MOT test

MOT checks for steering & suspension on motorcycles are divided into five sections. Please click on a link below to skip to the section of interest.

steering controls :: steering system :: front suspension and wheel bearings :: rear suspension and wheel bearings :: wheel alignment

Steering Controls

  • The bikes handlebars, grips,clamps and yokes must be completely secure
  • Forks, handlebars and yokes cannot be deformed, fractured, cracked or excessively corroded
  • Flexible handlebar mountings cannot be excessively deteriorated
  • One switch must operate both lights
  • Steering dampers must be correctly fitted and not impede control of your motorbike
  • Any fairing or leg shield fitted should not impede the steering
  • Steering lock stops must be fitted, correctly adjusted and effective

With front wheel clear of the ground turn the steering from lock to lock. There should be:

  • no fouling between any moving and fixed part of your motorcycle
  • sufficient clearance for the handlebar grips to be properly grasped and controls operated
  • no restrictions to movement of the bars caused by cables becoming taught, trapped or caught
  • no significant change in engine speed

Steering System

There should be no tightness or roughness when your motorcycles handlebars are turned lock to lock. Also, there shouldn’t be excessive free play or movement in the steering head bearings or steering linkage. You can check this by applying the front brake and gently pushing the handlebars forward then backward or ideally by applying pressure to the front wheel whilst it is raised in the air as someone else holds the brake on for you. This way you can visually tell if any movement you may feel is actually as a result of movement in the forks.

note: excessively stiff steering can be caused by a defective or badly adjusted steering damper in which case it is down to the motorcycle MOT test technician’s discretion to test ride your bike to establish whether stability or control is adversely affected. They may also adjust the damper within tolerance if adjustment is possible. You will be informed of this when you receive your test results.

Front Suspension and Wheel Bearings

  • The front suspension components must all be securely fitted and in a good state of repair
  • There shouldn’t be excessive wear or free play in any component
  • Suspension springs cannot be loose, cracked, fractured or so badly corroded that their structure is seriously weakened
  • Suspension springs cannot be repaired by welding
  • All wheel spindles, locking nuts and other locking devices must be secure
  • Shock absorbers must not leak
  • There should be no tightness or roughness when the wheels are turned
  • Mudguards must be securely fitted especially if they form part of the fork bracing assembly
  • Load bearing components cannot be loose, excessively corroded, distorted or poorly repaired

note: light misting or some pitting on a fork stanchion are not reasons enough on their own for a motorbike to fail unless this has caused damage to the damper seals. The motorcycle MOT test technician may pull back any rubber gaitors etc to conduct the examination if it’s possible without dismantling but they *must* correctly refit them afterwards.

The MOT requires that the damping be checked which can easily be done by applying the front brake and depressing the suspension as far as you are able several times. The forks should not be stiff and nor should they bounce up and down, just react to the pressure you are applying. Any fouling between fixed and moving parts which affects the movement of the suspension would fail the bike’s MOT.

Modifications

The VOSA handbook says that an MOT certificate should be refused if any ‘deliberate modification’ has significantly reduced the original strength of a load bearing member or it’s supporting structure.

Rear Suspension and Wheel Bearings

  • The rear suspension components must all be securely fitted and in a good state of repair
  • There shouldn’t be excessive wear or free play in any component
  • Suspension springs cannot be loose, cracked, fractured or so badly corroded that their structure is seriously weakened
  • Suspension springs cannot be repaired by welding
  • All wheel spindles, locking nuts and other locking devices must be secure
  • Shock absorbers must not leak
  • There should be no tightness or roughness when the wheels are turned
  • Load bearing components cannot be loose, excessively corroded, distorted or poorly repaired
  • Pivots cannot be seized, excessively worn or insecure

note: if you have twin shocks on your motorbike they should be equally adjusted at either side. If they are not the motorcycle MOT test technician will issue an advisory to this effect.

The MOT requires that the damping be checked which can easily be done by sitting on your bike and depressing the suspension as far as you are able several times. The shocks should not be stiff and nor should they bounce up and down, just react to the pressure you are applying. Any fouling between fixed and moving parts which affects the movement of the suspension would fail the bike’s MOT.

Wheel Alignment

With the front wheel held upright and inline with your motorcycle’s frame – using either a wheel clamp or another person – place a straight edge or cord against the rear tyre, parallel to it and as high off the ground as the bike’s permanent fixtures will allow. By sighting along this edge you will be able to see if both wheels are inline with each other and your motorcycle’s frame and also check if they are centrally aligned and not offset in any way. (An example of ‘offset’ would be if you put both spacers on one side of the rear wheel instead of one on either side.)