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Cheapest way to get motorbike license?

Discussion in 'Biker's Cafe' started by Hades, May 8, 2018.

  1. Hades


    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 24,246

    Location: Surrey

    I have held a car license since 1988. In the 1990's I took an intensive motorbike course simply for fun. I failed the test but I never retook it as the motivation at the time wasn't around getting the license itself. I recall at the time it significantly improved my car driving as I was very aware of how vulnerable motorcyclists are.

    I would now like to learn to ride again. But with two kids money is very, very tight now. So I am considering buying a cheap used 125 and learning. I am unsure whetehr I'd sell the 125 for a bigger bike afterwards or just keep it. I appreciate I have to take my CBT before anything else. But I have a few questions.

    * Am I allowed to ride the bike to the CBT course in the same way you can drive a car to an MOT station? Or do I need to hire one there? I assume I can't drive it so perhaps taking the CBT with a hired bike before buying my own would be a better approach?

    * Are there any recommendations on 125's? I really can't afford a new bike so it would have to be cheap. I need to do this as cheaply as possible or not at all. I am OK to do my own basic servicing or repairs on a car/bike. If I sell the bike after passing the test I would obviously like to lose as little depreciation as possible. So buying at the bottom of the curve would be the target.

    * Although I can't afford an intensive training course, would it be possible and beneficial to have a days training after the CBT to learn best practices from an instructor? I've been driving (a car) for 30 years so am certainly not a new driver, but that has all been in a car. I need to do this cheaply but not at the expense of safety.

    * Where to go for cheap clothing/helmet/boots? I don't care whether I look like a ninja or a fashion model as long as it's safe.

    * Any other advice?


    EDIT: I've just seen this on a motocycle training company website. I'm an old fart so does that mean I could hire a 125 for CBT and then buy a 250 to ride as a learner? It would negate the need to upgrade after a test and presumably 125's are more expensive due to learner demand?

    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  2. InvaderGIR


    Joined: Jul 14, 2005

    Posts: 17,492

    Location: Bristol

    Have a look here for what you're allowed to ride: https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

    You can't ride your 125 to the CBT place, you need to do the CBT first. It's only about £100 (depend on centre etc.) so that side isn't costly. Once you have a CBT you'll likely be limited to the 125s still (with Ls), but the above link should give you more info.

    If your license is normal then you'll only be able to ride larger than a 125 whilst under instruction but not on your own. You'd need to pass one of the actual license categories (A1/A2/A) to ride anything over 125 (well, 33hp or whatever the actual limit is).

    Edit: Having some extra training is certainly worthwhile. The CBT literally is a case of "can this person control the bike safely enough to not kill themselves in 5 mins" rather than ensuring you're a decent and competent rider, that's what the tests are for.
  3. flea.rider


    Joined: Aug 7, 2017

    Posts: 938

    you can train on anything up to a 600 but you have to have your instructor with you at all times.
    unless he's going to come to your house then no option but to rent for the day for the cbt .
    hmm 125's the newer Hondas are ok cb125f but the cbf125's are rust buckets
    Yamaha ybr's are great ..the sports 125's are very expensive 4-5k and will give an old guy a bad back ..lol and they don't offer much more maybe 10-20mph

    yes been riding a 125 for yrs not took my test yet I'm 52 .. but there cheap mine cost with petrol for the yr £290 inc tax, insurance, cbt every 2 yrs
    gets me to work and back and running around .. wifes got the car for shopping and stuff .and yes I ride yr round
  4. Hades


    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 24,246

    Location: Surrey

    Thanks both.
  5. EVH


    Joined: Mar 11, 2004

    Posts: 26,990

    I did the bear minimum in terms of "lessons" and didn't have a bike to practice on. It cost me approx £800 without gear.

    That consisted of CBT £90, then a direct access course for a shade over £600 and the theory test. This was my route...

