What is Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)?

What is Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)?

Are you all set to get your new moped or motorcycle and then hit the road? Prior to all these, you need to take up a preliminary training termed as Compulsory Basic Training (abbreviated as CBT) to attain DL196 certificate. The training is more on the lines of an assessment that was introduced by the United Kingdom’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), and the certificate attained after the assessment is valid for a duration of 2 years from the date of issue.

CBT courses are provided by Approved Training Bodies (ATBs), and recruit instructors who have cleared the Driving and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) Assessment and have instructing areas that have been approved by the DVSA for off-road training. Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) is, based on the following components:

  • Eyesight check

Eyesight of the trainee is checked. As part of the Compulsory Basic Training syllabus, you must be able to read a standard number plate in good daylight, from 20 metres (65 feet). If you need to wear glasses or corrective lenses to do this, you must wear them every time you drive/ride.


  • Element A – Introduction

Preface of CBT and other components of the training are explained in the introduction.

Safety Helmet and the importance of wearing protective equipment are also discussed.


  • Element B – Practical on-site training – this module emphasizes on controls, maintenance, and safety of the vehicle.


  • Element C – Practical on-site riding – the trainer instructs how to balance the bike and other related techniques. During this session, you will learn how to ride a moped and help in accentuating your riding skills. The points that are taken care are pulling away and stopping smoothly, taking slow control, controlled stopping in emergency situations, changing of gears (in case you wish to go for a geared bike), and many other instructions to be followed while riding.


  • Element D – Practical on-road training – another classroom chat, where the instructor will discuss about riding on the road and a brief about the highway codes to be adhered.


  • Element E – Practical on-road riding – this module consists of a minimum of 2-hour duration training, where the instructor assesses if the trainee has progressed well all through the training. You will have to demonstrate that you can ride competently and safely in a variety of road and traffic conditions. Your training will cover how to cope with a range of hazards. At the end of this session you will be assessed. This is the last component that decides if you are eligible to avail DL196 license/form.


Training on each module is, given only when there is a fine progress in the previous one. The above-mentioned components assess both practical and theory skills of the trainee. A motorcycle below 50 cc can be ridden, if you have a full car license that was issued before 1st February 2001, this does not require one to have a CBT. However, if you are planning to ride a moped over 50 cc then, you need to complete a CBT course and only then you are licensed to ride the vehicle on road. Another requirement is, after completion of the training, you need to display ‘L’ plates on your motorbike, scooter or moped. The CBT does not allow you to carry a pillion passenger or ride on motorways.


Apart from CBT training there are many other moped/motorcycle training courses or lessons ranging from beginners to experienced riders. It is to your discretion what kind of course you want to opt for, and based on that the variety of motorcycle that you can ride. Completion of the CBT course, Direct Access Scheme or Advanced Training; assists in riding the bike with much more assurance. Some centres are also able to hire you the bike for the training in case you do not possess one.


The immediate step after completion of CBT course is procuring your full motorcycle license, and this can be possessed once you pass your motorcycle theory test. This test decides what kind of license can be availed by you. This Compulsory Basic Training is most helpful for the beginners, as you would have a skilful trainer to explain you the instructions and nuances to be looked into and taken care of while riding a motorbike, moped or scooter. As the name says, this basic training can be enrolled by virtually anyone.


Duration of this training lasts from a few hours to one or more days, depending on ability. It all depends on how well you can get hold of the concepts of riding. All throughout the training one requires fundamental knowledge of the UK Highway Code and UK traffic rules and regulations. During the training, the instructor will ask some essential questions about these policies and road rules; this gives a chance to assess if you are both practical and theoretically sound to ride a motorbike on the road. You can easily complete the practical assessment if you know how to perfectly ride a moped, motorcycle or scooter and have the sense of balancing the vehicle. The sense of balancing the vehicle can easily be got if you know how to ride a bicycle and have been riding it regularly.


