Quick Facts on this Article
-You must get a ICBC motorcycle learners license to take a motorcycle course
-There are lots of choices for motorcycle schools. All of them good.
-Motorcycle courses include motorcycles and gear (most do)
-The MST test is included in most courses. Saves you a trip to ICBC
-Taking a course, buying the gear, and motorcycle starts around $4,000 and goes up from there. 
-The shortest amount of time to get your full license is just over a month. Average time is 3-5 months.

You’ve decided to get into motorcycle riding. Excellent. Where to begin?

The first step is to get your motorcycle learners’ license from ICBC. You can get the study material online or in person at ICBC. It’s free. Here is a link to online material.

If you already have a class 5 license (cars & trucks) don’t spend too much time studying it. Based on feedback from our students, the test is not too difficult. An appointment is necessary to take your motorcycle knowledge test. The cost is $15 for each attempt. Once you have completed your knowledge test and have your learners’ motorcycle license (yellow paper) you are good to go to start riding motorcycles. There is no limit on size of motorcycle you can buy. If you have previous experience and decide to ride, keep in mind you must ride with someone who has a motorcycle license (class 6) and keep it under 60km/h. No riding at night or riding with a passenger either. This motorcycle license expires one year from the date you took it. No extensions.

If you have no idea how to ride this is the perfect time to take a motorcycle course. There are plenty of options in the Lower Mainland. Click here for the Google Map. You do not need to take a motorcycle course to learn how to ride. Given the dangers involved with riding a motorcycle, it is in your best interest to learn the safest way to ride. Learning to ride a motorcycle can be quite easy. Learning to ride safe is the hard part. Most schools will provide motorcycle gear and motorcycles. If you drop a school motorcycle, no problem. If you drop your motorcycle, that can be expensive. You’ll be well served by all the schools. They all review quite highly.

Most motorcycle schools include the MST/MSA test. It will be completed at the end of the course. The school will issue paperwork that you must bring to ICBC to have your restrictions limited. If you already know how to ride and you want to take the MST test on your own, you can book it at ICBC. This test is free at ICBC. You’ll need to bring your own motorcycle and someone to escort you there since you cannot ride on your own. For all details on the MST test, click here. Once you have handed in your MST paperwork you can ride on your own in daylight hours. You still cannot ride at night and cannot carry a passenger.

Once you’ve completed a course it is time to buy some motorcycle gear and a motorcycle. Start with the motorcycle gear. Most people overspend on their 1st motorcycle which leaves little no money left over for gear. You’ll want to start with a helmet, jacket and gloves at a minimum. The most affordable approach is used gear off Craigslist or visit East Side Re-Rides (don’t buy a used helmet though). Almost all motorcycle shops and dealers will have gear packages ranging from $400 to $800+. If you want to buy all the gear (helmet, jacket, gloves, pants, boots, back protector) the price range is $700 to $1500+. For your motorcycle check out what Craigslist has to offer. Dealers will have lots to offer as well. Always ask for the Out the Door price. Small, starter motorcycles (250cc range) cost around $2,500 to $10,000.

Costs to insure the motorcycle vary wildly. It all depends on your age, postal code, crash history, motorcycle size, and motorcycle value. The best way to figure out the cost is to call an Autoplan broker directly. What we typically see on a motorcycle that is 400ccs or less is $75/m or lower. Anything above 400ccs can be $75 to $250+/m. The most cost effective motorcycle size is 400ccs or less.

The final road test can be done in as little as 30 days after your motorcycle knowledge test. It costs $50 and book it well ahead of time. We recommend you have 500kms of riding experience before taking it. We see the highest pass rates with riders that have their own motorcycle and 1000kms+ riding experience. Treat the final road test as a concert. You will be watched by ICBC for around 30 minutes. Too many mistakes and you’ll fail. You’d never take a few piano lessons and play in front of an audience, treat this test as the same. We have a Road Test Notes page which will help you pass the final test. Once you have passed you have a full license. You have no restrictions.

Everything from start to finish (including a motorcycle course) is about $4,000 to $10,000 depending on the motorcycle and gear you buy. The average start to finish time is about three months.

Have a question? Did we miss something in this article? Contact us at info@1stgear.ca


This 2015 Honda CBR300 with ABS will run you about $3,000 used.


A Honda Rebel like this will cost between $1,500 and $3,000


A used Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 will be around $6,000