Motorcycle MOT's   £29-65 (correct at 20/2/2014)

Important : PLEASE READ FIRST : Disclaimer

This advice is based on the MOT inspector's manual and MY understanding of the said manual.
As with most things in life it is open to individual interpretation so if in doubt please check with whoever will carry out your MOT test.
This list is not exhaustive and is intended as a quick GUIDE only,
I will take no responsibility for whatever you do or try. Remember its YOUR LIFE when you ride a motorcycle, ride responsibly and look after your machine correctly.
VOSA the government agency that regulate MOT'S also have a guide available on their website
The Motorcycle MOT test manual can be found HERE


The Motorcycle MOT test is basically common sense with a few rules and regulations thrown in.

Lights and Electrical

Basically all lights fitted must work . However if ALL are missing then you can still pass an MOT.
combined rear lights where the indicator and rear light share the same space (or blank out/shine through) will fail under the 'interfering with other lights rule'
For machines manufactured after 1935 you need 1 brake light working
For machines manufactured after 1973 you need a HORN that makes a continuous noise
For machines manufactured after 1985 you must have indicators fitted if you have lights fitted
(A machine designed primarily for off road may not need this if it meets the ministries view of off road)
For machines manufactured after 1985 and over 50cc are required to have 2 separate brake light systems (i.e. 1 on each brake )

Wheels and tyres

Mostly obvious tyres must be legal (i.e. over 1mm of tread over the whole tyre) and not excessively split/cracked.
Tyres should be fitted the correct way and according to type and correctly fitted
Wheel rims should be True (i.e. straight and not buckled to far (ask your tester for guidelines))
Wheel bearings should have no free play
Spindles and brake anchor should be split-pinned or have self-locking nuts (i.e. Nylocks)
With off road machines tyres should not be marked 'For Off road use only' or 'NOT for Highway Service' (NHS) or (and here comes a grey area) 'The gaps between the tread blocks should not be substantially greater then the tread blocks themselves.!! (work that one out)



Hoses should not be cracked or splitting and should not swell under pressure (brake on)
The lever should come up firm and not creep while held on.
Pads should have sufficient friction material left and be correctly fitted
There should be No fluid leaks
Disc rotors should not be cracked or out of true (i.e. buckled bent etc.)


Cables should be free (not seized) and the inner wire should not be frayed
Shoes must not be worn out or beyond the wear indicators,
All nuts and bolts should be tight and split pinned as appropriate.


All brakes should reach the required standard for the machine.
They should not lock solid when applied or 'pulse' under braking.


Front Suspension and Steering

The suspension should work correctly giving damping on the rebound
The fork seals should not leak (slight misting on a leg may earn a warning depending on testers intrepretation)
The Head bearings should be correctly adjusted and not worn out.
The handlebars should not catch or foul on fairings/tanks etc.

Rear Suspension

The suspension should work correctly giving damping on the rebound.
The linkage should not be worn
The swinging arm should have little or no side play or wear
The Swinging arm must be free from rot.


Footrests missing or insecure
Clutch lever in dangerous condition
Locking devices not correctly fitted (ie spring clips on chain.
Make sure every thing is bolted on correctly and there is no rust on the frame.
Seats - Riders seat for presence and any seat for security.


There has been a change in the MOT regs for exhausts from June 2004 , The new regs are simpler on paper but also open to more interpretation
All Systems The Exhaust system should be in good condition (no rust holes / complete and secure ) and be correctly fitted (ie: not blowing from the joints ) durable repairs are acceptable providing the exhaust is structurally sound.
There should be no leaks which cause excessive noise
The next part I will quote direct from the testers manual
Section 7.1 reason for rejection 2
" A silencer that is in such a condition OR is of such a type that the noise emitted is clearly in excess of that which would be produced by a similar machine fitted with a standard silencer in average condition "
IF the EXHAUST is marked NOT FOR ROAD USE or TRACK USE ONLY or similar words it should fail an MOT.

Fuel system

This is a new section as from July 2004
This test is to be carried out both with and without a running engine
Fuel Leaks anywhere on the fuel system
Fuel cap sealing washer torn , deteriorated , or missing, Or a mounting flange/sealing method defective such that a leakage of fuel is possible
Petrol Tank Leaking or Insecurely mounted
fuel system component insecure

Vin plate / Frame number

Another new section in July 2004 , Although this should be simpler.
On Machines first used on or after 1st August 1999 a VIN plate or frame number must be permanently attached / etched / stamped onto the frame of the machine
There should only be one number displayed !!! (If two different numbers are found contact your local Vehicle registration office )

Numbers plates

This section has again been tightened up and now the reasons for failure are numerous ,
Basically if the bike is newer than 2000 anything other than a totally legal plate with a bsau mark , postcode and supplying dealers name on should fail.
Pre 2000 the Number plate should be legal size with full size letters etc with correct borders and all the rest.
Basically anything smaller than standard should now fail and anything non standard on a plate could trigger a failure



There are various other things than can cause a failure or refusal to test they Include the following.
A dirty machine.
A dangerously worn chain and sprockets (can be considered dangerous condition)
No chain guard fitted (can be considered dangerous condition)
Insecure luggage
Excessively long forks on Choppers
Sticking throttle cable (scary I can tell you from personal experience.)

Odds and Ends

Well that's the basics obviously there are exceptions to these rules and many other things you can fail on, However if you look after the basics you will be on the right track