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How Much Is a Motorcycle MOT: The Ultimate Guide

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated November, 10, 2022

How much is a motorcycle MOT and do you need one to drive a scooter in the UK? What is checked during a motorcycle MOT test? Will failing the inspection affect your insurance?

You need to know the answers to these questions before you take your bike on the road.

Luckily, we are here to help you out. Below you will find all the information you need on motorcycles and the MOT check. 

What Is a Motorcycle MOT?

All bikes older than three years must undergo an annual vehicle inspection and be certified by the Ministry for Transport as meeting the minimum road safety requirements. 

Riding a bike without a valid MOT can lead to fines and penalties just as it would if you were caught driving a car with an expired MOT

What’s more, the MOT certificate is a requirement for road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) and motorbike insurance—your vehicle can’t be taxed without a certificate, whereas most insurers will not cover a motorcycle that is deemed unroadworthy, or will only offer third-party cover. 

This means that if caught you could get even more serious fines and penalties, both for not paying vehicle tax and driving without insurance. And since you are breaking the law on three counts, your vehicle might be seized and you could be prosecuted.

Note: Brand-new bikes and classic vehicles may be exempt from the annual MOT under certain circumstances. 

How Much Is a Motorcycle MOT?

The cost of a motorcycle MOT is determined by the type of vehicle you own and the test centre you go to. That said, the government has set a maximum motorcycle MOT price which means a garage cannot legally charge you more than that. 

Currently, the cost of a motorbike MOT is £29.65 for standard motorcycles, including mopeds and scooters. 

Here is an overview of the maximum MOT price one can pay for a motorcycle test. 

Vehicle classMaximum Motorcycle MOT Fee 
Motorcycle with engine size up to 200cc1£29.65
Motorcycle with sidecar and engine size up to 200cc1£37.80
Motorcycle with engine size over 200cc2£29.65
Motorcycle with sidecar and engine size over 200cc)2£37.80

Prices do not include VAT as no tax charge is applied on the fee. 

As mentioned above, all bikes older than three years need an MOT, so your first test should be on the third anniversary of the motorcycle’s first registration. Brand-new motorcycles, just like new cars, do not need an MOT. 

What is Checked During a Motorcycle MOT?

When you take your bike to an MOT test centre, the examiner will carry out 16 checks to make sure the motorcycle meets government standards and is roadworthy. 

Here are the most common things inspected during a motorcycle MOT. 

1. Lights and signalling

A tester will take a look at whether the lights work or not, their condition, the aim of the headlamp and the flashing frequency of the signalling lights. They will also check if the headlamps are the correct colour. 

Motorcycle lamps and reflectors are one of the most common reasons why a bike might fail the MOT—in fact, this issue accounted for 42.51% of overall defects detected. 

Tip: Check whether all lights are secure and functional before heading to the MOT test centre. If you notice a wobbly or malfunctioning light, get it fixed before you take the test.

2. Steering and suspension

The MOT tester will also check the condition of the steering and suspension to conclude whether the forks, grip mountings, head bearings, swinging arm, handlebars, shock absorbers and damping effect are working properly.

Tip: If you feel a difference in the handling of your motorcycle, it might be a good idea to get it serviced before the annual test is due. If everything feels in order, you can still test some things out at home to ensure everything is in tip-top condition:

  • Bounce the bike to see if the suspension is working properly.
  • Hold on to each swingarm while trying to move it around. If successful, this could mean that you need to replace the swingarm bearings. Just make sure the rear wheel is off the ground for the test to work. 
  • Grasp the forks and try to move them back and forwards—if there is any movement, the bearings will need to be adjusted or replaced. 
  • Lift the bike off the ground by raising the front wheel and moving the handlebars—they should turn freely from lock to lock.
  • Motorists should especially pay close attention to the fork seals because if there’s an oil leak, your bike will fail the test.

3. Brakes

The MOT test will look at the condition and performance of the brakes (via an efficiency test) as well as the brake controls. More specifically the tester will check the disc brakes, the brake pads and shoes, brake hoses and ABS warning lights (if there are any). Brakes are the second most common reason for MOT failures—in 2022, 16.90% of all defects listed an issue with motorcycle brakes. 

Tip: You can also test the brakes at home-check if the wheels can rotate freely when you release the brake. Don’t forget to check brake fluid levels as well. 

4. Wheels and tyres

Your bike’s tyres and wheels need to be the correct type and size to pass the test. They should also be fitted securely and aligned properly, as well as have a minimum tread depth of 1 mm (for motorcycles over 50cc). The condition of the valve will also be checked as well as the wheel bearings. 

Keep in mind that 38.30% of all tyre-related issues were classified as dangerous which means those vehicles automatically failed their MOT. 

