Scrapping a Motorcycle in the UK

motorbike breakersThere are strict rules and regulations to adhere to within the UK when scrapping a moped, scooter or motorcycle, all breakers offering a service to scrap bikes must be pre-approved by the government as an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), this service is usually free. As such, before any motorcycle can be crushed, all fluids (brake, oil, petrol), battery, wheels and tyres must be removed, for environmental reasons. An ATF may charge however it the vehicle is not complete and is missing essential parts.

If your bike has been written off by the insurance company they will usually arrange for it to be disposed of.

A Certificate of Destruction (CoD) must be issued once any vehicle has been crushed, it is the current owner’s responsibility that they receive one and could be prosecuted it they cannot provide one, receiving a fine up to £80. Some treatment facilities do not issue them until the vehicle has been crushed and it is issued several days (usually within seven days) after you drop off the bike (or it is collected) so make sure you follow up if a CoD is not forthcoming.

Scrap BikeIn terms of notifying the DVLA, this is done by the ATF, however you do need to complete section 9 of the logbook and post to the DVLA, a letter confirming receipt should follow from the DVLA within a few weeks. If not then call them on 0300 790 6802.

Unbeknown to many, to combat increased metal theft in the UK, from October 2013 it is also illegal to be paid in cash for scrapping a bike.

Bike Breakers operate a nationwide service and can collect any bike for free within the UK. Their network of couriers operate seven days a week. If you have a bike you are looking to dispose of then email All MOT-failures, accident-damaged, insurance write-off, barn-find, abandoned motorcycles and un-completed project bikes considered.

Unfortunately, the UK market has been flooded in recent years with poorly-built, cheap imported scooters from China, many of which are of a poor build quality and break down after just a few years and often within the manufacturer’s warranty! Used spare parts are in poor supply and low demand, we are therefore regularly asked to collect broken Chinese scooters that are just 2-3 years old but sadly there is virtually no money in them and it’s not worth the effort, even at scrap metal rates, which is currently at an all-time low!

motorbike breakersThe breakers industry has been in decline in recent years with the growth of the internet and websites such as eBay and Gumtree, meaning anyone can sell their own bike from the comfort of their own home (with little effort) and immediately have a global audience at their fingertips, making the breaker yards largely redundant. Buyers are equally attracted to the same venues as the sellers, largely due to the ease of use, again from the comfort of their own home, although as a result the price of secondhand motorcycle parts has fallen.

Engineers Report

Bike BreakersA damaged motorcycle will have to be inspected by an engineer, who will produce a formal report for the insurance company. The report will confirm its pre-accident value, based on current market value (which can be argued if you can demonstrate that bikes of a similar age and condition are selling for more). The report will also confirm the salvage value. In theory the insurance company will offer you the pre-accident value minus the salvage value, less your policy excess. Make sure you see the engineers report before making any decisions.

Quick Motorcycle Breaker Facts

  • Accident damaged 2010 Yamaha XJ6You do not have to be in receipt of your logbook in order to scrap your motorbike, although you may be asked by the breaker to prove ownership.
  • A HPI check will only reveal a bike has been written off, if it was declared to the insurance company. If a motorcycle was insured third-party only and the owner had an accident, why would they tell their insurance company (and therefore probably the DVLA too), especially as it would affect their insurance premiums. However, by law you are obliged to inform them! A motorcycle that has not been declared a write-off is worth more too.
  • A motorcycle is usually written off when the repairs add up to approximately 70% of its value.
  • A seller is legally obliged to inform a buyer about the bike’s history, if they are aware of any. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
  • When a motorcycle has been written off the logbook is ‘withdrawn’. If is written off under category A or B then it will not be reissued as it should not be put back on the road. It may be re-issued with category C and D but has to be applied for from the DVLA.
  • When insuring a previously written-off motorcycle (many insurance companies won’t entertain quoting and will simply refuse) make sure you have the paperwork relating to the work as some insurance companies require comfort confirming the work has been done to a satisfactory standard. If the frame is bent then the bike will have to go on a frame jig. Alloy frames are a lot harder to straighten than steel and there are very few companies within the UK that offer a frame straightening service!
  • It depends on the insurance company whether you can buy your damaged bike back or not, not all offer it.
  • A motorcycle remains your property and should not be sold or scrapped without your prior consent.

