How to Make a Dirt Bike Street Legal in California

How to Make a Dirt Bike Street Legal in California

Author : Efrain Silva

So, we have all been to Los Angeles at one point or another, I’m sure, and seen those guys cruising down the highway on their (hopefully legal) dirt bikes, kicking butt and taking names, right? We all want to be that guy (or gal, in some cases). Now, on the matter of making a dirt bike perfectly legal and in compliance with local, state and highway laws, the questions begin to pop up in our heads — how do we do it, and, first of all, can it even be done? Let me be the guy to make your dreams all come true at once and tell you that the simple answer is “yes, it can be done.”

And we are now going to look at a few things in relation to this, the first point being that you should really give some thought to getting the right model of dirt bike (ideally, one that has already passed the emissions regulations and state compliance, all in all). The seller can tell you whether or not such is the case, and in many cases, even offer paperwork to prove so. Check out places like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay Classifieds and more.

If, on the other hand, you just can’t seem to find a dirt bike that is already in compliance and has been fully legalized and used on the streets, then your other option would be to simply add on a bunch of parts to it. And that way, you can make it legal yourself. Start with some DOT (Dept. of Transportation) approved tires and a DOT approved exhaust. Also ensure that your speedometer, as well as your odometer, is fully functional and compliant with California state laws. Did I mention that sound output levels (coming from the exhaust system itself) can not exceed 95 decibels? The law is the law….

That is, of course, in most cases, with your bike weighing less than 6,000 total lbs. in combined weight. With the odometer itself, I might add, you need to have a fuel gauge, a tach, and a gear indicator, if you’re going to go all out and do things right. Now, here are some other items you can not ride on the streets without :

If you’d like to invest a chunk of change, as they say, to get these parts moving, functional and tested properly, onto your basic, plain dirt bike, then you can start to consider calling it a street legal vehicle. There is, of course, something I did not mention at all, which is a license plate (and registration). You can submit your “vehicle” for inspection and possible approval / denial once you’ve made the adjustments. Best of luck with this process, and we believe that you can do it —- have faith in your abilities.