Learning to ride: How to pass your A1 motorbike licence


Welcome to MCN’s guide to passing the A1 motorbike licence, where we explain what it is, who it’s for and crucially, how to pass it.

For a younger person learning to ride a motorbike, this is the quickest route to getting a full motorbike licence.

What is an A1 licence for a motorbike?

An A1 motorbike licence is offered to people aged 17 and above, who only want to ride a motorcycle or moped with an engine capacity of up to 125cc and power of no more than 14.8bhp. It’s the only licence on offer for motorcyclists aged 17 and 18.

There's a diverse range of bikes available once you've passed your A1 licence

Advantages of getting an A1 licence include being able to ride without L-plates, the ability to use motorways and carry a pillion passenger, so it’s genuinely more useful than the CBT; and furthermore it doesn’t expire after two years either.

However, it’s worth noting that while in theory you’re able to ride on the motorway and carry a pillion, in practice the bikes you’re allowed to ride aren’t the most powerful, and may struggle doing either thing.

How to get an A1 motorcycle licence

You’ll be required to hold a valid UK driving licence, be it a provisional or a full car licence. You’ll also need to have completed the CBT.

If it’s your first go at riding a manual motorbike, we’d suggest you also seek some instruction on how to change gears too.

If you’re totally new to bikes, then you’re in for a real treat. Start with our how to ride a motorbike article and work from there.

Some 125cc motorbikes are pretty sporty too, and you're able to ride them all once you've passed your A1 motorcycle licence

Finally, you’ll need to have passed the motorcycle theory test ahead of your A1 licence exams.

A1 motorbike licence – the test itself

When it comes to taking the A1 test, you’re able to do it on a bike that’s between 120-125cc, with no more than 14.6bhp. It should be capable of speeds over 55mph.

You can take the test on either a manual or automatic motorbike, but once you’ve passed you’ll be restricted to auto-only if that’s the route you’ve chosen.

You still need to pass modules 1 and 2 before you pass your A1 licence

You’ll have to pass both Module 1 and Module 2 of the full motorcycle test, and we suggest doing this over two separate days to give you the best chance of passing both parts.

There’s a full run-down of what you can expect in both modules on our guide to passing the full UK motorbike licence.

Once you’ve passed, it’s time to enjoy your first month motorcycling.

What motorbikes can I ride on an A1 licence? Check out the best 125s…

There are loads of bikes out there that’ll be suitable for a rider with an A1 licence. These days you’ve got a choice of petrol or electric bikes, and as long as power doesn’t exceed 11kW with a power-to-weight ratio of up to 0.1kW/kg.

Examples some of the best A1 motorbikes include the Yamaha MT-125 naked, the Suzuki GSX-R125 sports bike and the Super Soco TC Max electric bike.

However, the best place to begin your search is our best 125cc motorbikes article, or watch the video below…

Passing the A1 licence: Your questions

Can I do an A1 licence without a CBT? 

No, you must get a CBT and a theory test before taking your A1 motorbike licence.

How long does it take to get a A1 license?

It’s possible to pass it in a week in certain circumstances, but we’d suggest a little more practice would be a good idea.

How much does it cost to get your A1 license in the UK?

This largely depends on the riding school you choose to start riding with. Often they will have fixed-price schemes on offer, but most assume that you’ve already passed your theory (something they can’t really help you with) and done a CBT.

How long does an A1 license last?

An A1 licence lasts until you decide to take further tests to upgrade to an A2 motorbike licence.