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Learning to ride – completing your CBT the first time

Jas Murphy November 26, 2020

Deciding to learn how to ride a motorcycle and becoming licenced to ride on UK roads is an exciting step that will lead you to take a CBT course. CBT simply stands for Compulsory Basic Training. Once you’ve taken this and become certified, you’ll have learned the basic motorcycling skills needed to ride on the road. You won’t have a full motorcycle licence, you’ll need to ride with ‘L’ plates displayed on any machine up to 125cc and there will be one or two other restrictions in play. It is the first step everyone needs to take to get a motorcycle licence. Read on for more details and some tips on how to complete your CBT on your first try.


There is no test at the end of the CBT course. That doesn’t mean it’s as simple as attending a CBT training day, day dreaming your way through and then collecting your certification at the end. Your instructor must be confident that you have grasped all of the basics by the end of the course to be able to sign the CBT DL 196 certificate and hand it over. If you don’t reach the required standard, you’ll need to keep training.

CBT courses usually last around a day, roughly six or seven hours. Throughout this time, you’ll learn all of the basics needed to continue your motorcycle riding practice on UK roads. It’s a gradual process that starts with all the basics and ends with you riding on the road. Your instructor will be close behind and in radio contact at all times. There’s nothing to be worried about, you’re motorcycle training instructor will be constantly assessing your progress and making sure you’re ready to safely make the next step in the CBT course.

Once you have your CBT certificate, you’ll be able to ride on the road and gain further motorcycling experience over the following two years. If you decide not to make the next step to an AM or higher motorcycle licence type within that period, you’ll need to get re-certified for your CBT after those two years have passed.

Riding with just a CBT certificate means you have to display learner plates at the front and rear of your motorbike or scooter. There are other restrictions too – you’re not allowed to take a pillion passenger, ride on the motorway or ride a motorbike or scooter that is above the 50cc – 125cc range.


Even though there is no test involved in the CBT, a basic standard needs to be reached so you can get your certification.

One of the best ways to make sure you complete your CBT first time is to choose a school that has supportive and friendly instructors. A shouty, drill sergeant type of instructor won’t do your nerves any good, and being nervous can make the training harder.

 “It’s a good idea to do your homework before you book a CBT course. That means reading through the Highway Code and choosing the training school where you plan to take the course carefully. Always choose a school that you’re confident can teach you not only how to ride, but how to ride safely; rather than one that’s focussed on pushing you through the training as fast as they can.” says Mark Jaffe, owner of Phoenix Motorcycle Training.

To get the most from your training and give yourself the greatest chance of becoming certified at the end of your day, pay attention to your instructor, ask questions throughout to help you understand the lessons, and most of all, enjoy the process without pressuring yourself.

Riding a motorcycle should be fun. Great CBT instructors make the courses enjoyable learning experiences that give students the confidence to become competent riders who are able to build their skill with each solo ride.

Phoenix has an excellent reputation for motorcycle courses for all levels of experience. Our great first-time pass rate is based on the small training groups and the ability to tailor each course to our student’s needs. Begin your motorcycle career with Phoenix Motorcycle Training and book a CBT course today.


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