A guide to compulsory basic training (CBT)

All learner motorcycle and moped riders must complete the CBT course before riding on the road.

What will I learn?

  • a basic understanding of riding theory
  • practical riding skills
  • experience in preparing for your motorcycle test

There’s no exam and, importantly, no timescale.

Your trainer will only sign you off when you have learnt the theory and completed the practical skills to a safe level.

What is the cost?

The cost of CBT depends on where you do the training and if you bring your own moped or motorcycle.

Expect to pay between £120 and £160.

The CBT course can only be given by a trainer from an approved training body (ATB).

What to expect

There are 5 elements that make up the course

A) Introduction to CBT

Helps you understand the purpose and content of CBT; also covers helmets, the importance of wearing the right clothing, an eyesight check, licensing and all the legal requirements needed when riding a motorcycle.

B) Practical on-site training

Covers an introduction of the motorcycle controls, machine safety checks, using the stand, wheeling the motorcycle, and starting and stopping the engine.

C) Practical on-site riding

Includes riding techniques including riding in a straight line, stopping riding slowly, using the brakes, changing gear, even if you’re riding an automatic, and developing steering and balance skills.

D) Practical on-road training

Theory based session covering: The Highway Code, staying safe on the road, legal requirements, road positioning and attitude.

E) Practical on-road riding

You must spend at least 2 hours of road riding dealing with different situations and hazards with your trainer to show you are safe to continue learning on your own. This session may be extended should you require any additional development.

If you have a problem with your training, try to sort it out with the trainer or the ATB first.

If you cannot solve the problem and need help, please report them via the GOV.UK complaint link below.


Ridefree logo

Ridefree is an enhanced version of the CBT syllabus.

It's a combination of 6 eLearning modules and was developed by DVSA, National Highways and other partners.

It’s based on evidence and tailored to the experiences of real learners and real trainers.


Safety equipment

You’ll need a decent jacket, gloves and boots – not shorts and trainers. Your ATB will provide you with a visibility aid, which you must wear.

Many ATBs can provide basic equipment, including a helmet and bike, for the course – remember to ask when you book your training.

Your trainer will talk about clothing as part of element A, so you might consider waiting until after the course before you buy your full motorcycle gear, but you will need to wear appropriate clothing on the day.

Getting your CBT

When you’ve successfully completed the course, your trainer will give you a certificate DL196.

There are some things you must and must not do when you’re riding on your CBT certificate.

  • You must have red L plates fitted to the front and back of the motorcycle.
  • You must not ride on motorways or carry a passenger on your motorcycle (called a pillion passenger).

If you completed your training on an automatic bike, you should seek further training from an instructor if you upgrade to a geared machine.

If you do not pass your full motorcycle test (theory test and 2-part practical test) within 2 years of getting this certificate, you’ll have to do your CBT again.

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