So, you’ve just realised that your motorcycle needs an MOT test. 

Maybe you already know what it is – but perhaps you don’t. Perhaps you’re wondering why do you even need an MOT at all? 

How can you find a garage that is authorized to do an MOT inspection?

Furthermore, how can you tell whether the garage does inspections for motorcycles? 

Just because they have the sign out in front doesn’t mean that they do inspections for your type of motorcycle (or any motorcycle at all). 

In this blog post, you’ll learn:

  • What an “MOT” is, how long it’s valid and why you must have one
  • Some common reasons why motorcycles fail their MOT – and how to make yours pass
  • The class of MOT you need for your motorcycle
  • How to book a motorcycle MOT test 
  • Some MOT FAQs
Prefer to get this information in podcast form? Listen to the 30 Minute Motorcycling Podcast episode about getting a motorcycle MOT done:

What is an “MOT Test” and Why You Need One

The MOT Test is a vehicle test to ensure that your motorcycle is roadworthy, which involves checking among other things:

  • Your tyres
  • Brake systems
  • Lights
  • Fluids (petrol, coolant, engine oil, etc.)

A new motorcycle must get its first MOT three years after its registration. 

If it’s three years or older, it must go through an MOT inspection once a year. 

Once your bike passes the inspection, it receives an MOT certificate valid for 1 year. 

On the other hand, if your motorcycle fails the MOT, you’re not allowed to ride it again until the problems have been fixed. 

But it doesn’t stop there – you’re not even allowed to park your motorcycle on the road if its MOT has expired. 

Because of this, you must renew your MOT well in advance before the old one expires.

Getting caught riding a motorcycle without a valid MOT could get you a fine of £1000.

NOTE: Some vehicles are exempt from an MOT test. For more information, check the GOV.UK page about historic vehicles.

What are the different MOT defect categories?

There are a total of 3 MOT defect categories – each one with a different grade of severity for the mechanical issue in question:

  • Advisory
  • Minor
  • Major
  • Dangerous

An “Advisory” defect is not something serious, although it might become serious if left alone for too long.

The “Minor” defect category is similar – the defect won’t affect your safety or the environment negatively, although it’s advised that you deal with the problem as soon as possible.

The “Major” defect category is a whole different story – these defects could put you or others at risk. Because of this, you should fix these issues immediately.

Finally, suppose your bike has a defect that falls under the “Dangerous” defect category. In that case, it’s essentially a black flag – just like the Major defect category, you must deal with issues of this category at once.

But it also means you can’t ride your bike until you’ve fixed the issue.


The 5 Most Common MOT Fails for Motorcycles

OK, we’ve established why you need an MOT. Now, we get to the next big question: why do motorcycles fail the MOT?

According to, the most common MOT failure areas for motorcycles are:

  1. Lamps and reflectors (9.257% of all motorcycles tested)
  2. Motorcycle structure and attachments  (2.915% of all motorcycles tested)
  3. Tyres (2.572% of all motorcycles tested)
  4. Suspension (2.362% of all motorcycles tested)

Therefore, these areas are critical to inspect during your next pre-ride inspection.

The sooner you find them and fix them, the better. 

To help you along with your next pre-MOT check, download my free, interactive T-CLOCS checklist.

How to book a Motorcycle MOT Test

If a garage is authorised to do an MOT inspection, there will be a sign of a white umbrella-like image out front.

It looks something like this:

motorbike mot symbol
That’s a good start, but you’ll also want to make sure that the test centre does the correct MOT class.

About the MOT Classes

Every vehicle is different. That’s why there are a total of six different MOT classes – each one dealing with a certain type of vehicle.

The ones that are relevant to motorcyclists are:

  •  Class 1 – for motorcycles with an engine size of up to 200 CC (including 50ccs scooters and mopeds)
  •  Class 2 – for motorcycles with an engine size of more than 200 CC
  •  Class 3 –  for three-wheeled vehicles (including trikes, like those from Can-Am) of up to 450 kgs of unladen weight
  •  Class 4 – for three-wheeled vehicles of over 450 kgs of unladed weight
More information about MOT classes.

It’s important to know that many places only do MOT inspections for cars (Class 4) and large goods vehicles like vans (Class 7) – verify that the garage you’ll planning to visit carries out inspections for your type of motorcycle before you book your appointment.

The best and easiest way to verify what MOT classes a certain garage does inspection for is to use

All you have to do is enter your postcode, and you’ll retrieve the garage’s

  • Address
  • Contact details, like phone number, email address, website, etc.
  • What class of vehicle they do MOT inspections for
book an mot

Tutorial video – How To Use


How much does an MOT inspection cost?

An MOT test for a motorcycle costs about £30, but the price may vary depending on location.

How do I know when my MOT is due?

There’s a helpful tool on the Halfords website called “When Is My MOT Due.”

Simply enter your motorcycle’s number plate, and it will tell you when your next MOT is due.

when is my mot due

How long does an MOT take?

It varies from place to place, but generally, an MOT inspection tends to take anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour.

To find your nearest Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 MOT inspection centre, head over to 

All you have to do is enter your postcode, and you’ll receive the addresses of all MOT centres in your area and what vehicle classes they serve.