Come Prepared – 13 Crucial Things a Mechanic Will Check During a Motorcycle MOT

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It’s important to keep a track of whether your motorcycle is covered by an MOT.

It can be a costly mistake, with fines of up to £1,000 possible for riders caught without one.

Once your motorcycle is three years old, you will need an MOT -- and another test every 12 months thereafter. And here’s the best news: the maximum fee for examining a standard motorcycle is currently £29.65 -- considerably less than what mechanics can charge for determining whether a car is roadworthy.

You should bear in mind that motorcycle MOTs do not cover the condition of your gearbox, engine or clutch. Also, the fee will not include the cost of servicing any parts which are found to be substandard.

So: let’s take a look at what is checked, and the particular requirements your motorcycle will need to satisfy. Here is a short sample video of a MOT test:

Having an awareness of the criteria for an MOT can help you to stay one step ahead of the curve in maintaining your vehicle, preventing any need for costly retests.

13 Things Your Mechanic Will Be Looking For

  1. 1

    Suspension and Steering

    Your mechanic will check that crucial parts -- such as your head bearings, swinging arm, damping effect, shock absorbers, handlebars, forks and grips mountings -- are secured to your motorcycle and operating normally. Any which are in poor condition may need replacing.

  2. 2


    This is a crucial part of the inspection as motorcyclists need to be as visible as possible to other road users, especially cars and heavy goods vehicles. All of the fittings on your motorcycle will be checked to see they are secure, working, in good condition, and the correct colour. This will include your reflectors and indicators, and a final look to ensure your headlamp is aimed the correct way.

  3. 3

    The Frame and Fuel System

    Corrosion can have a detrimental impact on your ability to steer and brake, so this will be a primary concern of your mechanic. Other damage, such as cracks and distortion, will also need to be ruled out. Your motorcycle’s fuel system is checked for leaks and to make sure all of its parts are secured.

  4. 4


    Your mechanic will conduct the brake efficiency test during the MOT, make sure the motorcycle’s controls are in good working order, and establish whether the braking system is in good enough condition to last another 12 months until your next MOT.

  5. 5


    Your mechanic will check it is complete and secured. Watch out for modifications, too, as it will not pass if it’s too noisy.

  6. 6


    There’s plenty to check for your mechanic here -- such as the condition of the valves, the tread depth to guarantee you’re getting sufficient grip on road surfaces, the tyres’ overall condition and whether they’re secured. They should also be the correct fit and size for your class of motorcycle. The following video will help you prepare your tyres for the test:

  7. 7


    Are you sitting comfortably? The MOT needs to make sure that there is a rider’s seat fitted to the motorcycle and that it’s attached securely.

  8. 8

    Throttle and Horn

    Unsurprisingly, everything must work properly here -- and the horn will also be sounded to guarantee its suitable for your motorcycle.

  9. 9

    Sprocket and Drive Chain

    Both of these components will need to be replaced if they’re worn out, and your mechanic will check that the drive chain isn’t too loose or tight -- and that the accompanying guard is secured.

  10. q


    Your frame number, number plate and vehicle identification needs to be correct and present, as well as legible to other road users and traffic cameras.

  11. w


    Before you can put your feet up, make sure that your footrests are installed and fitted securely.

  12. e

    Clutch Lever

    The main concern here is whether the clutch lever is easy to use when you’re on the road. As such, if it’s become too shortened or bent since the last MOT, it may need replacing.

  13. r


    This is a bit of a bonus one, as it won’t apply to all motorcyclists. The recurring theme of making sure it’s secured applies here -- not to mention its suspension, wheel bearings and alignment, and its lights.

    motorcycle with a sidecar
    A sidercar should be fitted by a competent mechanic

And a Few Other Things to Remember

Generally, motorcycles have a much higher pass rate than cars. Because they’re a lot less bulky, any problematic components are normally quite easy to detect and fix.

mot failure reasons
About 18% of motorcycles fail their MOT every year (Statista)

As we’ve seen throughout this article, the main thing is to make sure everything is fully secured to your motorcycle. It’s also a good idea to ensure your battery is charged before an MOT.

Issues pertaining to maintenance can crop up during your theory test -- and on TopTests.co.uk, you can take a mock exam which has been especially designed for people learning to ride a motorcycle.

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