Project: Motorcycle Unofficial Import Standards

Reference: S0031/VD

Last update: 29/06/2004 08:45:33


The objectives of the research are to determine whether typical unofficially imported machines meet key, UK and EU, safety and environmental standards (braking, noise, lighting, tyres and pollutant emissions). Where standards are not met an assessment will be made as to how far below these standards the machines are.

The project will also consider options for load transfer simulation for roller brake testing. One or more methods will be tested on a variety of motorcycles and mopeds and the contractor will recommend a method suitable for implementation as part of an SVA test.


Approximately 35% of all new registrations of motorcycles and mopeds in the UK are of machines that have not been sold through manufacturers' official dealer networks. Some of these machines are not originally intended for sale in the UK or Europe and, therefore, will not have been designed specifically to comply with UK or EU legislative requirements. Consequently, there is a possibility that the safety and environmental performance of such machines may not satisfy the standards demanded of UK/EU models.

At present (excluding the system of European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA)), there is no requirement for pre-registration checks of these machines to ensure that the minimum standards have been achieved. Not enough is known about the construction standards of these unofficially imported machines and so there is a need for a proper assessment of the situation. The principal objective of this project, therefore, is to investigate the extent to which typical unofficially imported machines meet the appropriate UK and EU standards.

A separate activity within this project will be to investigate the potential for improving the brake testing procedures for motorcycles. It is planned to achieve this by developing a practical and cost-effective means of simulating the effect of the increased loading that is applied to the front axle when braking under normal riding conditions.

This loading is caused by inertial effects and is not included in the brake tests currently employed in the MoT inspection procedures. Even when using a roller brake tester the motorcycle is stationary, therefore, inertial loading is not taken into consideration in the assessment of the performance of the front brake. The effect of this load transfer, however, is significant and if incorporated into tests using a roller brake tester would yield a more realistic assessment of the efficiency of the braking system.


East Kilbride, Glasgow, G75 0QU
+44 (0)1355 2202222

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £317,000.00

Actual start date: 01 November 2000

Actual completion date: 09 January 2004


Simulation of Front Load Transfer in a Motorcycle Roller Brake Test
Author: TUV NEL Ltd
Publication date: 18/06/2003
Source: Contact

An Assessment of the Construction Standards of Unofficial Import Motorcycles - Part A Report
Author: TUV NEL Ltd
Publication date: 09/01/2004
Source: Contact

An Assessment of the Construction Standards of Unofficial Import Motorcycles - Appendices to Part A Report
Author: TUV NEL Ltd
Publication date: 09/01/2004
Source: Contact

Summary of results

  1. This research concluded that the design and construction of the technical standards of machines that are built for markets outside of the EU differ and would not pass EC Type Approval. The results of this part of the work, which compared the technical standards of machines with Directive Standards, are credible.

    The associated piece of work, to evaluate suitable methods of front brake load transfer simulation, considered several options and recommended two methods. The results confirmed the feasibility of using load transfer simulation to give more meaningful brake test results. This initial work could form the basis of further research should the procedure ever be considered for inclusion in the MOT test.

Departmental Assessment Status: The main part of this research assessed the machines against specific legislated technical standards. However, the other part, which investigated methods to simulate load transfer for front brake testing, added to the evidence pool.