Motorcycle licence in Singapore: A beginner's guide to COE, electric motorcycles and helmets

Motorcycle licence in Singapore: A beginner's guide to COE, electric motorcycles and helmets
PHOTO: Unsplash

Sick of squeezing onto the MRT every morning, but not about to take out a car loan? Well, riding a motorcycle solves both of those problems.

Not only will you have your own transport, you'll also often be able to enjoy free parking thanks to the small size and agility of your vehicle

And as if bikes weren't cool enough, DPM and Minister for Finance, Lawrence Wong, was spotted riding his classic Royal Enfield on Aug 14, 2022 as part of a charity entourage raising funds for the Singapore Children's Cancer Foundation.

But the road to owning and riding your own bike is a long, arduous one, and probably more expensive than you thought it would be, now that COE has gone through the roof at $11,000 (as of Aug 2022 1st bidding).

Still, any biker will tell you it's totally worth it. So let's get started.

Getting a motorcycle licence in Singapore

When learning to drive a car, many Singaporeans opt for private driving instructors instead of going through a driving school, since it's cheaper and the syllabus less rigid.

Unfortunately, if it's a motorcycle licence you're after, your only option is to register at one of the following driving schools for a Class 2B licence:

Class 2B Syllabus

The basic motorcycle licence, which entitles you to ride bikes of up to 200cc, is called Class 2B.

One year after you have obtained your Class 2B licence, you will be eligible to enrol for the Class 2A class, which entitles you to ride bikes of up to 400cc.

And a year after you've gotten your 2A licence, you can enrol in a Class 2 course, which lets you ride all bikes.

All the driving centres follow a similar syllabus, which includes:

  • Theory lessons: This is for your Basic Theory Test (BTL) and Riding Theory Test (RTT). You need to attend these theory classes regardless of whether you have already passed the tests.
  • Practical lessons: This will include all the obstacle courses in the circuit (eg. plank, slalom, crank course, figure eight, e-brake), followed by road riding.

The practical lessons are carried out in a systematic fashion. You work through them in a set order, and are only allowed to move on to the next lesson after satisfying the requirements of the one just before it.

Most people do not pass the lessons in one go. If you are having particular difficulty with one lesson, you will have to repeat it until you manage to successfully complete it.

Generally, you can begin practical lessons even before you have passed your theory tests. But you will need to at least pass your Basic Theory Test before you are allowed to apply for a Provisional Driving Licence (PDL).

Without the PDL, you will not be able to undertake the road riding components of the practical syllabus, nor will you be able to book your Traffic Police Test.

Once you have completed all the lessons, you can finally book your Traffic Police Practical Test.

Typically, there will be several weeks between the date you book your test and the actual date of the test.

You will be able to book revision lessons at the driving centre to practise before your test.

Prices of Class 2B courses

Costs across the three schools are quite similar, and it's smarter to just enrol at the school which is located in the most convenient location for you.

You'll soon realise that all three schools are in pretty ulu locations, so don't pick a school it takes you two hours to get to just because you want to save $1 per lesson.

What really determines how much you end up paying for the entire course is how quickly you manage to complete the lessons. And trust us when we say that turning up for class alert, well-fed and well-rested will help you pass those levels more quickly.

These days, a motorcycle class 2B licence costs between $900 and $1,000 on average.

BBDC motorcycle licence cost Fee incl. GST
BBDC Enrolment (valid for one year) $58.85 + $3 fee
Eyesight test + photo taking $1.82 + $6.42
Theory lesson $17.12
Theory practice $3.21
Theory evaluation $5.35
Peak practical lesson (circuit) $29.96
Off-peak practical lesson (circuit) $25.68
Peak practical lesson (road) $40.66
Off-peak practical lesson (road) $36.38
Peak stage eight lesson $62.06
Off-peak stage eight lesson $59.92
TP Simulation $23.06
Expressway Riding (1st booking) $0
Expressway Riding (2nd booking onwards) $40.66
BTT $6.50
RTT $6.50
Practical test $33 + $46.01

At BBDC, you’re required to go through four theory lessons, and 14 practical lessons before you attend your Traffic Police (TP) test. Assuming you go for all off-peak classes, your Class 2B licence at BBDC will cost you at least $611.

