So you’ve just purchased your first motorbike: Congratulations! You are almost ready to take to the roads and gain some real world motorcycling experience on your own, but first there are a few things to do before you can ride your bike legally if they haven’t been done already.


Change of ownership

If you have purchased your motorcycle used, you will need to have the V5C registration document changed to your name. This is done in part my both you and the seller (mainly the seller) of the bike and is done as follows:


  1. Section 6 of the V5C is to be completed by the buyer. This section will contain the address of the new owner.
  2. Section 8 must then be signed by both the buyer and seller.
  3. The V5C/2 will then be completed, torn off and given to the buyer to keep.
  4. The seller must then send the rest of the now completed V5C to the DVLA in Swansea.
  5. If these steps are followed correctly, you should receive your new V5C registration document within 4 weeks.


In the event that the seller doesn’t have the V5C, first and foremost you have to make sure you trust the seller; as mentioned on the previous page, you should immediately walk away if the seller doesn’t have the V5C, but if your example you personally know the seller and completely trust them, both you and the seller have some paperwork to do so that you receive a replacement a V5C:

The seller must write to the DVLA with the following information:

  • the vehicle registration mark (the number plate)
  • the make and model of the bike
  • the exact date of sale
  • the name and address of the buyer
  • the seller’s signature

You, the buyer, have to fill out a V62 application for a registration certificate and send it to the DVLA.

Click here for a printable V62 application



While you are still riding with a provisional licence, you must display L-plates on both the front and rear of your bike. Where on your bike is important as the L-plates must be clearly visible on the front and back, letting other road users know that you are still learning.

Unlike a car, there can be little room for stick-on or magnetic L-plates on your bike, so you may have to purchase rigid L-plates to attach to your rear number plate and front fork. Trimming self adhesive L-plates is technically illegal, but as long as you leave most of the white background intact, most police officers won’t mind.



This is arguably the most important document you must have for your vehicle. The MOT is issued by VOSA registered vehicle garages after an MOT test and proves that your bike is fit for use on the road and will not pose a hazard to you or other road users. You must obtain an MOT certificate before you can tax or insure your bike and as such, you risk having your insurance invalidated if you ride or park on the road without an MOT.


If your bike had a valid MOT certificate when you purchased it, you don’t need to get another one until it expires.

The price of an MOT varies from garage to garage, but normally costs from £20 to £35, excluding any repair work that may need doing.

To obtain an MOT certificate you must have the bike brought to a registered garage where they will perform a series of tests to assess the road-worthiness of your bike. These tests include brake tests, light checks and emissions tests among other things.

It is not uncommon for a motorcycle to fail the test if does not meet the requirements of the MOT, so if you suspect your bike may need work doing, be sure to have enough cash to spare to pay for repairs in addition to the MOT.

Once your motorbike passes the MOT, you will be issued with an MOT certificate. This certificate is valid for one year will allow you to tax and insure your vehicle.


Vehicle Excise Duty a.k.a Tax

The next step in getting your bike road worthy is Vehicle Excise Duty. More commonly known as bike/car tax, and often erroneously called “road tax”, VED must be paid on all cars and motorcycles that are used and parked on the road. As of the 1st of October 2014, new rules regarding vehicle tax have gone into effect; the has DVLA switched to a purely electronic system, so you will no longer need to display a tax disk. Vehicle tax will now no longer transfer to a new owner when a vehicle changes hands, meaning that even if a vehicle is taxed, new vehicle tax will need to be purchased once the change of ownership (see above) is complete.

Getting your bike taxed is a simple matter and can be done in a number of different ways: online, by mail or by phone. The easiest way is online, simply go to the click here to go to the relevent page, click “Apply now” and fill out the form. The cost of tax varies depending the emissions produced by the vehicle or capacity of the engine, depending on your vehicle’s age. If you don’t want to pay the full year’s upfront cost, you can opt for six months vehicle tax for half of the cost, or now you can pay vehicle tax monthly though this will cost a little bit extra in the long run.



Insurance is the second most important thing you need to ride your bike on the road but carries the heaviest penalty if not done. Insurance makes sure that other road users (and yourself, if you get fully comp) are protected financially in the event of an accident and is provided by insurance companies.

Obtaining insurance is done almost exclusively online these days, but can also by done over the phone.

There are many things to consider when buying insurance; the next page will cover everything you need to know to make an informed decision.


Understanding Motorcycle Insurance >