How to pass the motorcycle MOT

In the United Kingdom, every motorcycle that is more than three years old has to pass an annual Ministry of Transport (MOT) test.

The test decides whether or not your bike is roadworthy and if it fails, you won’t be able to ride until any issues are fixed.

The good news for bikers is that a motorbike MOT test is cheaper than a car one, as the maximum fee a test centre can charge for a standard motorcycle is £29.65.

That being said, no one wants to waste almost £30 so we’ve put together a quick checklist to help you spot any potential issues before taking your bike down to the test centre.

Have your owner’s manual to hand so you can check things like what the correct tyre pressure and chain tension should be.

Hand in engine

MOT Checklist

• Blown bulbs are one of the most common reasons to fail an MOT. Check all lights are functioning and replace any bulbs necessary.

• Check the indicators and hazard lights flash at a steady rate.

• Make sure the battery is fully charged so it doesn’t run out while the test centre is completing its checks – you can buy a charger from as little as £30.

• Tyres – Motorbikes up to 50cc must have all grooves from the original tread pattern visible. For bikes over 50cc, tread depth must be 1mm across at least three quarters of the wheel and have visible tread on the remaining quarter.

• Brakes – Having brakes that work properly is important all year round, not just when your MOT’s due.

• The test centre will check your bike’s steering and suspension so make sure that both are performing correctly.

• Your bike’s registration plate and vehicle identification number (VIN) must be visible and easy to read.

• Wheels should be aligned properly and in good condition.

• Check that your exhaust is secure and not too loud.

• Your motorbike must have a securely attached rider’s seat and footrests.

• Inspect your bike’s frame for any damage or corrosion. If there are any sharp edges or it’s damaged in a way that could affect the brakes or steering, it will fail the MOT.

Mechanic fixing motorbike

• Check that the chain isn’t too loose, tight, or worn and if it is, replace it.

• The clutch lever can’t be bent or damaged.

• The throttle must be working properly.

Once you’ve ticked off everything on the checklist, make sure to clean your motorbike (the test centre can refuse to carry out the MOT if it’s too dirty) and check that the fuel system isn’t leaking.

The motorcycle MOT test doesn’t cover the engine, gearbox or clutch but if any one of these broke the consequences could be lethal, so be sure to regularly check their condition.

What do I do if my motorbike fails its MOT?

Not having a valid MOT certificate can invalidate your insurance and result in a large fine if you continue to ride your motorbike.

If your bike fails its MOT but the previous certificate is still valid, you’ll be able to continue riding but be aware that if the police stop you and find that your motorbike is not roadworthy, you could be prosecuted.

If the previous certificate has already expired and your bike fails its MOT, you won’t be able to ride it unless you’re either taking it for repairs, or to be retested.

The other option is to leave your motorbike at the garage to be repaired – as long as there aren’t any major faults, you won’t have to pay for the retest if it happens within the next ten days.