As the owner of a motorcycle, it is your legal duty to ensure it is roadworthy and does not pose a hazard to yourself, any passengers, other road users or the general public.
A full motorcycle service will ensure any mechanical or electrical problems are ironed out ahead of your MOT and of course before they affect the safe operation of your motorbike. Regularly servicing your motorcycle will not only prolong its life; Your machine may also be more efficient and more pleasant to ride when all its components are in optimum condition.
What constitutes a full service when it comes to motorcycle servicing can vary a little from garage to garage, but in general it should pinpoint and address any issues that may affect the safe operation of your machine.
The motorcycle full service checklist should incorporate:
- Oil change – the grade used will depend on the manufacturer’s recommendation
- New oil filter
- New air filter
- New spark plugs
- Test/replace/top-up coolant as required
- Brake callipers removed and cleaned
- Brake pistons degreased
- Hydraulic Brake Fluid System inspected, topped up or replaced as required
- Control cables, levers and pivots (throttle, clutch, brakes) cleaned and lubricated
- Adjustment of throttle and clutch
- Battery electrolyte level checked and topped up as required
- Steering play and race bearing kit – examined for any looseness and adjusted as necessary
- Front fork – inspected and checked for operation
- Rear suspension – inspected and checked for operation
- All fasteners – including engine mounting and chassis bolts – inspected and tightened as required
- Wheel bearings – checked
- Main and side stands checked and lubricated
- Headlight checked for aim and focus - adjusted as required
- Fuel hosed checked
- Tyre pressures – checked and adjusted as necessary
- Chain – adjusted and lubricated as necessary
- General lubrication
A full service will include a road test to ensure the motorbike is running as expected.
Garages also offer ‘interim checks’, which go into less detail than motorbike full services, but still ensure the vital components of your motorbike are working as they should be. As the name suggests, this service should keep your bike in good condition between full services. The service will very likely include an oil and oil filter change, as well as checks to brake callipers, pistons, cables, levers, pivots, wheel bearings, headlights, chain function and tyre pressure, among others. It should also include a road test.
Some garages may offer a ‘major service’, which is a full service plus a very detailed inspection and servicing of your motorbike’s components. For example, a major motorbike service might include removing and cleaning brake calipers and flushing the hydraulic system. Such a comprehensive service will pick up any potential problems early on - making future MOTs a breeze, and helping to make your ride safer.
To establish the services that your chosen garage offers, contact them for details of their motorcycle service price list.
The cost of a full motorbike service depends on the size of your engine and the specific pricing of your chosen garage. An independent garage may cost less than a garage which is part of a nationwide or regional chain, because the latter has larger operating costs for things like marketing and city centre business rates. And unlike some small garages, chains will need to pay VAT.
Here is a rough idea of what you might expect to pay for a motorbike service:
- Below 250cc: £80 - £130
- 250cc – 600cc: £90 - £160
- Up to 1000cc: around £180
If the service highlights that you need any motorbike repair work carried out, which is not included in the service plan, the repair costs will be in addition to the service charge.
How often should you service your motorbike?
A mechanic should be looking at your motorcycle every six months or so - which equates to every 2,500-4000 miles. Defects on a motorcycle have the potential to be extremely dangerous, so keeping to a regular maintenance schedule is paramount.
Lights and reflectors: During an MOT nearly two in five defects - and half of all major defects - relate to lamps and reflectors. Your lamps will need to be in good working order, securely fitted, the right colour, and angled in the correct direction.
Steering and suspension: Problems with steering and suspension are also common: this encompasses forks, handlebars, grips, mountings, head bearings, swinging arm, shock absorbers, and damping effect.
Tyres and wheels: Around a tenth of defects relate to tyres, while only 1% concern wheels. Any issue with a tyre is very serious, and historically in MOT scenarios 37% of tyre issues are deemed ‘dangerous’. Tyres must be securely fitted and of the correct type, while tread depth must be 1mm+ on motorbikes over 50cc. The condition of the valves and the wheel bearings must also be satisfactory.
Braking: Brake issues account for just under one in five MOT defects, with around a third of these classed as “dangerous”. Brake hoses, disc brakes, pads shoes and ABS warning lights (if present) must all be in good working order.
Components that fail less often (but are still critical)
- Exhaust system
- Fuel system
- Wheel Alignment
- Sidecars (if present)
How much is a motorcycle MOT?
The maximum price of an MOT for any motorcycle is set at £29.65.
For kikes with a sidecar, expect to pay up to £37.80 for an MOT.
An MOT does not cover the engine, clutch or gearbox, so a full motorbike service is the most thorough series of checks your machine can undergo.
We have teamed up with Halfords Autocentres to bring our customers 10% off services, half price MOT and/or free MOT with a full or major service. Click here to redeem deals.
Although regularly servicing your motorcycle will prolong its life it is inevitable that some motorcycles will suffer a breakdown at some point. Breakdown cover for your motorcycle gives you peace of mind, should the unfortunate happen.