Getting the bike on the road

Road registering the Jumbo. A How-to for all twinshock owners

I’d road registered a couple of bikes before (a Yamaha DT250 and a Honda TL125), so had an idea of what to do

What you need:
– Registration of vehicle form (V55/4) from the DVLA. Contact the DVLA help line and they can post you one. More information on the DVLA website .
– a dating letter (for the bike, not a lonely 40-something)
– an MOT
– insurance
– personal identification
– the first registration fee and the annual license fee.

Dating Letter
If you want an age-related plate, rather than a “Q” plate you will need a dating letter. This needs to come from a club, association or organisation that is recognised by the DVLA as able to provide an official dating letter.
There is a list of vehicle owner’s clubs on the DVLA site who can provide a letter authenticating the date of manufacture of the bike. I’ve used Roy Bacon a couple of times and he charges a £25 fee to provide the required letter. For the Jumbo, I provided him with some photos (including one of the VIN plate, which includes Anno Fab. 1983), a quote from Peter Knight / Rotax which showed the date the engine left Austria to go to the SWM factory in Milan and the engine and chassis numbers. Also worth including the engine capacity on the dating letter. As from the 1st January 2008, agencies that produce dating letters are required by the DVLA to have a photograph of the engine and frame numbers.

You will need to MOT the bike, usually for daylight use only. The detailed requirements are provided on the MOTUK web site. For me the key items to bear in mind are:
– finding an MOT tester (or testing station) that understands what testing a trials bike is about, ie testing for a daylight MOT
– if you don’t have working front and rear lights, you don’t need indicators, break lights or reflectors
– you do need an electric horn (not a bulb one) for a bike after 1.1.1973 and it has to be audible
– registration plate; the MOT tester’s manual talks about layout, but not size (?). For the first MOT before getting a registration, the MOT is done on the chassis/VIN number, not the registation.
– making sure the bike is put together correctly and bolts are tightened etc

I’ve used Ray Griffiths at Eric Rees Motorcycles in Hereford for my trials bikes and this is where the Jumbo was MOT’d. I took it on the van, but if you want to ride the bike to MOT testing station, you need to phone in advance and make an appointment (to cover yourself with the cops). The current bike MOT cost is £27.50, which is around half of the car cost (which is fair enough given it has half the number of wheels).

I’ve a road bike and a couple of trials bikes on my insurance policy with Carole Nash all part of the same policy, but the Jumbo presented a couple of challenges. Carole Nash’s classic policy only covers bikes up to 1982, and not the SWM, and my insurers (Admiral) required more information on the bike. I spoke to their Customer Services dept, because I had an existing policy, but getting a new quote might be a challenge.
Therefore, sent an email to CN, attached a couple of photo’s and a link to Martin’s web site SWM history page. About 30 minutes later, they confirmed they could insure the Jumbo also rating it the same as a Honda CR400 (?) and for £26.00 per annum fully comp.
The insure on the chassis number for 14 days only, so you need to have all the other documents in place and a trip to the DVLA office already planned.

Trip to the DVLA office
You will need to visit your local DVLA office
to submit the forms. I’ve used a couple of DVLA offices, Worcester and Cardiff and they don’t do things the same way.
At Worcester, they always have in the past always insisted on a vehicle inspection, despite having an MOT, and this can only be booked once you have submitted the application. Therefore you need to make two visits.
For the Jumbo, I went to the Cardiff DVLA office at Ty-Glas, taking the bike in the van. Submitted the form, with the supporting documentation and my personal ID (driving license) and that was it; they don’t require a vehicle inspection and the bike stayed in the van unlooked at. The Cardiff office was revamped in December and although parking is a bit of a problem, took 15 minutes to queue and complete the process.

The first registration fee is currently £38 and the license fee for a 150-400cc motorcycle is currently £31.00.

You now have a road-registered twinshock you can use for ‘proper trials’. The Jumbo is ready to go; it cost me £116.50 to get it on the road, not cheap, but does mean you can use it for Sammy Miller and ACU classic trials.

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