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Old 24th Feb 2009, 20:56   #1
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Motorcycle Mayhem

We've got a few car threads, and even a bicycle thread, so it's only fair we have a dedicated motorcycle thread for the motorcycle fans, enthusiasts and riders who frequent this forum.


How to get your bike licence in the UK

NOTE THIS IS NOW ALL OUT OF DATE!!!

Well it's pretty complicated as there are many different types of licenses and different ways to get them, but it goes something like this (Thanks to Moriquendi, and edited slightly for corrections and clarity):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriquendi
>16yo, Provisional license + CBT = 50cc moped + L plates.

>17yo (min), Provisional License + CBT on geared bike = 125cc max + L plates.

>17yo (min), Test on 125cc + CBT + Theory test = A1 license (125cc max)

> 17yo (min), Test on 125cc + CBT + Theory test => Restricted A license => Any capacity, but no more than 25kw or 33BHP Bike (restricted if over the power limit). 2 years later this will become an Unrestricted A license => meaning you can ride any bike of any power or capacity

> 21yo (min), Test on 500cc + CBT + Theory test => Unrestricted license => Any bike of any power or capacity.
What's a CBT?

CBT is Compulsory Basic Training. You don't need to do this if any of the following apply to you:
  • You are riding a moped (50cc and max speed of 31mph) on a full car licence obtained on or before 1/2/2001
  • You are learning to ride a motorcycle on a full car license obtained on or before 1/12/1990
  • You are upgrading a license, e.g., A1 to A

During your CBT, you will be given on-site (usually in a car park) training and riding, plus on-road (public roads) training and riding, plus a safety talk.

It is not a pass/fail, but you must demonstrate a basic level of competence to an instructor to his/her satisfaction. CBTs are valid for two years after the date you passed. Although, obviously, if you go on to do anything beyond the CBT (more on that later) such as an A or A1, it never runs out and doesn't apply anymore.

More info on the CBT here

Theory test?

The theory test is a two part exam you must take before you take your practical motorcycle test. The first part is a 50 question exam which will ask you all sorts of stuff from road signs to mechanical questions about bikes to first aid at crash scenes. You must answer a minimum of 43 out of 50 questions correctly to pass.

The second part is known as the hazard perception, where you have to watch 14 short videos of driving situations and identify developing hazards. The sooner you spot them, the higher you score.
You must score a minimum of 44 out of 75 to pass.

Car drivers are required to do the theory test too. The hazard perception is the same for them as it is motorcyclists, but the 50 questions are car specific rather than motorcycle specific.

More info on the theory test here

Beyond the CBT...

Category A1 licence

This entitles you to ride a bike of up to 125cc and with a power output of no more than 14.6bhp. You can ride on motorways and carry a pillion. No L-Plates required to be shown on your bike.

Category A licence

You take this test on a 125, just like the A1 licence. You can carry a pillion and travel on motorways, again just like the A1. The difference is that for the first two years on this licence, you are limited to a bike which does not produce more power than 33bhp (or exceed a certain power/weight limit). This generally means bikes up to around 400cc, although you can restrict any bike, even a superbike if you wish.
Once the two years are up, it becomes an unrestricted A licence and you can ride any capacity/power output bike you wish.

Direct Access

If you're over 21 you can do the Direct Access scheme ("DAS"), you take your practical test on a bike of at least 46.6bhp power output (usually a 500cc bike) instead of a 125, and immediately have an unrestricted category A license.

Accelerated Access

If you did your category A licence and reach the age of 21 before the two year restriction expires, you can upgrade your license to unrestricted without having to wait out the two years. You just do the test again on a 46.6bhp minimum bike and you will gain an unrestricted category A licence.

So in summary

Everyone has to do CBT (except for some cases)
If you're 16, you can only ride a moped
If you want to ride a motorcycle you must be 17 or older
If you want to ride a motorcycle and go beyond the CBT, you must pass the theory test
If you're 17 or above you can do Category A1 or A
If you're 21 or above you can do go the DAS route

What's this thread for?

Anything motorcycle related, but above all: showing us your bike

It'd be great if someone could read all of the above and let me know if I screwed up anywhere. I checked most of it in my aptly titled "Learn to Ride" book
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Old 24th Feb 2009, 21:10   #2
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Nice one RTT, you've definitely made my bit clearer and the rest of it is good information to have, clear and concise. I'm going to write up a little bit about the practical test as it is now and what's changing when the new test comes in, if you'd like to edit it for clarity/ format that would be great.

