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Motorbike Exhausts and Number Plates

What are Legal Exhausts and Numberplates

Exhaust Pipes

Under Construction and Use Regulation 57 for any motorcycle first used on or after the 1st April 1983 an exhaust pipe must comply with the regulations and the EC directives which form the basis of the regulations.

In effect it says that no person may use, cause or permit to be used a motorcycle which does not meet the noise vehicle requirements and any part of the vehicle is not in good efficient working order or the vehicle has been altered and that the noise made by the vehicle would have been materially less if all the parts of the vehicle were in good and efficient working order. In short, what this means is that if you have a noisy bike, even if the pipes are legal, if you pulled the baffles out you are committing an offence. The full rules are laid down in the Motorcycle Silencer and Exhaust Systems Regulations 1995 which mean it is an offence for any person to supply, offer or agree to supply a silencer for motorcycle, motor scooter or moped use unless it meets with the standards of the EC Directive or the British Standard or it is marked not for road use or words to that effect, or is marked pre 1985 motorcycle only.

In short, if your pipe isnít completely legal, they have got you. It is also an offence which the Magistrates donít have very much sympathy for. If offered a rectification notice for a noisy pipe, take it.

More on Exhausts

Number Plates

Small number plates are an advert for the police to come along and tug you. It is an absolute offence to have a number plate which does not comply with the regulations.

There are strict rules relating to spacing under the "Road Vehicles Display of Registration Marks" Regulations 2001 which came into force on the 21st March 2001. The registration plate must be fixed to the rear of the motorcycle, vertically, be distinguishable in normal daylight and be properly lit.

For a motorcycle, you cannot have your registration plate on a single line, there is a designated font and character height must be at least 64mm. If you have a classic bike, different regulations apply.

If you put anything on your number plate which is designed to reflect flash photography you are committing an offence. Changing a number or letter or displaying a false number on your motorcycle is a serious offence, which is enforced by customs and excise. This can carry a custodial sentence of up to two years.

Displaying no number at all is a non endorsable offence, as things currently stand, but you should expect this to change. However, riding around without a number plate is going attract a great deal of police attention. DVLA have the power to take your registration mark away from you if you are consistently reported for having a defective number plate, which can mean that your motorcycle would be left with a "Q" plate substantially reducing its resale value.