Dirt bikes take you on off-road adventures, up hills, over creeks and across valleys from one end of Pennsylvania to the other. Dirt bikes are off-road bikes, meant to travel rough surfaces like sand, gravel, water, mud or snow. One place you cannot explore on a dirt bike, however, are the streets of Pennsylvania.
Here's the Dirt
Quite a few different types of dirt bikes are available, designed for off-road riding, or riding on surfaces that aren't conventionally paved. Often the terrain traveled by dirt bikes can be traveled only by off-road vehicles or vehicles that have off-road equipment.
Dirt bikes are simpler and lighter than regular road motorcycles. They are built to have high ground clearance and constructed to be rugged, not fancy, to limit damage in inevitable spills. They usually do not have lights, mirrors, signals or other instruments that road bikes have. That is why they can't get pass the motorcycle inspection required prior to registration in Pennsylvania.
If you desperately want to register your dirt bike in Pennsylvania, you'll have to take it to a chop-shop and get all of the necessary street-parts added back onto the bike. Of course, they were left off to enable first-rate off-roading, so putting them on might defeat the purpose of having the bike in the first place. But it could get you through an inspection, a first step in the Pennsylvania registration process.
Better yet, get a dual-sport or dual purpose bike, and enjoy the best of on and off-road motorcycle fun. These bikes have all the bells and whistles they need to be street legal in Pennsylvania, but have a dirt bike chassis.
If you buy a motorcycle at a dealership in Pennsylvania, registration is usually part of the package. The fees are included in the purchase price and you don't have to do anything other than pay them. You'll usually get temporary plates and registration pending arrival of the permanent ones.
If you buy your bike in Pennsylvania from a private individual, you have to do the registration work yourself. First, check and see if the bike has valid inspection stickers when you buy it. If not, take the bike in for a safety inspection within 10 days of buying it.
After that, you'll need to collect these items and take them into the DOT to complete your registration:
- the current title, signed by the buyer and seller in the presence of a PennDOT agent;
- a Form MV-4ST (a Vehicle Sales and Use Tax Return/Application for Registration);
- proof of insurance;
- your Class M Pennsylvania driver's license; and
- registration fees and taxes.
You cannot register dirt bikes in Pennsylvania, since these off-road bikes lack the equipment motorcycles require to pass the inspection. Your best bet is to get a dual-sport bike that can go on roads and off.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.