Massachusetts Motorcycle Registration & Title Laws

This page will cover the street legal requirements and registration and title process in Massachusetts and provide some tips on how to register if you bought the motorcycle without a title.

Massachusetts Title & Inspection Requirements for Used Motorcycles

  • Does Massachusetts have an equipment/safety inspection?
    • Periodic safety/equipment inspection required.
  • Does Massachusetts require VIN Inspections for motorcycles bought out of state?
    • No VIN Inspection required.
  • Does Massachusetts require a title for old motorcycles?
    • No titles required for motorcycles with a model year older than 1980 purchased before November 26, 1990.

Title and Register a Used Motorcycle in Massachusetts

To title and register your motorcycle in Massachusetts, you’ll need the following:

  • Original title
    • Bill of Sale and old registration if bought in a state that doesn’t issue titles or for exempt motorcycles.
  • Application for Registration and Title
  • Bill of Sale if there is no title or no sale price section on the title.
  • Title, registration, sales tax fees.

How to Register a Motorcycle without a Title in Massachusetts

If you purchased a used motorcycle with no title in MA, you can try the following options:

Option 1: Bill of Sale for Bikes older than 1980

No titles required for motorcycles older than 1980.

  • Use the bill of sale and old registration.

Option 2: Bikes from out of state

If the motorcycle was bought in a state that requires motorcycle titles:

Option 3: Register in a No-Title State

Register the bike in a non-title, no residency requirement, mail-in registration application state, such as Vermont.

Massachusetts Street Legal Motorcycle Equipment Requirements

Street legal motorcycles in Massachusetts must have:

  • Rearview mirror on left side.
  • Fenders on both wheels.
  • Passenger footrests when carrying passengers.
  • Turn signals for motorcycles manufactured after 1972.

This information was correct at the time of writing it, but state laws are subject to change.

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60 thoughts on “Massachusetts Motorcycle Registration & Title Laws”

  1. Filling out an RTA in MA for the ’01 Harley FXDL. My Insurance people are saying I need to include the displacement (1450cc) but I don’t know where on the form to include that… Next to the model perhaps?

    Not trying to risk filling it out wrong as the RMV is a mess right now and I’m itching to get on the road! Thank you for the help.

    1. motorcyclezombies

      Yeah, there’s no specific space for engine displacement on that form.

      I think your instinct is correct – next to/after Model (i.e. FXDL 1450cc).

      The only other place I’d think to put it would be next to Number of Cylinders (B7).

      Either way, I’d like to hope that they wouldn’t reject your application because of that, but you’re right to play it safe.

      Good luck!

      1. Thanks so much! You deserve a raise good sir! Your speed of response on all these posts is amazing, I’ll definitely be using this site as a resource from now on.

  2. Looking at a 1971 Triumph chopper with a custom frame. Is having the VIN on the engine sufficient since the frame is custom/aftermarket? Engine vin is on previous NH registration.

    1. motorcyclezombies

      I’d give Mass RMV a call to confirm, but you may need to go through some sort of process for obtaining a custom-built VIN. If the seller can provide you with any paperwork or documents that go along with the frame, that may help.

  3. I bought a 2002 triumph. I drove to Rhode Island to buy it from a private seller. He signed the title. But the title is from Maryland. I live in mass. I did not get a bill of sale. Can I still register in mass? The rmv states title or bill of sale not both. If I do ask the seller for a bill of sale, do they put the address in Rhode Island or Maryland? Do I even need a bill of sale?

    1. motorcyclezombies

      A Bill of Sale is always a smart thing to get as the buyer or the seller in any private vehicle transaction. However, not all states, like Massachusetts, require it as part of the registration process. With the signed title from the previous owner, you should be good to go.

  4. My husband died leaving me a ‘74 Suzuki Water Buffalo, and a BMW motorcycle of some kind (also quite old) They sat inside for years, never actually rode them. I cannot find any documents other than the original bos to the original owner of the Suzuki. Can I sell them with just a bill of sale from me?

    1. motorcyclezombies

      You should be able to sell them. You’ll just typically be able to get a higher price if you’ve got the supporting title/registration documents.

  5. I purchased a 1979 Kawasaki 650cc motorcycle from a NH individual. The motorcycle is registered in NH to the original owner currently.

    The owner does not have a title available for the motorcycle. Can I register in Massachusetts with only a Bill of Sale? What other documentation is needed?

    1. motorcyclezombies

      Considering the age of the bike and the fact that NH does not title motorcycles older than model year 1999, you should be successful with the Bill of Sale AND the NH registration documents.