Realistically, others have spent up to $900 on their Class 2B licence at BBDC.

Similarly over at CDC, expect to fork $900 minimally for your Class 2B licence.

CDC motorcycle licence cost Fee
Enrolment and theory fee (valid for one year) $163.18
Eyesight test + digital photograph $1.82 + $6.42
Circuit Training $25.68/ $28.89
Circuit practical lesson (Mon – Fri) $25.68/ $28.89
Circuit practical lesson (Sat, Sun) $28.89
Road practical lesson (Mon – Fri) $36.38/ $39.59
Road practical lesson (Sat, Sun) $39.59
Road practical lesson eight $55.64/ $58.85
Circuit revision practical (Mon – Fri) $19.26/ $22.47
Circuit revision practical (Sat, Sun) $22.47
Road revision practical (Mon – Fri) $36.38/ $39.59
Road revision practical (Sat, Sun) $39.59
Internal evaluation fee $6.42/ $7.49
Simulator training $26.54
RTT $6.50
TP test $44 + $69.55
Expressway riding (1st booking) $0
Expressway riding (2-4) $36.38

At SSDC, you’re expected to attend a minimum of eight practical riding lessons.

However, according to SSDC, most students attend 15 circuit and six road practical lessons, totalling to 21 lessons at $1,069.

SSDC motorcycle licence cost Fee
Enrolment fee, theory lessons one to seven $181.90
BTT $6.50
RTT 6.5
Circuit orientation $21.40/ $23.54
Peak practical lesson (circuit) $27.82
Off-peak practical lesson (circuit) $25.68
Simulator $23.94
Peak practical lesson (road) $38.52
Off-peak practical lesson (road) $36.38
Practical revision (road) $36.38/ $38.52
Practical revision (circuit) $10.70/ $12.84
Individual practical (road) $55.64/ $57.78
Expressway riding $36.38/ $38.52
TP Test $33 + $53.50

Motorcycle COE price

If you don’t take COE into consideration, motorcycles can be pretty affordable. A brand new entry-level Class 2B bike can cost less than $10,000 without COE.

But once you factor in COE, that’s a different story.

Currently, COE prices are sky high for motorcycles, crossing $11,000 for Aug 2022 1st bidding. That’s triple that of the $3,000+ range back in 2019! Yikes.

Still, it’s a hell lot cheaper than getting four wheels: the COE for category A is a whopping $80,000, so even a budget car will set you back about $100,000 at least.

As a newbie rider in Singapore, you’re likely to be looking at some of the more popular bike models in Singapore.

You’ll be able to choose from buying a brand new bike from a dealer, or getting a second hand one from an individual seller or dealership.

Here’s a table of the top 10 most popular Class 2B motorcycle brands alongside their second-hand prices found on Carousell and SGBikeMart:

Top 10 most popular motorcycle brands Price (with COE)
Yamaha $7,000 – $14,000
Honda $500 (COE ending) – $9,500
Suzuki $2,800 (COE ending) – $14,000
Piaggio/ Vespa $6,500 – $14,000
KTM $10,000 – $19,600
SYM $2,500 – $10,000
BMW (Class 2A and Class 2)
Adiva $6,000 – $15,000
Kymco $1,700 (COE ending) – $15,000
Triumph (Class 2A and Class 2)

Wondering why popular models like Kawasaki KRR 150, Honda NSR150SP or Honda Phantom aren't on the list? These are old models and your only option will be to buy them on the second hand market.

One more thing: don't forget to bargain. When it comes to buying motorcycles or accessories like helmets, most shops will quote you a higher price, and it's up to you to do your research and bargain.

