Whether you’re new to dirt bikes or you’ve been riding since the day you could walk, there’s the freedom to the road. It could be a Sunday afternoon drive or a long-haul journey, but the feeling is the same no matter what! Indeed, there’s a pleasure associated with an afternoon drive. However, the thrill of getting onto a bike is hard to beat once it’s something you’ve become accustomed to.
But the thrill is an awful lot different when it comes to dirt biking! Whether you’re hitting the track or the pit, taking the excitement of this kind of bike to the street is different altogether. Many pieces go into a dirt bike, from chain guards to chain guides and bash plates to pipe guards. there are a lot of pieces that go into a dirt bike. And if you’re looking to make that dirt bike built for the street, there are rules to keep in mind before you can test it on the road!
Before you begin, you’ll want to check the regulations at the Department of Motor Vehicles to confirm the requirements in your state. Fortunately, once you do, you’ll be well on your way to owning a more versatile road machine!
Add the Lights
If you’ve been thinking about taking your dirt bike to the street for a while now, you’ve probably heard that adding lights is the most crucial component. And, while it might not be the only thing you have to do, it is one of the most important! To get the bike road-ready, you’ll need to install a DOT-compliant headlight that you can safely switch from high beam to low beam. You may even want to consider an LED headlight as this will cut down on the amount of your battery use.
In addition to the safety a headlight provides, you’ll also require a taillight; This is very important for your safety when you’re zipping along busy roads. Another one of the rules to keep in mind is installing the taillight to light up the brake pedal and brake lever when used.
While you won’t require a rear-view mirror and two side mirrors since you’re driving a smaller vehicle, you will need at least one. Some states even require two mirrors, so you’ll want to be sure you know the rules to keep in mind!
It’s undoubtedly the case that you have a better sense of what’s around you since there’s nothing to block your view on a bike. But a working mirror will give you a better picture of who’s coming up fast and who’s nearby, so you’re prepared when you need to be. It can be easy to think that a bike mirror isn’t something you need to invest a lot of money in. However, you’re going to want to know that it will last and not shake around as you drive, impacting how you see the road.
With mirrors, instead of having to remove your hand from the handlebars, you will be always in control with mirrors installed for more clear rear vision.
The style of mirror you choose is up to you, but you can go with a side mirror, a wide-angle mirror, or a long-stem mirror to ensure your bike-bound safety!
When you’re freewheeling down the road on your bike, few things will be more important to the drivers around you than your indicators. Many states may only require hand signals to get onto the back of your bike. However, it can be safer and provide more clarity to go with the standard indicators since other drivers will be watching for these.
In addition, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be driving your bike at night here and there, and hand signals won’t do the trick. If you’ve already determined whether or not you’re going to go with indicators, make sure you know the rules to keep in mind in your state. They may have their very own installation requirements, so it’s best to be aware before you get down to bike maintenance.
Most of us have experienced the seasonal shift of having to get our winter tires put on. To drive on the street and the fwys/hwys, you’ll need to have DOT-certified tyres to ensure your safety on the road. This type of tire comes with additional rubber. It will work at high speeds and won’t wear down like a dirt bike tire would on the highway.
It might seem tempting to forego this option and take advantage of the tires you already have. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous, and your tires may fall apart before you know it!
Fortunately, if you’re an enthusiastic driver in winter conditions, you’ll be prepared to change up the wheels on your dirt bike. Instead of taking the risk, ensure your dirt bike is road-ready and invest in the tyres to make your safety of primary concern.
Number Plate Holder
One rule that won’t change from state to state is that you’ll need to show your licence plate.
As a result, you’ll have to purchase and install a device that can display this information. It’s an important rule to keep in mind that how this information is displayed will vary from state to state. Instead of guessing, check with the Department of Motor Vehicles to ensure that you’re aware of everything required before getting down to business.
Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to mess with the overall aesthetic of your bike by attaching a licence plate bracket to it. In all likelihood, you can mount it beneath the fender, have it installed vertically or have it placed beyond the carry rack or luggage plate. Whatever you choose, one of the rules to keep in mind is that you’ll need it to light up after dark! You may not have a lot of night-time journeys planned, but it’s better to be with than without.
