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MOT Time

Blog Date - 07 July 2017

By Ren Withnell

Today I have the onerous duty of taking Madam Parker's 125 for it's MOT test. 

If I've been riding for over 26 years at a guess I've taken a motorcycle for an MOT test at least 26 times. Probably more due to having 2 bikes these last few years as well as having swapped bikes and so on. You'd think you'd get used to it. You'd think that wouldn't you.

I know what an MOT inspector will check for. I know how to check all these things myself. I have checked all these things on Sharon's bike and everything appears to be quite in order. Let's be honest if a motorcycle fails an MOT test it ought not to be on the roads. So what am I worried about?

Sharon's Keeway ready for the MOT test in Ren's Shed
It'll be fine. I'm sure. Yip.

Why do I know I'll drop the bike at the MOT centre and walk away with the same feeling a father expecting his first child feels? It's ridiculous. Even if, on the slight off chance that there's something I've overlooked, I know I can sort it out and put it right. What's even more ridiculous is that it's not even my motorcycle! 

I shall finish this missive upon my return...TBC

Whoop whoop! It's passed. I always knew it would..didn't I? The chap at the test centre said it's spot on and as it ought to be. He also wondered where my CBF125 was, I had to explain this is the gf's bike and my 125 will hopefully be returning this coming September. He thanked me for my custom and I gave him the money owed. 

An MOT Certificate
Woohoo! I mean I never doubted it for a moment.

While the MOT makes me nervous, while it takes up my time and worst of all it means I have to - gulp - spend money I do agree with it. The things tested on the motorcycle MOT are things that need to be in good order and I cannot think of anything that is tested that I disagree with. 

I'll ask the question - is there anything that is part of the current motorcycle MOT that you do not think needs testing and is there anything omitted from the MOT that you think should be included?

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Reader's Comments

CrazyFrog said :-
No, I quite agree.

I've been riding for 35 years and never had a bike fail an MOT.

I wouldn't be happy riding a bike that was unroadworthy so I make sure mine are. It's good to get your bike fettling skills verified once a year though, just in case you've over looked something, and TBH even if I ran an older MOT exempt bike, I'd still get it done on a yearly basis, just for peace of mind.

I also think the MOT is pretty good value.

Having said all this though, I've had three bikes recently that I bought with sparkly new 12 month MOT's which all had glaringly obvious MOT failures on closer inspection. I guess there are some cowboy MOT testers out there...
07/07/2017 14:01:16 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Crazy Frog. When I wur a lad there wur a local bike shop that basically handed out certificates just for asking. They got really strict after a few years - you had to take a picture of the bike with you.

My local place does the job properly. Everything gets a good shake and a prod and a spin before going on the brake testing machine then the light alignment is done. He once pulled me on my chain being a bit loose as an advisory so he's on the ball.

I must say I struggle with the idea that motorcycles over a certain age don't need an MOT at all. I'm guessing the assumption is owners of classic machines like Ian Soady are worldly wise enough to know what's what. I'd be concerned though that a clueless yoof or "new to classics" owner could all too easily take a deathtrap on the road.
07/07/2017 14:25:40 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
Hi Ren,

Yes, I really don't get the no MOT thing for older bikes. I'd have thought that there would be a much higher chance of even a freshly restored old bike being unroadworthy in some respect than a four year old bike.

Hey ho, what do I know, I'm sure the powers that be have their reasons and I'm equally sure that responsible owners of old machines would get them MOT's anyway.


07/07/2017 16:12:44 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Yes, I must say the logic is a bit weird although at the same time there is no way some of the very old bikes with dummy belt rim brakes etc could possibly pass what are in any event quite modest requirements. Even the Sunbeam would have struggled with its 6" diameter drums made out of pressed steel so thin you could see them flexing when operated. Gentle retardation was the most they offered, which combined with the challenges of hand gear change etc made observation and anticipation paramount! In fact, 10 miles or so felt as tiring as 50 on a modern bike.

I'm not aware of any statistics regarding collision rates for older vehicles and in truth most cover very low distances and generally are ridden / driven in a very careful way.

And in truth by far the biggest factor in crashes is the person in charge rather than vehicle condition. There are some interesting tables in the link. I expect the person who nearly wiped out Ren had a bike with perfect brakes......

www.driving-test-success.com/causes-car-crash.htm ...
08/07/2017 10:22:19 UTC
stuart said :-
What are the mot rules around abs and reactive suspenion?

I don't think it will ever concern me as none of my bikes are that modern but I would have thought there should be some rules?

09/07/2017 18:38:07 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Damn good question Stuart! I do know that the vehicle mustn't have any warning lights on which would include the ABS for sure, I suspect the suspension would show up as an engine management light.

How it is actually tested I do not know. I'm not sure ABS would kick in an a rolling road brake testing machine like they have at my MOT centre. ABS works by comparing each wheel's speed and on the machine only one wheel is turning to start with.

Any MOT testers out there that can answer this?
09/07/2017 21:23:59 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
You don't need testers, all the info is on line.

The link shows the rules for bike brakes and ABS isn't mentioned. As far as cars are concerned, as long as the warning light comes on at startup then does not come on again during braking / running, and there are no visible faults (eg broken components) there are no further checks.

I have in the past had to print out relevant pages from the testers' manual to show to testers to prove that they have been wrong. Not always easy........
www.mot-testing.service.gov.uk/documents/manuals/m1s03000001.htm ...
10/07/2017 14:42:11 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Thanks Ian, I knew I could count on you :-). I believe the same rules apply to motorcycles - the warning light must come on at startup, go out during use and no visible issues. Oddly my ABS light only goes out once the motorcycle has exceeded 7mph as opposed to coming on for X number of seconds. Be interesting to see if the rolling roads exceed 7mph? I'm sure I won't be the first to cross this path.

I can see you stood in an MOT centre quoting chapter and verse to an MOT tester. While you're quiet right to quote the book I'm sure it doesn't always endear you to the testers.
10/07/2017 20:49:35 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Who wants to be endeared?

Interestingly, on my car, if the ABS light doesn't go off till it's started rolling there is a stored minor fault but bike ABS is probably different.

I would print out the relevant sections and have them in reserve in case there were any arguments although generally I've found bike testers to be more reasonable than car ones.
11/07/2017 09:36:03 UTC

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