A lot of us riders have grown up riding dirt bikes and many still do as we get older. When the passion for riding is born into us a young age, it’s hard to let it go. That’s what makes the transition to street riding almost inevitable. As soon as we are old enough, we look to explore further than the track and trails. That search leads many riders to take the next step, which is to buy a street bike and hit the roads. But what if that rider doesn’t have the cash flow to purchase another bike just for the street? Or what if they just don’t want to get off of their favorite dirt bike?
The answer to that is to make your dirt bike street legal. It’s a chance for you to quickly transition from the off road world to street riding. Your investment can be quite a bit lower by adding the required street components vs. buying another bike just for the street. Each state is different for the required components, so you will need to check for your state’s regulations, but most are similar.
Making your dirt bike street legal is also a great way to dual sport with the focus more on off road riding. Many of the larger displacement dual sport bikes are not made to be used for extreme off road riding. They are far heavier than your dirt bike and their suspensions are not made for that kind of abuse. You may not be able to put the same amount of highway miles on as well as those large adventure touring bikes, but you will be leaving them in the dust once you get off of the beaten path.
The Process of actually getting your dirt bike titled and tagged can be a bit tricky depending on your state’s regulations. It used to be much easier in the past, but newer laws and regulations have limited the types of dirt bikes that are able to be transformed for street use. If you have a 2 stroke, you can almost certainly expect that you won’t be able to meet the regulations. Most 2 stroke dirt bikes are prohibited from “on road” use and have the designation of “off road use only.” This is because most 2 stroke dirt bikes do not meet the EPA standards for on road use. On the other hand, most 4 stroke dirt bikes can be made street legal. Of course, there are exceptions in every state. Before you invest your time and money, it’s a good idea to contact the local DMV to make sure that your bike can even be titled and registered.
To get started with the conversion, here are the add-ons that you will most likely need to make your dirt bike street legal- headlight (low and high beam), tail light, mirrors, horn and a muffler that complies with your state’s sound emissions laws. Obtaining these parts for your bike is a heck of a lot cheaper than purchasing an all new bike (of course, you can go with the high end, high performance parts that might rack up the price tag to the realm of a cheap street bike). Many of the parts, like the headlights and taillights, have universal fitments and can be put on just about any dirt bike.
Some other additions that you might want to think about are street tires and high output lighting stator. For the tires, you don’t want to be heading down the highway on your MX knobbies. A good in-between tire is the way to go. Since it is a dirt bike, some less aggressive knobbies is probably the way to go so you can still take it off of the beaten path. Most dirt bikes don’t produce enough electrical power to run high power lights. A high output stator will give you the juice that you need to run your lights.
You might also want to consider changing the gear ratio of your dirt bike. Dirt Bikes are set up to have lower gearing to give you the most power in the low end. For highway use, you will want the power in more of the mid-range to high end for more open throttle riding. You might have to play around a little bit to find the gear ratio that best matches the type of riding that you will be doing.
Once you get all of the parts that you need for your dirt bike to be street legal, it’s time to get it licensed. A good starting point in this process is to have a police officer inspect the bike. You can go to your local department and ask them to inspect your machine and then for them to write an official letter stating that it passes the state’s laws. You don’t have to do this step, but it can make the trip to the DMV much easier.
Next, you will need your MSO/MCO (manufacturer statement/certificate of origin) along with the approval letter and head to your local license bureau. If you do not have a MSO/MCO, you still might be able to register the bike depending on your state laws. This can be the most difficult portion of the whole process, but if you can get it titled and registered you will be good to go cruising down the roads on your dirt bike.
Do you have a street legal dirt bike? What are some tips that you would give to a rider looking to do the same?