CBT Training: What gear you should get before your CBT Course

[Motorbike] CBT Test: What gear you should get before your CBT Training Day

All learner moped, scooter and motorcycle riders must complete Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) before they can ride unaccompanied on public roads. Technically, while everyone calls it the CBT Test it is not a test at all: It is a training course to ensure you are competent to a basic level. 

Does wearing your own properly fitting protective gear make all the difference while taking your CBT course? I can tell you now: It does. Your 'CBT Gear', meaning the 'bike gear you wear on the day, matters. But, let's make the case and prioritise what motorcycle kit benefits you the most and what items to take to your CBT.

Though training schools provide essential motorcycle gear such as helmets, gloves, jackets and high-viz vests, they make no assurances about proper fit, comfort or hygiene. Proper fitting clothing gives you better control while handling the motorcycle during familiarisation, and fresh gear that hasn't been worn by countless past students definitely increases your confidence and focus during the on-road portion of the CBT training. So, if you are wondering what to wear for your CBT, we got you covered.

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Revving Up: Importance of having your own gear when taking your CBT

The right motorcycle gear keeps you safe and comfortable during your CBT license and beyond. The right helmet reduces noise and fatigue, and gives you the best possible field of vision. Motorbike boots and motorcycle gloves protect in case of accidents, which is something work boots and snow gloves don't do. Protective jackets shield against weather and injuries.

Choosing gear that fits well and allows you to move easily will help you stay focused while on the road. And, depending on the time of year you take your test, it may be essential that you have more of your functional motorcycle wardrobe in place before the training day. There are many stories where a CBT trainee had to stop the road section of the course because they simply became too cold or got too wet. 

Discover Your Motorcycle Rider Type

MOST MOTORCYCLE ADVICE: Does it really tell you what you need to know? Here's some advice you should listen to on finding your rider type, understanding the gear you need, and staying safe.

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Kickstart Your Journey: Preparing for your CBT Training

Let's take a step back. 

Steps to Tick Off Before Booking Your CBT

Before booking your CBT course, here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Valid Licence: You need a valid UK provisional or full driving licence. An original and up-to-date photocard driving licence is acceptable, with or without an expiration date, as long as the picture reflects your true likeness. 
  2. Familiarise Yourself with the Highway Code: This is crucial since you'll have to demonstrate a good knowledge and understanding of it throughout your training.
  3. Acquire Personal Equipment: Equipment can be borrowed, but the CBT Training Centre holds no liability if they do not fit properly or comfortably. Therefore, our recommendation is that at minimum you have a properly fitted helmet, a set of well-fitting gloves and protective motorcycle shoes or boots. That protects your head and ensures that the hands and feet are kitted out with well-fitting gear, as hands and feet are what you operate the motorcycle with. Taking the CBT in adverse weather conditions? You will need protective wind- and waterproof motorcycle outerwear ahead of time as windchill will get to you when it's cold. Essentially that is the issue: you are operating a powerful machine and you are exposed to the elements.

By following these steps, you will ensure a smooth booking of your CBT course and a successful start to your motorbike journey. "The rest is history" as they say.

Prerequisites for Enrolling in a CBT Course

To enroll in a CBT course, you are required to meet certain basic requirements to ensure your eligibility and safety during the training course. Here is a checklist of what you need:

  1. Valid Licence: Carry the original, current driving licence on the day (with correct entitlements), and have absolutely no bans, restrictions, or disqualifications that could legally inhibit your attendance of the course. Photocopies or digital images are unacceptable.
  2. Eyesight: Bring your glasses if you need them. Participants should be able to read a number plate (registration plate) from a distance of 20.5 metres. If you require spectacles to be able to read across that distance you need to have them on you.
  3. Protective Clothing: The training centre may be able to offer you reasonable clothing on the day BUT it is not sensible to rely on that. Bring your own in line with what we say above and below, and you will be fine. 

I know it sounds obvious, but the training centres have a long list of annoyed attendees that do not follow the basic rules and then are excluded from the course. 

Get in Gear: Essential Gear for your CBT Training

The Right Motorcycle Helmet

Your motorcycle helmet is the most critical piece of motorcycle clothing equipment when it comes to safety. While the motorcycle school usually can provide helmets that comply with the ECE2206 standard, having your own ensures proper fit and comfort, as well as a better field of vision. Training schools purchase the cheapest helmets possible, which in turn means they have the smallest field of vision possible. To you, that means more uncertainty and more head turning.

