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MOT Manual for Bikes (Detailed Version)


Introduction- How to use this manual

This Manual is a detailed guide to the inspection for statutory MOT testing of the following vehicle classes:

Class I, Solo Motor bicycles with engine size up to 200cc.

Class II, Solo motor bicycles over 200cc and all Motor Bicycles with side cars.


A motor bicycle and side car has a layout in which one of the wheeled elements is clearly recognisable as a side car. It is acceptable that in adapting a solo machine for use with a side car attachment that changes to the systems eg tyres and suspension may have been made. These are vehicles in Class II.

A motor tricycle is a three wheeled vehicle on which none of the wheeled elements is recognisable as a side car. These vehicles are in Class III or IV. depending on their weight.

Class I and II testing stations are not authorised to test motor tricycles. They are therefore not covered by this manual.

Testing Personnel
The inspection will be carried out by a qualified MOT tester, nominated for this purpose, with an assistant working under their direction. In appropriate cases, the person submitting the Machine {’the vehicle presenter’) is permitted to act as the assistant, if they are willing and the nominated tester is satisfied with their competence and that all Health and Safely requirements are met. For example, the machine presenter will normally be capable of operating light switches etc., but might not be able to properly push, pull or lever road wheels etc.

Only the nominated tester signing the test documentation is empowered to make a decision about the results of the inspection of a particular item. This does not stop the nominated tester from asking the advice of others.

Use of Equipment
The Vehicle Inspectorate publishes a list of equipment which it has accepted for statutory testing of Class I and II vehicles. Only the specified equipment from this list may be used for statutory testing. This does not apply to general workshop equipment such as stands, tyre pressure gauges etc.

Stripping or Dismantling
This is not permitted except for the removal of panels or covers, designed to be easily removed without the use of tools, where it is necessary to allow the examination of an item. Panels and covers must be securely replaced at the end of the test. It is appreciated that machines fitted with only a side-stand can present a problem when trying to check the suspension correctly, particularly if the machine is fitted with a fairing belly pan.

If you feel that you cannot properly and safely carry out the inspection then you should refuse to test the machine, (see Introduction item 6). Alternatively, you may request the presenter to remove the belly pan, if possible, before commencing the test, if this will allow you to safely raise the machine.

Road Testing
The statutory test does not specifically include a road test. However, it may be considered necessary to check brakes. steering, the effect of wheel misalignment etc by riding the machine. If the tester considers road testing is necessary to check the results of an inspection, the tester must be qualified to carry out the road test, and must be satisfied it is safe to conduct that test.

Refusal to test
This manual does not include the reasons for refusing to test a vehicle in the Reasons for rejection Columns. If any of the reasons to refuse to test below apply, the test should not be started, the presenter of the machine informed and any fee paid for the test must be returned. It is therefore advised that ’refusal’ items are quickly checked before starting the test proper. The reasons for refusing to carry out the test are that:

a. the registration document or other evidence of the date of first use is not produced when required if it is necessary to have this information to carry out the test satisfactorily (note -this will only normally be necessary if the machine has a "cherished" registration mark or if the year letter on the registration mark does not make it clear which standard should be applied - e.g. direction indicator requirements on machines First used after IstAugust 1986;

b. the machine is presented in such a dirty condition that examination is unreasonably difficult:

c. the machine cannot be driven or has insufficient fuel or oil to enable the test to be completed;

d. the tester considers that an insecure load or other items would prevent a proper test being carried out unless the load is secured or removed;

e. the VTS asks for the test fee to be paid in advance and this is not done;

f. a proper examination cannot be carried out because any cover or other device designed to be readily opened cannot be readily opened, e.g. a seat is locked down and lifting is required in order to inspect the structure of the machine;

g. the condition of the machine is such that. in the opinion of the tester a proper examination would involve a danger of injury to any person or damage to the vehicle or other property.

If, despite due care initially, it becomes apparent during a test that the test cannot be completed for any one of the above reasons, you must fail the machine because the test could not be satisfactorily completed. Any re-test and fee must be in line with normal policy, treating the component which could not be checked as a failure item.

Note: Decline to test a machine if:

(i) if it is of such a size, weight or configuration that it cannot be property or safely tested on the approved facilities.

(ii) any motor bicycle the frame of which is stamped ’not for road use’ or words to that effect.

Inspection Procedure
The entire test must be carried out by one tester whose name is on the list of Nominated Testers (VT26).

Inspection Manual Layout
The ’information’ columns contain details a tester needs to know that are relevant to that part of the inspection. The information is in note form and referenced in the Method of Inspection and Reason for Rejection columns. The notes give valuable guidance on the conduct of the test and the scope of the various inspections.

Method of Inspection
This column describes the way that each component or system is to be tested.

Reason for Rejection
This column describes how severe a defect must be to fail the test. Only those reasons for rejection found here may be applied-

’First used’ dates
A machines ’first used’ date is either
(a) Its date of manufacture, if the machine was originally used without being registered (eg, an imported vehicle, an ex-HM Forces vehicle etc), or

(b) In any other case, the earlier of either
. Its date of first registration,or
. The date six months after it was manufactured

Q’ plate registered vehicles
Q’ plate registration is issued if the machine is of ’indeterminate age’. For MOT Testing purposes assume the machine to have been first used on Ist January 1971.

Assessment of component wear and deterioration
A tester is expected to use his experience and judgement in assessing the condition of a component, as it is not practicable to lay down limits of wear and tolerance for all components found on different makes and model of machine. The main criteria a tester should use when making an assessment are:

(a) whether the condition of the component is likely to adversely affect the roadworthiness of the machine;

(b) whether the component has clearly reached the stage when replacement, repair or adjustment is necessary;

Disabled Rider’s Controls
A defective disabled riders control or fitment that is a testable item justifies failure in the normal way.

The defect description must include an explanation of the control type or fitment and it’s function so that it is clear it applies only to disabled rider’s equipment.
If the disabled rider’s controls or fitments are additional to and do not adversely affect the normal motorcycle equipment they are not testable items. Any defect to an additional control or fitment found during the test should be reported to the vehicle presenter

Recording Defects
If a defect in a testable item is found at an inspection, the nature of the defect must be clearly described in the reasons for failure column of the refusal notification form VT30 (see MOT Testing Guide).

Dangerous Defects
If. during an inspection, a defect is seen in a component, whether or not it is a testable item, and the defect is likely, in the opinion of the machine tester, when the machine is driven on the road, to cause

• Danger to any person, or
• Damage to the machine, or to any other property

Details of the defect must be reported to the vehicle presenter

If a refusal notification is issued the dangerous defect must be noted in the appropriate section of the form.

Advice on defects
You may wish to issue ’advice’ in writing on defects, that have not yet reached the severity to fail the test.

Special Notices (SNs) and Manual Updates
Special Notices and replacement pages containing amendments or additions to the Manual must be retained and acted upon.

Temporary pages may be firmly attached over each original page. Permanent replacement pages must be inserted in the Manual and superseded pages removed.
Each amendment to the Manual must be recorded in Appendix A.

The MOT Testing Guide
Among other things, the Guide defines the vehicle testing classes. It explains how to complete the test documentation and gives reasons for refusing/declining to start a test and what should be done when a test cannot be completed.

Health and Safety

Authorised Examiners and their staff are reminded that they are obliged to adhere to all relevant Health and Safety Legislation while MOT testing. Advice can be obtained from your local Health and Safety Enforcement Officer or Local Authority Environmental Health Officers as appropriate.

Reproduced from the MOT Inspection Manual by kind permission of THE VEHICLE INSPECTORATE.
Copyright © 2004 All rights reserved