I've been thinking about street legaling my KDX so that I can do some dual sport riding. Does anyone have any experience with this conversion? Any kits or homemade short cuts? I haven't looked into the California laws for licensing a dirt bike yet.
Each state has its' own laws for raod-worthy ness. Here in Ohio the bare minimum is simply a mirror. Now you can't ride at dusk or later but that's technically all ya need. I went through this back in the day with a TS-185 that I had striped most of the goodies off of. Or rather, trees stripped most of the goodies off for me.
I just moved from SD and I have 2 KDX's that are street legal. (Also th ATK's) It is a piece of cake if take the bike to someone who can sign it off for you. Don't waste your money on a Baja Designs kit. Either do it yourself or give Jamie a call at Clairmont Cycle Supply. 858-571-0155 Tell him what you want to do and he can help you, he can even build you the headlight if you don't want to.
If you want more just ask, I used to build the kits for CCS until I got too busy. I use the same set up on all 5 of our dirt bikes and don't have any complaints.
Street legalzing a green sticker KDX in California is exactly the same process as doing an XR, except you will either need to rewind the stator for more output or add an on/off switch for the headlight to keep the battery from draining.
Baja Designs kits used to be much less expensive. While you can probably part it together cheaper than buying somebody's kit, you'll spend a lot of time designing your own system or tracking down the best prices on all the parts you need. The DOT headlight is usually the most expensive part.
In CA, you don't have to bring the bike to the DMV, but a state licensed lighting and inspection station (almost every motorcycle dealers or repair shop) will have to sign a statement of fact that the bike has the required lighting. Don't worry about needing a speedometer or DOT tires. The thoroughness of the inspector can vary quite a bit. :D
Great info! Thanks for the replies. Are you saying that I have to replace the headlight that I presently have? Do I have to have turn signals? Brake light indicator? I was thinking that this was going to cost me around $600.
To get a street registration in CA, you are supposed to have a DOT approved headlight (your stocker is not), a rear view mirror, a tail light that will stay lit for 15+ minutes when the motor is off (requires a battery), turn signals, a DOT approved brake light and a horn. Many states have much fewer requirements.
Once you get your street registration, you would be subject to 'fix-it' tickets and small fines if you operate the vehicle on the road without these items.
With a street registration, you don't have to worry about 'red sticker' restrictions or getting busted for connecting trails up with stretches of road. Forest rangers will not usually hassle you for small vehicle code violations as long as you have a plate and a headlight.
As far as the DOT Headlight goes, I have the Acerbis DHH CE. (http://www.acerbis.com/frames.html) It is DOT approved and looks very much the the regular KDX headlight. The green plastic is a very close match too. It lists for $70 and I think I got mine for about $55-$60. I also have the Acerbis Tail Light liscense plate holder. Both Items make my KDX "Look" very legal and I do have an actual current plate for my machine.
Fortunately for me, I was able to take my title to the county services building and talk them into giving me a lincense plate without having ANY inspection, but this is ALABAMA and things aren't quite as strict as they are in other states. :D
Another resource with some good info on making a street legal bike in any state, is www.fourstrokesonly.com/ they also have some of the parts you need to make a bike street legal. I found some really cool front turn signals that you can put into your front light console( not DOT approved) but enough to get by with. Also the guys at baja design are real helpful on any questions you may have.
I lucked out a month ago and found a really clean 95 KDX already with a CA street license, had to drive 3 hours to go get it, but down here in San Diego there aren't many KDX's to be found
For refilling on the road, I carry a couple little chain saw oil containers in my pouch, each with the right amount of oil to mix with one gallon of gas.
All I had to do to license my kdx was to put on a mirror, horn and brakelight. The city cop came to my house, looked it over and said ok, knobbys and all. He never even asked me to fire it up to check the lights or horn.
Q: How about more info how these bikes ride down the road?
A: On the highway you'll be looking for another gear, even if you have gone up a tooth on the countershaft. Most dirt bikes will vibrate quite a bit on pavement; it will be much worse if your wheels are out of round or out of balance. You can improve the balance of your wheels by wrapping some thick bits of solder on the spokes opposite the rim lock.
Q: How far will they go on a tank of gas?
