Just like street motorcycles and other on-road vehicles, many state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) have rules and regulations regarding titles and registrations for off-highway vehicles (OHVs), such as dirt bikes.
We’ll cover the basics of how to get a title for your dirt bike, and cover some common situations you may face when buying a used dirt bike, such as getting a title with a bill of sale or registering an OHV without a title.
How to Get a Title for a Dirt Bike
If your state DMV issues titles for off-road vehicles, the process is similar to getting a title for a street legal dirt bike, motorcycle, car, or truck.
The most important document you’ll need in order to get a title and registration is proof of ownership. Proof of ownership can typically be provided with one of the following documents:
- Title from the previous owner that has been filled out and signed.
- Bill of sale.
- Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MCO) from the dealership.
- Documents that demonstrate the full chain of ownership.
If you’re titling and registering a dirt bike that you purchased out of state, you’ll also typically need to complete a VIN verification and inspection.
Next, you’ll need to visit your local DMV office and:
- Provide your proof of ownership documentation.
- Complete an application for title and registration for a OHV/dirt bike, if applicable.
- Pay the necessary taxes and fees.
How to Get a Title for a Dirt Bike with a Bill of Sale
If you’re buying a used dirt bike and the previous owner doesn’t have the title, or the state doesn’t issue titles to dirt bikes, a bill of sale will often suffice.
To register/title a dirt bike with just a bill of sale, you’ll need to be sure that it meets the state DMV’s bill of sale requirements, which typically include:
- Full name, address, and signature of the seller.
- Full name, address, and signature of the buyer.
- Details of the dirt bike including: year, make, model, and VIN.
- Details of the sale including: date, sale price, any other details.
Some states will also require that the signatures on the bill of sale be notarized.
Alternatively, you can request that the seller apply for a duplicate title before proceeding with the sale.
Register and Title a Dirt Bike without a Title
If you’re trying to register a dirt bike without a title, here are some things you should do:
- Get a valid bill of sale from the seller along with any other ownership and registration documents they may have. The more documentation you have that proves chain of ownership, the easier the process will be.
- Run the dirt bike’s VIN to be sure that it’s not stolen and matches the dirt bike you’re buying.
The DMV may also require you to complete a VIN verification.
OHV Title & Registration Laws
Many states have specific rules and requirements for off-highway vehicles, like dirt bikes.
You’ll typically need to apply for a title and registration OR a OHV ID card in order to ride the dirt bike on off-road areas within your state.
The process is generally very similar to that of on-road vehicles, and involves:
- Visiting the DMV.
- Completing an application.
- Providing proof of ownership.
- Completing any necessary safety and emissions inspections.
- Paying the off-road title and registration fees.
Most states will issue an off-road decal, that you’ll need to display on the bike. You should also carry your title and registration documentation with you when you ride.
Some states may require you to renew your OHV registration annually, while others may offer one-time fees/long term registrations until you sell the vehicle.
For more information contact your local DMV office or visit the official state DMV website.