How to get a motorcycle emissions test and beat the ULEZ charge
Many older, pre-Euro 3 bikes can avoid the daily £12.50 ULEZ charge by taking an emissions test for motorcycles. Here are the details.
It’s a little-known fact that many pre-Euro 3 motorcycles emit very low levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx). NOx levels are the critical figure that Transport for London uses to determine whether a vehicle can use Central London’s streets without paying a £12.50 daily ULEZ charge.
The limit is 0.15 g/Km and there are two ways to determine if your bikes emissions are this low. The first is to use documentation. This involves checking your V5C or obtaining a Certificate of Conformity from your bike’s manufacturer.
The second is to have a physical test done. So far, only one business, Riverbank Motorcycles in East London, has made the investment to equip their workshop with approved testing gear and create a direct upload of test data to Transport for London’s database. The service is called the National Emissions Test Centre (NETC).
Due to the costs involved, each test costs a whopping £175, but that equates to just 14 days of paying TfL’s daily £12.50 ULEZ charge.
The good news is that money could be well spent. Riverbank say, “In the majority of cases, motorbikes that aren’t manufactured to Euro 3 standards can actually be set up so that the NOx emissions will comply with TfL standards.”
Many owners have already done this, with a number contacting Biker & Bike so that we can add the details of their bike model and year to the only list of pre-Euro 3 ULEZ exempt bikes in the UK.
LIST: PRE-EURO 3 MOTORCYCLES WITH ULEZ EXEMPTIONS
You can use the list as a way of seeing if your bike may be likely to pass too, but Riverbank are very confident they can help most bikes pass. “A large percentage of bikes can pass and the NETC team are allowed to load the pass results straight onto the TfL database saving you the trouble. Unfortunately, due to working with older bikes that have all been used and treated differently, TfL want bikes to be tested individually. If, for example, one Bonnie passes it doesn’t mean all do.”
The oldest bike to pass so far is a 34-year-old Yamaha RD350, a two-stroke. In fact, strokers have a very high pass rate as they actually produce few NOx emissions. The owner of the RD also tested his 1990 TDR 250, pictured above, which also passed.
Motorcycles that run lean produce higher NOx, so adjusting the mixture can reduce the NOx reading. Almost any bike can be tuned so that it meets TfL’s NOx requirements, and Riverbank will do the work required from as little as £50, although most motorcycles will need more attention and sometimes parts, so the cost could be more £100-150. This is on top of the cost of the test, but still only a fraction of the cost of paying the daily fee or the money lost by selling the motorbike. Most owners of older bikes are unaware their bike has a high chance of being ULEZ compliant and many are panic selling at low values.
The National Emissions Test Centre is the only workshop to be certified by TfL and they can be contacted below:
455 Dye House Lane,
0208 983 4896 for more information.