How To Pass

Training, not a test!

First things first – Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) is not a test, it is a structured training course. It is therefore not possible to fail the course.

Most people will complete the training within a day. If your instructor feels that you need more training to bring you up to a competent standard then you will be asked back for extra instruction.

Preparation for your CBT

So, let’s make some assumptions. You have booked your CBT at a motorcycle training school. Now, the big day has arrived, to get the most from your CBT there are a few things you should be sure of before you even leave the house.

  • Firstly, be sure to eat. Your day is going to be great fun, but there’s going to be a lot of concentration involved. To be able to give your full attention, make sure you eat a hearty breakfast and maybe even bring a snack.
  • Secondly think about clothing. If it’s cold, then it will be colder on a motorcycle. If it’s hot… it will still feel colder on a motorcycle.

There are a few mandatories with clothing on your CBT. Ideally, motorcycle protection gear should be worn however you can get away with:

Sturdy boots, heavy jeans, a good thick jacket, and a pair of motorcycle gloves. Quickstart Mainline will will provide you with a helmet, gloves and a high visibility jacket.

Double check you’ve got your driving licence and any paperwork you have been asked to bring along and you are good to go.

At the Compulsory Basic Training centre (remember its not a test!)

Arriving at the training centre you will meet your instructor and the other people who will be on the same course. Make yourself comfortable, feel free to have a chat.

Eyesight and Safety Talk

Time for the classroom element of the CBT. An eyesight test and a safety talk.

I know, this isn’t what you are here for, you probably haven’t even seen a motorcycle yet, but it’s all super important and can actually be quite interest for your future on the road.

Basic Controls

You will now be fitted with a helmet and taken out to the training area – Time to meet the motorcycles.

Now depending on whether you have opted to take your CBT on either a manual or automatic motorcycle you will be stood beside either a scooter or a 125cc motorcycle.

A talk from your instructor will familiarise you with the bike controls.

Advice – Research. Become a little obsessed with all things motorcycle a few days before your CBT. Read up on the basics of bike and clutch control. On Reddit, r/motouk has an active, and incredibly friendly community of motorcyclists in the UK who have already built up a great database of first hand advice.

Research will always help with most elements of motorcycling, but the more you do before your CBT, the less overwhelming the whole experience will be.

Off Road Training

Bike Control

 You will be asked to start the bike and ride it as slowly as possible in a straight line – This involves clutch control and balance.

Top tip It doesn’t matter how much throttle you use, just control the input with your clutch. Find the point of friction and dance around it, keeping the bike crawling on.

Another tip Ride the rear brake. Dragging on the rear brake stabilizes the bike, meaning you can continue to move slowly, and with stability.

Controlled Stops

With moving in a straight line out of the way you will move onto (logically) controlled stops.

One tip eyes up. Look forward into the middle distance. Your balance will improve hugely. After you have brought the bike to a stop from a set speed, in an area of coloured cones you’re golden. Onto the next exercise.

Figures of 8 and controlled turns.

Your instructor will set you off on a course between the cones and you will have to ride your motorcycle in figure of 8s.

He or she will have their unique way of teaching you, so be sure to listen. They know what they’re on about.

Tip shift your weight slightly to the outside of the saddle through the turns. The motorcycle will feel much more stable giving you the confidence to continue on your set trajectory. Also, look where you want to go. With your eyes over your right shoulder your motorcycle will follow. This trick naturally (and almost subconsciously) shifts your body weight to steer the motorcycle round.

It’s nearly time to progress onto the open road, if your instructor deems everybody in your group safe to do so. If not, there will be a bit more car park work to do, but that is fine.

Really keeping in tune with the fine controls of the motorcycle can only make you a better rider overall.

The Road Ride

Road Safety

Before you head onto the public roads some instructors will take you back to the classroom, others will keep you in the carpark – Either way there will be a talk on road safety on distractions, other traffic, and styles of riding motorcycles.

If you drive a car, lots may feel familiar. There’s a huge difference between driving and riding, so keep those ears peeled.

On the Road

Onto the open road for two hours minimum on the motorcycle.

Putting into practise the skills you have picked up in the car park.

Picking up road craft, road position, and potential hazards. As well as some common mistakes.

You will pull over a few times to practice specific drills. Emergency stops and U-turns specifically.

As long as you demonstrate that you’re learning, correcting your mistakes, and picking up new skills you’ll be absolutely fine.

The Certificate

Then back to the test centre, to hear whether you completed your CBT or not.

Most people will complete the course within the day but you may be asked back for further training if your instructor thinks it necessary.

Get the good news, hand back your helmet, collect your pass certificate, and bask in the glory.

Now you are safe to head out onto the roads on your own, the learning really begins.

Take your time, check then double check.

The challenge here is making sure that your confidence doesn’t grow faster than your ability.