Riding a dirt bike is incredible, but you got to ride it on a race track. What I’m saying is, you need a specific route. You cannot just ride it on the streets, CAN YOU? Well, the answer depends.
You see, some countries ban the riding of dirt bikes on the streets, and this can be unfortunate for you. You may want to ride your favorite dirt bike, but your country or state won’t let you do that.
So, what’s the solution then? Well, you don’t have to throw your dirt bike to the garbage. I’ll show you how to make a dirt bike street legal so that you can ride it almost anywhere you want.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Legal Issues: Rumors and Facts
While making a dirt bike street legal, you’ll find myths and rumors swirling around. Some people say what is needed to make a dirt bike street legal is the title issued when you get the bike as a new one.
Others say, attaching a headlight and a taillight is what you need, and you’ll be good to go.
Little do they know, titling is an easy game for almost any dirt bike. You want to know the hardest part? It is the whole process of making dirt bike street legal. You’ll find a lot of websites on the internet that can do the paperwork for you.
All the Parts You Need
The next part is installing the parts that are essential to make a dirt bike street legal. You have to spend a few cash if you want to make it physically compliant to the laws within any state.
Though a lot of things depend on the dirt bike you’re using; you’ll find a lot of ways as well to simplify your build. Look for what your local laws and regulations want and act accordingly.
Let’s see the parts you need to get yourself to make Dirt Bike Street legal.
For making Dirt Bike Street legal to most states, you’ll need to have a DOT-compliant headlight. You have to make sure,
- You can switch it from high beam to low.
- It should offer the right amount of light during the day and night.
- It should be visible clearly to other drivers.
Now, here are some things you should be aware of. It’s a wise move if you use the high beam function most of the time as it’s safe. However, you should know that, on your electrical systems, your headlight can cause a constant draw.
You can install an LED headlight, so that the draw on the battery is in a minimal amount. If you wish, you can use the battery without charging system because these lights will let you do that.
Some states can give you a hard time regarding the position of the switch. So, you should do your homework on whether you want your LED headlight to be on the high side or the low.
However, if your switch is visible clearly to the rider, your bike will be counted as a DOT-compliant bike.
The tail light or you can call it a brake light, will notify the drivers behind your bike to slow down when you’re pulling the brakes. If you want to make a dirt bike street legal, your tail light should be DOT approved. The batter you’re using for your tail light should have enough power to back your tail light up at least for 20 minutes.
Also, you need to make sure the tail light gets switched on as soon as you use your brakes. Engaging the rear and front brake lever is a must to light up the brake light.
You can use a banjo-bolt switch as a standard solution. It will trigger the brake light by using the extra pressure in the brake line. For drum brakes, it’s best for you to use mechanical switch options.
One of the main factors you should put your focus on to dirt bike street legal is “mirrors.” In some states, you’ll find they will want you to have two mirrors. However, if you have at least one, you’re good to go with most states.
If you have a right functioning mirror, you’ll be able to see what’s happening behind you. As a mirror is one of the safest materials you need, you better buy a good-quality one. Otherwise, you won’t see if a vehicle comes out of the blue to hit you.
Usually, as DOT-rated tires come with extra layers made of rubber, your dirt bike rims will accept them entirely. The tires will be labeled as DOT approved on the sidewall, once you get them DOT certified.
You don’t have to have knobby tires if you have the certification. However, do not get yourself the off-road-only tires as they won’t give you the feedback you need for highway speed.
If I were you, I would turn the dirt bike into a super Moto. Do you want to do the same? Well, for this, you’ll need to install 17-inch rims as well as the mountain street tires that you can see with most sport bikes.
No matter what state you’re in, you’ll need to have a working horn in your dirt bike no matter what. Some states, however, in case of any inspection, do allow non-electric horns to pass. While other states, on the other hand, say electric horn is a must to be street legal.
Well, whatever the case is, to stay in the safe zone and to keep it simple, it’s always better for
you to install an electric horn.
License Plate Bracket
If you’re riding your dirt bike on public roads, you’ll need to have a license plate. Even, though some states have particular display methods, but most states as the same rule.
To make sure your license plate is having a proper display on your dirt bike, you can have a check with the local DMV. To display plates legitimately, you can try aftermarket license plate brackets.
