The road to riding: Part 2 – Bigger bikes!

Okay, so you’ve got your CBT or A1 licence and have been happily riding a 125cc motorcycle with a smile on your face. But now, maybe you’d like a little bit more power, or to have more routes and bike options available to you?

Here’s our guide to the next step on your journey.


You need to have a valid theory test certificate before you can take your practical test.

A1 Licence (light motorcycles)

The A1 licence will enable you to ride motorcycles up to 125cc and up to 11kW with no requirement to equip your bike with L plates. Perfect for those who are looking at our 125 range like the Herald Maverick.

A2 Licence (standard motorcycles)

For those looking at using a more powerful bike such as our Herald Maverick 250, the A2 licence is for those who are 19+ and have held an A1 licence for two years, or are taking the A2 licence directly by completing your CBT then applying for the Direct Access route. However, the A2 licence will only enable you to ride motorcycles with a power output of up to 35kW.

A Licence (unrestricted motorcycles)

Fancy our Brute 500? Well, the A Licence is the final test if you’re looking to ride any motorcycle of any size. To apply for an A licence you will need to:

Upon completing your practical (and theory test if you are going through the direct access route) you will be able to ride any motorcycle!

This chart below maps out the various categories – you can also read more info on the website here.

Bike categories, ages and licence requirements

Licence category Requirements for licence Minimum age
Mopeds with speed range of 25 km/h to 45 km/h AM Compulsory basic training (CBT), theory test, practical test on all powered 2-wheeled moped 16
Small 3-wheelers (up to 50 cc and below 4 kW) AM CBT, theory test, practical test 16
Light quadricycles (weighing under 350 kg, top speed 45 km/h) AM CBT, theory test, practical test 16
Same as AM plus 2 or 3-wheeled mopeds with top speed of 25 km/h Q Granted with AM 16
Light motorcycle up to 11 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.1 kW per kg) and 125 cc A1 CBT, theory test, practical test 17
Motor tricycles with a power output not more than 15 kW A1 CBT, theory test, practical test 17
Standard motorcycle up to 35 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.2 kW per kg), bike must not be derived from vehicle more than twice its power A2 Direct access route – theory and practical

Progressive access route – 2 years experience on A1 motorbike and a further practical test

Unrestricted motorcycles in size/power, with or without a sidecar, and motor tricycles with power output over 15 kW A Direct access route – CBT, theory and practical (you must be at least 24)

Progressive access route – held an A2 licence for a minimum of 2 years – practical test (21 or over)

24 (direct) or 21 (progressive access)

The road to riding : Part 1 – The CBT


Whether you fancy riding to meet your friends at a biker café on a Sunday, heading to a local festival or bike event, or doing a classic road trip like the North Coast 500, the dream to ride motorcycles starts somewhere for all of us. No matter what style or capacity bike you have your eyes on, if you fancy winding country lanes or urban streets, everyone has to gain the right license before they can make the dream a reality. 


Whatever your route, getting on a motorcycle that first time can be daunting and exciting all at once. What if I stall at some traffic lights? And then tumble slowly over…? In front of everyone…?! What if I pull an accidental wheelie?! Well yes all that can happen BUT it can also be the gateway to meeting fantastic friends and finding your freedom. 

The road to riding can seem a bit confusing so read on for how to get started…


Provisional licence

Apply online for a provisional licence with ‘category A’ provisional motorcycle entitlement. This will cost around £34.


Don’t turn up in shorts and flip flops! Wear sensible boots, jacket, gloves and jeans and bring a helmet that meets BSI 6658 and ECE 22-05 standards. Many training schools can hire items out.


Before the CBT starts you must be able to read a number plate at a distance of approx 20 metres. If you fail the eyesight test the course won’t continue so if you normally wear glasses or contacts then make sure you wear them!


The CBT is the first step on the journey and the bare minimum training that every rider must take in order to get on the road. 

What happens on the CBT?

The CBT lasts almost a full day, depending on how quickly you learn and the instructor deems you safe to progress to the next part. You’ll cover both theoretical and practical aspects of riding. The CBT isn’t a pass or fail but to get your certificate your instructor must be happy you’ve met all the standards of the training!

You can expect to cover:

Then, you’ll progress to the next part which is:

You need to pass both parts of your practical test within 2 years of taking the theory test or you’ll have to start all over again. 

How much does it cost?

This is dependent on the training school you choose, but budget £130-£150 for your CBT.

After you’ve completed CBT, you can ride with L plates on a:

Once you have the CBT, you could be heading out on the Herald Classic 125 or the Brat 125!

Want to be free of those L plates or increase the power? Read our Part 2 blog coming soon for the next step…

We’re at the Bike Shed Moto Show!

