Tips for your next safety inspection 

No need to worry when your motorcycle is next due for its inspection. If you read these tips, you'll know what your friendly vehicle inspector will accept and what he will fail your bike on. 

Tips for your next safety inspection

Motorcycle inspection tips for bikers

It doesn't matter what sort of motorcycle you ride, it has to be tested for roadworthiness and emissions at the prescribed intervals (usually annually or every two years). Louis has put together a list of all the things that you need to think about.

Whether it's a dealer or a individual who takes a motorcycle for inspection, the rules are the same for everyone. In Germany people usually call it the TÜV test, but there are other officially approved testing organisations that provide this service, e.g. GTÜ, KÜS and DEKRA. You'll have no problem finding a test centre near you on the internet. 

They all carry out inspections to the same standard, as specified in paragraph 29 of the German Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO), and nowadays they are allowed to charge up to around €80. The price often varies between the competing service providers. 

When you get your the test report, there are three different verdicts that the inspector can give on the state of your motorcycle: "Pass", "Minor faults” "Major faults", or even "Unroadworthy". If you miss the inspection date, there is no back-dating and, to make matters worse, you may have to pay an extra 20% if your test is more than two months overdue! So you should remember to check the date on the inspection sticker now and then.

If your motorcycle fails the test, the repeat inspection must be done within one month. Otherwise it will again be more expensive because the main test then has to be repeated, which means paying the full price again.

To make sure this never happens to you, we've provided a check list on the page opposite. This list details items that are normally checked in the vehicle safety inspection. It will take about a quarter of an hour, then you'll know exactly where you stand.

What's important to remember if you modify your bike?

If you make any changes to your motorcycle or install different components, you usually have to take it for another inspection, in addition to the biennial vehicle test, to keep it road-legal. The only exception to this rule is if the new part that you've installed is type approved in your country or is e-marked, indicating European type approval. In all other cases, you have to "prove" to the inspector that your vehicle is actually legal to ride on German roads.

The regulations differ, depending on whether your motorcycle was registered under Germany's StVZO regulations or under EU law. All new bikes first registered from 1 January 2017 onwards must comply with the Euro 4 emissions standard. In this case, additional regulations apply which make it considerably more difficult to modify your motorcycle. You can find information about this very specific subject on the internet.

We've listed all the relevant subjects that we're aware of here for you. But in spite of our best efforts, this list may not be exhaustive. 

Note: Please note that all the rules stated here apply to Germany. Regulations may differ in other countries, including EU member states.


Handlebars/Levers 

Sections 30 and 61 StVZO (German Road Traffic Licensing Regulations)
Handlebars and levers can be replaced with aftermarket products.

  • All aftermarket handlebars must have been tested and approved
  • The handlebar should always come with a test report or type approval (ABE), which must specify the motorcycle and state any restrictions or installation requirements, and whether an entry in the vehicle documents is required

Footrests

Sections 30 and 61 StVZO
Footrests can be replaced with aftermarket products.

  • The number of footrests must correspond to the number of seats (2 per seat)
  • The handlebar should always come with a test report or type approval (ABE), which must specify the motorcycle and state any restrictions or installation requirements, and whether an entry in the vehicle documents is required

Brakes

Sections 30, 19 and 41 StVZO // 93/14 EEC
Brake components are type-tested parts. They can be replaced with aftermarket products.

