How to make a dirt bike street legal
There is an option of buying an already street legal dirt bike. However, it is not difficult to create a legal dirt bike of your own. It is essential to find out the requirement in your area, since different states have different motorcycle regulations. This article will provide a detailed collection of the general mechanical and non-mechanical requirements to make your dirt bike street legal.
Across all states, any street legal motorcycle must have headlights compliant to the Department of Transport requirements. The lights are required to be functional both at night and during daytime, be switchable between high and low beams, and be accompanied by indicator lights that show which beam is currently on. A functional headlight is a necessity not only for legal purposes, but for the rider’s safety too; it enhances one’s ability to see in the dark on in extreme weather conditions, and makes the bike visible to other road users.
A functional tail light is equally important because it helps vehicles on the road know exactly where you are and what move you are about to make. The light serves as a brake light for both the front and rear brakes that indicates when you are slowing down or stopping. The brake light switch should be installed in a way that both the front brake lever and the rear brake pedal trigger it when engaged, this can be achieved using pressure connectors. Some states require the tail light remain on at all times and be connected to a battery that can sustain them for at east 20 minutes without assistance. It is advisable to use LED lights for the tail light as they reduce the draw on the battery, increasing the battery life.
Turn signals are not a DOT-requirement in most states, they prefer the use of hands signal in their place. However, turn signals are a key requirement of a street legal dirt bike as they enable riders to retain their hands on the handlebars when turning, ensuring better control. The bright yellow light in turn signals are better at attracting the attention of drivers at night than hands.
Rearview mirrors are an essential requirement in making a street legal bike. Mirrors help keep the rider aware of what is happening on the road, hence, enhancing road safety. Although most states allow bikes to have at least one working mirror, it is prudent to have two mirrors as they will provide a wider scope of what is taking place behind you. If your bike is not designed to readily accept mirrors, you can clamp on bar end mirrors.
The tires used on a street legal motorcycle must meet the requirements of the Department of Transport. Typical dirt bike rubber does not necessarily conform to these requirements, because they are designed for off-road use and might not be strong enough for highway speeds. Therefore, when converting your dirt bike, ensure you use tires that are highway-speed rated and DOT Certified. Installing good tires enhances your road safety by ensuring they do not fall off your dirt bike while on the road.
All states require bikes to have a functional horn, whether electric or non-electric. However, in some, for a bike to qualify as street legal, the horn must be electric. Thus, it is wise to install an electric horn to avoid any legal drawbacks. Electric horns are relatively cheap and easy to install, they also do not demand a lot of electric power, hence won cause any power issues.
An odometer helps a rider monitor the RPM, speed, mileage and engine temperature of the bike. Though not legally required, an odometer is a crucial tool in a road legal dirt; it will enable you keep tabs on the fuel consumption to avoid running out of fuel while on the road. Dirt bikes generally have a small gas tank capacity, hence it is possible to unexpectedly run out of fuel.
A Side Stand
Many off-road dirt bikes are not equipped with kickstands due to safety concerns they pose, they can catch unto things or accidentally fall off. However, a stand is vital in a dirt bike for highway use and poses no safety hazard. Having a side stand I not a legal requirement, but it enables you to easily park your street legal bike. Without a proper side stand, you might have to lean up your bike against a wall, which is not an official designated parking spot.
License Plate Holder
Any dirt bike on a public road must display its license clearly. Therefore, all states require that a street legal dirt bike has a license plate bracket, which ensures that the plate is displayed in a legal manner. The placement and location regulations differ across various states, some states require that the holder is behind the rear wheel to simplify readability. A proper license plate holder should integrate a rare light to illuminate the plate and be properly fastened to prevent it from flying off.
The charging system is a basic aspect to consider when converting your dirt bike. It is advisable to upgrade your dirt bike’s charging system to ensure it can power the lights required for street lighting. This involves upgrading your stator to power the added components, adding a rectifier and a battery. A rectifier helps convert the alternating current generated by the stator to direct current that can be used by the electrical elements, and also regulates the high voltage from the stator down to the voltage required to charge the battery. Without a battery, the electrical elements are sustained with power from the stator and can only be used when riding. Therefore, it is essential to modify the entire electrical system of the dirt bike when converting it.
The non-mechanical aspect of making a dirt bike street legal entail getting the required documentation. These documentations include a Certificate of Newness, NOVA declaration, an Inspection Certificate that approves your dirt bike to operate on main roads, a V5 log book, a number plate and insurance.