Maybe you just get your first moped, or maybe you’ve been riding for years. Either way, your bike is going to need an MOT. Read our guide on what you need to know to pass
If your motorcycle is between three and 40 years old, it must be presented for an annual MOT (Ministry of Transport) test. The purpose of the MOT is to ensure that a motorbike is safe and roadworthy – and it’s the owner’s responsibility to have any serious defects put right.
A valid MOT certificate is a prerequisite for Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) and for motorbike insurance.
Does a 50cc moped need an MOT?
A moped, defined as a 50cc motorcycle that can go no faster than 50km (30 miles) per hour, does need an MOT. However, there are certain parts of the test that don’t apply to a moped. These exceptions will be specified later on.
Does a classic motorbike need an MOT test?
Motorbikes don’t need an MOT certificate if they’re more than 40 years old and no substantial changes have been made in the last 30 years. Owners may still opt to present their classic motorbikes for MOT, but it isn’t a legal requirement.
How much does a motorbike MOT cost?
Motorcycle under 200cc (Class 1) without sidecar £29.65
Motorcycle 200cc and over (Class 2) without sidecar £29.65
Motorcycle under 200cc (Class 1) with sidecar £37.80
Motorcycle 200cc and over (Class 2) with sidecar £37.80
Motorcycle MOT Checklist
There are 16 areas of testing in a motorcycle MOT test.
N.b. This section would also benefit from a graphic like the one that can be seen on the competitor page (https://www.moneysupermarket.com/motorbike-insurance/mot-checklist/) which is also appearing in the featured snippet for the SERP. The DVLA also has a version on their page https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/motorcycle-parts-checked-at-an-mot/motorcycle-parts-checked-at-an-mot
Headlamp, sidelights, rear light, rear-registration-plate light, indicators and reflectors are checked during an MOT to ensure they work, and that they’re secure and undamaged. Brightness, position and direction of beam are tested, as well as the flash frequency of indicator lights – 60 to 120 times per minute.
Do I need indicators for a motorcycle MOT?
Not all motorcycles need indicators, but some do. Direction indicators are not required on motorbikes that:
- do not have front and rear position lamps
- have top speeds of 30mph
- were first used before 1 August 1986
- are off road bikes designed to carry only the rider or the rider and one passenger in a side-car.
It is not mandatory for a moped to be fitted with indicator lights.
Steering and suspension
Checks are made on the steering and suspension system, and on the condition and security of all parts. These include: fork and fork yoke; handlebars and grips; springs and shock absorbers; and suspension pins, bushes, joints, arms and rods.
Wheels and tyres
The MOT tester will check that your bike’s wheels and tyres are right for the bike, and that they’re fitted correctly and securely. They’ll check: nuts, bolts, studs, spindles and hubs; tread depth of the tyres; condition of valves; and signs of corrosion, distortion or damage.
There is no minimum tread depth for a moped, so the tester will just look for a visible tread pattern.
The load-bearing frame includes the sidecar frame – if there is a sidecar – and attachment brackets. On bikes where the engine is used as a stressed part of the structure, the engine mountings are checked. The tester will be looking at the structural integrity of the frame and checking for signs of damage, corrosion or cracks.
Every component of the bike’s braking system is checked. This includes: cables, rods, levers and linkages; discs and drums; linings and pads; flexible brake hoses; rigid brake pipes; lever and pedal; callipers and cylinders; and brake fluid. The operation and performance of the braking system is then put to the test.
The MOT tester will check that the bike’s exhaust system is complete, secure and within permitted noise levels.
The fuel system and its components are checked for leaks and security. The fuel pipe (or hose) is examined for damage or chafing. The MOT will check for the filler cap, ensuring it’s there and that it’s not leaking.
There must be a proper, secure rider’s seat on your motorbike, with an adequate supporting structure. If there is a pillion seat, that will also be checked.
Wheel alignment is an important part of motorbike safety. The bike will be examined to check that the front and back wheels are aligned accordingly.
Sidecar (where applicable)
The MOT tester will check the condition of the sidecar’s frame, and its attachment and alignment to the bike. There will also be checks on suspension, wheel bearings, lights, tyres and wheel alignment.
The motorbike’s audible warning must be loud enough for other road users to hear. It must work properly and be compliant with requirements.
The bike’s registration plates must be clear, securely attached and presented in an acceptable format. The vehicle identification and frame numbers will also be checked for legibility and legitimacy.
A registration plate is required on the rear of the moped only.
Drive chain and sprocket
The chain is checked to make sure it isn’t too tight or too loose, and that it isn’t worn. The MOT tester will check that the chain guard is securely fixed, and that the sprockets aren’t excessively worn.
A moped’s chain guard is not tested, but the absence of a chain guard might be considered dangerous and lead to a failed MOT.
The throttle is inspected to ensure that it’s functioning properly.
The clutch lever must be functional and easily operated – not bent or badly positioned.
The MOT tester will check the presence and condition of footrests.
What isn’t checked in a motorcycle MOT?
There are a few notable exceptions in the test programme. The MOT does not include an assessment of the engine, the clutch or the gearbox. A full motorbike service, though, will cover every aspect of your bike and its operation.
At each stage of the MOT test, your motorcycle is assessed on a five-grade scale.
The first three grades mean a pass:
- PASS: minimum legally required standard of road safety.
- ADVISORY: an issue could develop in the future, and it will need to be monitored and acted on when required.
- MINOR: an issue that isn’t a significant risk, but which should be repaired as soon as possible.
The next two grades are a fail:
- MAJOR: an issue that could affect other drivers or the environment and must be repaired immediately.
- DANGEROUS: the motorcycle carries either a direct risk to drivers or it damages the environment, meaning that it isn’t road legal.
Common motorcycle MOT failures
A huge proportion of motorbike MOT failures are to do with lights. The defect might be a blown bulb, a broken (or missing) rear reflector, a badly angled headlamp or an indicator light that’s flashing at the wrong frequency.
Number plates, too, are often the culprit in a failed MOT test. They can fall right off, or the inscription can be illegible through damage. Sometimes, a badly placed screw can give a false impression.
At the front line when it comes to wear and tear, tyres are a common cause of MOT failures.
So, before the MOT, give your bike a once-over, checking that lights, brakes and horn are working properly, that your tyres are in adequate condition, and that the drive chain isn’t worn. Check the frame for any damage, and make sure the fuel system has no leaks.
Getting any defects fixed before the test will save you money in the long run.