Taking your CBT can be a daunting process, especially if you are completely new to the scene and have no experience on the road at all.

BikeMatters is made up of riders who have riding experience going back years (sorry to show your age Brett) and they’ve put together this guide of the 10 things to know before taking your training to ensure new riders are well-equipped and know what to expect before riding.

1. How to prepare for a CBT

Let’s start at the beginning, to take your CBT, you’ll need to be at least 16 years old and have either a provisional or full UK car driver's licence – you will need to bring this with you on the day. You’ll need to decide what to wear ahead of the day too as you are required to wear suitable clothing, but we’ll touch on this in more detail later.

In addition to that, you will be asked to read a number plate from 20.5 meters away and will also need to have a good understanding of the Highway Code, which leads me nicely onto point 2.

2. The Highway Code

If you are new to the road, as a new road user, it’s important to have a good understanding of the Highway Code, therefore we suggest getting yourself up to scratch with the basics. Not only to ensure the safety of yourself and others but to show to your instructor that you can talk the talk and then walk the walk.

3. Can you use your own motorcycle for your CBT?

This comes down to a couple of factors. First, each motorcycle training school is different so it’s important to ask them to see if they are happy with you bringing your own vehicle. Secondly, how do you plan on getting your bike to the test centre? As obviously, and legally, you can’t ride it there yourself.

And, thirdly, you need to make sure you have the correct insurance in place to actually cover you on the CBT itself. Now, each to their own and all, but most people find using a bike provided by their chosen training school that’s ripe and ready to go is much more convenient and a lot less stressful.

4. What equipment do I need to take a CBT?

Legally the only piece of equipment you’ll need is a motorcycle helmet, however, as good practice, most training schools will require you to have a good amount of safety gear as well.

When I say a good amount of gear, I mean a motorcycle helmet, jacket, gloves, trousers and boots. If you have your own, most training schools won’t have a problem with you wearing it. If you don’t have your own helmet, jacket or gloves, most training schools will have spares that are available to borrow if needs be. However, this is something I would check before booking.

5. Should I take lessons before doing a CBT?

It’s perfectly normal to be nervous before taking your CBT. Sometimes, people can be tempted to book separate lessons before doing a CBT. What I would say though it that a CBT is the first step for getting on a powered two-wheeler. A CBT is Compulsory Basic Training and is a starting point for most new riders, so don’t feel nervous, you are not the only complete noob to take the training – even though you may feel like it! You may want to read our Compulsory Basic Training guide, it includes a first-hand experience of what it’s like and what you can expect.

For most people doing a CBT is their first taste of riding a motorcycle and a good instructor will be well prepared to help you on your way. Their advice and experience will become invaluable, literal gold dust, and really help to put your mind at rest.

If after taking your CBT, you still aren’t feeling confident then this is the time to look at booking additional lessons – it’s imperative to feel confident and safe while riding!

6. Can you fail your CBT?

Compulsory Basic Training is exactly what it says on the tin – it’s training, not a test.

When saying that though, an instructor should and will not give someone their CBT certificate if they don’t meet the standards to ride on the road safely. If this happens to be you, most good training schools do invite you back another day to undergo further training or redo the CBT until they get to the level required.

7. What can I ride once I’ve passed my CBT?

If you are 16 years old, you can ride a scooter or motorcycle up to 50cc and restricted to 30mph. If you are 17 or older, you can ride a motorcycle or scooter up to 125cc with an output not exceeding 15hp.

If you really are new to the scene, then you may be unsure on what scooter or motorcycle to go for. Not to worry though, we at BikeMatters have some excellent top 10 videos such as Top 10 125cc Scooters and Top 10 125cc Motorcycles to help you.

8. How long does a CBT take?

It’s estimated to take between 5-8 hours. You can check out our full CBT guide video which goes through it step-by-step, but you essentially end up with about a 2-hour road ride at the end, where you are evaluated.

9. Twist’n’go or manual transmission?

You can (subject to training school availability) do a CBT on either a twist’n’go/automatic which will normally be a scooter or a manual which tends to be a motorcycle. We advise learning for what bike you’ll be riding yourself. 

10. Will there be other riders with me on my CBT training?

Typically, you will be riding in a small group (2-4 riders per instructor), but this will depend on the bookings at the time. There will be sometimes when there might only be one rider doing a CBT, it just depends on bookings for each CBT.

One for the road

And our extra tip is just to keep calm and enjoy it, even though we do appreciate this is easier said than done!

Remember that a CBT is designed for new motorcycle riders, and a good instructor will be more than ready to assist you and try and take things at your pace. You won’t be the first nervous newbie, and you certainly won't be the last.

The last stop

Now you have a basic understanding of what’s needed to complete your CBT, what are you waiting for? Go and get it booked and start studying. If you’re not sure where to start you may want to read our guide on 6 Things You May Forget After Completing Your CBT. Yes, I know it’s for riders who have taken their CBT, but it’s full of useful tips that will help those waiting in line to take theirs too.

When it's time to get insurance for your moped, scooter, or motorcycle, make sure to get an insurance quotation direct with Lexham!