After completion of Compulsory Basic Training, the trainee is eligible for four different kinds of licenses based on your age and other factors. Following is a detail explanation for each of these licenses:


  1. AM Licence – Moped License:After completion of your CBT course in the UK, you can ride a scooter, moped or a motorcycle up to 125cc with L-plates (if you are 17 years old or older) . If you are looking for a full moped license and to ride with a pillion passenger, then you can also apply for AM license. To be eligible for this license you need to pass a motorcycle theory test followed by two practical tests (Module 1 & 2). Procuring of this license, allows you to ride with a pillion rider, no L plates, and also gives you a permission to ride a 50 cc motorbike or scooter that speeds up to 45 km/h. Before going for this license type, it is recommended to go for an extensive Compulsory Basic Training, which assures you about riding on the roads with much more confidence. AM License can be applied by cadets of Age 16 or over.
  2. A1 Motorcycle License: A1 Motorcycle License is considered the second-stage while getting a license. This can be applied by you if you are aged 17 or above. Once, you are through the CBT and motorcycle theory tests, you need to pass two practical tests to get an A1 license. Attaining of this license permits you to ride a motorbike or scooter up to 125 cc. Added to this; you need not have to place L-plates to your motorcycle and can ride along with a passenger. This A1 license can be considered beneficial, as this would lessen your insurance burden. If you wish to go for more advanced licenses like A2 Motorcycle License then it would require minimum gap of two years, after which you need to attend another practical test – passing of which you are eligible for that license too.
  3. A2 Motorcycle License: As mentioned above; there are two ways of attaining A2 Motorcycle license. One, get your A1 Motorcycle License, wait for duration of two-years, take a practical test and avail A2 Motorcycle License. Second option is, directly apply for A2 Motorcycle License is, if you are aged 19 years or above, then you can directly apply for this license. But, similar to other licenses, you have to pass a Motorcycle Theory Test and two practical tests. The Direct Access route to the license is by passing through CBT, motorcycle theory, and the practical tests.

To have this license gives you consent to ride a motorbike that powers up to 35KW (46 bhp), which means permission to ride a bigger and more powerful vehicles on the road. Similar to other licenses you do not need to display L-plate, and you can carry a passenger and also ride on motorways.

  1. Unrestricted A motorcycle license: This can be said as the most powerful and last license anyone can acquire. If you have attained the age of 24, then you can directly apply for A motorcycle license. Possessing of this license will authorize you to ride a motorbike of any size or power. Similar to an A2 motorcycle license, availing of this license also has two procedures: one, if you are already the holder of A2 Motorcycle License, and have passed two years duration, then pass the practical tests. Another way of getting this license is to complete CBT and pass a motorcycle theory and practical tests. Alike all other licenses, you need not carry L-plates on your vehicle and have the authority to have a pillion passenger while you are riding.

Across availing of all these licenses, one has to keep a keen note that riding safely and sticking to the road policies and highway codes, will not only help in comfortable rides for you and the one along with you. Also, for the other people on and off-the road.

Compulsory Basic Training cannot be the end place for completion of learning or training. Further moped training will help you to understand more about your controlling of the bike and improve your riding skills.

During the CBT training in London, you will be also specified the clothing rules to be followed. Some of which are mentioned here:

  • A motorcycle or scooter safety helmet that is designed based on the European Safety Standards (ECER 22.05) has to be worn. There are some exceptions for not wearing this helmet, like: if you are Sikh and wear a turban.
  • Foot gear or footwear that you wear should be strong and sturdy so that it supports your ankle and provides enough protection while riding the scooter or moped
  • Strong or heavy trousers while riding the vehicle is suggested – this is mentioned because, in case of any road accidents, you would be less hurt or this kind of clothing will protect to certain extent
  • The same above point is applied for upper part of the body. Thick clothed jackets like denim or leather is suggested to be worn
  • Gloves for the palms that helps in better grip of the vehicle.
  • Eye-protection such as a visor or googles is also a legal requirement while riding.

Further to CBT course, there are other schemes that are designed for bike riders with Unrestricted or Full Motorcycle License. One these schemes is the Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS), which was developed by the Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency (DVSA). This is specifically for the riders with good experience in riding the vehicle of any size or power. This scheme does not require the rider to take any test if they meet the expectation. A plus point to this scheme is that, you can also earn discount on your motorcycle insurance.

Apart from the basic trainings, these additional developmental trainings help in enhancing your riding skills and give benefits like reduction on insurance, and many more pros. There are many companies that cater to these trainings and courses; enrolling yourself into one of these is always a best option. It is always good to be assessed and equipped with the right knowledge, rules, codes, and policies before hitting the road, this will not only help in keeping you on the safety ground but others too.