Remember, when choosing a helmet, make sure it fits you well - it shouldn't be too tight or too loose. We can help with that: Read the blog post here. And, ensure it stands up to the latest safety standards.

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Gloves for a Sure Grip

Gloves are a vital piece of equipment, providing riders with the necessary grip on the handlebars, protection against the elements, and a safeguard in case of a fall. Like a helmet, gloves should fit properly, not only to ensure optimum safety and comfort, but also to operate the motorcycle controls with precision and dexterity. 

Your hands are your connection to the road. Well fitting motorcycle gloves mean you have a sure grip and 'feel' what the bike does on the road. In turn you can respond with confidence and accuracy. Snow gloves or work gloves do not give you the awareness of what the bike is doing, as well as not being protective enough. That might not mean a lot right now, but it will.

Armoured Jacket & Trousers for Protection

A motorcycle jacket is not merely a style statement. It's a crucial protective piece of clothing that shields a rider's upper body during a crash and helps protect against varying weather conditions. Without your motorcycle jacket, your whole body cools down in little time due to the effect of windchill, and your ability to process what is going on around you reduces rapidly at the same time. The same goes for motorcycle trousers, which add protection to the very vulnerable area around your knees. Always protect the body areas made up of small bones!

When choosing a jacket, prioritise the one that fits well and provides ample protection for the elbows, shoulders, and back. Also, consider jackets equipped with reflective panels for better visibility in low-light conditions. For trousers, make sure they are long enough when seated on the motorcycle or scooter as the hem rides up while in a seated position. 

Riding Boots: Must-Have Safety Footwear for Motorcyclists

Quite often we hear: "I'll buy motorcycle boots later when I have money". Even the most rugged casual footwear or workshoes you own will not do what motorcycle boots do. You can rest a quarter ton of metal (the weight of a motorcycle) on the side of motorcycle boots and they will not crush. Feet, heels and ankles are really just a collection of many small bones held together with ligaments and once crushed, they take 6+ months to heal with much pain along the way. Avoid that type of injury at all cost and get motorcycle boots from the outset. These days, they can look like trainers or Timberlands, so they can fit with your lifestyle. 

Separately, a well-fitting motorcycle boot is also essential for bike control and handling during braking and gear changes.

When selecting riding boots, ensure they cover your ankles and provide a firm grip. And given where we live, waterproof boots are recommended. 

Rain Gear: Protecting Yourself From the Elements

Riding in wet weather can be quite a challenge. It's crucial to have motorcycle raingear that keeps you dry and comfortable. Raingear also controls windchill. It is not expensive so make sure you tick that off your list.

Beyond the Basics?

Riding Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Never succumb to pressure to ride faster than your comfort level on the road. Speed should always correspond to your ability, the road's condition and the speed limit. However, expect to stretch your comfort levels as you learn to move in line with the speed of traffic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Duration of a CBT Test?

The CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) course is intended to be completed in a single day, usually taking around 6 - 8 hours. The duration, however, can vary depending on the trainee's ability, knowledge, understanding, and skills.

The CBT consists of five elements from A to E. Elements A to D do not have a set duration as they are based on the trainee's ability and proficiency. However, Element E includes at least two hours of road riding and may last up to four hours depending on conditions and how the group of trainees is getting on.

In cases where the instructor believes further training is necessary, they may ask the trainee to return on another day to complete the course. It's important to remember that this is not a failure or rejection, but rather a safety measure to ensure all trainees are completely ready for solo riding.

In Summary: Do I Need My Own Motorcycle Gear for the CBT?

It's hugely beneficial to wear your own motorcycle clothing. Taking the on-road section of the CBT in your own gear will simply put you at ease to you make the most of your training. 

In Summary: Understanding The Concept of CBT Training

The Compulsory Basic Training Course (sometimes referred to as CBT License or CBT Test) is a pre-requisite for new motorcycle riders in the UK. Contrary to common belief, it isn't a test. It is a practical program that provides hands-on training over a span of 6 to 8 hours. This training aims to ensure you have the necessary skills and knowledge to ride safely on the road. Make the most of it!

New Rider? Get Geared Up Right

Finally, you can ride confidently without second-guessing your gear choices.

No need to feel overwhelmed. We know starting out can be daunting. Let us simplify it for you. We've put our 20+ years experience kitting out new riders into our New Rider Blueprint so you get the right gear and spend the right amount:

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