Salvage Damaged Motorcycle Buying Guide

Do your research before you buy any salvage motorcycle

Motorbike BreakersLook at as many salvage motorcycles as you can and take a note of the number of bids and how much people are willing to bid. Pretty soon you’ll see a pattern and it will become obvious that some salvage bikes have a lot of bidding activity and others don’t have any. There’s a good reason why some motorbikes don’t have a lot of activity. In most cases the cost of repair is too high due to the price of replacement parts and/or expensive labour costs. In other cases it’s because parts are hard to find and it is going to take too long to get the bike back on the road.

It might take some time to find the motorcycle that fits your criteria so be patient and don’t let your heart rule your head. Find the right bike at the right price and don’t get carried away with the first one you see.

Before buying a salvage bike check the sellers history

Barn find YamahaBuy from reputable sellers with a history of positive feedback. When you are looking at a salvage bike read the feedback left by previous customers. In general the feedback system is great, but especially so for buying something like motorcycle salvage. It is good for businesses and punters alike. Businesses have the opportunity to build a good reputation in the bike salvage trade and buyers are better informed about who they are buying from and can buy with confidence.

Not all sellers are businesses so not everyone has lots of feedback. We’re not saying don’t buy from these sellers but treat with caution. Ask a lot of questions about the motorcycle they are advertising. Is it their motorbike? How was it damaged? Why are they selling it? Ask for more photos if you feel the bike needs closer scrutiny. If a seller is cagey with their replies then ask yourself what they are trying to hide?

Don’t commit to buy a salvage motorbike until you’ve inspected first

Kawasaki KL600 Donor BikeUnless you’re in the trade and really know what you’re doing you must inspect before you commit to buy. Don’t be afraid to walk away just because you’ve traveled an hour or more to see a motorcycle. Visit the seller during daylight hours and if at all possible bring along a professional that can give you impartial advice. They will know what to look for and give you the true cost of repair of a damaged motorcycle.

Be aware of any salvage motorcycle where it looks clean. If it’s clean you should ask yourself why, what is the seller trying to hide? No bike that’s been in an accident is clean and tidy. If it is its likely that some work has already been carried out, probably to hide something far worse. Finally make sure you have a HPI check carried out before you buy to confirm the motorbike is what it’s advertised as. If it’s advertised as Cat D bike salvage does the check confirm this or was the damage worse.


Yamaha FZS600 for partsSo to summarise, be patient and do your homework, check sellers for positive feedback, look before you commit to buy and always seek a professional opinion. Whilst the value of a previously written-off vehicle is much lower than normal market value may appear tempting it may not be worth the hassle and worry.


If you can afford to then buy a non-damaged motorcycle, the risks are too high for someone who does not know what they are getting into!

Motorcycle Insurance Write-Off Categories

insurance accident damaged motorcyclesCategory A Insurance Write Off – the vehicle must be scrapped and no parts or components can be sold other than for scrap.

Category B Insurance Write Off – the vehicle must not be used again but non-structural and roadworthy parts and components may be recovered and sold for use in other vehicles.

Category C Insurance Write Off – the vehicle is repairable but the parts and labour would exceed the value of the car.

Category D Insurance Write Off – the vehicle is economically repairable but other factors are involved that cause the insurer to declare the vehicle a write off.

Category X Insurance Write Off – the vehicle is easily repairable and may even be still roadworthy.

Unrecorded Insurance Write Off – the vehicle damage was not reported to the insurer or the driver was uninsured. The most common example is drivers who only have third party insurance but have had an accident that was their fault (usually not involving anyone else).

Vehicles categorised as A, B or C require a VIC test (performed by VOSA) before the DVLA will issue a new registration document. A VIC test is not a roadworthy test but a check of the vehicle’s identity, to ensure the genuine vehicle is returned to the road. This will then be noted on the V5C. See for more information on VIC testing. If you keep a car that was written off then you must tell your insurance company otherwise your insurance policy may be invalidated.

Should I Buy A Written-Off Vehicle?

Scooter and moped breakersBefore you buy a written-off vehicle you should consider the following:

• Tell your insurance company about it – if you don’t your policy may be invalidated. It is unlikely to affect the premium you pay, but it will probably reduce the amount paid out in the event of a claim.

• Have a mechanical inspection carried out by a professional to ensure it has been repaired to a high standard – an MOT certificate is no guarantee.

• The market value will have been reduced considerably by the write-off – don’t pay full market value.

• You may have some difficulty selling the vehicle in the future. Dealers often won’t accept them in part exchange and the market for it will be limited.

Will previous accident damage be recorded?

