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Best CBT-friendly electric bikes (2023)

Freelance motorcycle journalist, former editor of Bike & What Bike?, ex-Road Test Editor MCN, author of six books and now in need of a holiday.



Best Top 10 Ten Electric Bikes for doing CBT_01


The earliest age you can legally ride a motorcycle on the road is 16 when you qualify to apply for an AM provisional licence with which, once you have completed your Compulsory Basic Training on an AM class machine and have the certificate to prove it, you’re qualified to ride an AM class machine on the road.

The CBT qualification can also be split into two categories – for 16-year-old riders and for 17-year-old+ riders. At 16 you can only ride an AM class machine (with an AM class provisional licence). At 17 you can ride an A1 class machine (with an A1 class provisional licence). We’re concentrating on the AM class here. The one exception is that if you’re an older car driver and have held full car licence since before February 2001 you can ride an A1 motorcycle on the road on L-plates without requiring a CBT certificate. CBT riders are also required to ride displaying L-plates and the CBT certificate is only valid for two years.

But what are these AM machines – and what about electric bikes? The AM category is for sub 50cc mopeds that have a maximum speed of 30mph, which is pretty restrictive and why many bikers wait until they’re 17. The strict definition of A1 bikes is of motorcycles or scooters up to 125cc with a maximum power of 11 KW or 15bhp.

But plenty of electric motorcycles qualify as AM machines now, too, and with a bigger selection than ever available in 2023, which should you go for?

Here’s our pick of the current 10 best, in price ascending order:



NIU UQI GT, £1899

NIU is a Chinese scooter company that builds high-spec, cool-looking vehicles to a high quality and sells them at comparable prices to petrol equivalents. 

Its UQi GT model is its simplest and cheapest, is effectively an electric moped and has the potential to do for electric scooters what Honda’s all-conquering C50 Cub did for the petrol engine. You can ride it aged 16, requiring just a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) certificate and insurance, it’s simple to ride, feels light like a bicycle, stable like a scooter, handles well, brakes even better and makes very light work of urban commuting.

On top of that the running costs are so small as to be barely measurable and the convenience and ease of charging makes commuting as simple as it always should have been. If your daily commute is 15 miles or less and you are willing to think a bit differently, NIU’s UQi is by far the cheapest way to travel that doesn’t involve the inconvenience and unhygienic bits of cycling.

Licence required: AM

Power: 1.5KW

Battery: Lithium Ion 21Ah, 48v

Claimed range: 35 miles

Claimed recharge time: 7 hours

Top speed: 28mph


Best Top 10 Ten Electric Bikes for doing CBT_02


Lexmoto Cypher, £2119.99

The Cypher is part of British/Chinese brand Lexmoto's new range of electric two-wheelers, and it's very much a motorcycle, albeit a minibike with small 12inch wheels. It looks flash, has a removable battery and is a fully legal moped for 16-year-olds.

Lexmoto usually offers keener prices than most rivals, and the Cypher is no exception. Being AM compliant means power isn’t one of its strong points, yet the Cypher is surprisingly brisk. There’s two modes, Eco and Power. In Eco, it's quick enough to keep up with urban traffic up to about 20-25mph but switch to Power (which you can do on the move) and it's seriously nippy, getting up to its restricted 29mph impressively quick. Being monkey bike style means it’s a tiny bike in the Honda Grom tradition so it's easy to hop on, plus unintimidating and very easy to throw around but you may feel a little small and vulnerable in busy traffic or on faster roads.

  • Licence required: AM

  • Power: 1.9KW

  • Battery: 72v 20Ah

  • Claimed range: 40 miles

  • Claimed recharge time: 6 hours

  • Top speed: 29mph



Sunra Miku Max, £2199

Sunra may still be little known in the UK but it’s China’s no.1 EV brand, valued well in excess of £1bn and produces over a million machines a year. It. Four of their electric machines are now being offered in the UK, two scooters and two minibikes. And, of the latter, its Miku Max is its AM class offering. It’s a funky-looking monkey bike that has elements of motorcycle, scooter (and even skateboard!), has small 10in wheels, is light at just 79kg, yet has LED lights all round, a hydraulic front disc brake and even three modes, LED lights all round and four litres of storage space. Admittedly it’s not very substantial, quick, has much range or is bristling with features but at this price it’s a decent electric start on two wheels.

  • Licence required: AM

  • Power: 0.8KW

  • Battery: 60v 20Ah

  • Claimed range: 23 miles

  • Claimed recharge time: 4 hours

  • Top speed: 28mph



Super Soco TC/TSX, £2899

Super Soco is one of the most popular electric bike brands in the UK and currently has a range of six learner-friendly machines: two bikes and one scooter in both the AM and A1 categories. As we’re focusing on bikes in the AM class here, we’ll pick out the TC and TSX which are both based on the same running gear. The TC is a retro style roadster with a brown ribbed seat. The TSX is a sportier looking roadster. Both are powered by a Bosch hub motor with a maximum output of 3KW and have a single lithium-ion battery good for 44 miles, but this rises to 78 miles if you go for the twin battery option on either which costs £500 more.

