Riding a Motorcycle - The Rules
The learner motorcycle specification is an engine size of up to 125cc and a power output of 11kw (14.6bhp).
The Theory Test
From 1 April 2003 learner motorcyclists have to pass the written theory test as well as the practical test to gain a full motorcycle licence even if they hold a full car licence. However, anyone who takes a theory and practical test to obtain either a full moped or A1 licence will continue to be exempt from the requirement to take a theory test as part of any future motorcycle test.
The New Category A and A1 Driving Licence
At age 17 or over, you will have two types of full motorcycle licence to aim for - the A1 light motorcycle licence or the standard category A motorcycle licence.
To gain a full A1 light motorcycle licence you must pass a theory test followed by a practical test on a vehicle over 75cc but not more than 120cc. A full A1 licence permits you to ride any motorcycle up to 125cc and a power output of up to 11kW (14.6 bhp) without `L' plates, carry pillion passengers and use motorways.
To gain a full standard category A licence you must pass a theory test followed by a practical test on a motorcycle of over 120cc but not larger than 125cc and capable of at least 100kph. In practice the normal test vehicle will be a 125cc machine. A full standard category A licence permits you ride any motorcycle with a power output of up to 25kW (33bhp) and a power-to-weight ratio not exceeding 0.16kW/kg without `L' plates, carry pillion passengers and use motorways. You are restricted to a motorcycle up to 25kW for two years (not counting any periods of disqualification). After two years you may ride any size motorcycle.
The power output of an engine is measured in kilowatts (kW) or brake horse power (bhp). A kilowatt is the metric measurement of brake horse power. One brake horse power equals 0.75 kilowatts. Engine capacity (or size) is measured in cubic centimetres (cc). The size of an engine is not directly related to its power output. Further information may be obtained from motorcycle retailers or manufacturers.
Source: The DVLNI