Where to buy brand new motorcycles in Singapore

Here are some of the more well-known motorcycle dealers in Singapore. Most sell both new and used bikes.

This is just a fraction of the motorbike dealers you'll find in Singapore. Many "moto tiams" or motorbike repair shops also buy and sell bikes on the side.

Where to buy second hand motorcycles in Singapore

The majority of fresh Class 2B graduates will end up getting a second hand model, which we highly recommend, because you WILL drop your bike when you're inexperienced, and it's going to be painful if you've just paid $20,000 for it.

If you're going to buy a second hand bike, it is preferable to negotiate with an individual seller on your own. Conversely, if you buy from a dealer, you will likely end up paying a higher price, and there is no guarantee that the bike will be in good condition.

Here are some popular sites where you can find second hand bike listings.

Preparing to buy a second hand motorbike

As you might imagine, second hand motorbikes are a lot cheaper than brand new ones. But you need to watch out for a few things first:

Check how many years of COE there are left

These days, COE contributes more to the price than the actual bike model, so always check how many years of COE there are left.

For both first-hand and second-hand bikes, the cost of the COE will be included in the price of the vehicle. When it comes to second hand bikes, the COE itself is likely to be significantly more expensive than the actual bike.

So prices fluctuate wildly depending on when the COE will expire.

Checking the condition of the bike 

If you are new to riding, bring along a more experienced friend who can help you out when inspecting the bike.

Most sellers will let you test ride the bike around their car park, and this is your chance to try to catch any issues with acceleration and the engine in general.

Request that the seller let you cold-start the bike-if it's difficult to start, that could mean the battery needs replacing. Also inspect brake pads, tyres, chain and lights. If faulty or worn out, they will need to be replaced.

Negotiate

Sellers almost always jack up the price online because they expect you to negotiate.

Make sure the seller has fully paid for the bike

If you are paying for your bike in cash, avoid sellers who mark their ads with "COI" – this means they have taken out a loan with interest and want to transfer the remainder to you.

Interest rates on loans taken out with dealers are notoriously high, so it's always a good idea to pay in cash, even if it means getting a cheaper bike.

Apply for motorcycle insurance

You'll have to arrange for your own insurance ahead of time if you're buying a bike without the help of a dealer, otherwise you won't be able to ride your bike home on the day ownership is transferred.

So start shopping around for insurance quotations until you find a plan that's affordable.

Buy a helmet

Unless the seller is giving or selling you a free helmet, you should buy one, otherwise you won't be able to ride your bike home.

Motorcycle rental in Singapore

So, maybe you're not ready to become a bike owner yet, but you'd like to get some experience riding around on Singapore roads and narrowly avoiding getting run over by inconsiderate drivers.

You can indeed rent a motorcycle in Singapore for a day or more. Here are some bike rental companies and how much they charge.

Company Model Price
Unique Motorsports Honda Wave 125 $360 a month (min three months)
$320 a month (12 months)
$290 a month (24 months)
Yamaha YBR125 $450 a month (min three months)
$400 a month (12 months)
$360 a month (24 months)
Ban Hock Hin Yamaha Fino $50 a day
$40 a day for two days
$30 per day for three-10 days
$310 for two weeks
$415 a month
Yamaha FZ16 $60 a day
$45 a day for two days
$35 a day for three-10 days
$330 for two weeks
$450 a month
Piaggio MP3 125 $60 a day
$45 a day for two days
$35 a day for 3-10 days
$330 for two weeks
$450 a month
Stark Holdings Inn Bike Leasing Yamaha R15 $34.24 per day
$216.14 per week
$483.64 per month
Yamaha FZ16 $23.54 per day
$146.59 per week
$430.14 per month
KTM Duke $34.24 per day
$216.14 per week
$590.64 per month
AloRide Honda Wave From $350 per month
Yamaha YBR125 From $330 per month
Piaggio Fly 150 From $340 a month

This article was first published in MoneySmart

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