    1. CBT
    2. Theory
    3. Mod 1 practice (hadn't ridden a bike since the CBT).
    4. Mod 1 (a month after the practice - not ideal)
    5. Mod 2 practice (day after passing mod 1)
    6. Mod 2 (week after the practice - better)

    The problem with practicing on a 125 (imo) is that the power difference is noticeable which means you're having to adjust to the bigger bike. I hated the CBT because of the 125 that I rode but I found it much easier on the 600. There were 2 guys who rode to the Mod 1/2 practice on their 125 and they were either just really **** and struggled to adopt to the bigger bike or I was a natural born Rossi. Clue, it wasn't the latter :p.

    So to answer your question, you could get riding for £100 providing you can pickup a 125 and don't mind sticking with it.
  6. InvaderGIR


    Joined: Jul 14, 2005

    Posts: 17,492

    Location: Bristol

    I totalled up £1200 on training/tests but my CBT was a touch more and I had a couple more practice days as I'd never ridden at all...plus I failed the mod 1 first go. :p

    For gear...it's not something I'd want to really skimp on to be honest. I spent £400 for boots, gloves, trousers and jacket which was on the cheap side if I'm honest, but still with good protection/armour (mostly RST Blade stuff). I already had a spare helmet which I'd previously bought for £100 so not expensive but is a little old. I don't have a bike yet but when I get one at some point then I'll probably be spending £200 or so on a new helmet as it's pretty much the most important thing to protect.
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
  7. Edinho


    Joined: Sep 29, 2003

    Posts: 4,246

    Location: Not darn sarf

    For me.

    CBT (£100)
    CBF125 (£1000)
    2nd hand gear and new helmet (£150)
    Test and lessons (£700)

    Passed 1st time and I have no idea how. imo you need a spare £2000 to play with. If you can't afford that then I don't know why you are bothering seeing as when you've passed how are you going to afford something decent?
  8. ChipThiefUK


    Joined: Mar 5, 2018

    Posts: 6

    I believe you can ride a 50cc without Ls on a car license? Won't be much fun though but is useful enough for city commuting.

    It's a pig that they added all of the A1/A2 nonsense as doing Mod1 & Mod2 on a 125 then waiting 2 years for unrestricted bikes was a real cheap option to get you going.

    Now in my opinion a week of direct access is your best bet, I think it cost about £600 when I did it 6 years ago and then you're sorted forever.
  9. Col_M


    Joined: Jan 17, 2005

    Posts: 3,749

    Location: London

    I think in total it cost me

    CBT - £100
    Theory - £23
    DAS (5 days including Mod1 and Mod 2 tests on the Friday) - £699

    I can't really comment much on budget bike gear but my cousin got a mint condition bike jacket that was practically unworn (RST I think) from a charity shop so it's worth taking a look around. Helmet wise, set a budget and try on every brand and size at your local bike shop, it's essential that your lid fits perfectly.

    Yeah he will, the cut off for passing the car test was 01/02/2001
  10. Scythe


    Joined: Jun 23, 2005

    Posts: 5,230

  11. Scythe


    Joined: Jun 23, 2005

    Posts: 5,230

    You can't ride your own 125 to the CBT, as you don't have the licence for it. The easiest option is to hire theirs.

    Honda CG125, Yamaha YBR125 are great bikes and have been around a long time. The YBR is more modern, I had one new in 2009 and I can recommend it.

    I would advise lessons, yes. There are many techniques that just a car driver would be unaware of. There are equally some great youtube videos from instructors to provide advice, in general riding skills and the Mod 1.

    A bit of background - I got a YBR125 aged 17 and rode on a CBT for 18 months, self taught using youtube videos and tips from family who rode.
    I watched a Mod 1 video on youtube, then the next day took the Mod 1 and passed as it was the cheapest option (at the time it was about £15, so two attempts would cost £30. A lesson / trial run would've got £60+). For my Mod 2, I took a whole day lesson the day before and of the morning of my test, and passed. There was only a couple of minor things that I hadn't learnt myself which my instructor picked up on, but I had been riding the bike for 18months as my sole transport (8k miles) and constantly looking to self-improve.

    If you still want some advice/reading, July's edition of Ride magazine has a 'new rider' 24 page supplement. My copy has been despatched today so it should be on the shelves over the weekend.