Motorbike MOT

Learn all about what you need to do before taking your motorbike in for an MOT including costs, requirements and even a checklist to prepare your bike for inspection.

Rider sat on a motorbike next to a field looking into the distance
24 Jan 2024

Understanding Motorcycle MOTs: The Motorbike MOT Checklist


Just like cars, motorbikes must pass an annual MOT to ensure they’re safe and roadworthy. You also need a valid motorcycle MOT for road tax and motorbike insurance.

Here we’ll explain what a motorcycle MOT is, how often it's needed, what gets checked and what to do beforehand. You’ll be clear on everything you need to know about motorbike MOTs.


What is a motorbike MOT?


A motorcycle Ministry of Transport (MOT) test is a yearly assessment of your motorcycle’s safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions. It’s a legal requirement in the UK for bikes over three years old.

Bike MOT tests divide motorcycles into two categories:

  1. Class 1 motorbikes: With engines up to 200cc, including smaller bikes, like mopeds and scooters
  2. Class 2 motorbikes: With engines above 200cc, including larger bikes, like cruisers and touring bikes

The tests for both Class 1 and Class 2 MOTs are very similar. There are slight variations based on the size and specific features of your motorbike. The examiner at the MOT Test Centre will know which checklist to use for your bike.


Does my motorbike need an MOT?


If your motorbike is three years old or more, you need to have a valid MOT certificate. It’s illegal to ride a motorbike without one unless you're heading for an MOT inspection. If you ride without a valid MOT certificate, you could be fined up to £1,000. Your insurance will also likely be invalid and you won’t be able to pay road tax on your bike.


How often do I need a motorbike MOT?


Once your motorbike is three years old, you need a MOT once a year. You’ll see the dates your current MOT is valid for on your most recent certificate. We recommend setting a reminder in your calendar for when your MOT is due each year.


Where can I get an MOT for my motorbike?


You can get an MOT test for your bike at a garage or dealership that’s accredited as an MOT Testing Centre. Motorcycle MOT centres are certified to conduct MOT tests for bikes and issue MOT certificates.

It’s easy to find local accredited MOT Testing Stations online, and you can often book MOT appointments online too. You’ll need to specify the engine size of your bike when you book the MOT to ensure you get the proper Class 1 or Class 2 testing procedure.


What do I need to bring with me to my motorbike MOT?


Once you’ve booked an MOT test for your bike, you should prepare your motorbike beforehand. Clean your bike and check all your lights are working. Check your tires are adequately inflated, the frame is undamaged, and the brake, coolant and oil levels are good.


If anything on your motorbike is damaged or not working as it should be, get it repaired before your MOT to make sure your bike passes. You can see a summary of the motorcycle MOT checklist below to get an idea of what’s checked.

When you head out for your motorcycle MOT, bring the following with you:

  1. Your bike’s Vehicle Registration Document (V5C)
  2. Any previous MOT Certificates you have for your bike
  3. Any relevant service history documents you have for your motorcycle


What do I do if my bike fails its MOT?


If your motorbike fails its MOT test then it must be repaired to address the failures and then re-tested.

You can often have your motorbike repaired at the garage or dealership that performed your MOT. They may also offer you a discount on your re-test. You can take your bike elsewhere to have the repairs done, but you won’t be able to legally drive your bike on the road if the MOT test found a dangerous defect.


What are common failures for motorbike MOT tests?


According to UK government statistics, the most common reasons for bikes failing MOT tests are:

  1. Lamps and reflectors (9% of failures)
  2. Brakes (4% of failures)
  3. Structure and attachments, including the exhaust, seats and handlebars (3% of failures)
  4. Tyres (2% of failures)

Check these components are in good working order before taking your bike for its MOT to avoid these common areas of failure.


How much does a motorcycle MOT cost?


Right now it costs £29.65 for a motorcycle MOT and £37.80 for an MOT for a motorcycle with a sidecar. The cost for a Class 1 or Class 2 motorbike MOT is the same. Find out more about MOT costs.

Other cost and fees you may have to pay include:

  1. The cost of any repairs if your bike fails its MOT
  2. The cost of re-taking the MOT after repairs
  3. Additional services – some testing centres offer added options, like a pre-MOT inspection, fluid top-ups or minor adjustments to help ensure your bike passes.


How long does it take to get an MOT on a motorcycle?


A motorbike MOT usually takes between 45 to 60 minutes, including preparing your MOT certificate and recording your bike’s test results on the MOT database. Depending on how busy the test centre is, you might have your bike tested right away and ride off within the hour, or it may go into a queue of bikes to be tested.