Only if the vehicle has been subject to a total loss claim through an insurance company. If the vehicle has been damaged but repaired by an insurance company or the owner, then there will be no record of it.

This vehicle has been written off, can you tell me the exact area of damage?

The insurance company do not release this detail of information. They only advise on the category of write off which gives an indication of the severity of the damage. If you are looking for further information regarding this matter we advise getting the vehicle mechanically inspected by a professional.

What does third party or self-insured mean?

If a vehicle belongs to a large fleet it may be insured for the legal minimum only. This means that if it is damaged the fleet owner must either repair it, or send it to salvage. This is called ‘self-insured’. Similarly some individuals only insure their vehicle as ‘third party’ due to the cost of the policy compared with the value of their vehicle. If the vehicle is damaged the insurance policy will not pay for any repairs so therefore there is no record of the damage.

Many vehicles are bought from salvage, repaired and sold on. There is no guarantee that repairs have been carried out to a satisfactory standard. There are other instances where a vehicle has been badly damaged and the insurance company have refused to pay for repairs, for example if it was being driven by an uninsured driver, or if was stolen with the keys in.

One Million Scrapped Cars Could Come Back From The Dead

Hundreds of unauthorised scrap yards are cashing in at the expense of reputable car recycling plants, which could see unsafe vehicles returning to UK roads or being sold abroad, according to Bluecycle, the leading online auction house for automotive salvage.

Bluecycle, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, claims that up to one million vehicles a year that are taken off the road are avoiding destruction illegally, due to insufficient resources available to enforce European legislation governing their recycling.

As the debate on climate change intensifies, Bluecycle is calling on the Government to step up local enforcement of the European End of Life Vehicles directive (ELV). Despite the successful efforts of the Environment Agency in closing hundreds of illegal sites, the dearth of unauthorised operators remaining is responsible for a massive number of scrapped vehicles slipping through the net.

Figures from the Government’s licensing body, DVLA, show that approximately two million cars a year are taken off the road, generating some 3.5 million tonnes* of scrap. This figure has been boosted by approximately half a million tonnes more as a result of the Government’s scrappage scheme, which finishes at the end of March.

The number of Certificates of Destruction issued by the UK’s 1,558 Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs)**, however, is closer to the one million mark, according to Andy Latham, Bluecycle’s Reputation Manager:

“It is a legal requirement for ATFs to issue a Certificate of Destruction to prove that a vehicle has been correctly destroyed but the DVLA does not require one to confirm that it has been taken off the road. We’re caught in a  ‘Lazurus effect’ where something like fifty per cent of vehicles scrapped don’t get a Certificate of Destruction. They’re quite literally coming back from the dead.”

Continued Latham:
“Until the audit trail is tightened up and more unauthorised sites are closed down, we cannot expect this figure to reduce by much, which flies in the face of the original legislation and more importantly, could put someone’s life at risk if a car finds its way back onto the road.”

Bluecycle only sells vehicles through its online auctions. Buyers of Category B vehicles, those which must never be returned to the road, are restricted to UK holders of full waste management or ELV licences only and a Certificate of Destruction must be uploaded as part of the purchase.

Commenting on the need for tougher enforcement , Guy Spence, Managing Director, Bluecycle, said:

“With the advances being made by manufacturers in developing recyclable materials to meet even more stringent targets in the next five years, not to mention the investment on their part and that of the Authorised Treatment Facilities we deal with, much more needs to be done by the Government to protect the integrity and obligations of the ELV directive.”

“The legislation is already in place, it’s a question of enforcing it properly. Bluecycle will continue to play its part in this process but there needs to be a concerted move towards total compliance. There also needs to be an obligation on the part of the DVLA to ensure the V5 document is continually improved.”

Introduced by the European Commission ten years ago this year, ELV first entered the UK statute books in 2002 and was fully incorporated in 2007. The law demands that 85% of every car leaving the road must be recycled by an ATF. In 2015, this rises to 95% of each vehicle scrapped.

The beginner’s guide to buying and selling vehicles on eBay

Buying and selling bikes and cars on eBay has grown massively in recent years, as people becomes less nervous about purchasing big ticket items online.

Less nervous doesn’t mean complacent, though. The first thing to know is that eBay does not offer its usual buyer protection on vehicles, so this one really is a case of buyer beware. That said, buying on a credit card or a PayPal account will give you more protection.

