Basic handling skills test

You must pass the basic handling skills test before you can get your class 6 learner licence. This is to make sure you have basic riding skills before you begin to ride on the road.

You’ll need to practise some basic motorcycle handling skills off the road, before you go for your licence. You can either do this on private property – not on a road, or take lessons with an approved basic handling skills course provider.

You’ll sit the test with an examiner who’s been approved by Waka Kotahi.

Basic handling skills test (BHST)

Learner approved motorcycle scheme (LAMS) compliant motorcycles

Normally, you’ll need to provide the motorcycle to take the test on. The motorcycle must be a LAMS-approved motorcycle and, because you’re an unlicensed rider, you can’t ride the motorcycle to the test venue. Some test examiners may supply motorcycles, so check when you book the test.

LAMS-approved motorcycles include:

  • all motorcycles with engine capacities of 250cc and under, except for those on the LAMS-prohibited list
  • all motorcycles manufactured prior to 1960 with an engine capacity of 660cc and under 
  • any motorcycle powered wholly by electricity which is approved by Waka Kotahi.

Some motorcycles with engine capacities of 250cc and under are prohibited for use by learner and restricted riders.

Learner approved motorcycle scheme (LAMS)

If you use your own motorcycle for the test you must:

  • ensure it’s up to warrant of fitness (WoF) standard and has a current WoF. The examiner will check your motorcycle and if it isn’t up to standard, you won’t be able to sit the test.
  • bring your own safety helmet.

You must also bring identification, preferably photo ID, to verify your identity.

Unsuitable motorcycles

Motorcycles such as pit bikes, mini bikes, paddock bikes, mopeds and junior-sized motorcycles can’t be used for a basic handling skills test. You won’t be allowed to take the skills test if you turn up with one of these bikes.

What the basic handling skills test assesses

During the test you’ll be asked to perform the following:

  • a left turn from a standing start
  • moving off
  • accelerating
  • riding in a straight line
  • riding through left and right curves
  • braking, including in an emergency situation
  • parking safely.

You’ll need to show:

  • balance
  • positioning
  • speed control
  • correct braking techniques
  • head checks
  • looking ahead to where you’re going
  • signalling.

Reasons you would fail the basic handling skills test include if you:

  • ride too fast
  • ride outside the marked course
  • are unable to carry out instructions
  • put your foot down while moving
  • fail to use the front brake
  • fall off
  • don’t look to where you’re going.

Note: this isn’t a complete list. To find out more about the test criteria go Basic handling skills test (BHST)

Basic handling skills test (BHST)