The Motorcycle MOT Checklist

During your motorbike MOT, they check:


Wheels and Tires

Your motorbike’s wheels and tires need to be appropriate, in good condition and secure. They’ll be checked to ensure they’re correctly fitted, are the right size and type, and that the tread has the correct depth.



Lights and indicators are checked to see if they’re working properly, in good condition and fixed securely. They’ll also check they’re the right colour and angled correctly.


Fuel System

All the components of your bike’s fuel system must be secure and there can’t be any leaks.


Steering and Suspension

Your steering and suspension must be in good working order. Your bike’s handlebars and grips must be properly aligned – the forks, head bearings, swinging arm and shock absorbers are all checked.



The exhaust is examined to make sure it’s secure, and that there are no leaks or missing parts. The garage will also test its noise levels.



The seat is assessed to make sure it fits securely.



Your bike’s brakes need to be in good working order and functioning correctly.



The frame and bodywork are inspected to make sure there’s no damage, cracks, distortion or corrosion that could affect the way your motorbike handles.


Throttle and Clutch

Your motorbike’s throttle and clutch are checked to make sure they aren’t damaged or shortened and are working properly.


Drive Chain and Sprocket

The drive chain is inspected to check it isn’t too loose or too tight, that the chain and sprockets aren’t overly worn, and that the chain guard is secure and fitted properly.



The horn must be in working order and be appropriate for a motorbike.


Registration Plates

Your registration plates, plus the bike’s vehicle identification and frame numbers, must be valid, clear and easy to read.

Find out more about the motorcycle MOT checklist.


Compare motorcycle insurance quotes with Asda


As well as helping you better understand motorbike MOT tests, we can help you compare and find the best motorcycle insurance for your bike and your needs. The motorbike insurance comparison service is provided by Vast Visibility Limited.


Frequently Asked Questions


Do you need motorbike insurance?

Yes, you do. To legally ride your motorbike on the road in the UK, you must have motorbike insurance. If you ride without insurance you risk being fined (up to £1,000), getting points on your licence and having your motorbike seized. It can also make it harder for you to get insurance in the future. 


Is getting an MOT different for a scooter or moped?

Just as with other motorcycles, scooters and mopeds over three years old will need a motorbike MOT. As they have engines less than 200cc in size, they’ll need a Class 1 motorcycle MOT.


What happens if you get caught riding a motorcycle without MOT?

Your motorbike must have a valid MOT certificate to prove it's safe and roadworthy, and to ensure you comply with the law. If you’re caught driving without an MOT certificate, the penalty will vary and will depend on the circumstances, but can include points on your licence and a fine of up to £1,000.


Can I buy a motorbike without getting an MOT?

If the motorbike you’re buying is under three years old, you won’t need an MOT. But if the bike is older than three years, you’ll need a valid MOT certificate. If the motorcycle you’re buying doesn’t have one, you won’t be able to legally ride it until you take it for an MOT (you can only drive your motorbike on the road without an MOT if you’re riding it directly to an MOT test appointment).


Does a motorbike need indicators for an MOT?

Yes. For a motorbike MOT test, your motorcycle must have indicators that are correctly fitted and in good working order.


Do you need mirrors on a motorcycle to pass an MOT?

No, there are no legal requirements for a motorbike to have mirrors, and mirrors aren’t required to pass a motorcycle MOT. But they are recommended, as they can improve your awareness of road hazards.


When does a motorcycle become MOT exempt?

Vehicles, including cars and motorbikes, can become eligible for MOT exemption when they reach 40 years of age, as long as they haven’t been substantially altered. Find out more about MOT exemptions.


Can I ride my motorcycle to an MOT test without a valid MOT?

You can ride your motorbike without a valid MOT certificate as long as you’re driving to a pre-booked MOT test. You can also drive your motorbike without a valid MOT if it’s failed an MOT test and you’re riding for pre-booked repairs, as long as your bike didn’t fail with a dangerous defect.


Can I tax my motorcycle without an MOT?

No. You’ll need to have a valid MOT certificate before you can pay road tax on your motorbike. If your motorcycle’s MOT and road tax have expired, you can drive it on the road as long as you’re riding to a pre-booked MOT appointment. Once your bike has passed its MOT, then you can pay the road tax.



Motorbike insurance with Asda

Finding the right motorbike insurance for you is essential. Using a motorbike insurance UK comparison service, can help you find cheap motorbike insurance quotes. Find out more about our comparison service and get a quote here.

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