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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Motorcycles you can ride

A moped has a maximum design speed not exceeding 50 kilometres per hour (approximately 31 miles per hour). It has an engine up to 50 cubic centimetres (cc). A learner motorcycle has an engine up to 125 cc and a power output not exceeding 11 kilowatt (kw)

Changes to moped, motorcycle and tricycle driving licence rules

From 19 January 2013, driving licence rules will be changing for moped, motorcycle and tricycle riders. To find out more about the changes, follow the link below.

Full motorcycle licence

The practical test must be taken on a bike of between 75 cc and 125 cc. There are two types of full motorcycle licence:

  • a light motorcycle licence (A1), which restricts riders to any bike up to 125 cc and a power output of 11 kw
  • a standard motorcycle licence (A), is obtained if the practical test is taken on a bike of over 120 cc but not more than 125 cc and capable of at least 100 kilometres per hour (km/h)

After passing the standard motorcycle practical test, you will be restricted for two years to riding a bike of up to 25 kw and a power/weight ratio not exceeding 0.16 kw/kg. After this you may ride any size of bike.


The BMW C1 motorcycle is not a suitable machine for a practical test.

Direct and accelerated access

Riders age 21 or over, or those who reach 21 before their two year restriction ends, have other options.

Direct access

After taking Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) and the theory test, the practical test may be taken on a motorcycle with a power output of at least 35 kw. A pass allows you to ride any size of bike. All or part of the CBT course may be taken on either a learner bike or a large bike. To practice for the practical test on bikes larger than the learner bike specification you must:

  • be accompanied at all times by an approved instructor on another bike and in radio contact
  • wear fluorescent or reflective clothing
  • follow all other provisional licence restrictions

Accelerated access

Riders who reach the age of 21, while still within the two year period where they are restricted to maximum 25 kw machines, but who wish to ride larger bikes need to pass a further test on a motorcycle of at least 35 kw. They may practice on bikes over 25 kw under the same practice conditions for direct access riders. You will revert to learner status while practicing (on a motorcycle greater than 25 kw) although test failure will not affect your existing licence.


Learners who wish to ride with a sidecar can practice on a combination with a power/weight ratio not exceeding 0.16 kiloWatt/kilogram. On obtaining a standard licence, you will be restricted to a combination with the same power/weight ratio for two years. At age 21 learners may, only within direct or accelerated access, practice on a larger combination, but the test must be taken on a solo bike (although physically disabled riders can use a combination).

Additional links

Help for learner riders

Get help and advice about learning to ride from the Facebook community

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