In this article we take a close look at the A2 bike licence.
For many young riders getting the A2 licence at 19 is the quickest and most cost effective way to progress to a full unrestricted motorbike licence.
Firstly we’ll take a look at how to get the licence and the laws and regulations around it.
Then we will look at your training options and the costs involved.
After that we’ll dive into what you need to know about restricting an A2 bike and finally have a look at some of the more popular motorbikes available at this level.
Getting an A2 Licence – Laws and Regulations
First things first, to qualify for an A2 licence and take the relevant practical tests, you must be:
- Over 19 years of age
- Have completed CBT or held an A1 licence for two years
- Have passed theory and hazard perception tests
It is advisable to do some training before taking the practical tests.
Check the schools in your area here.
Each school will offer various training options, generally ranging from a 2 to a 5 day course.
They will assess your riding skills and depending on your experience and confidence will advise what training is needed.
The costs will depend on how many days training you need, but expect to pay around £400 for 2 days training up to £900 for 5 days.
Generally the school will book the MOD1 and MOD2 practical tests for you and these prices will include test fees although always check what is included in the price before parting with your hard earned.
As with all full motorcycle licence categories the test will consist of two sections;
The test must be taken on a machine of at least 395cc with a maximum power output of 35kw (47bhp)
Most people will do their test on a training school bike which will be A2 legal.
After passing your A2 you will be able to ride any A2 legal bike (more on this below).
You can also ride without L plates, ride on the motorway and take pillion passengers.
After having held your A2 licence for 2 years you will be eligible to take your full unrestricted licence.
This will require retaking the MOD1 and MOD2 practical tests on a machine with a minimum 595cc.
A2 Licence – Which Bikes?
You’ve passed the practical tests and are itching to get out on the road on your own A2 legal motorcycle.
The rules can be somewhat complex so lets break it down and see what your options are.
- You are restricted to a bike with a limit of 35kW or 47bhp
- The power to weight ratio must be no more than 0.2kW or 0.26bhp per kilogram (more on this below)
It is important to understand the power to weight restriction as you cant just look at the bhp number to decide if a bike is A2 legal.
In reality if you want to ride any bike using a full 47bhp then it will need to come in with a minimum kerb weight of 175kg. This means some lightweight bikes with less than 47bhp are not A2 legal.
A2 licence restrictions
The A2 licence allows you to ride a bike that makes more than 47bhp if it is restricted.
Again there are some limitations;
- Any motorcycle more powerful than 94bhp in standard manufacturers trim cannot be restricted down
- The power to weight ratio must be no more than 0.2kW after restriction
How to Restrict your motorbike
When it comes to getting the bike restricted there are two options. You can have a workshop do the work or if you are handy you can buy a kit off Ebay and do the work yourself.
Restrictor kits are unique to each motorcycle but the main types are;
- Throttle stop – Limits the maximum opening of the throttle
- Inlet reducer – Limits airflow to the engine
- Exhaust reducer – Usually a washer or restrictor pipe in the exhaust neck
- ECU restrictor – Manages power output via the engine ECU unit
A2 Restrictors and the law
The laws surrounding A2 restrictions are often misunderstood.
There is no legal requirement to have a certificate or documentation to say that the bike has been restricted.
Some unscrupulous companies have sprung up and will tell you that the police and insurance require these certificates.
In fact these certificates are worthless and not recognised by the law.
If the police have doubts they will have the bike examined and its power output will be tested.
Some A2 bikes to consider
There are plenty of bikes that can be restricted to play nicely with A2 licence rules and it is best to check each manufacturers website to confirm on a particular model.
But here are a few bikes to consider that are A2 compliant straight of the shelf and require no modifications.
Nice perky 41bhp engine. This bikes lightness and easy handling make it perfect for any new rider. One of the most popular bikes in the class with a very competitive £4500 price tag.
Slots right in at the 47bhp limit. Perfect commuting bike in the large scooter class
A nice entry level sports bike. Novice freindly and looks great
Decent A2 compliant bike for the bigger rider. A great junior adventure bike coming in at the magic 47bhp mark