An MOT is an official test used to check that your bike is roadworthy and meets the legal road safety standards.
The test involves a thorough and extensive check of your motorbike and needs to be done every year once your bike is more than three years old.
A motorbike MOT test will include checking:
These will be inspected to make sure they’re in good condition, working properly and fixed securely.
Your motorbike will be inspected to see if the steering and suspension is working correctly and efficiently. This will involve checking:
A motorcycle's wheels need to be secure and in good condition, as part of this they’ll be checked to make sure they:
Your motorcycle’s frame will be inspected to check it doesn’t have any cracks, damage, distortion or corrosion which might affect the steering or braking.
The brakes on your motorbike must be in good condition, working correctly and efficiently.
The exhaust should be secure. It also needs to be complete and shouldn’t have any missing parts or leaks. It’ll be checked to make sure it’s not too noisy.
The fuel system must not have any leaks and all its components should be secure.
The MOT testing centre will check whether there’s a rider’s seat on your bike and that it’s attached securely.
The front and rear wheels must be correctly aligned for optimal handling.
If you have a sidecar fitted, this will be checked to see whether:
The horn should work properly, sounds as it’s supposed to, and must be suitable for a motorbike.
These must be valid, clear and legible. Number plates that have been made smaller or more stylised won’t pass an MOT.
These elements will be inspected to check that:
Your bike’s throttle will be tested to make sure it’s working properly. The clutch lever will also be checked - it shouldn’t be bent, damaged or shortened.
Footrests must be present and fitted securely.
The MOT checks your bike is safe and fit to ride. Passing its MOT means your bike meets the minimum legal emission and safety standards.
It’s your responsibility to get your motorbike tested every year. And the digitisation of MOT testing means police and mobile camera units can check to see if it has a valid certificate.
If you get caught without a valid MOT, you could face a fine of up to £1,000 and it’s likely to invalidate your motorcycle insurance.
Putting your bike in for an MOT can be an anxious time but doing some simple checks beforehand can help reduce the chances of any issues being found.
For your bike to be legal there needs to be at least 1mm of tread on both tyres. The tyres also need to be the correct type for the bike and fitted correctly
Your headlights need to work on both full and dipped beams. You’ll also need to check the rear and brake lights, as well as the number plate light
Test the forks by applying the front brake and pushing the handlebars forwards then backwards. Make sure the forks are oiled correctly
Check fluid levels and hoses for damage and look for any wear on the brake discs. Your brake pads shouldn’t be less than 1.5mm thick
Check the wheels move freely. Inspect the bearings for cracks and make sure they rotate easily and that both wheels are aligned correctly
Ideally with the front wheel off the ground, turn the handlebars to full lock in both directions, check for any obstructions and check cables for fraying
A clogged filter can impact your bike’s performance. It’s usually found under the fuel tank and the owner’s manual will tell you how to clean or replace it
Make sure the chain is tight and oiled. The sprocket should have all its teeth and shouldn’t be showing signs of wear
Your indicators need to emit an amber light and flash at a steady rate, between 60 and 120 times per minute
To keep your motorbike in tip-top condition you should get it checked by a mechanic every six months, or every 2,500 to 4,000 miles
You need to use an approved and certified MOT test centre - these are ones that show the blue sign with three white triangles.
You can search for MOT test centres online, but it’s best to use somewhere that you trust or a garage that’s someone’s recommended to you.
It’s possible to book an MOT up to a month (minus a day) before your current MOT runs out and still be able to keep the same renewal date for the following year.
The maximum amount that MOT test centres can charge for motorbikes is £29.65 and £37.80 if your motorcycle has a sidecar.
The good news is that you won’t need to pay VAT on this fee.
When your bike goes in for its MOT the mechanic will assess it using a five-grade scale.
The first three grades mean a pass:
The last two grades count as a fail:
If your motorcycle fails its MOT you won’t be able to ride it until any dangerous or major defects that have been identified are fixed.
Once you’ve had the problems repaired, your bike will need to be retested. This is sometimes done as a free partial retest or at a reduced fee.
For example, if you leave your bike at the test centre to be repaired and it’s retested within 10 working days, you won’t need to pay a fee for the retest.