  6. Were you successful? I’m looking to buy an ’84 sabre from nh with no title, to register in Mass. I will have however, the previous reg. and bill of sale.

  7. I recently got a 1971 motorcycle with a bill of sale but no old registration. Everywhere I read says you need a bill of sale and old registration to title a bike before 1990 in MA. Can I still title it even without an old registration? (All in MA).

    1. motorcyclezombies

      That’s right, the MA title law says: Passenger vehicles with a model year of 1980 and older, purchased before November 26, 1990 are exempt from titling.

      You could try to go ahead and proceed with the Bill of Sale only, however, you may not be successful.

      You can get in contact the previous owner to try and get copies of the old registration or title documents.

      And if none of that works, you can look into going through Vermont.

      Good luck.

  8. I have a 87 goldwing my father gave me before he passed away. He lived in NH had it registered in nh but bought it from maine. There is a Maine title but not in his name as I don’t think he needed it for nh. How can I sell this bike in mass?

    1. motorcyclezombies

      Right, NH does not issue titles for vehicles older than model year 1999. Assuming it still has the NH registration (or was last registered in NH), you should be able to sell it as is as long as you provide the buyer with a Bill of Sale and a copy of proof of the inheritance from your father.

      1. Richard Leclair

        Thank you for the prompt reply. He actually wrote up a bill of sale to me about a year before he passed. So I assume I can just provide the registration and the original bill of sale?

        1. motorcyclezombies

          That should work! Be sure to make copies to give to the buyer, and hold on to the originals for yourself. All that should be sufficient for them to title and register it from there.

  9. Do you need a motorcycle license to register in motorcycle or can I register and insure in motorcycle on a motorcycle permit in the state of Massachusetts

  10. I have a 2019 wr250f that I am trying to make street legal in MA. Title says “this vehicle was not manufactured for use on public streets, roads or highways. Such use is prohibited by law”. What are my options looking like?

    1. motorcyclezombies

      That sounds like a reassignment of title situation, which may be more of a hassle than it’s worth. Your best bet will be to contact an inspection facility to see what they may know about the process. Good luck.

  11. I inherited a 2004 Harley from my brother who lived in Vermont. I have an older registration of his for the bike but no title. I tried to register it in Massachusetts but they refused because of no title. I contacted Vermont DMV and they refuse to issue a title because the bike is older then 15 years. How can I register it in Mass? If I register it in Vermont can I get insurance as a Massachusetts resident?

    1. motorcyclezombies

      Massachusetts should be able to do it considering Vermont doesn’t issue titles for bikes that old. The registration should serve as sufficient proof of ownership. I’d try to contact them again (even just by e-mail) to try to get some more helpful information.

      If not, you should be able to get a MA insurance policy and just continue to register the bike in VT.

  12. Brendan Bouressa

    I have a 1989 RMX 250, It has a head light and tail light and I am trying to get it street legal in MA. Are 2 strokes allowed to be registered in MA and is there anything else that I will need other than mirrors and blinker.

    1. motorcyclezombies

      There doesn’t seem to be anything specifically saying you can’t register a 2 stroke in MA. It sounds like you’ve got the required equipment covered. Assuming your title doesn’t include anything like “Off-road use only,” you should be good to go.

  13. Hi – I am buying a 2015 street glide from a friend, the registration and inspection have both expired. I have his signed title and bill of sale. I am a little lost with the order I have to do things – do I transfer the title in person at the RMV, then get insurance because I now ‘own’ the bike, then get a registration, then get the inspection!!? And can I keep the license plates that are on it now? Thanks

    1. motorcyclezombies

      In Massachusetts you’ll need to start the process with insurance – the agent with complete, stamp, and sign the registration/title application. You’ll need to take the completed application form along with the title/ownership docs to the RMV and pay the fees. After that, you’ll need to get an inspection. You will receive new license plates.

  14. Bought a motorcycle in Ny..( I live in Mass.)
    I have title, old registration and bill of sale..
    What else do I need? And do I get it insured first or register it first?
    Thanks
    For time
    Sue

    1. motorcyclezombies

      You’ve got everything you need. In Massachusetts, you’ll need to get an insurance policy first and have a licensed insurance agent fill out, stamp, and sign the application for title/registration. After this, you’ll need to make an appointment at the RMV, bring your application and documents along, and pay the registration, title, and tax fees.

