific to motorcycles. The hazard perception test is the same as for other vehicles, but the length of test may be different.
- Training off public roads: Building on the skills you developed during CBT, you will practice the exercises you need for the Module 1 practical test.
- Riding on public roads: You will practise safe riding and prepare for the Module 2 practical test. As well as training with an instructor in radio contact, you may practice, unsupervised, on a 125cc motorcycle with L plates, once you have completed CBT.
- Practical motorcycle tests: You must pass Module 1 and Module 2 tests on the same motorcycle. As detailed below, the motorbike or scooter you ride in your test will determine what your licence permits you to ride.
Categories of A licence
A1 motorcycle licence
You must be at least 17 years old to hold an A1 motorcycle licence and if you are under 19, this is your only option.
Take the motorcycle test on a motorcycle (without side car) with an engine of at least 120cc and no more than 125cc, with a power output up to11kw (14.6bhp) and capable of at least 90km/h (55mph).
When you pass, you can ride any motorbike or scooter up to 125cc without L plates and carry a pillion.
A2 Motorcycle Licence
You must be at least 19 years old to take a A2 licence test and if you are under 24 your only other option is to get an A1 Motorcycle Licence.
There are two ways to get an A2 licence. One is to hold an A1 licence for at least 2 years and then take another practical test only. The other way is to use the Direct Access route, training and taking your practical test on an A2 category motorcycle as specified below.
Take the motorcycle test on a motorcycle (without side car) with an engine of at least 395cc with a power output between 25 and 35 kW (33bhp and 46.6 bhp). There is no upper engine size limit, but the power to weight ratio must not exceed 0.2kW/kg, and it must be derived from a motorcycle of not more than double its power ie 70kW (93.2bhp).
On the Direct Access route you may not practise riding the larger motorcycle on the road without an instructor in radio contact.
If you’re not sure whether your scooter or motorbike qualifies as an A1 or A2 test vehicle, you can check the DVLA list of A1 and A2 Motorcycle Test vehicles.
Manual, semi-automatic or automatic?
In both A1 and A2 categories, if you pass your test on an automatic or semi-automatic scooter or motorcycle, you will not be allowed to ride geared motorcycles without L plates. You would need to take another practical test on a geared motorbike to gain a full licence for all types of motorcycle.
Full category A (unrestricted) motorcycle licence
- You must be at least 21 years old
- If you are aged 21 or over, but under 24, you can only gain an unrestricted A licence by having held an A2 motorcycle licence for 2 years and then passing another practical test on a suitable motorcycle (see below).
- If you are aged 24 or over you can take the Direct Access route, training and taking your test on a category A motorcycle as specified below.
- You must take the motorcycle practical test on a motorcycle (without side car) which must be at least 595cc with a power output of at least 40kw (53.6bhp).
Alternatives to A1, A2 and A motorcycle licences
If you are 17 or over and successfully complete CBT (compulsory Basic Training), you are allowed to ride any moped, scooter or motorbike up to 125cc on public roads under certain conditions:
- You must display L plates (or D plates in Wales)
- You may not carry a passenger
- You are not allowed to use certain roads, including motorways
- However, CBT is the legal minimum, and we would always recommend taking more training for your safety & confidence, and to reduce your insurance costs.
If you are 16, you can take the motorcycle test on a moped to gain an AM moped licence.
Don’t forget that if you’re 16 or over, you can have a free motorcycle tryout session to see if it’s for you. Just enter your details on the left and we’ll put you in touch with a training partner near you to book your Free Ride.
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