Compulsory Basic Training, or CBT, is motorcycle training you need to complete before riding on the road for the first time.
According to the Driving Standards Agency:
CBT is designed to give you the skills, knowledge and understanding to go out on the road, on your own, to prepare for your full motorcycle riding test.
After taking Compulsory Basic Training, you’ll have two years to pass your full test. If you don’t pass within two years, you’ll need to take CBT again.
Do I Really Need to Take CBT Before Riding a Motorcycle on the Road?
Almost certainly, yes. There are, however, a few cases where you don’t need to take CBT to ride on the road:
- Long-time car drivers looking to ride a moped: If you passed your car driving test before 1st February 2001, you don’t need to take CBT to ride a moped. (Mopeds have a maximum engine size of 50cc and a maximum speed of around 31mph.)
- Long-time moped riders: If you have a full moped licence from passing a full moped test after 1 December 1990.
- Licensed motorcycle riders looking to upgrade to a different category: If you have a full motorcycle licence for one category and want to upgrade to another.
- Motorcycle riders on some offshore islands: If you live and will only ride on an island not connected to the mainland by road, excluding the Isle of Wight, South Uist, North Uist, Benbecula, Harris, Lewis, mainland Orkney, mainland Shetland.
Unless you fall into one of these categories, legally you will need to do CBT before riding on the road.
What Does CBT Cover?
The Driving Standards Agency makes sure that different training centres cover the same basic material in their Compulsory Basic Training courses so that wherever you do your training, you should learn the same things. The main areas that the CBT covers are:
- Introduction and eyesight check
- On-site training
- On-site riding
- On-road training
- On-road riding
Will I Train With Other People?
It’s up to you and which course you choose. You can get individual training but CBT training is often done in small groups. For the parts of the training conducted at the training centre site, you may have up to 4 learners (including you) per trainer. For the on-road parts of the training you may have a trainer to yourself or you may be in a group of two with a trainer. These numbers are designed to make sure everyone is kept safe at all times.
How Much Does CBT Cost?
Motorcycle training companies are free to set their own fees for the CBT, so there is no standard cost. Typically, though, a CBT training course will cost between £80 and £130. Weekday sessions can be cheaper than weekends, and some training centres offer reduced rates for students who bring their own bike rather than using the school’s bikes.
Where Can I do my CBT?
CBT training needs to be booked through an Approved Training Body (ATB). An ATB is just a motorcycle training school or centre that has been found to meet certain rules laid down by the Driving Standards Agency. (These rules help make sure that the training centre is well-run, the training you receive covers the right topics, and is up to a good standard.)
There are dozens of Approved Training Bodies offering motorcycle training around the country. You can find one near you with our directory of motorcycle training centres.