The guide to compulsory basic training (CBT)

Last updated by on July 7th, 2020

If you’ve decided to learn to ride a moped or motorcycle, you’ll need to complete compulsory basic training (CBT) – but what is it, what does it cover, and how much does it cost? We’ll help you answer those questions – and more, so you know what to expect.

What is CBT training?

Before you can take a moped or motorcycle test, you’ll need to take a CBT course; it’s not a test and there’s no pass or fail at the end. The aim is to help you gain experience and practical knowledge to keep you safe on the roads.

You’ll need to be at least 16 to do the course and when you’ve completed it, you can ride a moped unaccompanied on the roads. If you’re 17 or older, you’ll also be able to ride a motorcycle up to 125cc with a power output of up to 11kW.

What does the CBT course cover?

There are five different elements (A through to E) on the CBT syllabus. Don’t worry about it all being classroom based, there are practical elements too; here’s a look at what you’ll cover:

Element A – an introduction to the course. You’ll cover areas such as suitable clothing, safety accessories (such as helmets and googles), as well as look at basic Highway Code rules.

Element B – this is a practical look at how your moped, or motorcycle works. You’ll learn how to use the controls, how to carry out basic checks, as well as how to start and stop safely.

Element C – in this part, you’ll learn to ride your moped, or motorcycle on-site. By the time you’ve finished this element, you should be able to ride in a straight line, come to a stop, use your gears, and test your observational skills.

Element D – this section revisits some of the safety elements and covers basic first aid. The importance of understanding all the legal rules and regulations will also be reiterated.

Element E – the final element is where you’ll practise what you’ve learned. Legally, there should be no more than two riders to one instructor for this part; it should also offer you a minimum of two hours ‘real road’ riding. You’ll be fitted with a radio so you can keep in contact with other riders and your instructor.


How long does CBT take?

The classroom-based elements range from around 30 minutes to an hour, with the practical and on-road sessions lasting between two to three hours. In theory this means you could complete your CBT training within a day.

One of the great features about CBT courses, is that they last as long as they need to. So, if you’re finding a particular element tricky, then your instructor will go over it until you feel confident to move on.

How much does CBT cost and who runs them?

Costs vary across riding schools and areas, it’ll also depend on whether you use your own moped, or motorcycle.

Only approved motorcycle instructors (AMIs) can run CBT courses and it’s their responsibility to ensure on-site and on-road lessons are carried out safely.

What happens once I complete my CBT?

When you’ve finished the course, you’ll get a certificate of completion, also known as a ‘DL196’. It’s valid for two years and you should aim to take your motorcycle theory test and full moped or motorcycle test within this period; otherwise, you’ll need to retake it once it expires, unless you give up riding.

Are there any exemptions?

If you took your driving test before 1 February 2001, then you don’t need to undertake CBT (although it’s highly recommended that you do). That’s because at the time, full driving licences also entitled holders to ride mopeds up to 50cc.

If you hold a full moped licence issued since 1 December 1990 and decide to upgrade to a motorcycle, then you won’t need to complete another CBT course.

How can help me?

We know how expensive the process can be, so when it comes to buying your bike insurance, we’ve got all the tips you need to help you reduce your motorbike insurance premium.

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