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Motorcycle MOT checklist

MOT checklist: How your motorcycle will be assessed

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Written by  Emily Sullivan
6 min read
Updated: 13 Jan 2023

Motorcycles, like cars, need to pass regular MOT tests by law – here’s how you can prepare for yours with our motorcycle MOT checklist

What is an MOT?

An MOT test is given to every vehicle in Britain that’s more than three years old to make sure they’re fit for use on the roads. You’ll need to take your vehicle to an approved MOT centre, which will test the major functions of your bike and award you an MOT certificate if it passes. Our motorcycle MOT checklist will help you prior to your trip to the centre.

woman on a motorbike riding on a road

Does my motorcycle need an MOT?

As with every car and light goods vehicle in the country, any motorcycle over three years old must have a valid MOT certificate. Driving on UK roads without a valid certificate is illegal unless you’re headed to a scheduled MOT inspection, and you could get a fine of up to £1,000 if you’re caught.

Without a valid MOT:

  • Your insurance might not be valid, or it may only extend to third-party cover

  • You won’t be able to tax your motorbike

  • You won’t be able to legally park it on the road

How does an MOT test work?

When you take your motorcycle to an MOT testing centre, they’ll examine it for any defects or issues to make sure it’s safe for UK roads. Each part of the test is graded in the following manner:

  • Dangerous: The motorcycle carries either a direct risk to drivers or damages the environment, meaning it isn’t road legal.

  • Major: The vehicle could affect other drivers or the environment and must be repaired immediately.

  • Minor: The vehicle has an issue that isn’t a significant risk, yet still needs to be repaired as soon as possible.

  • Advisory: If an issue could develop in the future – it’ll need to be monitored and acted upon when required.

  • Pass: If your motorcycle reaches the minimum legally required standard of road safety.

What is tested on a motorcycle MOT?

During an MOT test for your motorcycle, the approved MOT centre will examine the following:


Between October to December in 2021, motorcycle lamps and reflectors accounted for 39.05% of defects*. Your MOT tester will check your lights are:

  • Working properly

  • In good condition

  • Securely fitted

  • The correct colour

They’ll look at your rear lights, indicators, and reflectors, and they will ensure your headlamps are aimed correctly.

Steering and suspension

Between October to December in 2021, motorcycle steering accounted for 6.51% of dangerous defects across all potentially dangerous problems*. In the MOT test, they’ll evaluate the condition of your motorbike’s steering and suspension, as well as checking:

  • Forks

  • Handlebars

  • Grips mountings

  • Head bearings

  • Swinging arm

  • Shock absorbers

  • Damping effect

Wheels and tyres

Motorbikes are three times more likely than cars to be involved in a tyre-related issue, so this is a vital area to be checked:

Your MOT centre will look at the condition of your tyres and wheels, including:

  • Security of fitting

  • Size and type, to ensure they’re compatible with your bike and suitable for the road

  • Tread depth, which must be above 1mm for motorbikes over 50cc

  • The condition of the valves

  • Wheel bearings, to make sure they aren’t worn down


Your motorcycle’s frame will be inspected to ensure it isn’t damaged, distorted, or corroded in a way that could affect your ability to steer or brake when driving.


Braking accounted for 27.46% of dangerous defects between October and December in 2021 for motorcycle MOTs.* During the MOT, the tester will look at the condition of your motorcycle brakes, ensuring their operation and performance are in order and the brake controls are functioning correctly. This includes looking at:

  • Brake hoses

  • Disc brakes

  • Brake pads and shoes

  • ABS warning lights, if applicable

Exhaust system

Your motorcycle’s exhaust system will be checked to make sure it’s securely fitted and not missing any parts, as well as not too noisy.

Fuel system

Your fuel system’s components and their security will be checked, while testers will also look for any leaks within the system.


The MOT centre will confirm that your seat(s) are attached securely.

Wheel alignment

They will also check that your front and rear wheels are aligned correctly.

Sidecars (if fitted)

If you have a sidecar attached to your motorcycle, it’ll be examined to make sure:

  • It’s attached safely and securely

  • It’s aligned properly

  • The suspension is working

  • The wheel bearings and alignment are correct

  • The lights are functioning

  • The tyres are in good condition


The horn is checked to see if it’s both working correctly and properly suited to your motorcycle.

Registration plates, vehicle identification, and frame numbers

The registration place and vehicle identification number are inspected in a motorcycle MOT.

Drive chain and sprocket

The MOT centre will inspect your drive chain and sprocket to see if:

  • The chain isn’t worn or too tight/loose

  • The chain guard is fitted securely

  • The sprockets aren’t worn


Testers will also ensure the throttle is functioning properly.

Clutch Lever

The MOT test will also involve a clutch lever examination to confirm it’s still usable, to make sure that it isn’t:

  • Bent

  • Damaged

  • Shortened


Finally, they’ll confirm your footrests are fitted securely.

*Data collected by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, accurate as of July 2019

What isn’t checked in a motorcycle MOT?

A motorcycle MOT doesn’t offer the same level of examination as a full service, and the general condition of the motorcycle’s mechanics won’t be looked at. This means the MOT skips over:

  • The engine

  • The clutch

  • The gearbox

*Data collected by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, accurate as of March 2022

How much does a motorcycle MOT cost?

MOT centres have a maximum amount they’re able to charge for a test:

  • Motorcycles of all engine sizes: £29.65

  • Motorcycles of all engine sizes with a sidecar: £37.80

Compare motorcycle insurance quotes

Completing an MOT test for your motorcycle could reveal some issues that need attention, and repairs aren’t always cheap. With the right motorbike insurance policy, you’ll have peace of mind that any repair costs will be taken care of as long as no exclusions are triggered.

All you need to do is tell us a little about yourself, your driving history, and the motorcycle you want to insure, and we’ll pull together a list of quotes tailored to your exact requirements. You’ll be able to compare deals by the overall monthly and annual cost, the excess payments you’ll need to make, and the level of cover you get for your money.

Once you’ve found the right deal, just click through to the provider to finalise your purchase. However, keep in mind that the cheapest policy isn’t always the best suited to you – it’s advisable to look for a balance between cost and cover to ensure you have the right protection in place for the right price.

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