We’re excited for what is sure to be another awesome year at the Bike Shed Moto Show, taking place 26/27/28 May at London’s Tobacco Dock.

Keep your eyes on our social media channels for a sneak peek of the custom bikes we’re bringing along!


Europe’s biggest and best independent annual motorcycle show, always on the last weekend in May, celebrates the creativity of the new-wave and cafe-racer custom motorcycle culture, with over 300 curated custom motorcycles, unseen in the UK, from all over the world, plus live music, art, photography, and hand-made accessories alongside selected brands, retailers and exhibitors.

Set in London’s historic and beautiful Tobacco Docks the event is also famous for its superb hospitality with high quality street-food from dozens of sole-trading vendors, barista coffee, multiple proper bars and a pub, lounges with dozens of sofas, and lounge spaces, plus dockside seating, live music, live tattoo artists, and a traditional barbershop.

This is NOT a motorcycle trade fair, it’s a family-friendly exhibition in a beautiful historical venue, where people from all walks of life are invited and everyone gets a warm welcome, whether they ride a motorcycle or not. You’ll want to hang-out all weekend, with plenty of space to chill-out and enjoy the crowd, the entertainment, the eye-candy and the vibe.

Tickets are available here!

Sun’s out! Essential pre-season checks for your motorcycle

The sun has dared to peek through the clouds a couple of times and – at the risk of jinxing it – it’s got us thinking about the summer of riding ahead! It’s so exciting and the temptation is to get straight on that motorcycle and out, but while some of us hardy folk might have been riding all through the winter, there are many who have kept our beloved motorbikes under wraps for months, hidden away from the ice and gritty roads.

So before we head out for that first ride of the season, there’s some essential checks to carry out on your Herald:

1. Oil and coolant

Check the oil levels using the dipstick and top up as required. Make sure oil is clean. If you haven’t changed your oil or filter you may want to take care of this. Consult your owner’s manual for the proper oil filter and oil to use. Check the high and low levels on the coolant and top up as needed.

2. Battery

No battery, no riding – check your battery isn’t either totally dead or that it holds enough charge. Sitting over winter can quickly drain the battery. Check that the terminals are clean and the cables are all connected properly.

3. Tyres

Make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and that they have the correct tread depth. Check for any wear and tear to the tyres. Having the correct pressure can affect handling as well as fuel consumption so this is essential to keep on top of!

4. Chain

Check the chain has no damage or wear, and that it’s set at the right tension. Refer to your handbook for the correct settings. Apply the correct lubricant to the inside of your chain if needed.

5. Suspension

Put the font brake on and push down on your handlebars – if all is working as it should, the suspension should give a little. The movement should be smooth. Check for any damage or wear and tear to the suspension.

6. Steering

With the bike on its side stand, turn your handlebars fully to either side until it reaches full lock. There should be smooth movement and no strange noises.

7. Brakes

Brake pads should have at least 3mm – visually check them over and get them changed asap if they’re any more worn down. Damage to these will do further damage and so on… they can wear down quickly depending on how you ride so keep an eye on this.

8. Lights

It’s simple – check your headlight, brake light and indicators are all working. Otherwise who will know which way you’re turning!

9. Wash

Give the bike a good clean, getting rid of any residual muck and grease left over from pre-winter. Don’t forget to reapply any protective products or lubricants if you’ve stripped them.

10. Fuel up!

You’re not going to get anywhere on an empty tank!

And don’t forget…


Also check your kit – is your helmet and visor all in tact, with no cracks? Does your jacket have the right armour and protection? Gloves and boots up to the task? Why not check out our gear for some new kit and stylish layers!


As for you, the all-important rider? Make sure your skills are up to scratch before heading out on a long ride. Maybe don’t attempt Lands End to John O’Groats at first try – consider taking a short spin round the block first to help refresh your memory and make sure the bike is all working as it should. It can take some getting used to being on a bike again, navigating the traffic, and remembering to check the mirrors for those pesky cars that haven’t seen you. Riding confidently and taking your place on the road, whilst having awareness of other road users all makes for a much more comfortable ride.

Happy riding!


NB: This blog is intended as helpful guidance rather than technical advice. Please consult your user manual and speak to your dealer or garage if you are unsure on how to maintain your motorcycle.

Sideburn test our Brute 500: what was the verdict?

It was a cold and grey winters’ day when we handed over a Brute 500 to Sideburn’s art editor Andy Garside to ride all the way from our HQ in Cambridgeshire to North Wales, where he planned to enjoy it on some of the most beautiful mountain and coastal roads the area has to offer. Blessed with surprisingly good weather, safe to say he had a blast.

So what was the final verdict? Read the full piece on the Sideburn website here.


Photos courtesy of Andy Garside.