A Guide to Motorcycle Quality Control Inspections

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Motorcycle inspections: quality control method and checklist

God didn’t create metal so that man could make paper clips, says the old Harley Davidson quote. It’s enough to tell you that motorcycles are one of those quintessentially evergreen products, with a need for a solid supply chain to provide the parts required to put these hefty bikes together. It’s also enough to tell you that aesthetics are equally as important as safety is to the customer when it comes to putting together the final product.

Over 60% of the world’s motorcycle exports come from Asia, and about 35% come from Europe. With so much of the motorbike supply chain located in countries far away from the main brand headquarters, it’s important that brands and importers conduct motorcycle quality inspections at the factory before shipping begins, in order to ensure final product integrity. Identifying defects on receipt of parts is too late, and the cost to fix can be excruciatingly high.

So, what’s important when you’re looking at it all from a perspective of quality control?

Bike Inspection

A motorcycle quality control inspection checklist                            

When Pro QC conducts a finished motorcycle inspection at the factory before shipping, we go through a very thorough quality control process. This is our full checklist with the steps we follow during a motorbike pre-shipment inspection.

  • Quantity Verification

Verify the quantity of finished vehicles, and that the PO number corresponds to the order.

  • Package & Packaging Inspection

Verify and inspect the motorbike packaging. It must be in good condition, so it protects the unit from any damage during transportation. Markings and labels must match the buyer’s requirements. The usual bike package and packaging inspections cover:

  1. Packing visuals
  2. Shipping marks
  3. Barcode visual
  4. Packaging dimensions and weight
  • Motorcycle Style/Construction Inspection

Check the conformity of the bike with the requirements of technical documents of the buyer and approved sample (if any).

  • Logo, Labelling & Markings Inspection:

  • Logo
    • Logo quality, colors, dimensions, positioning and alignment must conform with specifications.
  • Label & Marking
    • Verify the content is correct.
    • Verify and check the rating labels on electrical components such as battery, cables, etc.
  • Motorcycle Functional & Performance Tests:

  • Driving/Riding test
    • Operate each function as intended for use.
    • The product needs to function in compliance with the information provided.
    • During the Driving / Riding Test the following elements must be inspected:
      • Handling of Motorbike – The motorcycle must drive straight and have good handling and balance.
      • Observe the Engine Noise – No cranking sounds must be heard.
      • Engine Vibrations – Verify if the engine vibrates both while running and in idle position.
      • Brake Power – Verify the braking system – no spongy brakes, hard brakes, squeaking sounds, etc. should be heard or felt.
      • ABS System – Verify the ABS System.
      • Head lights and brake lights – Verify the head lamp and the brake light, and ensure signal lights are fully functional.
      • Rear Braking System must be powerful and not feel ‘spongy’.
    • Electrical cables testing of continuity / Installation and splicing
      • Inspect the electrical cable continuity and that electricity flows into the terminal.
      • Test the cables on each motorcycle.
      • Verify that electrical and mechanical cables are properly connected to the terminal and connections.
      • Cables installation and arrangements must be in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices.
  • Motorcycle Workmanship Inspection

  • Bike visual check/component assembly inspection.
  • Bike physical conditions, appearance & cleanliness inspection.
  • Swing Arm Bracket
    • Verify and ensure that all the rear swing arm brackets are straight. No deformation must be found.
  • Fuel Tank Leaking
    • Verify the tank integrity and production date.
  • Cable Body
    • Verify the cable installation. It must be mounted in the correct way and position following the Good Manufacturing Practices.
  • Speedometer Cable
    • Verify that the painting on the speedometer cable bracket is not damaged.
    • Small Rubber Retainer must be taken out from the cable to avoid cable breakage in the long term.
  • ABS Cable Front Brake
    • The ABS cable front brake must be ZIP tight with the brake pipe and covered with black tape. Uncovered cable of the ABS Brake System is not acceptable.
  • Wrong Position of Rear Carrier Handle
    • Verify that the installation of the rear carrier handle is in the correct location.
  • Exhaust Nut
    • Verify that the exhaust nut is a locking nut. If not, then it must be rejected.
  • Headlight Cables
    • Verify that the headlight cable cover behind the Headlight is mounted in the correct position and direction.
  • Cable Clutch Retainer Nut
    • Verify that the clutch retainer nut is installed in the correct position and location.
  • Soft Rear Brake
    • Verify that the rear brake is not spongy and is powerful.
  • Rear Shock Absorber Soft
    • Verify that the rear shock absorbers are not too soft, and that rear tire will not touch the fender when loaded. Test each motorcycle by heavily sitting on them several times and observed if the rear tire will touch the fender.
  • Fuel Tank Gauge
    • Verify the fuel tank gauge is not defective.
  • Saddle Stitches
    • Saddles Stitches must be in correct profile and deformation, or damaged Saddles.
  • Front and Rear Rim Alignment
    • Front and rear rim must be aligned.
    • Spokes must have a correct tension.
  • Straight Front and Rear Disc Brake
    • Disc Brake assembly must be straight and not bent.
  • Fuel Tank Painting
    • Verify that the painting in the fuel tank is free from any painting defects.
  • Side Stand Sensor
    • Verify that the cable on side stand sensor is mounted in the correct position.
    • Test the side stand on each bike
  • Center Stand Rubber
    • Ensure that the rubber used are thick enough.
  • Horn Position
    • Horn must not hit the fender once you brake hard with the front brake.
  • Tires
    • The tires must be rounded and not wavy, or suffer wheel deformation. Spin and check the wheel, if any wavy rotation is found, then the wheel must be replaced.
  • Wheel Balancing
    • The weight balance must be installed into the wheel and must be balanced.
  • Head Light Vibrations
    • No severe gap between the ring and front headlight and no severe vibrations must be observed.
  • Handle Throttle Twist Grip
    • Grip must not move forward; it must be tight.

It is critical to ensure products for import comply with both buyer requirements and market standards before they are shipped off to their destination. While the pre-shipment inspection is critical, it is also highly recommended to conduct bike in-process manufacturing inspections as the product is being pieced together. These inspections during the assembly process can help significantly in reducing defects and identifying points of concern at a much earlier point than pre-shipment. This is also crucial to reducing unnecessary extra expenses to fix problems at a later stage.

Getting the finished motorbike to a point where it is more functional than a paperclip might seem complicated, but Pro QC is here to help!

About Us

Pro QC International is a global quality assurance company with nearly 40 years’ experience in the industry. We support motorcycle brands in over 88 countries through verifying supplier reliability, improving factory performance, and ensuring quality of parts and finished vehicles. Our range of quality control solutions includes third-party motorbike inspections, factory audits and supplier management services. Contact us at info@proqc.com for any questions, or to request a quote.

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