Checks & the law

Scooter commuters are in the class of vehicle which most frequently fails its first MoT due to tyre defects. Regularly carry out the checks below, at least once a week and when the tyres are cold

Air Pressure

Handling, braking and acceleration are only optimised on your scooter if the air pressures are correct.

Under inflated tyres will not only make your scooter commuter more difficult to control, and under-perform, it is also extremely dangerous and costly as the tyre will wear more quickly and be more vulnerable to damage. It can be dangerous to pump up and continue using a tyre which has been seriously under inflated and before doing so it should be inspected by a professional.

Always refer to the manufacturers settings which can be found in the owner’s manual or, sometimes, on the swing arm which connects the rear wheel to the frame. You may find there are two settings – one for single rider and the other when a pillion is on board. If you’re fortunate enough to own a classic or vintage scooter, ensure the tyre manufacturer’s recommended pressures are followed as the original pressure may be inappropriate today.

 

Too much air in the tyre – overinflation – will make your ride harder and less comfortable, while also reducing the amount of tyre (and grip) in contact with the road. It’ll also wear more quickly in the centre section.

Condition

One of the appeals of a scooter commuter is the ease of parking them but that can mean pulling up on areas where debris and sharp objects might cut the tyre. Being most frequently used around town, scuffs from pavements, potholes and speed bumps can also cause damage.

Riders should include a visual check for cuts, bulges and deep scuffs in their weekly tyre check routine and watch for cracks or bends in the wheel rim. If you spot anything which appears to be out of the ordinary seek professional help.

Finally, if there’s oi or grease o the tyre, remove it as this can degrade the rubber.

Tread depth

Grip is essential for all riders and your tyres’ tread depth plays a decisive role in determining how well your scooter commuter will stop and corner, especially in the wet. As the tread depth is worn away, typically the amount of grip begins to decrease.

Nowadays, tyres will very often have a ‘wear indicator’ in the grooves of the main tread – if they are level with the tyre – or beginning to wear themselves – the tyre is likely to be illegal and in need of immediate replacement.

The law

Engine capacity over 50cc – The tread depth must be 1mm throughout a continuous circumferential band measuring at least three-quarters of the breadth of the tread

Engine capacity is less than 50cc – tread depth may be less than 1mm if the tread pattern is clearly visible around the entire circumference and across the whole breadth of the tread.

Also note: Some tyres when new do not have tread across all three-quarters of the circumference and these must have a minimum of 1mm tread over the whole of the original tread pattern.

Essential Information
Tyre Safety Vehicle Advice
Tyre Safety Driver Advice