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Old 24th Feb 2009, 21:20   #3
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Can anyone clear up the process for those of us with a full car licence? It might be interesting to learn how to ride a bike at some point.
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Old 24th Feb 2009, 21:29   #4
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Thank you very much for your time and help, btw the links don't work. "More info on the theory test [here]"
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Old 24th Feb 2009, 21:44   #5
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I've just taken my motorcycle test and though I'd write it up for anyone whose interested, no two tests will be identical but the main points will be there, this was my experience.

The motorcycle practical test is very similar to the car test though there are a couple of differences because the examiner will be following rather than sitting beside you.

You arrive at the test centre and the examiner will meet you and ask to see your documents, you must show him your CBT certificate, Theory certificate (this is a small section at the back of the letter given to you at the end of the theory test, easy to miss) and EITHER your plastic photocard driving license and the paper counterpart OR your old style paper driving license and your passport.

Then you sign a declaration and the examiner gives you a radio/earpiece and explains that they will be following you either in a car or on a bike and giving you directions over the radio. The examiner takes you outside and will ask you to read a standard number plate from a distance of about 20.5M. You then walk over to the bike and he/she will ask you two questions about maintenance of the bike (often called show me/ tell me questions). They explain that you are to ride as though the examiner were not there, this means not avoiding a gap in the traffic because there isn't enough room for the examiner to pull out too. The examiner then goes to their car/bike while you get on the bike and start up. There is a radio check to make sure you can hear clearly they they ask you to pull away in your own time, as you pull away they follow behind you.

The test then follows with them giving you directions, if no direction is given for a junction/roundabout you follow the road ahead. If you become separated from the examiner they will probably ask you to find a safe place and pull in at the side of the road, when they see you again they will ask you to pull away again, this happened to me a lot (6-7 times) and it doesn't mean you done something wrong.

At some point during the test they will ask you to pull in to the side of the road behind a parked car, this is one of the set manoeuvres and you have to pull away around the car safely. The other set manoeuvre is the U-turn, the examiner will ask you to pull in to the side of the road, mine then asked me to turn off, got out of his car and came to speak to me face to face. The process for the U-turn is to get off, place the bike on its stand then take the bike off the stand, check there's nothing coming then wheel the bike across the road so you're beside the other curb facing the other way. They then ask you to get back on the bike and do the ridden U-turn so you're now facing back in the original direction.

The emergency stop is another thing you will be asked to do, mine was straight after the U-turn, he asked me to ride around the block (alone) and when I returned to the road he was in he would be standing at the edge of the road, when he raised his right hand I was to perform the emergency stop, if he did not raise his hand then it was unsafe to stop and I should continue to ride around the block again when, if it was safe, he would raise his hand and I would stop.

When you return to the test centre you will be asked to park up then go to speak with the examiner, then there is a question about carrying a pillion passenger ( what would you adjust/check before...) and then that's it, they'll tell you whether you've passed or not.

This was just my experience so things may happen in a different order and will almost certainly be worded differently.

Moriquendi
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Last edited by Moriquendi; 24th Feb 2009 at 22:16.
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Old 24th Feb 2009, 22:01   #6
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On April the 27th 2009 the motorcycle practical test is being changed, it will become longer and will be split into two halves. The way it was explained to me you must complete and pass module 1 before you move on to module 2. Once you have passed module 1 you have two years to then pass module 2 (this needs to be checked, my instructor wasn't certain about this).

Module 1 is completed off the road and includes low speed manoeuvres, higher speed manoeuvres, avoiding an obstacle at a minimum speed of 50KPH(32MPH) and an emergency stop from at least 50KPH(32MPH).

Module 2 is the on road part of the test but includes the maintenance questions and sight test (reading a numberplate).

For moped riders the minimum speed requirements are reduced for module 1 to 30KPH (19MPH)

The DSA site has all the details here.

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Old 24th Feb 2009, 22:07   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit View Post
Can anyone clear up the process for those of us with a full car licence? It might be interesting to learn how to ride a bike at some point.
Sure. Actually it makes no difference whether you have a full car licence or just a provisional. You just do the theory test again (both parts, and only if you want to go further than CBT) and choose whichever route you want to do from the above.

