It's that time of year again when you need to start thinking about MOTs. The test is there to keep you guys safe on your motorbikes by giving the old girl a good check over and making sure everything is legal and not dangerous. Here's my guide to getting your motorbike ready for the yearly look over...
Lights and electrics
Check all your bulbs making sure they all work properly. That means head light and full beam are aimed within the MOT parameters, best way to get this right is to stand about 10 foot away from a wall whilst sitting on the bike and see where it is aiming. If it seems too low or too high give it an adjustment. It's a little against the rules but I'm sure your tester would be willing to do adjustments for you pre-test if you think you might fail because of it. Next up check your indicators, they should all work and have the same timing as they flash. If ones quicker than another you've either got a bulb out or a dodgy earth. Find out the problem, remedy it and you'll be away. Rear lights and brake lights should be checked with both front and rear brakes to make sure your stop light switches are working. Also take the time to check your horn is working, it maybe something you don't use everyday but they will fail you if it's not working!
Check your front forks to see if the seals have gone as that's an automatic fail. If you can see oil remnants on the inner fork near the seal it's more than likely gone. If the feel is spongy that's also telling you the oil may well be gone. If it has gone then you'll have to get them done before you can pass an MOT. Same for the rear shock.
Wheels and Tyres
Head bearings are another thing that testers look out for. Lift your front wheel off the ground and pull on the fork bottoms, if they move or clunk then they've probably gone and will also need replacing. Steering on your machine should also move smoothly from lock to lock, check your wires to make sure nothing is holding it back. Spin the wheels up to check the bearings, any strange noises or rubbing could well be worth some investigation. Tyre treads needs to be 1mm across ¾ of the tyre for your motorbike to pass an MOT. Also look out for extra wear points, cuts and bulges.
Check the pads to see how much material is left on them. It's down to the tester where he advises or fails you but most pads will have a minimum wear limit that must be adhered to. Check your hoses as well for any nips or cuts. Also check you fluid and the lever feel, brake pressure should be firm and constant with no rubbing. Check your brake discs for cracks or warped sections, that's an automatic fail.
Check your exhaust is mounted correctly and not blowing. If you've got a loud aftermarket can on it could make your bike fail, swapping to originals can remedy this. Also make sure your number plate is standard, smaller plates with smaller lettering could well incur a fail. One of the last and biggest fail points I found when I was an MOT tester was the placement of a small reflector on the rear of the bike. Most modern motorcycles will have this built in but it's worth checking because if its not there that will also be a fail!
I hope this guide to getting your motorbike MOT ready has helped! Do these checks and you should sail through without the headache of re-tests!
30.09.13 - Big Ed