A: Will vary dramatically based on the road/trail, how hard you are pushing it, your jetting and gearing. My '90 would go up to 100+ miles, but I think it had a little bigger tank than the new ones.
Q: How do you fill the bike up with gas when on the road?
A" I would carry little Rubbermaid plastic bottles that I got at Target. Hold about 9 ounces; almost enough for a full tank. I marked ounces on the side. Compact, no leaks, but put them in a zip-loc just in case.
Q: Do you mix the fuel/oil in the tank?
A: Pour a little oil in, add a little gas, etc... If you are cruising on the road, you'll probably not be pushing that hard, so if you accidently mix at 50:1 when you meant to do 45:1, you'll never notice the difference.
Q: How fast will they go?
A: Hard to say for sure, but I'll guess around 70-75 with stock gearing, absolutely wound out in top gear.
Q: How fast will they cruise comfortably?
A: Maybe 50 with stock gearing; 50-55 mph with one tooth bigger countershaft. Sustained 60+ feels like work. If you need or want to do lots of high speed road miles, you will be happier with a 400+ cc four stroke.
I agree, you'd probably be better off picking up a used KLR 650 or even a 250.
I have a pal with a Honda NX 250 (Hondas verson of a KLR250) and it does quite nicely. He picked it up for a grand and might be selling it soon to move to a real street bike. He thought he'd buy it, ride it to work on nice days and play in the woods on the weekends.
This really isn't too feasable for a number of the reasona listed above unless you're simply riding wide open trails like old fire roads. The things that make it road worthy (it's weight, fenders, tires, signals) make it a poor trail bike (geared wrong, heavy, street fenders, etc.)
Thinking back to my TS-185, the mirrors sure didn't last long in the woods, nor did the turnsignals. Then when you gear it down a tooth or two for the woods it wasn't worth beans on the road. Add a nobbie (back then the dual sport tires were pretty bad) and it was scarry on the road.
I think I'd put the bucks in a used KLR or Honda NX 250 There is an 88 NX 250 for $1800 on cycle trader. Perhaps you could grab that for $1500 :) save a lot of work, and still have a great trail bike to boot.
I own a 98kdxer that was supposed to be street legal, have a license plate and all, but DMV stopped all that. Turns out not suposed to be able to get it street legal and I dont know how they did it but I can't. Have to get a Red sticker now! Bummer
Yeah, that's another thing. Here in Ohio, you have to get an Ohio APV sitcker if you want to ride in the Ohio APV areas (Wayne National Forest, etc). To do that, your bike has to have a title, which can be a problem for bikes in Ohio that are pre 1996. On top of that they are stingy with these stickers. Your title must say 'off-road-vehicle' which my KDX says. Going the other way though they would bitch about liscensing said 'off-road-vehicle'.
Cal-KDXer, once you get a red sticker it will be MUCH harder to get or keep a plate, as red sticker vehicles are not supposed to be eligible for street plates. There are ways it can be done - one way is to get an out of state plate (Vermont will do this).
In my experience, there is a wide range in how individual DMV's handle street reg on a dirt bike. I know lots of people who have plates on bikes that are supposed to have red stickers, but almost everybody's story is different.
88RM250 is righit that knobbies are a little shaky on the street, but they are usally OK if you don't push hard. Metzeler Unicross fronts and some of the Pirelli full knobbies are DOT approved.
Rear view mirrors are a problem - the folding Acerbis $15 models don't get broke but are useless on the street. You can buy better folding mirrors from several other sources. A good way to mount to the bars is to tap an old aluminum bark buster handlebar mount. A non-folding mirror is annoying on the trail and it will snap pretty easily.
There are some solutions to breaking turn signals. For the rear, instead a a stalk mount, try using tear drop shaped street bike 'marker lights', mounted to the rear fender. Some people say this is not legal as they are not DOT approved for this use, but they work and stay out of the way. If you hit them, they will break, but they don't get hit.
I'll be putting the 'tear drop' marker lights on the rear of my street legal '99 WR400 - I've broken 2 of the stalk mount types and there is no end in sight. I think I broke the last one swinging my leg over the back of the bike.....
In California you have to have a 97 or older bike, there is an extra #, or letter in the VIN # that sends a red flag at the DMV if the bike is 98 or newer.