If you’re buying a bike that you want to use for motorbike training, it’s worth getting some advice from a reputable training centre. Make sure you go and see the bike before even thinking about parting with any cash, otherwise you’re just rolling the dice. Most listings are up for at least a week, so there’s no excuse if you’re serious about it. If you really can’t make it, make sure you get it professionally inspected and get a full report.

It’s all too easy to get sucked in by auction fever. Don’t get overexcited and definitely don’t get overexcited after having a few pints at the weekend. Check prices for similar models of the same age, mileage and condition. The attraction of these auction sites is getting a bargain, so make sure you are. But if the price seems too good to true, it almost certainly is.

Always, always get a HPI check. It’s going to be cheaper than buying a bike that might be stolen, clocked, written-off or has outstanding finance on it. You don’t want the police or bailiffs turning up on your doorstep to take your pride and joy away. Ask the vendor lots of questions and be very wary of someone who doesn’t answer them or avoids the question(s). Also make sure you check a seller’s feedback rating. If someone doesn’t have a decent rating, there’s going to be a reason.

If you’re interested in selling a bike yourself, decide on what you really will accept for it and stick a reserve on. It will cost you extra to do this, but without it, your bike could go for a lot less than it’s worth or what you expected to receive for it. Could just be a slow weekend.

Take lots of pictures from lots of different angles and be honest. If there’s scratch or a ding, take a close-up picture and describe it. If there’s something that’s really good, take a picture of that.

Extras like an aftermarket exhaust, coloured screen or fancy air filter won’t add much to the price you get. You’re best to put it back to standard, as long as you’ve kept the OE parts, then sell the parts separately. You’ll make more than you ever would selling them as part of the deal.

One final tip is to list the bike for 10 days from Thursday to the following Sunday. This will give you two Fridays and two Saturdays, and while you don’t want to buy a lemon after you’ve tottered back from the pub at the weekend, there’s no harm in someone else paying over the odds for your bike after they’ve had a few sherbets.

UK Motorcycle Trailer Legislation

Motorcycle TrailerThe following is a summary of the UK laws applicable to those who wish to tow a motorcycle trailer. However, before proceeding be aware that different rules apply depending on when you passed your driving licence, please visit the website (link at the foot of this page) for details.

Bike Trailer Weight

For light bike trailers (less than 3500kg maximum laden weight), there are no specific laws between the weight of the towing vehicle and the weight of the trailer.

For M1 category vehicles (motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers and comprising not more than eight seats, in addition to the driver’s seat) the maximum heavy haul weight is quoted by the manufacturer. Alternatively, the manufacturer may provide a maximum gross weight (the laden weight of the trailer plus the laden weight of the towing vehicle).

Motorbike TrailerThe maximum laden weight of a trailer which may be towed by a light goods vehicle depends on both the stated gross train weight of the towing vehicle (GTW) and the manufacturers recommended maximum trailer weight. Neither the maximum permissible trailer weight nor the maximum gross train weight (the laden weight of the trailer plus the laden weight of the towing vehicle) should be exceeded. It is possible that the stated gross train weight is less than the sum of the stated maximum permissible laden weight of the towing vehicle and the stated maximum permissible laden trailer weight. In this case the towing vehicle and the trailer must be loaded such that each does not exceed its individual maximum limit and the sum of both does not exceed the maximum gross train weight.

It is not a legal requirement to display a notice of the unladen weight of the trailer or the towing vehicle, unless the towing vehicle is either a tractor or a train!

Trailer Size

Bike TrailerIf the towing vehicle has a permissible gross weight in excess of 3 1/2 tonnes the maximum width and length of the trailer are 2.55 metres and 12 metres respectively. If however the gross weight of the towing vehicle is 3.5 tonnes or less then the maximum permissible width and length are 2.3 metres and 7 metres respectively. In both cases the overall length of the towing vehicle and trailer must not exceed either 18m or 18.75m depending on the towing vehicle.


UK Trailer LegislationBrake requirements essentially require a trailer with a maximum design laden weight of more 750 kg to be braked and allow an inertia (overrun) type braking system to be used up to a maximum permissible laden weight of 3500kg. In use it is not permitted to use an unbraked trailer the laden weight of which exceeds 50% of the kerbside weight of the towing vehicle. For trailers up to 1500kg laden weight it is permitted to use a secondary coupling, which in the event of separation of the main coupling will retain the trailer attached to the towing vehicle, prevent the nose of the trailer from touching the ground and provide some residual steering of the trailer. Above 1500kg laden weight the trailer must be fitted with a device to stop the trailer automatically in the event of separation of the main coupling and this is normally achieved by a breakaway cable attached to the parking brake mechanism – the trailer becomes detached from the towing vehicle.

