Will my loud exhaust pass an MoT?

Published: 08 April 2011

Q. I have a US-import GSX-R750 with a Yoshimura end can fitted which hasn’t got any markings on it at all. No 'not for road use' or 'race use only', but it does seem a little loud.

Where do I stand legally if I am stopped by the police? I assume your average officer would not know if it is a race can or not without the markings to guide them.

I would appreciate your advice on what to say and do should I be stopped.
John MacDonald, Northampton

A. Construction and use regulations say that a pipe should not be altered in any way to increase noise, and should clearly and indelibly be marked with either the British standard marking indicating that it has been tested in accordance with test 2; or ii a reference to its make and type specified by the manufacturer of the vehicle.

But the reality on the road is that if you get stopped and the officer suspects you have an illegal pipe without any markings they will probably issue you with a Vehicle Rectification Notice, which means you'll have to go and get it tested at an MoT station.

This is a pain in the arse, but not as bad news as it first appears because of a change in the MoT regulations in 2004.

Until May 2004 MoT testers used to have to look for a British Standard (BS) or E-mark on an exhaust. At the time increasing numbers of imported bikes were passing Single Vehicle Type Approval which includes a noise meter test, but doesn't require any markings, then failing MoTs because they didn't have the necessary marks.

So there was a big update to the regulations in 2004 and now a tester has to look for unacceptable marks like "race use only" or "not for road use".

In the absence of them he won't wield an expensive noise meter to check the pipe, instead, according to the MoT test manual section 7.1 he has to do this: “With the engine running assess the effectiveness of the silencer(s) in reducing as far as is reasonable the noise emitted.”

There’s no requirement for specific revs during the test, so if your bike isn’t obviously loud it should get through and you can present your paperwork at the Cop Shop, keeping a copy to show at any future roadside stops. Result.

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