You can also try the zip ties or mounting it under the fender. This will give the display a cleaner view. If it’s easy for you, mounting the plate vertically can be right for you as well. In this case, you might want to take the help of a cheap LED light.
Can Dirt Bikes be Street Legal by Upgrading the Charging System
Riders tend to overlook this section; however, if you ignore this, then chances are, you’ll be parking your bike on the side of the road as the traffic police fines you.
If you have enough power from the stator, you might not need a battery to power lights on a dirt bike. However, you need to go from AC power the (stator is dealing with) to DC to power up the lights you need for street riding.
Powering off the lights of the alternating currentit will fry them very soon. Though with AC voltage you’ll get some lights out there, they tend to have a short lifespan.
If you want to make sure your bike is a dirt bike street legal, you need to take care of your stator, regulator, and battery.
To generate electricity in a motorcycle, you’ll need a stator. However, not all stators produce the same amount of electricity. You’ll need a minimal amount of electricity if your bike doesn’t have lights or a starter. In this case, the stator will produce minimal wattage necessary.
To charge your battery from 13 to 15 volts, now you’ll have power leftovers by placing the total draw of the electrical components on the street-legal build.
Remember, you’ll need to upgrade the stator for the kickstart-only dirt bikes to power up all the added components. You can rewind the stock stator if you want to generate more power. Or, you can also try purchasing a high-output stator online.
To convert the alternating current to direct current, you’ll need a good-quality regulator/rectifier.
The stators produce a high voltage, and the regulator will regulate it down to 13-15 volts which are necessary for the battery to recharge.
Most dirt bikes do not need a battery. However, without a battery, you won’t be able to use your lights when your dirt bike is stationary. You’ll find small cells on the market, with which, you can convert your dirt bike to be street legal.
Some batteries work as the lights’ power source. While, on the other hand, there are batteries that work with the charging system. You’ll also get the DC to power your bike needs.
However, the battery will drain out quickly if you use it as nothing but a lone power source. As it will have a short life, you’ll need to charge it now and then. However, until you have your proper conversion, it will do its job correctly.
Optional Street Legal Components
There are chances you may or may not need these components to make your dirt bike legal. However, let’s be on the safe zone, alright?
For street riding, you’ll find this luxury pretty handy. It will tell you how much speed you’re having, the mileage as well as the RPM and temperature of your engine.
If you run out of gas, the odometer will give you the beep before its too late. It’s effortless to install, and even if you don’t need it, this tool will be a plus when you want to make your dirt bike street legal.
Due to safety concerns, there are a lot of off-road bikes that do not have kickstands. There’s always a chance of it to fall accidentally.
However, if you’re not riding your bike on race tracks and doing amazing stunts and wheelies, I don’t see the reason for not keeping the kickstand. Yes, it is not compulsory to keep one, but in urban use, you can find it pretty handy.
Sometimes the engine overheats a lot, and this can harm your dirt bike. Especially when it comes to spending your time with traffic jam, you’ll feel the need.
If you add a good-quality fan in your dirt bike, your bike will remain cool 24/7.
What to Do Next?
Contact the local DMV-either in person, or it can be online. They’ll give you all the information you need to make your dirt bike legal. They’ll also tell you which parts of your bike need to be changed. Also, do your research on whether the parts you need are available or not. There are a lot of old bikes out there and finding their parts are very rare.
So, before you do anything, check the availability of the items your bike need. Otherwise, you can say goodbye to the conversion of your dirt bike.
Gather the Documents
Different states need different documents to verify dirt bikes. They may want the bike’s MCO (Manufacturer’s Certification of Origin), while others may need the title only.
Like I told you, contact your DMV and they’ll let you know about the documents as well — work according to their advice.
After you did all your paperwork and you signed everything your state told you to, it’s time for you to contact the DMV and get your plate.
Sometimes, you may need to spend a few days to get your approval. Do not give up, and the dirt bike will be verified quickly.
If you don’t know the proper steps on how to make a dirt bike street legal, chances are, you’ll never be able to make your precious dirt bike verified. However, if you follow the steps I talked about correctly, you’ll have your job done in no time.
After you’ve legalized your bike on the streets, it’s time to hit it.