There was some delay, but from 1 January 2023 the time has finally come: motorcycles in Flanders will then be subject to a technical inspection, more specifically motorcycles above 125cc for second-hand sales and after an accident. However, a lot of things remain unclear and the insurers are also still groping in the dark.
For example, we ourselves inquired about the procedure if we were to buy a second-hand car in a hurry this weekend to avoid the technical inspection, but wait until mid-2023 to register that motorcycle: should it still be inspected before putting it into service or not? ? No one who knows. In other words: a good two weeks before the start of the motorcycle inspection, there is still a lot of fog about the theme.
What we do know: the 'Motorcycle Inspection Handbook' of GOCA Flanders explains what will be inspected and how it will be done. In that 104-page peat that is clearly derived from the 'Handbook car inspection' (why else is there a chapter about the demisting system of the windscreen and the list of the companies that are allowed to make the number plates for the front of the vehicle) ?) we noticed a few things.
Sound and emission
Not every engine will be systematically subjected to a noise measurement. Only if the inspector is of the opinion that the noise level is exceeded, a noise test will be carried out on a stationary vehicle. For engines with a maximum speed of less than 5,000 rpm, the sound is tested at 75% of the maximum speed. Engines with a maximum speed of more than 5,000 rpm are tested at 50% of the maximum speed.
The noise that the engine is allowed to produce depends on the year of construction and the cylinder capacity. For example, a two-wheeler of more than 500cc that was registered before January 1, 1983 may produce 101 dB, for a 125cc that was registered after November 30, 2017, the maximum is 77 dB. Original dampers are therefore best removed from under the dust.
The emissions are measured on all engines registered after May 1, 1976, with the exception of two-stroke engines and – logically – electric engines. Are also exempt from the emission measurement: “Vehicles equipped with an exhaust that makes the emission measurement impossible because the measuring probe cannot be placed correctly.” If the muffler is not original and makes the emission measurement impossible, this automatically leads to an invalid measurement and engine failure. The measurement is carried out at idle speed, the engine block must be at least 55° warm. It is the inspector of the inspection station who operates the throttle of the engine.
As is the case with cars, the vehicle identification number (VIN) will first be checked before the technical inspection. If that is not present, untraceable or re-stored without a certificate from the manufacturer, the engine will not be inspected anyway. That circuit engine without a chassis number will therefore have to be sold privately, but can never be registered again…
The brakes are first inspected visually, including the condition of the brake pads and brake lines. It is checked whether the pistons return to the calipers after a braking action, and the free play of the brake lever and brake pedal is also examined. Remarkable: a brake pedal that has become too slippery due to wear is described as a major defect.
Motorcycles equipped with a parking brake are also checked. A potential discussion point becomes article 1.1.21.c about the general assessment of the braking system, because 'Repairs must be carried out according to the rules of the art' is a rather vague description. The efficiency of the brakes (and any parking brake present) is measured on a roller brake bench. The ABS is only checked whether all parts are present and in good condition, the functioning of the ABS is not included in the test on the dynamometer.
The position of the headlight is checked with one person sitting on the motorcycle, the high beam and dipped beam must emit white or yellow light. A rear light that is poorly attached is a 'point of attention'. A rear light with a "very high risk of the light falling off" is a major defect. Front and rear turn signals are mandatory for motorcycles first registered after May 9, 2003, for motorcycles first registered before that date, turn signals are allowed. The turn signals should flash between 60 and 120 times per minute.
The rims of the wheels are checked for cracks or cracks and the bearings for play. The wheel size/rim size must be in accordance with the approval certificate, the manual and/or a certificate from the manufacturer. That will be interesting for enduro bikes that have been converted to supermoto. The main grooves of the tires must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm, the tires must be mounted in the correct direction of rotation.
Wear and accessories
The inspector will visually assess the frame and swingarm of the engine for structural problems, the exhaust must be approved for use on public roads and must therefore not bear any 'Track Use Only' markings.
'Slight wear' of the gears of the drive is a 'point of attention', for 'heavy wear' of the gears the motor can be rejected. However, what the difference is between 'light' and 'heavy' wear and tear is not specifically described.
For accessories fitted to the motorcycle, the main focus is on the extent to which they can injure the motorcyclist and/or other road users in the event of an accident. If your motorcycle is equipped with two seats, the grab handles and footrests for the passenger must be present. In other words, if you've ditched the footrests and handles on your DIY machine but can theoretically carry two people, you've got a little problem.
In summary, our impression is that the engine inspection will only cause a problem if you have an engine without a chassis number, and depending on its age or first registration whether everything is on it that should be on it.
The fact that technical control mainly focuses on parts such as gears and brakes does not seem to us to be a bad idea, both after an accident and when selling. As a buyer, the fact that you now have a little more certainty about a properly working motorcycle is not a bad thing; but we would not like to be in the shoes of the average second-hand dealer at the moment, especially given the number of inspection stations (see below).
We are of course very curious to see how this all works in practice and have therefore arranged that we can offer an engine for inspection as soon as the inspection stations are operational … although our appointment has already been postponed because the equipment (two weeks before the inspection actually starts!) has not yet been delivered. So we will come back to this. However, when is another story…
Practical: where does the inspection take place?
This is what we found on the website of GOCA Vlaanderen:
the motorcycle inspection will take place in more than half of the inspection centers, with a nice geographical spread across Flanders. On 1 January 2023, a start will be made in Alken, Antwerp-Deurne, As, Brakel, Bruges, Dendermonde, Diest, Diksmuide, Geel, Heist-op-den-Berg, Mechelen, Rotselaar, Wondelgem, Zellik and Zwevegem.
Based on customer focus, the inspection companies are gradually expanding this further to Antwerp-Noorderlaan, Eeklo, Hechtel-Eksel, Ieper, Kontich, Malle, Roeselare, Stekene, Tienen, Willebroek, Zemst and Zwijnaarde. The ambition is to be operational in all these inspection stations from 1 March 2023. The motorcycle inspection will always be done by appointment, via the website or via the call center of the inspection companies.