Skip navigation

How to pass your motorbike MOT


If you ride a motorcycle then it is your duty to ensure that it is always kept in a roadworthy condition. 

Man holding motorbike handlebars

Taking a bike to be tested – particularly an older one that's seen its fair share of miles – is never an enjoyable experience.

But with a bit of foresight and preparation you can help increase your chances of it being given the all-clear.

Here's a list of some basic checks you can do yourself.

Headlamps and lights

A tester will be looking at whether they work, their condition and if they're fitted with the correct colour headlamps – all of which you can look at in advance.

They'll also check the aim of the headlamps.

Steering and suspension

Once again, the condition, security and operation of these parts will be examined, with particular attention focused on the forks, handlebars, head bearings, swinging arm and shock absorbers.

Raise the front wheel off the ground and move the handlebars from lock to lock to ensure they turn freely.

Then grasp the forks at the bottom and attempt to push and pull on them - any movement could suggest play in the head bearing.

Moving to the rear and the bike should be bounced to make sure the suspension is working as expected.

Also, grasp each swingarm end and try to move it around. If you can, this could be a sign that your swingarm bearings are on the way out.

If you've noticed any difference in the handling of your bike it could be worth getting any problems ironed out beforehand.

Man checking motorbike

Wheels and tyres

Linked to this will be taking a look at the condition of the wheels and tyres, including whether the right size/type has been fitted to the bike, and the tread depth.

There must also be the correct alignment between the front and rear wheels.

Again, these are all checks that you can do before presenting it for examination.

If you think your motorbike tyres might need to be replaced, you may find our guide to buying new tyres useful.

The frame

The frame itself will also come under scrutiny to ensure it’s free from cracks, damage, distortion or corrosion.

The purpose of this is to make sure that it isn’t suffering from any conditions that could affect either the steering or braking.


The brakes themselves must be operational and perform as expected.

You can see for yourself by applying the brakes and making sure the wheels can rotate freely when the brake is released – and that the brake pads are not worn.


Meanwhile, the exhaust system will need to be complete, secure and as quiet as possible, while the fuel system must not have any leaks.

Other basic checks

Other points to be covered include whether the horn and throttle works, that there are legible registration plates, and that the clutch lever is not damaged.

In addition, the drive chain must not be too worn and should have a guard for security.

While all this may seem a little daunting, there isn’t much on the examination itself that you can’t get double-checked before test day.

All it takes is a little bit of forward planning, as well as keeping on top of regular maintenance tasks, and you should sail through the test every year.


Compare motorbike insurance

Compare cheap quotes from up to 37 motorbike insurance providers today!

Get a quote

Related guides

Compare motorbike insurance

Compare cheap quotes from up to 37 motorbike insurance providers today!

Get a quote

Bike insurance

Compare quotes from up to 37 motorbike insurance providers.

Get a quote