  • Brake lines, e.g. steel-braided – with or without plastic sheath – generally need to be entered in the vehicle documents or must be type approved
  • Brake lines must be leak-free and routed so as to prevent abrasion and twisting/kinks
  • Brake discs, such as Wave discs, always have a test report or type approval and must be specific to the respective motorcycle
  • Brake pads must have national (KBA no. (Federal Motor Transport Authority)) or international approval (EC or ECE mark)
  • Brake (OEM) spare parts (original design, approved replica) do not need to be entered in the vehicle documents

Wheels/Tyres

Sections 30 and 36 StVZO // 97/24 EEC
Always make sure that wheels/tyres are the correct size, classification and designation (for this information, see Part 1 of vehicle registration certificate)

  • Check that the direction of rotation is correct
  • Make sure you have the correct tyre type and manufacturer! (If necessary, download manufacturer authorisation from the internet, obtain stamped validation and always carry it with you)
  • If you fit replacement rims (such as PVM, Gate Speed etc.), check that they are compatible with your motorcycle model and have this verified, if necessary

Frame

Section 30 StVZO // 2002/24 EC
The frame must be in its original, as-delivered condition!

  • Welding, drilling, shaping and machining, especially polishing of welded joints etc., are not permitted
  • All modifications (such as shortening of the tail frame) must be entered in the vehicle documents

Side/centre stand

Section 61 StVZO // 2009/78/EC
Mandatory!

  • The motorcycle must be fitted with a side and/or centre stand
  • It must not normally be possible to ride off with the stand folded down
  • The stand(s) must be held securely – usually by means of two springs or one spring combined with a retaining clip or a spring with tested durability (10,000 cycles)

Huggers/mudguards

Sections 30 and 36a StVZO
Huggers/mudguards – yes or no?

  • There are national regulations for motorcycle huggers/mudguards (150 mm above axle centre – covering complete tread width)
  • For motorcycles with EC approval, there are no specific regulations pertaining to huggers/mudguards
  • However, we do not recommend removing them entirely. If the modification adversely affects road safety, the hugger/mudguard may be required
  • Please also refer to the installation requirements for reflectors and tail lights, for example

Mirrors

Section 56 StVZO // 97/24 EC
The approval mark is what counts!

The number of mirrors depends on when the vehicle was first registered:

First registration daterequired mirrors
before 01.01.19901 left
from 01.01.1990  
under 100 km/h
1 left
from 01.01.1990  
over 100 km/h
1 left,
1 right

If the mirror carries an approval mark, it complies with the minimum size requirement of 69 cm² and is therefore approved. For motorcycles first registered before 17 June 2003, a 60 cm² surface area is sufficient.


Exhaust / intake system

Sections 19, 30 and 49 StVZO // 97/24 EEC
"In – out" approach.

  • Statements such as: "It's just come loose", "The retaining bolt has fallen off" or "It started rattling all of a sudden" will generally NOT be enough to satisfy the police. That means: The type approval becomes invalid (Section 19 (2) StVZO: ... if the noise characteristics deteriorate...)
  • Marking: All aftermarket systems for the road have an approval mark (KBA** no. or EC/ECE mark). The DB eater must be fitted in the silencer!
  • Obligatory documents: If the replacement system has a homologation mark, you're not required to carry a card or other document with you!
  • Installation: Because each silencer or system is manufactured for a specific motorcycle, it must be installed without any "conversions". No modifications!
  • Volume: If an aftermarket silencer becomes significantly noisier over time, it's the duty of the vehicle owner (registered keeper), not the manufacturer, to deal with it! Often it's possible to solve the problem by repacking with new fibreglass packing material. It may be necessary to replace the silencer.

Lights

Sections 49a – 54 StVZO // 93/92 EEC // 2009/67/EC und VO(EU)168/2013
See and be seen. But properly ... (only with approval mark)

Position lights/parking light:

  • EC requirement, permitted under StVZO
  • Number: 1, acc. to EC also 2
  • Width: Symmetrical in relation to the centre-line of the vehicle, acc. to StVZO only in the headlight
  • Height: 350 – 1,200 mm, acc. to StVZO up to 1,500 mm

Low beam:

  • Mandatory; Number: 1, acc. to EC also 2
  • Width acc. to EC: if the vehicle is fitted with 2 headlights, max. distance between them: 200 mm, symmetrical in relation to the centre-line of the vehicle
  • Width acc. to StVZO: max. 200 mm from high beam headlight, symmetrical in relation to the centre-line of the vehicle
  • Height: 500 – 1,200 mm, acc. to StVZO for first registration prior to 1 January 1988: up to 1,000 mm

