Monday, May 22, 2017
There are a ton of reasons for wanting your dirt bike to be street legal. It's fun to ride, great transportation, great gas mileage, you can ride straight to the trails, and on and on and on. Most importantly, it's your bike and you love it. Fortunately, it doesn't take much to convert it to street legal use in most states. Unfortunately, there are some places (like California) where they REALLY don't want you riding a dirt bike on the street and they try to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to make your dirt rig street legal.
Assuming, however, that you've checked the local laws and determined that it can be done, here's what you need to add to your bike to make it legal to ride on public roads.
Battery - Some bikes come with batteries, some don't. Once you start hanging lights all over the bike, you need a battery. Battery packs are pretty small. A good NiCad rechargeable system like ours is 3"x 2"x 1" and takes about an hour and a half to fully charge.
Headlight - A lot of dirt bikes have a headlight from the factory. Unfortunately, some states require a high/low-beam option, and most factory dirt-bike headlights will need to be modified for high/low-beam use. You can go that route, or you can just install a whole new headlight setup to make it street legal. Our LED headlights fit the bill.
Turn Signals - LED turn signals are very bright (you'll want that guy who's texting and driving to see your signal) and use very little juice to run. Baja Designs carries a couple different high-quality choices.
Mirrors - Mirrors should be collapsible so they don't explode when your bar smacks a tree branch. Baja Designs offers two varieties — one for bikes that are used mainly off-road and one for bikes that share their time on- and off-road equally.
Taillights/License Plate Brackets - Again, many dirt bikes come with a taillight, but a brake light is also necessary. If you're really slick, you can wire an LED inside the taillight lens for the clean, factory look. A separate taillight/brake light for under the tail is usually an easier setup. Another advantage to this second option is that many taillights come with a license plate bracket.
Horn - The horn is cheap and easy. Just screw it to the bike somewhere and run a wire to the bar switch. Some states will even let you use one of those bicycle-squeeze-air-horn things.
Speedometer - Some include a tach, a gear indicator, and even a fuel gauge! Baja Designs carries several models. Again, these aren't required in every state - check the laws where you live.
Bar switch - You'll need to turn everything on and off somehow. A good bar switch will integrate neatly into the bar and may even eliminate the need for some of the switches that are already there.
Tires - Chances are, your knobbies won't pass inspection. There are plenty of very good off-roadable tires that are DOT-approved, however. Check your sidewalls. If they say DOT you're in luck. If not, it's time to go shopping.
Other (non-legal) considerations
Battery charger - Use a motorcycle-specific charger or trickle charger. These are super cheap and can be found in just about any large department store. Also, if your bike doesn't have a key ignition, anybody who knows what they're doing can just ride away on it. Hook up an ignition or, at the very least, a hidden kill switch. No matter what, use a (very) heavy duty lock to secure the bike to something overnight. Dirt bikes are usually much lighter than road bikes, so two guys with a truck could just load it up and drive off if you aren't careful.
At Baja Designs, we sell just about everything you'll need to turn your dirt bike into a dual sport. We stock the highest-quality universal dual sport kits, as well as model-specific, plug-and-play LED kits for adventure bikes from Honda, BMW, KTM, Triumph, and Yamaha.