First-time bikers might not know this, but you can’t just ride your dirt bike on the streets. You already have a great bike that you love, so why can’t you ride it anywhere you want?
Spending the money and investing in a second bike could be more costly than just converting your existing one. A reason why dirt bikes aren’t street legal is that they lack safety features mandated by the government, such as turn signals, brake lights, etc.
They also have different regulations on emissions than regular road vehicles. But fear not, because you can make your beloved bike street legal by doing some modifications. Just imagine being able to do wheelies on dirt bikes on the roads… freely.
How to Make a Dirt Bike Street Legal
For starters, by law, you are required to have a working headlight that can switch between high and low beams. The high beam is necessary for safety, especially in the face of undesirable weather.
The headlights must be DOT (Department of Transportation) approved and it must be lit at all times while the bike is operational and not be blinding to other drivers at night. LED headlights can save on your battery and are very bright.
Tail Light and Brake Lights
You might need a battery to make these lights work, and in some states, it might even be required by law. Without a battery, the lights might only work when the bike is running at a certain speed and dim down when your bike is idling.
The brake and tail lights need to be functional for a minimum of 20 min, which is highly likely now due to energy-saving LED lights. Like the headlight, the tail light must be on at all times
This might not be mandatory depending on your country or state, but it’s better to be safe than sorry by installing turn signals. They must be easy to reach and are relatively safer compared to having to signal your direction by taking a hand off the handlebars.
In some countries, just one mirror will do. But we recommend installing both for guaranteed safety and more awareness on the road. Sometimes mirrors come in a set anyway. In terms of the mirror, do not settle for less. Get high-quality mirrors that won’t chip, flake, or offer low visibility.
Global warming is proving to be a growing issue, so governments are clamping down on vehicle emissions. There are three things to consider when modifying your exhaust pipe: emissions, sound, and shape. Buying an EPA-approved exhaust pipe will save you lots of trouble when trying to conform to the government’s standards.
Another aspect of making a dirt bike street legal is the horn. It’s non-existent on a dirt bike, so you need to go out and purchase one. Look into the regulations of your particular state, because a squeeze horn might do in some areas but an electric one is required in others. But consider this, when you’re on the road and honking at someone, there is a good chance they won’t hear you with a run-of-the-mill bike horn.
This next part is a pretty big overhaul on your dirt bike. The difference between dirt bike tires and street-legal vehicles is the rubber. Dirt bike tires aren’t heavy-duty enough to deal with speeds that need to be met on highways.
You do not want your tires to come off or get worn out halfway through your journey. It doesn’t matter what tires you choose, as long as they are DOT approved.
License Plate Bracket
Every single vehicle on the road is required to have a license plate. Not only must you have a license plate, but the letters and numbers need to be in plain view and clearly legible. Make sure you check with the DMV or equivalent organization in your country about how to display the license plate.
Speedometer/Odometer (where required)
This also might not be required, but as someone used to driving cars, as many of you are as well, the speedometer gives you a good idea of how fast you’re traveling, and the odometer tells you how far you’ve gone.
For those of you that are unsure of this process and where to start, conversion packages are the go-to option for you. You can purchase everything you need to make your dirt bike street legal in one all-inclusive kit. Check to see what’s included and what other things you need to add.
Street Legal Dirt Bikes
Guess what? There are already many street-legal options on the market. If you’re looking to purchase a dirt bike for the first time, perhaps look into these models.
- Honda CRF230L
- Honda CRF250L
- Yamaha WR250R
- Yamaha TW200
- Suzuki DRZ400S
- Suzuki DR200
- KTM 450 EXC
- KTM 350 EXC-F
- Aprilia SXV 450
- Husqvarna FE501
- Kawasaki KLX250
If none of these tickle your fancy, there are plenty of other models out there you can find with a quick Google search. If you found one that isn’t street legal, you can just always bring it to an off-road trail for riding. Just make sure you choose from good trailers (listed here).
But if you’re looking for great options for electric mini dirt bikes, see our top list.
Do your research before sinking hundreds or thousands of dollars into modifying your bike. Keep in mind that this entire process can be long and tedious and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. You might need to gather lots of documentation to back up your claims and prove your bike meets requirements.
In all honesty, if you haven’t yet purchased a dirt bike and you’re reading this article, we’d suggest purchasing a dirt bike that is already street legal. It can save you a ton of money and lots of headaches.
Just because you have done everything to meet their standards, it doesn’t automatically guarantee approval. This is a tough process, attempt it at your own risk.