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How to Pass your Motorbike MOT this Autumn

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

Autumn is generally the busiest period for motorbike MOTs in our Salisbury garage, but the COVID-19 backlogs make this year even busier than usual.

As the COVID-19 MOT extensions are running out, double as many motorbikes need their tests done this autumn as usual.

We are only at the very beginning of the season, but we have already noticed a significant increase in the number of motorcycle MOTs in Salisbury.

According to the government’s predictions, the demand for motorbike MOT will peak in October and November.

Is your bike ready for the rush?

For anyone who owns a motorbike in Salisbury, it’s necessary to ensure it is safe to drive on UK roads. The annual test itself isn’t too challenging, but you should be prepared in case it throws up any surprises.

Here's our guide on how to pass your motorbike MOT first time.

Who needs a motorbike MOT test?

All motorcycles over three years old need an annual inspection. If you’re selling your motorcycle, it may also be a good idea to get a new test done before you hand it over.

If you're based in Salisbury, you can just pop in to see us. All you need is proof of ownership and identification that matches that of your V5C registration document.

What to check before your motorbike MOT test?

Motorbike components

Here is our quick checklist of the most common motorbike MOT test failures at our Salisbury station and what you should check to avoid them. The full list of inspection checks can be found on the GOV.UK.


You should make sure that both your front and rear lamps work. Ensure you have all bulbs present, in case any of them are blown or damaged - You will need two red ones for stop lamps, two amber ones for side lamps and an approved white lamp for illuminating number plates at night.

Your motorcycle is not required to have direction indicators if any of the following applies:

  • It doesn’t have front and rear position lamps

  • Its top speed does not exceed 30mph

  • It was first used before 1 August 1986

  • It’s an off-road bike only designed to carry the rider

  • It’s a moped


You need to check any mirrors on your bike; if there’s one on your handlebars, make sure it hasn’t become loose over time.

Steering and suspension

The condition, operation and performance of your steering and suspension will be examined.

Check if your handlebars turn freely. Raise the front wheel off the ground and move them from lock to lock.

Then try to push and pull on the forks at the bottom. If there is any movement, it could imply a play in the head bearing.

As the next step, make sure that your motorcycle’s suspension is working as expected. Move to the rear and try to bounce your bike.

Then try to move the swingarm ends around. If you can, your swingarm bearings may need replacing very soon.

Wheels and tyres

The motorcycle MOT tester will check the condition of your wheels and tyres. This includes: whether they are the right fit for the bike and fitted correctly. You’ll also need a minimum tread depth of 1mm across ¾ of the tread pattern if your motorbike is over 50cc. The wheels also need to be aligned correctly.


The frame needs to be free of any damages, cracks, corrosion or distortion.


The operation and performance of the braking system is also checked.

You can check it yourself first. Apply the brakes to ensure that the wheels can rotate freely upon release. You also need to check the condition of your brake pads.

Exhaust and fuel system

The motorbike MOT tester will check that the exhaust system is secure, reasonably quiet, and complete. The fuel system must not leak anywhere.

Other checks

The motorbike MOT tester will also check the condition of the seats and the drive chain of your motorcycle to see if they are safe and not too worn. Your horn will also be checked to make sure it’s loud enough. The registration plates must be clear and securely attached. Also, the clutch lever must be functional and undamaged.

Book your motorcycle MOT in Salisbury

While the annual motorcycle MOT test isn’t something to look forward to, you can double-check virtually everything yourself beforehand to avoid any surprises.

If you plan ahead and stay on top of your regular maintenance, you should pass your motorbike MOT with flying colours every time.

If you would like to know more about our Salisbury motorcycle MOT testing service, please visit our service page.

You can book your motorbike MOT test with us either by phone, Facebook or our contact form.


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