bike MOT

MOT checks for motorcycle fuel and exhaust systems are divided into just two sections. Please click one of the links below to skip to the section of interest.

exhaust system :: fuel system

Exhaust System

  • Your bikes exhaust system must be complete and in a good state of repair
  • All mounts must be present, unbroken and fully support the system

Reasons for your motorcycle exhaust system failing it’s motorcycle MOT

  • The silencer is marked ‘NOT FOR ROAD USE’
  • The silencer is marked ‘TRACK USE ONLY’
  • The exhaust is, in the motorcycle MOT test technicians’s opinion, significantly louder than the standard

Fuel System

  • Your bike’s entire fuel system must be secure and free from leaks
  • All mounts must be present, unbroken and fully support the system
  • The fuel tank cap must be present and fasten securely
  • Other reasons for your motorcycle’s fuel system failing it’s motorcycle MOT

    • Deteriorated or missing sealing washer on the fuel tank cap
    • A leaking fuel tank cap
    • Any fuel leak which occurs under normal operating conditions of the motorcycle

MOT checks for body and structure on motorcycles are divided into just three sections. Please click one of the links below to skip to the section of interest.

condition of structure :: seats, footrests and transmission :: registration plates and vehicle identification number

Condition of Structure

Straightforward enough. There should be no damage, distortion or corrosion on your motorbike’s frame which is going to affect the way it rides or stops. Fractures and cracks etc will certainly fail the motorcycle MOT and so will any modifications which adversely affect the original frames strength.

Seats, Footrests and Transmission

  • Rider’s seat and footrests must be present and securely attached
  • Pillion footrests must be fitted and secure if there is a pillion seat*
  • Drive chain or belt must be adjusted correctly
  • The throttle must open and shut as intended
  • All locking devices, pins and circlips must be present and correctly fitted

Other reasons your motorcycle may fail its MOT test

  • Excessively worn drive chain, sprocket or sprocket carrier
  • A damaged or broken clutch lever which prevents normal, and easy, operation

*except in a few rare exceptions which were manufactured for passenger use but don’t appear to have pillion footrests.

Registration Plate and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

  • A registration plate must be fitted vertically to the rear of your motorbike
  • It must be secure, clean, complete, in good repair and legible
  • It must be standard yellow with black writing**
  • A VIN number must be present on your motorcycle

Reasons for which your registration plate may fail the bike MOT

  • Badly positioned retaining bolts which may lead to misreading of letters
  • Non-standard letter forms and widths
  • Any feature which affects the appearance or legibility of letters
  • Too small a margin around the letters
  • All the characters are arranged in a single line

note: this section does not apply to unregistered, foreign, diplomatic or military vehicles and is only applicable to registration plates fitted to the rear of the bike.

**Unless your bike was manufactured before 1973

MOT checks for motorcycle sidecars are divided into five sections. Please click one of the links below to skip to the section of interest.

security :: suspension and wheel bearings :: wheel alignment :: lights and reflectors :: brakes

Security of Attachment of Motorcycle Sidecars

Reasons for a sidecar’s attachment failing the motorcycle MOT

  • The sidecar isn’t securely fitted to the motorcycle
  • Tight, worn or deteriorated pivots or bushes
  • Missing, damaged or loose securing devices, bolts, split pins etc

Motorcycle Sidecar Suspension and Wheel Bearings

Reasons for a sidecar’s suspension or wheel bearings failing the motorcycle MOT

  • Excessively stiff, partially seized suspension
  • Leaking suspension units
  • Fouling between fixed and moving parts which affect the movement of the supsension
  • Insecure suspension units
  • Loose or missing securing nuts, locking devices or spindle
  • Excessively rough or tight wheel bearings

Wheel Alignment

Reasons for a sidecar’s wheel alignment failing the motorcycle MOT

  • Toe-out of the sidecar wheel relative to your motorbike
  • Excessive toe-in of the sidecar wheel relative to your motorbike
  • Excessive vertical misalignment which adversely affects the handling of the combination

Motorcycle Sidecar Lights and Reflectors

  • Sidecars must have a white front position light fitted
  • Sidecars must have a red reflector fitted to the rear nearside pointing squarely to the rear

Motorcycle Sidecar Lights and Reflectors

If fitted, sidecar brakes must reach the standard required in section three of this MOT checklist.

Below is a quick MOT checklist. For more in-depth information about each section of the motorcycle MOT just click on the titles or the relevant area on the bike image above.

Lights and Signals : Quick MOT Checks

Make sure all your lights, brake lights and indicators work. You must also display a red reflector to the rear of your bike and have a functioning horn.

Steering and Suspension : Quick MOT Checks

Nothing should prevent the smooth rotation of the moving parts of your bike. This includes badly routed cables and worn head stock or wheel bearings. Forks or rear shocks mustn’t leak and should be firmly attached and filled with the correct amount of oil.

Brakes : Quick MOT Checks

Easy one this. Your bike’s brakes need to work and there should be a decent amount of brake material standing proud of the backing plate. Grooved or worn disks or drums will also fail.

Tyres : Quick MOT Checks

Mopeds must have clearly visible tread on both tyres whilst motorcycles must have at least 1mm. Bulges or cracks in the side wall are not good at all, nor are cuts over 25mm and and everything must be seated correctly.

Side Cars : Quick MOT Checks

If your motorbike has sidecar it must be securely fitted, the tyres and suspension must be up to the standard of the rest of the bike and all three wheels of the combination should point in the same direction.

Body and Structure : Quick MOT Checks

Fairly obviously loose parts or missing engine bolts will do you no favours. Rider footrests must be fitted and secure and if there is a pillion seat there must be a second set as well. Enough corrosion to affect the structure of the motorcycle will fail the MOT too, so check headstocks, swing arms and suspension mounting points etc.

Fuel and Exhaust : Quick MOT Checks

Put simply exhausts which leak or are too loud, or both, will not pass. Nor will anything stamped with ‘not for road use’ or anything which leaks fuel.

note: The annual motorcycle MOT test is simply a thorough check of all the components which are essential to keep your bike roadworthy. If your motorcycle fails this MOT checklist it is almost always because it would be unsafe for you or other road users if the bike were ridden on public roads – with the obvious exception of illegal number plates, which aren’t a danger to anything except your licence and your MOT pass.