Licence Categories – an explanation.
Before taking any category of moped or motorcycle test, you will need to take and pass a DVSA motorcycle theory test (see separate link for details). When attending for test, you will need to produce both your CBT and theory certificates along with both parts of your driving licence
Category AM (moped licence) – 50cc, age 16 or over
The test machine must not exceed 50cc
Passing the mod 1 & mod 2 tests on a moped will only give you a full moped licence. Therefore if you take a moped test at 16 years of age, once you turn 17 you revert back to learner status if you move to any machine in excess of 50cc. Therefore if you intend to ride a machine larger than a moped, it is more practical to gain some experience on your moped until you are 17 and then take the test on a 125. If you do decide to take your test on a moped, once passed you can remove your L-plates and carry passengers but you cannot use motorways.
Category A1 (light motorcycle licence) – 125cc, age 17and over
The test machine must be 120cc to 125cc
Passing the mod 1 & mod 2 tests on such a machine will give you a full category A1 licence. However, this still only allows you to ride machines up to 125cc. The benefit is that you can ride without L-plates, carry a passenger and use a motorway ( if you’re brave enough! ). This licence does not allow you to ride bikes larger than 125cc
Now, this is where it gets complicated……………..
Category A2 (intermediate motorcycle licence) - motorcycles up to 35kw /46.6bhp, age19 and over
The test machine must be a minimum of 395cc and between 20kw/33bhp – 35kw/46.6bhp
Passing the mod 1 & mod 2 tests on such a machine will give you a full licence to ride any cc bike up to a power limit of 35kw/47bhp provided it is originally manufactured under this figure or has had a recognised professional restrictor kit fitted so not to exceed this power. You can then ride without L-Plates, carry a passenger and use a motorway.
If the engine power of a motorcycle has been restricted to comply with the A2 category, the normal unrestricted power must not be more than double its new restricted power. In other words, you cannot restrict any engine which would normally be greater than 94bhp. For example, a Yamaha R6 produces 130+bhp so would not be eligible for restriction to meet the A2 category as its original power exceeds 94bhp.
Category A (full motorcycle licence) – motorcycles over 46.6bhp, age 24 years and over (or from age 21 provided you have held an A2 Licence for 2 years)
The test machine must be a minimum of 595cc and 50kW
Passing the mod 1 & mod 2 tests on such a machine will give you a full motorcycle licence allowing you to ride any size bike.
If you intend to go from CBT straight to this category, this is known as direct access and you must be 24 years of age or over to take the test. However, you can also take what is known as the accelerated access route which means you can take this test as early as age 21 if you previously took the A2 test and have held this category for at least 2 years.
In all cases to take a practical test, you will need a CBT and a theory certificate. Taking a test on an automatic will give you a licence restricting you to automatics only for that category.
A rider who has held a Category A1 licence for a minimum of 2 years can take the A2 test without the need to produce CBT or theory tests certificates. The rider will need to take both module 1 and module 2 tests on a category A2 machine.
Similarly, a rider who has passed the A2 test at any time from the age of 19 and wishes to move on to take the full category A test can do so from the age of 21 provided they have held the Category A2 licence for a minimum period of 2 years. CBT and theory certificates are not required and the rider will need to take both module 1 and module 2 tests on a category A machine.
The benefit of accelerated access is that a rider can move to a full category A licence before the age of 24, unlike the Direct Access route.
Motorcycles which are approved for the UK test (heading)
Please use this link to access the DVSA website to see details of machine requirements for each category of test and a list of approved machines on which the test can be taken.