Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)

Compulsory Basic Training is generally the first training course that you take on a motorcycle.  Whether you choose a geared or automatic bike the syllabus is the same.

Upon completion of Compulsory Basic Training you can ride:

a moped if you’re 16 years old
a motorcycle up to 125cc with 11Kw (14.7 HP) power output if you’re 17 years old.

You must display L Plates front and rear, and you can’t carry a pillion passenger or use motorways.

If you don’t take a full test within 2 years, you’ll need to complete another full CBT in order to continue riding.


What happens during CBT?

Compulsory Basic Training consisits of 5 sections, or ‘Elements’.  You’ll complete each element before you can move on to the next.  Your instructor will guide you through and make suggestions for improvement during your learning.

Element A

You’ll meet at the training centre with your instructor and other students (if you’re on a multiple booked course). 

Tea, Coffee and soft drinks are provided free of charge, and we’ll conduct a documents check to ensure that CBT can continue for you.

Once the eyesight check is completed, its into the classroom area for a introduction to CBT.


Its a legal requirement for Compulsory Basic Training that you can read a number plate at minimum distance of 20 meters. If you cannot, then CBT will end here.

The introduction consists of a quick quiz, to see what you already know.  The pass rate is 75%, and your instructor will clarify any areas that are not understood.

We’ll then take some time to get to know each other, find out what you wish to achieve during CBT, and any future plans or considerations.

Having completed the online study prior to this section, you’ll fly through the introduction quiz and be ready for the next stage.

Once the Compulsory Basic Training Introduction is complete, its time for a rest break and then we’ll start providing you with equipment you’ll be using during your course.

You’ll have encountered a lot of these items during your online learning, but your instructor will clarify any areas that you might be concerned about.

The only item we cannot provide is footwear, and we ask that you wear sturdy boots for riding a motorcycle or scooter.  Unfortunately training shoes are not acceptable and your course will not continue if you are wearing trainers.

Once we have you’re equipment sized and fitted, its off to look at motorcycles.

Element B

During the second element, of Compulsory Basic Training you’ll be asked to identify some parts of the motorcycle or moped you may already know.  Don’t worry if you’re not sure, your instructor will guide you through each control.

You’ll also be told what each control is for, how and when to use it, and any special considerations for its use.

After the machine controls are familiar, your instructor will guide you through basic checks and maintenance to carry out on the machine.

This might cover topics such as:

  • Engine Oil Checks
  • Condition of tyres
  • Adjusting the drive chain
  • Checking the electrical system
  • Adjusting levers or controls for comfort
  • Lubrication and service points

The next part of Element B involves getting hands on with your machine. 

Your instructor will show you the stands that are fitted to your machine, and show you how to use each one.

You’ll then need to show your instructor that you can take you machine off the stand and put it back on safely.


It may take several attempts to get this critical skill mastered, so watch the demonstration carefully and don't be afraid to ask questions.

The instructor will now demonstrate how to hold your machine whilst wheeling it, and how to use the front brake smoothly to stop the bike.

Once you’ve seen the demonstration and practiced under the instructors supervision, you’ll be asked to sit aboard your bike.

This element finishes with you starting and stopping your bike correctly, and the steps needed when doing so.

Element C

Now is the time to start riding!  You’re instructor will guide you through each exercise of Compulsory Basic Training, including a demonstration if you want one, and an explanation of things to be careful of.

The exercises in this element include:

  • moving away
  • riding slowly
  • riding in a straight line and coming to a controlled stop
  • riding a figure of eight

You’ll also be ask to think about when and where rear and sideways observation will be required.  You’re instructor will demonstrate and ask you to copy.

Don’t expect your instructor to keep reminding you before rear observations are needed, but you can expect them to stop you if you forget!

Once the basics are covered, you’ll get into a few more in-depth topics such as: 

  • when and how to apply controlled braking
  • using both brakes
  • when and how to change gear
  • what to do if the engine stalls.


Try to relax when practicing. You're instructor will help you understand areas that need improvement, but its up to you to concentrate and focus as much as possible.

Once you’ve got that lot mastered, you’ll start applying all those skills and knowledge to real life simulations.

If you’re up to it and have progressed this far, your instructor will show you how and have you demonstrate:

  • carrying out a u-turn
  • bringing their vehicle to a stop in an emergency
  • carrying out simulated left and right hand turns

Element D

Back to the classroom now, and preparation for riding out on the public roads to complete Compulsory Basic Training.

Quite an in depth conversation and quiz about various topics including responsibilities as a road user and legal obligations

Topics will include:

  • Legal requirements as a rider
  • The effects of alcohol, drugs and medication on safety to ride
  • How mental and physical states affect the safety of a rider
  • Defensive riding and maturity required to ride safely

You’ll also learn about:

  • Vulnerability as a rider
  • Conspicuity (being seen)
  • Road positioning for advantage and safety
  • Separation distances
  • The effects of weather and road surface
  • Hazard perception and anticipation
  • Appropriate speed
  • Observational links in hazard perception
  • Effective rear observation
  • The elements of the highway code relating to riders, and how highway code knowledge is of benefit.


Element E

Now its time to put it all together.  The ‘road ride’ or Element E of Compulsory Basic Training to provide its correct title.

You’ll head out on your machine for a minimum of 2 hours on the road.  You’ll be in radio contact so your instructor can give you directions and help you apply what you practiced earlier.

Now that you’re on the public road you’re fully responsible and in control of your machine.  You’re instructor will expect you to negotiate a variety of situations that you’ll experience in everyday riding.  Some roads may be familiar, some may not.

If you live nearby and want to practice the route you’ll be using to commute, let your instructor know and it may be possible to include this riding during the section.

Whilst out on the road, you’ll also be asked to complete two exercises that you practised earlier:

  • Emergency Stop
  • U-Turn
You’re instructor will find suitable areas in which to carry out these exercises and will fully brief you on what is expected.


Compulsory Basic Training is not about being 'perfect'. You can make mistakes on the road ride, and still end up as a perfectly safe road user. You're instructor will endeavor to protect you from dangerous situations, but its now time for you to take control.

End Of Day

At the end of this session, you’re instructor will make a judgement as to whether you are safe to head out on your own and continue your learning.  If they feel that you can, they’ll issue you with a Compulsory Basic Training certificate (DL196), and tell you some important information that is contained on the back of the certificate.

If the situation dictates that you may need more training before the instructor can issue you with a Compulsory Basic Training certificate (DL196), this will be explained to you and you’ll be asked to continue training on the road at a future date, or engage in some remedial training to get you ready for your next training session.

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