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Dirt Motorcycles: Whether to Street Plate or OHV Permit

dirt motorcycle dirt motorcycle forum off-road motorcycle dual-sport motorcycle Honda XR overland motorcycling motorcycle adventure motorcycle backcountry riding

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#1 Moses Ludel

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:40 PM

With Nevada's now enforceable OHV registration and permitting process, many dirt motorcycle owners are at a crossroad in the Silver State. Nevada law now requires registration of a dirt bike, ATV and other OHVs for use off-highway. There is an annual renewal of the use permit, similar to a "Green Sticker" at California and other states.  

 

Owners of dirt motorcycles built since 1976 must register the motorcycle and have the option of purchasing a title. Until recent years, Nevada did not require mandatory title issuance on the sale or resale of an off-highway motorcycle. As a result, most cycles require a VIN inspection and acceptable proof of ownership or purchase. See the details at the Nevada OHV Commission's registration website page: http://nvohv.com/registration/. You will find additional links there.

 

There is another option, no longer available in some states but currently still a prospect at Nevada:  The conversion of a dirt bike for street use with a street-use title, registration, a motorcycle license plate and mandatory insurance. Until recently, dual-sport conversions were popular at adjacent California; however, the conversion of off-highway "dirt" motorcycles (deemed "off-road use" by the cycle manufacturer, DOT and EPA) has not been allowed within the Golden State since February 1, 2004. There are two exceptions: 1) motorcycles built prior to 1978, and 2) 1978-up cycles with less than 50cc displacement.

 

Note: According to the current regulations, California dual-sport conversions were acceptable on motorcycles built through model year 2002 if the conversion was completed and paperwork submitted to the DMV prior to February 1, 2004. From January 1, 2004 forward, the DMV has required "verification" or proof that the motorcycle came with an EPA and/or California emissions label for on-highway use. This ruling about "verification" went into effect on January 1, 2004, with a one-month "grace period" during that month....If there was a street title issued within these timeframes and the cycle has current registration and street use insurance, the cycle is still legal for highway or dual-purpose use.

 

The internet is rife with rumors, anecdotal stories and speculation about the fate of California plated dual-sport motorcycles converted after January 31, 2004. According to a statement that reflects the actual California DMV regulations, some have good reason to fear: statement of the rulings.  If you're puzzled, contemplating a dual-sport conversion or considering a cycle purchase intended for California registration, read the statement and at least know where you stand. Check with the DMV about whether "grandfathering" applies when an earlier dual-sport conversion goes through a title/ownership change.

 

Nevada is clear and sensible on the dual-sport (on- and off-highway) motorcycle conversion topic. Assuming you have a motorcycle operator's endorsement, you can ride a converted, licensed and properly insured dirt motorcycle on a public highway or any off-pavement public access roads. You will pay for a street use motorcycle title, annual registration fees and required insurance.

 

In states allowing conversions, an acceptable dirt motorcycle must meet the legal requirements for a street motorcycle. This includes a mirror(s), a brake light activated by brake application, turn signals, a headlight (hi-low beams with a switch may be mandatory), D.O.T. approved tires, a horn, speedometer/odometer (in most states) and an acceptable exhaust tone. 

 

Some states want a license plate light of a specific brightness, and other conversion items may need to meet D.O.T. standards, like the directional signals and headlight. At Nevada and most other states, not exceeding the exhaust noise limit is just common sense, since a ticket can be issued for excessive noise.

 

So, to ride a strictly dirt motorcycle (non-dual sport) on public land at Nevada, anywhere in the backcountry or off the paved roads, you must register and permit the cycle through the Nevada OHV Commission guidelines...There is reciprocity with other states if you're already permitted and visiting Nevada, so you may not need a Nevada permit for short-term riding at Nevada. Check the Nevada OHV Commission website for the permits honored.

 

If you choose to convert your cycle to dual-purpose (dual-sport) use with a street use license plate, make sure you know the equipment involved. At Nevada and other states that allow conversions, you will wind up with a road-use title, annual registration renewal notification, and you must maintain proof of insurance (road use type) for both registering and riding the motorcycle. 

 

Warning: If you plan to cancel the insurance on any street legal vehicle at Nevada, make sure you surrender the license plate to the Nevada DMV first! Otherwise, expect a large fine.

 

If you are interested in doing a dirt bike dual-sport conversion, while the opportunity still exists at Nevada and other states where reason prevails, check your state's regulations and explore the conversion kits and components available from sources like Baja Designs. Kits fit a variety of popular dirt motorcycles.

 

Much to Nevada's credit, click here for a clear FAQ about the OHV permitting policy and the various exemptions from the OHV permit requirement—exemptions include any motorcycle licensed for use on a public highway, whether a "street" bike, factory "dual-sport" or a "dirt off-road" motorcycle converted properly (meeting State of Nevada and DOT regulations, street equipped, insured and license plated). See the FAQ for clarification—Nevada shares the details.

 

Moses



#2 Capn

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 04:01 PM

I just learned this the hard way trying to plate a 2011 KTM SX-F 450 here in CA. Vehicle passed inspection, has lights and signals but the "3" in the vin tanked any chance.

 

Do you have experience with this in NV? I'll read the FAQ above, but It would seem that my next best bet if I want to ride this baby on the road would be to get it registered across the border in NV.

 

-Capn



#3 Moses Ludel

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 07:33 PM

Nevada still does allow converting a dirt motorcycle to a dual-sport. You need proof of ownership (a bona fide title or considerable paperwork), a VIN inspection and equipment check-off for required retrofit items usually found in a Baja Designs or similar "kit".  Nevada continues to do what California elected not to do.

 

The California issue is strictly around emissions and bureaucracy.  Instead of allowing folks like you to ride a properly tuned and street retrofitted 4-stroke KTM of 450cc engine displacement, they would prefer that you drive an emission compliant Ford Excursion with a V10 gasoline engine.  Compare the tailpipe readings and fuel efficiency of each.

Moses



#4 Capn

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Posted 17 April 2015 - 11:50 AM

Right. So now alls I need to do is establish residency in NV which, also the state's credit they define as:

 

  1. "Resident" includes, but is not limited to, a person:
    1. Whose legal residence is in the State of Nevada.
    2. Who engages in intrastate business and operates in such a business any motor vehicle, trailer or semi trailer, or any person maintaining such vehicles in this state, as the home state of such vehicles.
    3. Who physically resides in this state and engages in a trade, profession, occupation or accepts gainful employment in this state.
    4. Who declares himself to be a resident of this state to obtain privileges not ordinarily extended to nonresidents of this state.

So funny.



#5 Moses Ludel

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 02:08 PM

Welcome to Nevada!...You'll find this a very friendly state for dirt/dual-sport motorcyclists and off-road recreationalists in general.  I recommend finding a city that you like and moving here. 

 

The stated cases for residence "includes, but is not limited to, a person" who...  From a practical and legal standpoint, there is an expectation that you're either residing here and/or that the vehicle resides here and operates primarily at its Nevada base. 

 

Many states do this, one example would be the "hunting Jeep" that gets barn parked at Montana during the off-season when the owner lives at Florida.  The Jeep is used primarily if not exclusively on Montana roadways...The basic rule is that if the vehicle spends considerable time in a given state, that state wants the registration revenue as well as proper insurance on the vehicle.  Insurance guidelines vary between states, so this is a question of liability.

 

Moses





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: dirt motorcycle, dirt motorcycle forum, off-road motorcycle, dual-sport motorcycle, Honda XR, overland motorcycling, motorcycle adventure, motorcycle backcountry riding

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