5. Frame and structure

A frame that is cracked, damaged, distorted or corroded enough to affect steering or braking will result in a failed MOT test. 

6. Exhaust and fuel systems

The exhaust system is tested to ensure that it’s completely secure and free of holes. It should also meet minimum noise requirements when the engine is started. The fuel system, on the other hand, is checked for leaks and damaged/chafed pipes.

Tips: Check the cap seal too—if it doesn’t open easily, the tester won’t be able to run checks. Also, make sure there is enough fuel as the test centre could refuse to inspect a bike that is low on fuel. 

7. Seats and footrests 

A motorcycle should have a rider’s seat and footrests, both of which must be fitted securely onto the bike. 

8. Sidecar (if applicable)

If a motorcycle has a fitted sidecar, it needs to be attached safely. The tyres, wheels, suspension and lights must also be in working condition.

9. Other things checked on a motorcycle MOT

Other checks include testing the horn (it should be loud enough for others to hear), checking the presence and condition of number plates, frame numbers and VIN (they should be present and easy to read), and inspecting the drive chain and sprocket (drive chain is checked in case it’s too tight or too loose, while the sprockets are examined for any excessive wear). 

Finally, the MOT checklist is concluded with the examination of the throttle and clutch levers—both of which need to be working properly to pass the test. The clutch level should also not be damaged, bent or shortened since the last MOT visit. 

What to check before you take your car to the MOT test? You will find the answer and helpful tips here

What isn’t checked at a motorcycle MOT?

Since the purpose of an MOT is to ensure the roadworthiness of a vehicle, the test will skip over the engine, clutch and gearbox—to check the condition of these components, you would need to get a full service for your bike. 

Bike emissions are not checked either. 

If you are looking for an alternative means of transport for short distances, take a look at our selection of the best scooters in the UK.

How is a motorbike MOT graded?

Issues discovered during an MOT check fall into three categories:

  • Dangerous, which means the issues are serious enough to pose a threat to yourself or other motorists. If any dangerous defects are flagged on your MOT test, you will fail the test and might not be allowed to ride the bike away from the test centre.  
  • Major: These include any issues that risk the safety of others on the road, impact the environment or do not meet the minimum required road safety standards. A major defect detected means your motorcycle will fail the test, but you can still ride it with a valid MOT certificate. That said, you need to fix the issues immediately since they might put you at risk. 
  • Minor. This means that the issue doesn’t pose a serious risk but it should be repaired as soon as possible. If you have a minor defect, you will still pass the check and get a valid MOT certificate. 

Can you book an MOT before your current certificate expires? Find more information in this article.

Do Mopeds Need an MOT?

A moped is defined as a two-wheeler with a 50cc engine and limited to speeds of 28mph. Anyone over the age of 16 can ride a moped, provided they have paid vehicle tax, have relevant insurance and a valid MOT. 

Like other motorcycles, a moped over three years old needs to get a yearly MOT check, although some parts of the test are not mandatory for mopeds, including

  • There’s no minimum tread depth requirement 
  • A moped does not have to have indicator lights
  • A registration plate on the rear of the moped is enough 
  • The tester will not check the moped’s chain guard, but one should be present nonetheless

How much is a moped MOT?

The maximum moped MOT cost is £29.65, the same as a standard bike MOT price, although the moped MOT price you pay may be less according to the test centre you visit. Check prices at your local MOT test stations before booking the test. 

Wrapping Up

Passing the MOT is a must for motorcycle enthusiasts with vehicles older than three years. And although the price of a motorcycle MOT is not that high (a maximum of £29.65), you should still try to give your motorcycle the once over and check the most common issues behind failed tests before heading to the test centre. This way you will avoid paying motorcycle MOT charges for retesting and repairs. 

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

How do you pass a motorcycle MOT?

The first thing to do to ensure that your motorcycle passes the MOT is to give it a good wash. An MOT tester can refuse to check your vehicle if it is too dirty. You could also fail the test if the VIN, frame number or registration plates are not visible. To further improve your chances of passing, check for the most common issues that come up on a motorcycle MOT test, such as lights, brakes and tyres. If any issues arise, get them fixed before the test date.  

What happens if you fail a motorcycle MOT?

Hopefully you won’t but if you do, there is no reason to panic. You have ten working days to get the defects repaired—in this case, you will only pay a partial fee, typically half of the full cost of a bike MOT. 

How much is an MOT for a 125cc motorbike?

The price of a 125cc motorcycle MOT is £29.65, the same as all standard motorbikes. Keep in mind though that prices might vary depending on your location, vehicle class, presence of a side-car and the testing station itself, which is why you need to compare prices. Ask several licensed MOT test stations in your area about how much is a motorcycle MOT at their premises and pick the one that is best suited to your budget. 

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.