Also if you go the Vermont route, problem is now, that they require your bike to be 300cc or greater. I have heard and seen people get around this, but not sure what they have done. One way maybe to buy a bike out of state, that is already made street legal, and bring it back into California and transfer it as a street legal bike.
I'm just happy that the bike I picked up was already made street legal, and didn't have to deal with all the problems.:D
If there is a "3" or a "C" as the 8th digit of the VIN, the bike should have a CA red sticker. These VIN's were supposed to begin showing up in the '97/98 model year, but the DMV rarely issued reds before '00.
One of my friends (CA street plate KTM 300) has checked into this a bit, and the DMV instructs its employees to verify the bike is not a red sticker VIN before issuiing a plate. Apparently, not all DMV employees know how to follow instructions, so 'red sticker' VINs can slip through. If the DMV updates their methods, the human error which currently works in our favor may be reduced.
On Baja Designs home page, they discuss the process for getting a Vermont plate for over 300cc bikes. I called Vermont about a year ago to discuss this with them. At that time, the under 300cc bikes required a different govt. form than a 300+ bike, but a plate could still be issued to an out of state vehicle & owner. :)
Vermont issues plates to folks outside of the state ? Hrms... The Ohio BMV sux... Can I do register my cars with them ? Seriously though, is that really an option for folks in troublesome areas like CA ?
There are a lot of gray areas and things change from year to year.
When I looked into this last year, VT had very little in the way of paperwork or residency requirements for motorcycle registration. Basically, they want your money and you want their plate. They may be much more strict on cars, as the forms I received were for motorcycles. Also, your own state may require you to register your vehicle at your home address.
In CA, people are motivated because if you have a 'red sticker' you cannot ride trails in certain areas at some times of the year. This is supposedly a result of air pollution regulations. A street licensed vehicle is treated as a 'green sticker' for trail use - much better than red.
In CA, Some people acquire the Vermont plate, then tell the DMV they are transferring their out of state street licensed motorcycle into CA. This way, they get a CA plate, and don't have to lie or make anything up. They don't usually keep the VT plate, but some do.
In Ohio, we have something simmilar to deter folks from riding. At least in the Ohio APV areas.
We used to have similar requirments, a sticker or liscense plates would get you in. Now only a sticker will do it. This sticker can only be purchased if:
a) You have a title (Which is an issue for bikes prior to 1997 because Titles weren't issued then) Which opens a whole nother can of worms for getting said title if you bought something used w/o a bill of sale, etc, etc.
b) then your Title must say off-road use only.
c) Your bike is equiped with all the safety things it's supposed to have and a silencer/spark arester (though no one ever looks at your bike if you have a title).
These stickers are cheap enough $7.00 gets you a Sticker that's good for three years. So for once it's a governmental thing that's not about the money :p it's about detering you from riding. :(
Sorry to barge in, but I thought 2 strokes were banned for street use a while back...like in the late 70's or so. I have not seen any stroker bikes on the street for a VERY long time except for a few older RD350's once in a blue moon. I wish I could state my sources on this info, but I can't so could someone shed more light on this topic? If it's true, I would love to have a street legalized green sticker KDX or other stroker to putt around with.
Federal and state pollution & safety rules manufacturers have to comply with did effectively eliminate two strokes some time ago. I think the Yamaha RD350LC was the last one, around the mid '80's.
As a private individual you do not have to conform to the same requirements as a mass producer. You just have to get the bike to meet the vehicle code for lighting, mirrors, etc...
When you are street legalizing a dirt bike, the law makes no distinction between 2 and 4 strokes in CA. There is, however, a distinction between green and red stickers!
I have CA street legalized three bikes (an XR280 and 2 KDX's). On dual sport rides, people occasionally hassle you for having a two stroke, but more often they are just curious. Just tell them the legalization process is exactly the same as for a DR or XR.
For most people, a four stroke makes a better dual sport. But hey, some of us just prefer two strokes! And it can be 100% legal. Hard to believe in CA, but it is true.
dirt bike dave, I have always thought that the last year for a green stickie was in 1996, looks like Im wrong since you have alot of info on this matter, I just wanted to correct my self so there is no doubt in my feable brain.
1997 and older will be issued a green sticker and anything newer will get a red,(except for the few that comply) ?