  • Licence required: AM

  • Power: 3KW

  • Battery: 60v 30Ah

  • Claimed range: 44 miles

  • Claimed recharge time: 3 hours

  • Top speed: 30mph



Cake Makka, £3440

How about this for a different take on electric bikes? Created by innovative Swedish mobility company Cake, it’s called the Makka and is an AM-licence compatible electric motorcycle (of sorts) at a tempting price. It’s a step-thru moped style machine but with bigger wheels, a rear hub motor, two riding modes (the first limiting speed to 25mph, the second to 30), is, by its very nature, an absolute doddle to ride and there are also masses of accessory options ranging from legshields and windscreens to luggage.

  • Licence required: AM

  • Power: 3.6KW

  • Battery: 31Ah

  • Claimed range: 34 miles

  • Claimed recharge time: 3 hours

  • Top speed: 30mph



Stirling Electro Ride, £2850

Stirling Eco is a London based dedicated electric motorcycle shop which has developed its own Chinese built, cruiser style electric bikes, both in the AM and A1 category – and their wacky style has proved very fashionable to urban types.

The base model is the AM compatible ‘Electro Ride’ with 2kw engine and 30mph top speed but there’s also the upspecced Electro Ride X with improved suspension and A1 compliant Electro Ride X Plus, at £4999, with other models on the way. The Electro Rides may not be to everyone’s taste but they’re affordable, stylish, have dinky 12inch wheels and even three riding modes.

  • Licence required: AM

  • Power: 2KW

  • Battery: 60v 20Ah

  • Claimed range: 30 miles

  • Claimed recharge time: 4-6 hours

  • Top speed: 30mph



Talaria Sting, £4295

From one electric AM bike extreme – to another.  Talaria is a relatively new electric motorcycle brand to the UK, produces motocross-style lightweight machines, some of which are road legal, and is operated by the same people as being Lexmoto. Its range currently comprise three models, the £3495 X3, £3999 Sting and £4595 Sting R, all of which are also available in road legal form for around £300 more. The road legal Sting is the mid-range, AM-compliant model, has full size19in wire wheels, telescopic forks, disc brakes, monoshock rear, TFT dash and more.

  • Licence required: AM

  • Power: 3.7KW

  • Battery: 60v 38.4Ah

  • Claimed range: 50 miles

  • Claimed recharge time: 4 hours

  • Top speed: 30mph



UBCO 2x2 Adventure, £4999

Another funky newcomer to electric motorcycles you may not have been aware of – and this one comes with a twist: TWO-wheel drive! The UBCO was developed in New Zealand as a utility/adventure style machine, features TWO hub motors, front and rear, giving all-wheel drive and yet is also AM-licence compliant meaning you can ride it at 16 with just a CBT certificate. It’s also very ruggedly constructed, designed with loads of luggage carrying in mind and is also intended to be fun and easy to ride. A more utility ‘Work’ version is also available for £500 less.

  • Licence required: AM

  • Power: 2 x 1KW motors

  • Battery: 2.1 or 3.1kWh

  • Claimed range: 75 miles

  • Claimed recharge time: N/A

  • Top speed: 30mph



Sur Ron Light Bee L1E, £4999

Sur Ron is another relatively new electric bike brand to the UK who, similarly to Talaria, offer a range of motocross-inspired electric lightweight motorcycles, some road legal, some not. The Light Bee L1E is the road legal version of its Light Bee and accordingly comes with LCD dash, LED lights, mudguards, indicators, brake light etc, on top of its funky frame, full-size off-road wheels and suspension, ultra-light weight and more.

  • Licence required: AM

  • Power: 6KW max

  • Battery: 60v 32A

  • Claimed range: 60 miles

  • Claimed recharge time: 3.5 hours

  • Top speed: 30mph



BMW CE 02, £7450

Brand new for 2024, BMW’s novel CE 02 is part-bike, part scooter, all electric and all-funky two-wheeler that can be had in both AM and A1 compliant forms. Boldly styled, impressively specced and affordable (for a BMW) it looks good, is ridiculously easy to ride thanks to its dinky proportions and low seat, weighs just 120kg, in AM form comes with 4kw and is restricted to 30mph (in A1 trim it produces 11KW and is capable of 60mph but costs £1000 more), comes with two riding modes, a TFT dash and has all the usual BMW build quality you’d expect.

  • Licence required: AM

  • Power: 4KW

  • Battery: 2 x 1.96kWh

  • Claimed range: 60 miles

  • Claimed recharge time: 3 hours

  • Top speed: 30mph


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