A2 is a class of motorcycle licence for riders nineteen and over. It limits you to a motorcycle with a maximum 47bhp and minimum weight of 175kg. This 47hp can come from a larger bike fitted with a restrictor kit. Restrictors come in various forms such as an ECU map, a throttle stop or through air/fuel flow washers.
What is the difference between A1 and A2 licence?
An A1 licence limits you to a 125cc motorcycle with a maximum output of 14.5bhp. This is the same bike category as a CBT except you can carry a pillion, drive on the motorway, and throw away the L plates.
The A1 licence is ideal for those who intend to later upgrade to an A2 but are restricted by age. The age requirement for A1 is 17, and for A2 it’s 19. A1 requires both parts of Mod 1 and Mod 2, as well as the theory test the same as A2 and the full A test.
The A2 licence requires you to do the Mod1 and Mod2 test again. If you already have A1, you will not need to retake the theory test.
For riders 19 or above, you can go the direct access route. This means you can do an intensive course 5-day course with a training school. It would be beneficial to have completed the DVSA motorcycle theory test before starting a direct access course.
How much does an A2 licence cost?
Can you put a price on happiness? Well, training schools can. Prices will vary from school to school, and some schools will provide all the necessary equipment and the bike whereas some will require you to have your gear. We would advise however that as with everything, you get what you pay for.
For a 5 day course, you should be looking to pay around £800-£900, with everything included. This fee gives you both the education and covers the course fees for Mod 1 and Mod 2, the training, bike use, and equipment.
What is a Mod 1 test?
Just like A1, you have to pass a Mod 1 and Mod 2 test which both assess you on different aspects of riding a motorcycle. Mod 1 takes place off roads in a special area purely for the test. They look at skills such as manual handling of the bike, slow speed manoeuvring, such as a slalom and figure of eight. Also, you will need to do an emergency stop and a hazard avoidance exercise, all of which shouldn’t be a problem. Below is a video.
What is a Mod 2 test?
Once you have proved your skills on the playground, it’s now time to take it to the road. You have already shown you can ride a motorcycle; now on Mod 2, the assessor is looking for how you interact with other road users, hazards, and rules of the road.
But why should I upgrade?
We get it, upgrading costs a lot, and unfortunately, after two years on A2, you’ll have to do it all again to go for your full A licence. Eventually, the rewards come through, insurance may be cheaper, you can rider bigger and better bikes which become more enjoyable, and lastly, you won’t have to have L plates.
With your shiny new licence, you can also use motorways, and carry a pillion. This could make use of more of the road network, rendering some road trips more accessible or allowing you to visit new places which would be too far away if you stuck purely to the twisty route.
What is A2 restriction?
For modern bikes, the restriction can be as simple as a dealer performing an ECU flash / installing an electronic component that limits the ECU to the 47bhp limit.
For older bikes without electronic throttles, the restriction can be done using a throttle restrictor kit. These usually consist of either a throttle stop, which limits the movement of the throttle butterflies or cable or with a washer kit which will limit the fuel or airflow into the engine.
Ben’s Suzuki SV650 K6 uses a throttle stop restriction kit. This is a simple plate that bolts on, underneath the airbox to limit full-throttle actuation limiting the maximum throttle allowed.
Older bikes with carburettors can have restrictors which are specially shaped washers/plates which restrict air/fuel flow into the engine.
Either way, they can be fitted in an afternoon at home without the need for specialist tools.
For more modern bikes, consult with a local dealer and ask for the best methods to restrict your bike. Bikes can also be supplied from the factory in restricted form.
Passing your A2 licence, or A licence shouldn’t be the end of your riding education. There are plenty of advanced riding courses available after taking your test to further improve your riding.
Not all courses are restricted to on-road education. The BikerDown course teaches bikers specific techniques useful for road-based first responder trauma training.
Why getting your A2 licence will change your outlook on riding
Once you ditch the L-plates, the possibilities are endless. Trips that seemed impossible on a 125cc become normal on a larger capacity bike.
Ben did a weekend trip across Wales on a 125cc that could barely reach 55mph. It took HOURS and the bike struggled to get near the speed limit. The bike just didn’t have enough power to carry a rider and the gear required on the terrain.
On a bigger bike, it becomes much less stressful and really enjoyable. That A2 licence was a ticket into casual jaunts into territory which would have been impossible for the 125.
Getting your A2 licence will help breathe new life into your riding. Not only will you learn and be safer on the roads, but you get a new outlook on riding.
It helps you move forward with your passion by upgrading to a larger capacity and power bike.
Small trips which became a drag on a 125cc become something new and you can start making those extended trips to far places due to confidence on major roads and motorways.