Do I need an MOT?
A motorcycle MOT, like a car MOT, aims to ensure that the motorbike in question is safe and fit for use on UK roads.
To ensure that both bikers and other road users are not put at risk, the law therefore requires that all motorbikes over three years of age must have a valid MOT certificate.
If you are unsure about the age of a motorcycle, or whether it has a valid MOT certificate, you can check its current MOT status online on the Direct Gov website.
Not only will it give you the date of the last test the motorcycle underwent, it will also tell you the mileage it had done at that time and the test expiry date.
This way you can be sure that you are legally compliant, and check out the authenticity of any paperwork offered with second-hand motorcycles.
The Motorbike MOT Checklist
Are your lights working properly?
Of the 20% of so of motorcycles that fail their MOTs, more than half do so due to defective lights.
To increase your chances of passing first time, it is therefore sensible to check yourself before taking the test.
To pass, your headlights and tail lights must be chip free, the headlight must work both on main and dip beam, the indicators must flash at a steady rate and the hazard lights must function correctly.
Are you steering into trouble?
After lights, faulty steering is the next most common reason for MOT failures.
Before heading to the test centre, you should therefore ensure that the steering moves freely without drag and the handlebar does not hit the tank when the steering is fully turned lock to lock and the front wheel is off the ground.
The handlebar must also be securely mounted, and the grips secure.
How quickly can you stop?
Brakes that work properly are important for obvious reasons.
An MOT examiner will therefore check that the hoses for fluid leaks, bulges & cracking, the disc brakes are securely mounted and free from cracks and the pads or shoes are not too worn.
If you have ABS warning lights, these will also need to be working properly.
How worn are your tyres?
Figures show that more than 25% of MOT test failures are due to worn tyres.
For a first-time pass, you should therefore check that cast wheels are secure and free from cracks, and spoked wheels are not corroded, broken or bent.
Other things to check include that the front and rear wheels are properly aligned and that the tyres have sufficient tread depth.
What is the suspension like?
A typical motorcycle MOT test will include checks on both the front and rear suspension.
To pass, you will therefore require both to be in good order, with little play and no oil leaks.
How loud is your exhaust?
All motorcycle MOT tests will include an assessment of the decibel level omitted by your exhaust.
Other problems looked out by most inspectors include insecure exhaust mountings, holes or leaks in the joints and boxes.
If you have replaced the exhaust, it must also have the BSAU 193 stamp.
How safe are the other elements of the bike?
As well as checking the parts mentioned above, motorcycle MOT examiners will also check that the chain/belt does not have excessive slack), the horn is of reasonable volume and a continuous single tone and the frame is not dangerously corroded.
How much does a motorcycle MOT cost?
The good news for motorcyclists is that a motorbike MOT is usually cheaper than a car MOT, costing between about £20 and £30.