Ren - thanks. I've updated the post with the correct links

Moriquendi - great info
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Old 24th Feb 2009, 22:14   #8
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Krikkit, in terms of what the first step would be, contact a motorbike training school. A search for "CBT [your hometown]" wont take you far wrong, if you live outside a major city then a search with the citys name would probably bring up the most options. Then basically ring them up and say "I'm thinking of learning to ride a motorbike, what do I do?"

For anyone around Bristol I can recommend InGear rider training in Clevedon, I've gone through from CBT to Direct access with them and they've been great.

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Old 24th Feb 2009, 22:44   #9
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On a similar note, if you're in North Devon, 5star are the only company worth looking into for both CBT and training for tests.

Just to get the ball rolling, here's my Suzi (I know, there must be a million Suzukis named 'Suzi', but the name just kind of stuck):


She's the 125 that I passed on, I'm gonna wait 'til the summer to upgrade as I can't afford it right now but I do love that bike, and she'll get to 60mph easily, which will do me for now
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Old 24th Feb 2009, 23:03   #10
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woo finally a bike thread, passed my test last july i ride a suzuki drz400sm, 7000miles now and nothing has ever gone wrong. it does eat tyres tho, needs a new rear tyre every 3000miles, front is about 6000
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Old 24th Feb 2009, 23:12   #11
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nice bike, I was looking at one of them and I'll probably still test ride one. I love enduro/supermoto type bikes, but I'm put off by the fact they're singles.
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Old 24th Feb 2009, 23:15   #12
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if u want a supermoto that isnt a single, look at the aprilia sxv 4.5 or 5.5
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Old 24th Feb 2009, 23:23   #13
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What about the Duke Hypermotard? Isn't that a supermoto too? That's an L-twin isn't it?
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Old 24th Feb 2009, 23:35   #14
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yeh the duke is a v twin aswell, but thats a beast of a bike
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 02:36   #15
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I must confess that I have a bit of a fetish for Dukes.
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 08:05   #16
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Here where I live I had to write a test (took 10min) and take an 8 hour course which gives me my Learner License for motorcycles and I can drive any motorcycle during daylight and with zero passengers. After 9months of have learners I can take the road test which will give me full license with zero restrictions.

I have had my learners since July but I doubt I will take the road test this year. I dont have much experience yet. I will probably wait till after I'm done school.

As for my motorcycle. It's actually a little big for me I think.I can have my feet flat on the ground while on it but barely (I'm 5'6") and it rather heavy and really powerful.

I haven't taken any pics of it. Either.

It is a 1983 Honda V65 Magna 1100cc.

heres a pic I found on google. it's very similar to mine. Mine doesn't have the backrest. And mine has a small windshield and a new seatcover.



It cost me $300 and after getting it totally fixed and everything it's totalled at abotu $1000 which is extremely cheap as I could now sell it for $1500 pretty easily.
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 09:01   #17
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Yeah, there are quite a few v-twin supermoto bikes, I had my eye on a beautiful duke in shop near me but they went and sold it, although it was probably out of my price range.

My girlfriend's dad rides a Kawasaki Versis, I'm in love with that machine, it's great for tall people as well, and apparently the most fun bike he's ever ridden, that's one of my dream bikes.
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 09:44   #18
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My Theory runs out in July, but I can't afford to blow 600 on a DAS course. Booo!

Oh well, I'll just have to take it again when I have got the money. It's not too expensive, and is a piece of piss to do.
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 10:17   #19
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nice bike, I was looking at one of them and I'll probably still test ride one. I love enduro/supermoto type bikes, but I'm put off by the fact they're singles.
What's wrong with singles? Nice and torquey, 2-4x less stuff to go wrong, don't need to thrash them to get any power out of them, the list goes on. Or am I missing something?

As it happens, I'm after a KTM 690 supermoto once I've passed. At least, that's my plan. I could test ride one and hate it for all I know I'm really not into the sports bikes, as awesome as they are. I'm also considering things like Honda Hornets, Kawasaki Z750s, the new Yamaha XJ6 and Suzuki Gladius, and some others.
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 11:21   #20
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It's mostly because I plan to do a bit of touring/long journeys, and having a single going at 6000 rpm under my ass for long period of time is not my idea of fun

They also tend to have a bit of a flat spot between 4 and 5k rpm. I know the newer singles are a lot smoother and generally better, but I'm not gonna be able to afford somthing like that.

A hornet is on my list, great first bike, usually cheap, and hondas have much better build quality than the bandits.

I might still get a single, it's all gonna be in the test ride
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