We know that motorcycling is liberating; stimulating; exciting. And for riders of a certain age, getting your licence simply meant riding around the block and not knocking the examiner over when he sprang out from behind a tree to get you to do an emergency stop.
However, rightly or wrongly, nowadays getting your full bike licence is a lot harder. And while many will lament the cost and the time it takes, you cannot deny that by the time a rider is allowed to get on a big bike and ride, they have learned a huge amount and acquired essential skills before tackling the roads on their own.
That process begins with the CBT or Compulsory Basic Training. This isn’t a test as such – you don’t pass but achieve a level of competence to continue to the next stage of getting your licence.
However, depending on your age, you can happily ride up to a 125cc motorcycle with just a CBT to your name and without going any further. You just have to undertake the CBT training every two years and you can stay on 125s for as long as you like.
Related: Best motorcycle security products
The CBT comprises a morning of training in a safe environment – usually a car park – before an accompanied ride out on the roads. And while the training work is relatively low-speed and low-danger, the road ride presents just as many potential hazards as any other ride. So you need some riding kit to get you going.
At this stage, you may not want to invest in the most expensive kit as you may still decide it isn’t for you. However, hopefully – and like so many before you – you might and want to either carry on on smaller bikes or progress to get something larger and more interesting.
So here is a selection of essentials to get you going, whether you stick with just the CBT or develop further.
For the CBT, you will be provided with a bike and it will already have L plates on it. However, if you then go riding on just your CBT, you must display L plates on your own bike.
Smaller bikes are mostly plastic so magnetic plates won’t work but these self-adhesive ones will. And if they won’t stick, then you can tie them on using the holes.
Fit anywhere on bike
Glue can leave a mark when removed
Bike It Ear Plugs
You may not be going very fast on your CBT road ride (the 125 youu2019re likely to ride wonu2019t be that powerful) but many riders like to use earplugs to reduce the noise of wind passing over the helmet.
You’ll be wearing an earpiece to take directions from your instructor but these should cut down on the wind noise while allowing you to hear what they tell you and other traffic around you.
Easy to use
Come in holder
Agrius Rage Helmet
A crash helmet (a CBT instructor may well refer to it as a safety helmet) is the only legal requirement for kit when heading out on a bike and as we know, you can pay huge money for one.
But for a starter, this one by Agrius is a great proposition. It is four-star rated by SHARP (the government testing and rating scheme) for safety, is comfortable and works well. It has acceptable venting, a drop-down sun visor and is Pinlock-ready. Pretty impressive for less than £60.
Four SHARP stars for safety
Comes in three colourways
Pinlock insert is extra
This softshell outer jacket from Spada is ideal as a starter; it offers proper protection thanks to a CE rating of AA and comes with a waterproof membrane lining to keep the weather out.
It has a scattering of pockets around it for bits and bobs and has vents in the front to allow cooling air in if things get a little warm. It comes with Level-1 armour in the shoulders and elbows while a back protector is a £19.99 option.
Stylish, urban cut
May be too lightweight for colder weather
3M Motorbike Pants
Just because youu2019re trying motorcycling out doesnu2019t mean you can just sling on a pair of jeans and hope for the best. These pants from 3M are made from 600D Cordura backed with a Reissa waterproof and breathable membrane for comfort.
There is CE approved armour at the knees and padding at the hips and a couple of vents in case the weather warms up a little.
CE approved knee armour
Only padding at hips
TCX X-Street Boots
These boots from TCX will easily pass as normal casual trainers off the bike yet offer proper CE-rated protection when on it. Formed in full-grain leather, they have a waterproof lining and have protection over the malleolus, the toe and the heel as well as an anatomic footbed.
They get great reviews on Sportsbikeshop and are a good starter boot.
Excellent online ratings
Proper CE-rated protection
Not as protective as taller boots
RST Axiom Gloves
Hands are exposed to the weather and in case you have a low-speed tumble when doing your CBT manoeuvres, protection on them is essential, as you will instinctively put them out to lessen any fall.
These from RST are CE rated 1KP with carbon knuckle armour and padding on the fingers as well as on the heel of the palms, the typical ‘landing zone’. They are also waterproof, with RST’s SinAqua breathable membrane to keep your hands warm and dry.
CE rated to 1KP
Hard knuckle armour and soft padding
Waterproof and breathable
None we can think of
If youu2019re after a more serious textile jacket, then this one from Duchinni is great value. It is AA rated and comes with Level-2 armour in the shoulders and elbows, with a pocket for an u2013 optional u2013 back protector.
It uses a Cordura outer with a removable quilted thermal liner and a waterproof and breathable membrane. It has loads of adjustment and plenty of pockets.
Waterproof and breathable
Removable thermal liner
No vents in case it gets warm
The Highway Code
Itu2019s worth getting a copy of the Highway Code and reading it before you head out. If youu2019re already a car driver, then the revision will help hugely and educate you on differences for motorcycles.
If the CBT is your first time on the road, it will prove invaluable to know what you’re going to be facing and begin learning about how to conduct yourself on the road.
Available in a range of formats
The official rules of the road
Useful for new and experienced drivers