      1. Thank you..one more thing
        Do I take my permit test before I
        Get it register?
        And
        Do I need to get a inspection for it?
        And if so …after it registered?
        Sorry new to this.
        Thanks
        Sue

        1. motorcyclezombies

          You should get your motorcycle license/endorsement before your register the bike. While this is not explicitly required to complete the registration – it’s required to ride the motorcycle. Better to care of the licensing step first.

          Yes, the bike will also need to get an inspection within 7 days of the registration date.

  15. Hi,

    I purchased a 1973 125 Enduro from a dealer in CT. I live in MA. The dealer provided a bill of sale and the previous title, the title is from New Jersey and from the 80’s. They filled out the back of the title with their information, but never titled the bike. I believe it’s called “floating the title”. The title is signed by the previous owner and the dealer. How do I title it in my name? Would I just put my info under the dealer in the “Buyer(s)” section and sign under the dealer?

    Thank you

    1. motorcyclezombies

      That’s right – you should be able to title and register the bike in Massachusetts with everything you’ve described.

  16. I have a 1978 KZ650, bought in NH, not title but have a bill of sale and an old registration from previous owner. Will be able to register at mass RMV? Or will I have to go the Vermont route?

    1. motorcyclezombies

      You may be able to go directly through RMV. I’d make copies of your documents and give them a call first. Otherwise, Vermont is a good back up.

      1. I just purchased a Kawasaki csr 250cc with only a bill of sale. I live in Massachusetts, I was planning on going the Vermont route to get a registration. Does it need to be insured first in order to obtain the registration from Vermont? Can I have it insured in Massachusetts but registered in Vermont? How does that work?

        1. motorcyclezombies

          You can get MA motorcycle insurance. You shouldn’t need to send in any insurance info with your VT application, though. Once you receive your documents from VT, you’ll be able to transfer the bike to MA.

  17. I have a motorcycle that I bought from a friend. He never registered the bike when he bought it and has now lost the title. Can I register it in MA with just the bill of sale?

    1. motorcyclezombies

      You may be able to register it in Massachusetts with just the Bill of Sale. However, the lack of any previous documents at all will make it more difficult. I’d contact the RMV and explain the situation to see if a Statement of Facts or something similar along with the Bill of Sale would work.

      Otherwise, if the bike is old enough or has a small enough engine, you can look at going the Vermont route.

  18. i have 2007 genuine 150cc scooter, i had insured last year but for winter i cancelled the registration, i have a title at my name (i paid for it last year) , do i have to request a new title? , i just need the new plates

    1. motorcyclezombies

      You do not need a new title for that transaction. You’ll just need to get your current registration paid and updated (removed from non-op/cancelled) and you should be good to go.

      1. so, can i do that online or do need the appoinment? my first step was buy the insurance yesterday and i have the application filled, should i have to request new plate? or they update the registration with my old plate… im confused

        1. motorcyclezombies

          After cancelling a registration in Massachusetts, old license plates should be discarded. You’ll need to file for a new registration in person at the DMV and they’ll provide you with new plates.

  19. I got a 2001 drz400 with no title and no certificate of origin, think I can register with just bill of sale and vin check?

    1. motorcyclezombies

      You can always try to do that directly with the MA RMV, if they won’t let you, you can always try the Vermont route. I’d give MA a call before visiting.

  20. Im looking to buy a 1999 Harley Sportster 883. The bike is in Rhode Island and I live in Massachusetts. He has Bill of sale and the Registration but no title. Which way would I got about registering the bike if I were to buy it?

    1. motorcyclezombies

      Rhode Island does not title vehicles older than model year 2000 – the RI Registration should serve as proof of ownership along with the Bill of Sale. MA RMV will be able to look that up when you go to register it with them.

  21. I have a 2002 Harley from Rhode Island no title but bill of sale and previous registration. Can I still go through Vermont ?

  22. Hi I did look into this would just like to be clear on a few things . Say I bought a motorcycle from Rhode Island I live in Massachusetts if older then 1990 I can register it in Vermont pay whatever I pay up there then just simply transfer it to Massachusetts? I’m in middle of a project bike and could use some help. One other thing is the motor is 250cc I thought I read under 300cc has different rules too is true

    1. Yup, that’s correct. The engine size determines whether or not you’ll need to provide a VIN Inspection/Verification form as part of the application. In your case, you will not.

      1. I have a 125cc motorcycle from Vermont there for it does not have a title. I need to register it in Massachusetts . I was told I don’t the title because it’s a 125cc and it dose not require a title because it from Vermont

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