It may not be the best idea to use a battery as the only power source for your bike.
Fortunately, it can work in a pinch until you’re willing to complete an overhaul of the charging system.
Whatever you choose, you will need a battery of some kind to make your bike ready for the street.
If you’re using one without any power backup, though, it’s essential to keep in mind that you may not be able to use your lights when the bike is running. They may also dim when the bike is idling since you’ll be draining the power.
As this may be a short-term method for the long-term solution needed, installing a complete charging system with the stator, regulator, and battery may be ideal.
One of the rules to keep in mind is that the electrical components on your dirt bike should leave enough power so that you can still charge your battery.
If you’re used to taking your dirt bike all over the place with few regulations to guide your ride, an odometer might not be a necessity. It might even hamper the enjoyment you get out of the adventure!
Now, an odometer might not be a necessity in many states. However, when it comes to riding on the street, it will help you keep check on your speed, mileage, and engine status.
It’s not common to run out of fuel on a dirt bike with the small amount of fuel that it holds. Fortunately, an odometer can also help with this issue if you’ll be riding the main roads in areas with a high traffic volume. An odometer will help you check and gauge your speed and ensure that you don’t have to deal with roadside issues requiring a phone call.
Odds & Ends to Consider
When it comes to making your bike street legal, you’ll need items like a number plate holder and lights. But, there are also several other things you may want to consider for being bike-bound in the city streets.
- A Kickstand – This may not be a much-used component when it comes to dirt biking. However, if you’re planning to park your dirt bike in the city streets, it can be helpful to have one of these. Instead of having to worry about finding something to lean against, hoping it won’t fall, you’ll be able to make a parking place of just about anywhere.
- A Fan – When you’re on track on your dirt bike, there’s a pretty good chance there’s not going to be a lot of stops and start. But one of the rules to keep in mind is that there will be times you’ll be stuck behind other vehicles or at a traffic light. In these situations, it’s going to be helpful for your bike’s health to keep it from getting overheated.
- A Horn – You’ll need a horn to be ready for the road. Fortunately, whatever the laws are in your state, it’s not complicated to install it onto your dirt bike. As well, they are pretty inexpensive, so you won’t have to worry about breaking the bike budget! However, the regulations vary on whether you’ll need an electric horn or if you can get by with a non-electric one.
Wear the Right Gear
Getting your bike road-ready is undoubtedly essential, but you can’t be prepared to ride it until you’ve got the gear you need! Before you get on your bike and onto the road, you’ll need a DOT approved helmet for everyday wear.
You’ll also want to come prepared with riding gloves, a tool kit, and any other gear you might need if the weather shifts. For example, if you’re going on a slightly longer journey, make sure you pack up a rain suit and some wicking clothing garments in your Givi bags and top boxes.
When it comes to getting out on your bike when it’s dark, you’ll also want reflective gear and bright colors so that other motorists can see you. It might seem easy to skip out on these simple rules but having what you need will ensure you enjoy the ride.
Follow the Rules of the Road
If you’re spending a lot of time on your bike and travelling beyond the familiar streets, it can be easy to forget about other motorists. However, one of the essential rules to keep in mind when it comes to the main roads is being mindful of other people.
It may be simple common sense to stop at the traffic lights and pay attention to stop signs. But it’s also essential to always stay focused on the road. Depending on where you usually dirt bike, there’s a good chance that your mind might wander off to the next curve or jump. It’s not ideal for you when the roads are busy, though, so pay attention and keep your bike in good working order, so you know what to expect!
From the frame guards to the disc guards and master cylinder guards, ensure all its parts and pieces are intact and will withstand a drive on the highway. It might take a little effort but being safe on your bike is worth it.
There are few things more fun than riding your dirt bike, whether it’s along less-travelled roads or one of the world’s superstar tracks. You may have an engine skirt, heat shield and fender brace, but there are a few other things you’ll need to ensure that your bike is street-ready. Fortunately, by installing lights, adding a number plate holder, and changing up your tires, you’ll be on your way to making it down Main Street on your old dirt bike!