Motorcycle MOTs: all you need to know

Is your motorcycle now over 3 years old and now in need of an MOT? Find out all there is to know about motorcycle MOTs.

You might think that a motorcycle MOT is no different from any other vehicle MOT – but this is not entirely the case.

Once your motorcycle gets to 3 years old, you need to know all there is to know about motorcycle MOTs to ensure it passes its test with as few issues as possible. With that in mind, read on for our complete guide on motorcycle MOTs so you can be fully prepared.

When do I need to get my motorcycle MOT tested?

Rear end of a motorcycle facing a sunset whilst parked on the side of a road.

Similar to car MOT expectations, you are not required to book an MOT for your motorcycle until it is at least 3 years old. Once it becomes 3 years old, you are legally expected to book your motorcycle in for a MOT, and then on each one-year anniversary of receiving the first valid MOT certificate.

Your motorcycle will be examined depending on whether any issues or defects it has prevents it from being safe on UK roads. If the motorcycle is deemed to have any ‘major’ defects, it will fail the test and will need to be fixed before it is allowed to be driven by the owner again.

Can I drive my motorcycle if it has not been MOT tested?

If your motorcycle has not been MOT tested, and is over 3 years old, you are only able to drive it if:

  • You are driving somewhere to be repaired.
  • You are driving to your MOT test.

Otherwise, you are not legally allowed to drive or park your motorbike on the road. You could be prosecuted and heavily fined if you are caught not abiding by these regulations.

Where can I go to have a motorcycle MOT test?

An easy way to figure out where to have your motorbike MOT tested is to simply search on your Google Maps, ‘Motorcycle MOT near me’. Hopefully then you’ll be populated with a range of centres close to your location which can help.

However, we advise that you double check that the centre you choose to book your test with is an approved MOT centre. If it isn’t, you may end up with an invalid MOT certificate from an unofficial MOT tester and face having to get it re-tested elsewhere.

A good way to check the validity of an approved test centre for a motorcycle MOT online is to visit the UK government’s website and their page which lists ‘all motorcycle test centres in the UK‘. Then you can be sure that your motorcycle is in suitable hands.

What is checked on a motorcycle MOT?

A motorcycle MOT inspection conducted by a mechanic.

A motorbike MOT is very comprehensive and checks to ensure your bike is entirely road legal and won’t put other road users in danger. Below is a motorbike MOT checklist. These are the parts of motorcycles which mechanics examine, ensuring everything is working properly, is fitted correctly and is in good condition:

  • Horn
  • Throttle
  • Hazard, front, and rear lights (correct colour, their condition, how secure they are)
  • Steering and suspension (e.g., shock absorbers)
  • Registration plates
  • Rider’s seat
  • Fuel System (check for leaks)
  • Front and rear wheels and tyres (their alignment, size, tread depth and wheel bearings)
  • Footrest
  • Brakes (abs brakes, brake hoses, performance)
  • Exhaust system (how loud it is)
  • Bike’s frame number
  • Clutch lever

These are all checked to ensure that motorcycles meet legal requirements and are functioning correctly. Only then will you receive a valid MOT certificate.

Sometimes, motorcycles fail tests though, especially if they are in poor condition. In which case, you will need to pay particular attention to any issues found during the examination and make sure they are fixed before the bike is allowed to be driven on the road again .

You might be surprised to know though that a bike MOT will not check the general mechanical condition of the bike. Therefore, each of the following features will not be tested during a bike MOT test:

  • Engine
  • Clutch
  • Gearbox

It might also be worth asking the mechanic at the centre who tests the bikes to find out more specific details with regard to how they conduct the test themselves, as each centre may have different practises.

How long does a bike MOT take?

Similar to the time a car MOT test takes, the duration of motorbike MOT tests is typically between 45 minutes and 1 hour, although this can vary depending on several factors such as the type of motorcycle being tested and the testing centre’s workload.

How much is a motorcycle MOT?

Typically, how much a motorcycle MOT test will cost depends on the testing centre, as many different centres will charge differently. What we do know for sure is that the maximum price you can expect to pay for a motorcycle MOT cost is £30, and some centres may offer to charge less. This is around £25 less than you would need to pay for a car MOT test!

Be aware though that you should expect your maximum MOT fee to be higher if your motorcycle comes equipped with a sidecar (around £38).

When does a motorcycle become MOT exempt?

Motorcycles are not too different to other vehicles when it comes to MOT test exemptions. We know already that a motorcycle must be MOT tested annually once it becomes over 3 years old, and like cars or many other vehicles, once the motorcycle becomes over 40 years old, you are not expected to get it MOT tested anymore.

This would mean that as of 2023, any motorcycle which was registered before the 1st of January 1983 would be exempt from MOT testing. It would also be exempt from road tax too.

There may be exceptions to this though, such as if your motorbike has been significantly modified or altered.

Just bought a new motorcycle and not sure what insurance cover you need? Or are you looking to get a better deal on your current motorcycle insurance policy? Visit one of our branches, call us on 01206 821330, or take a look at our website to find out more about how A-Plan can help you to find the right insurance cover for your motorcycle, or any other vehicle you own.

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