The CBT – Compulsory Basic Training: A Step-By-Step Guide

The CBT – Compulsory Basic Training: A Step-By-Step Guide

Motorbike and scooter riders need to complete a CBT before practicing on the roads.

If you got your car driving license before 1st February 2001, you don’t need to take a CBT to ride a 50cc moped!

When you’ve done your CBT, you can ride a:

  • motorcycle up to 125cc if you’re 17 or over
  • 50cc moped if you’re 16 or over

Here are the steps you need to take to complete the UK CBT (compulsory basic training):

The steps:

  1. Get a license
  2. Book your CBT
  3. Revise the basics
  4. Prep your gear
  5. Take the course
  6. Get riding!

What you need to know:

  • You will get a certificate of completion, the DL196, when you pass
  • You must use L plates when you ride on the streets after your CBT
  • You must pass your full motorbike test or retake your CBT after 2 years

Get a License

Before you book your CBT, you need a provisional license.

It costs £34 to apply online, and your license will arrive within one week.

* you will need to know your national insurance number

* you must be able to read a number plate from 20 meters away

Apply for your driving license online.

Book Your CBT

Book your CBT course with a registered training school.

The average training day costs between £100-150 including bike and helmet hire.

All CBT courses involve a theory part and on-site practical training to make sure you know how to operate your bike. This includes two hours of real-world riding.

Find a motorcycle training centre near you.

Revise the Basics

A motorcycle CBT is not a pass/fail test.

But if you don’t know the basic rules for riders on the road, your trainer could stop the course and ask you to book another when you are properly prepared.

You need to know:

You could be asked to pay for the course again if you don’t complete your training, so do your homework!

Prepare Your Gear

Your trainer will talk about protective clothing in your course. But you will need to wear appropriate clothing on the day.

What to wear:

  • Motorcycle helmet (many courses will provide this – check with your centre)
  • Motorcycle boots or other footwear that supports and protects your ankles – boots will do
  • Leather or textile motorcycle trousers or heavy denim jeans
  • Leather, textile, or denim motorcycle jacket
  • Protective motorcycle gloves

You will be unable to conduct the course if you do not wear appropriate clothing on the day.

Take the Course

On the day, your instructor will guide you through 5 sections of training.

* remember to bring your provisional driving license to the CBT!

You will likely be training with other learners. There could be a maximum of:

  • 4 learners per trainer for on-site elements
  • 2 learners per trainer for on-road elements

Here’s how the CBT works:


Your trainer will introduce themselves and go through the basic aims of the CBT and what it involves. They will also tell you what you can and cannot do after completing the course.

There are two elements to this part of the test, a clothing check and a sight check.

The instructor will make sure you are wearing the appropriate clothing, check that your helmet fits, and advise you on the rules and best practices for rider protection.

They will ask you to read a number plate from a distance of around 20 meters and make sure you know to get your eyes tested regularly if you wear glasses.


Your on-site training will teach you basic things you need to know about the vehicle–how it works, how to take care of it, and how to manoeuvre it safely when standing or parking.

In this part of the course, your trainer will help you to:

  • Understand the controls (where things like the throttle and the brakes are and what they do)
  • Perform basic checks (check the oil, electrical system, and tyres are safe and operational)
  • Take the vehicle off its stand(s) and put it back on (and how to do it safely)
  • Wheel the vehicle and bring it to a stop (with balance and control)
  • Start and stop the engine safely (and how to leave it parked up)


This part covers how to ride your machine safely before heading out onto the road.

You will be coached through and asked to demonstrate the following maneuvers:

  • Moving away
  • Riding slowly
  • Riding in a straight line
  • Controlled stopping
  • Riding in a figure of eight
  • Carrying out a u-turn
  • Emergency stopping
  • Turning left and right at simulated junctions

Your instructor will also show you how to look out for other vehicles using your mirrors and blind spot checks.

They will teach you to use the Observation-Signal-Manoeuvre (OSM) and Position-Speed-Look (PSL) routine to minimise the risk you pose to yourself and others.


Before they let you loose on the streets, your instructor will run through more of the rules that apply to road-ready machines and how to keep yourself and your vehicle safe.

You may feel like they are revisiting issues but it is important to pay attention. You will learn why motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable and how to spot hazards and be decisive.

This is a good time to raise any questions or anything you are unsure of.


The on-road riding part will bring together everything you are taught in the course.

Once your trainer has made sure you know the situations you may encounter when riding on the road and how to deal with them, you’ll head out onto the streets.

The trainer will:

  • control the speed of the group
  • keep in contact with you by radio
  • manage the order of learners on-road (up to 2 per instructor)
  • choose an appropriate route, making sure you encounter many different situations

Your route will be designed to cover all the important hazardous situations, so expect to do a hill start, some u-turns, ride at different speed limits and on different types of road.

Get Riding!

When you’ve completed all five elements satisfactorily, you’ll be awarded your CBT certificate to ride a machine of up-to 125cc with L-plates for two years.

Get out and practice what you’ve learned. Remember – the CBT is just the beginning. You will continue to learn a lot through everyday, practical riding.

The next step, if you want to continue riding, is to begin practising for your full motorcycle test.

Passing your full test will mean you can carry passengers, use motorways, and ride more powerful bikes (depending on the type of test you take). You don’t have to take your full license. You can retake your CBT every two years if you don’t want to ride anything more powerful than 125cc, carry passengers, or ride on motorways.

CBT Tips:

  • Take the paper part of your license and another form of photo ID just in case.
  • Choose a training school with a good reputation. Cheaper isn’t always better when your life is on the line.
  • Bring plenty of food and drink in a rucksack. Most centres won’t provide it and don’t have facilities onsite.
  • Be on time. It can be a fun day but there’s a lot to cover and you don’t want to start by keeping everyone waiting.
  • The entire course takes around 8 hours and it can take new riders a while to get comfortable with the bike. Don’t be disheartened if the instructor asks you to come back the next day to complete your on-road riding.

After your CBT, you want to stay safe on the streets…

Check out Motorcycle Parts Warehouse for all the protective gear you need.