High beam:

  • Mandatory; Number: 1 or 2
  • Width: max. distance between the light-emitting surfaces of 2 headlights: 200 mm
  • Height: no specific requirements
  • Blue high beam indicator light mandatory, StVZO also permits indication via switch position

Turn signals (direction indicators):

  • Mandatory, acc. to StVZO for first registration as from 1 January 1962; Number: 4
  • Category for front: 1, 1a, 1b, 11
  • Category for rear: 2a, 2b, 12
  • Width (min.): acc. to EC: front 240 mm, rear 180 mm, acc. to StVZO: front 340 mm, rear 240 mm, distance between bar end turn signals (bullseyes): 560 mm
  • Height: 350 – 1,200 mm
  • Tell-tale indicator EC requirement, visual or audible signal or both, permitted under StVZO
  • Bullseye bar end turn signals for first registration as from 1 January 1987: only permitted in combination with additional rear turn signals

Hazard warning flasher:

  • Acc. to EC: not permitted on mopeds, permitted on motorcycles. Acc. to StVZO: also permitted on mopeds
  • Special switch for synchronous operation of all indicator lights
  • Tell-tale indicator light mandatory, acc. to StVZO: with red light

Fog light:

  • Number: 1, acc. to EC: also 2 permissible
  • Width: acc. to EC: 2 headlights must be symmetrical in relation to the centre-line of the vehicle; acc. to StVZO: max. 250 mm from centre-line of the vehicle, also permitted on crash bar
  • Height: max. as for low beam
  • Switching with position light, low beam and high beam
  • Tell-tale indicator light permitted

Brake lights:

  • Mandatory, acc. to StVZO: only for first registration as from 1 January 1988; Number: 1, acc. to EC: also 2 permissible
  • Mounting position: centre of vehicle
  • Height: Lower edge (LE): min. 250 mm (acc. to StVZO: min. 350 mm), Upper edge (UE): max. 1,500 mm

Tail lights:

  • Mandatory; Number: 1 or 2
  • Mounting position: centre of vehicle
  • Height: LE min. 250 mm, UE max. 1,500 mm

License plate illumination:

  • Mandatory at rear of vehicle

Rear reflector:

  • Mandatory, non-triangular; Number: 1 or 2
  • Height: LE min. 250 mm, UE max. 900 mm

Gas discharge lamp/"Xenon":

  • Generally permitted on motorcycles, provided the design of the overall light system complies with the valid ECE-R53 regulations.
  • Headlights must be explicitly approved for use with gas discharge lamps (indicated by the letter D ("Discharge") on the headlight housing, near to the approval mark).
  • Automatic headlight range adjustment is mandatory.
  • Retrofitting of so-called "Xenon kits" is not permitted, as they do not use officially type-approved components in accordance with their intended purpose.

Additional lights permitted acc. to EEC:

93/92 EEC Annex V, Nos. 6.8, 6.9, 6.11

  • Rear fog light
  • Hazard warning flashers on vehicles with first registration prior to 17 June 2003
  • Side-mounted, non-triangular reflectors
  • Parking lights

Side-mounted license plate brackets

Sections 19.2, 19.3, 21 and 22 StVZO

  • Are permitted under certain conditions. Requirements of the test report must be met
  • If there is no test report, it is mandatory under Section 21 StVZO for an inspection to be done

The Louis Technical Centre

If you have a technical question about your motorbike, please contact our Technical Centre, where they have endless experience, reference books and contacts.

Please note!

These tips for DIY mechanics contain general recommendations that may not apply to all vehicles or all individual components. As local conditions may vary considerably, we are unable to guarantee the correctness of information in these tips for DIY mechanics.

Thank you for your understanding.