Other considerations

UK Bike Trailer LegislationThe above information relates to basic construction requirements and some aspects of the use of trailers. In addition it is recommended that you check that you have the appropriate Driving Licence entitlement and whether the vehicle or combination of vehicles requires a tachograph to record driver’s hours. The latter will apply to most vehicles and combinations of vehicles above 3500kg gross weight for commercial use.

Warning – make sure your insurance policy covers towing a vehicle!

Note: The information on this page was correct at the time of print and may not be the most up to date with changes in legislation, we take no responsibility for anyone who relies on this information, please check for the latest legislation.

Bike Trailers Wanted…

Used car and Motorcycle Trailer Breakers – We collect your car or bike trailer for FREE!

motorcycle trailers wantedUsed trailer breakers and salvage removal in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, East Midlands and surrounding areas. We also cover Norfolk, Suffolk, Norwich, Ipswich, Lincolnshire, Leicester, Bedford, Lincoln, Coventry, Derby. Please contact us to see if we cover your area.

We offer a unique trailer breaker service and will come to you for free to pick up your car or motorcycle trailer. Just email with details of your trailer (and images if possible) and we’ll come back to you within 24 hours.

Car and Motorcycle Trailers Wanted
bike trailers wantedAny trailer considered, including Ifor Williams trailers, Erde trailer, Woodford, Trojan, Noval, Daxara, Sankey, Trelgo, Wilstow, Paxton, Maypole, Halfords, twin/dual/double axle trailers, car transporters, galvanised and aluminium trailers, heavy duty, builders, Caddy, camping trailers and box trailers, tipping trailers, new and used trailers.

Trailers Urgently wanted
Horse box, tipping and garden trailers, twin axle, indespension, car transported trailers, cage trailers, flat bed, cage, small box trailers, camping trailer and motorcycle trailers. We are primarily interested in car and motorcycle trailers and do not specialise in trailers for agricultural use. In most cases we tow the trailer away so unless very small it does need to be roadworthy. We also collect jet ski and boat trailers, car/trailer ramps, roofrack bars, roof boxes, cycle carriers, towbars and fiitings and alloy wheels.

We are a small company who break trailers, we take all types of trailer (not agricultural), including the popular makes such as Ifor Williams, Erde but also hand-built car and motorcycle trailers and builders trailers. Twin axle, camping trailers etc. Any shape and size trailer considered.

Based in the Peterborough and surrounding area, we come to you at your convenience. We do also cover Essex, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Leicestershire, Nottingham, most of East Anglia and the East Midlands but not too fat north!

We also collect horse boxes, boat and jet ski trailers, car ramps, roof bars, roof boxes, cycle carriers, towbars and fiitings and alloy wheels.

Link to UK trailer legislation

SHARP Publsh new helmet safety ratings

SHARP (Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme) has published new safety ratings for the MDS Sprinter and Stealth HD117 crash helmets. This takes the total number of helmets that have been rated by SHARP, to 373.

The MDS Sprinter is a full face helmet and retails from £89.99 and was rated at four stars, the HD117, again a full face helmet retails at £189.99 and was also rated at four stars.

MDS and Stealth are not a name widely known in the UK, although you may be surprised to learn that MDS helmets are actually manufactured by AGV! Stealth is a newer manufacturer of helmets within the motorcycle industry and offer a very affordable budget range for the cost-conscious biker.

Both helmet manufacturers offer helmets for sale at significantly less then the premium helmets manufacturers(such as Shoei, AGV, Schuberth etc) but they do not offer the same level of wind noise protection at high speed. Also, accessories such as replacement visors, pinlock and tinted visors are not so widely available too. The helmets also look like a budget lid and, if it were our money, we would stick to buying a helmet from one of the more established helmet manufacturers, such as Caberg – who offer an excellent, affordable range, with good ratings and specification, such as pinlock visors and integral drop-down sun visor, as standard.

Further models are in the SHARP testing programme and we will let you when their ratings are published.

For a wide range of motorcycle helmets and a lot more clothing, jackets, gloves and boots visit


SHARP offers independent and objective advice for UK motorcyclists, putting motorcycle helmets through a rigorous and targeted testing process. Funded by the Department for Transport and launched in 2007, they offer unrivaled helmet safety advice and standards exceeding minimum worldwide requirements.