What Is The Law on Black and Silver Number Motorcycle Plates?

Black and silver number plates

When it comes to motorcycle number plates, lots of people get confused easily about the legalities of all the different styles of plates. It can be hard to understand what is ‘legal’ and what isn’t, especially when they are all so similar anyway!


One style of plates in particular that seem to spark confusion, are the black and silver number plates which some motorcycles might display on the rear. Most of the questions which arise regarding these seem to be ‘what are these for?’ ‘Can anyone have them?’, ‘why are they different?’, ‘what’s the difference?’.

Don’t worry, if you are one of these people who are wondering what they are, or just want to get a clear understanding of the plate laws, you’re in the right place!

Vintage Plates

Black and silver number plates law UK

The DVLA has allowed for ‘historic vehicles’ alone to use this style of plates, but what do we mean by ‘historic’? Well. The official release from the DVLA has stated that any bike registered before 1 January 1980 can display the black and silver number plates.

If you’re lucky enough to own one of these historic bikes, then you are able to have the plates – these are black plates with either grey, white or silver lettering on them. If you see a modern bike with one of these plates on however, it is most likely illegal and the rider is taking a huge risk and will most likely be stopped and questioned by the police regarding this!

Vintage UK Motorcycle Plates

Why are there silver and black number plates?

The plates themselves are used by the Government, Police and DVLA to recognise a vehicle which is ‘historic’. This helps with checking tax, MOT and other such details. It also is a kind of ‘status’ feature allowing those with an older vehicle to display their age (and sometimes value!).

Is there a difference between vintage car and vintage motorcycle plates?

The simple, short answer is – no! The only difference between them is the size of the actual plate. The basic laws are the same for whatever vehicle it may be, so long as it is ‘historic’ i.e. manufactured on or before 1980, then it is able to have the vintage plate on it. Regardless what vehicle is!

Are black and silver number plates legal ?

The simple answer is yes. So long as the motorbike itself was manufactured on or before the 1st of January 1980, as this is the current law. We can expect that in a few years the DVLA will again push the date further forward, as times are moving forward the years after 1980 will soon become more ‘historic’. There is no confirmation as to when this will be, however keep your eyes on here and the DVLA official site for more upcoming information.

Where can I purchase vintage motorbike plates?

Right here at the Number1Plates site! We can cater for any of your needs, and this includes black and silver motorbike plates as well as ordinary motorcycle number plates. If you’re lucky enough to be the proud owner of a vintage bike, then please get in touch with our friendly customer service team at info@number1plates.com and we will be happy to get your plates made up for you. If you find you have any difficulties with the Number1Plates plate builder itself, don’t worry! Simply email the address above and we will help you every step of the way.

If you’re interested in reading more about how should I remove and fit new number plates, or what is the law on black and silver car plates, then head over to our news page to find everything!

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