So you want to know how to make a pit bike road legal.
Today, we are going to do just that.
A full-on ultimate guide on how to make a pit bike road legal in the UK.
Quick disclaimer: We’re not legal experts and this should not be taken as specific legal advice, please consult an expert (or your local council to clear up on rules).
Pit bikes are a considerable amount of fun when enjoyed for leisure purely off-road or on private roads. But these miniature motorbikes are actually capable of taking you from A to B on the road too.
If you’re already a pit bike owner, then this fact is probably already apparent to you as the larger capacity pit bikes pack a serious punch so should be able to keep up with regular traffic.
For those looking to ride their pit bikes to a local track, take short journeys around town or even use it for a short commute. It can be extremely useful to buy or build a road legal pit bike.
Read on to discover how to source or turn your existing motorcycle into an on road pit bike.
On Road Pit Bikes
It can at first appear a bit of a minefield when trying to work out why some pit bikes are road legal, on-road pit bikes, and others are not.
Turning an off-road pit bike into an on road pit bike can be done, but it’s by no means quick or easy.
Due to this, many readers will want to save themselves the hassle of converting a bike and simply get straight to the main event by purchasing a road-ready pit bike that’s already road legal.
You can purchase road legal pit bikes that are already registered, and have a registered frame. Alternatively, you can opt to buy pit bikes that can easily be registered without further modification.
What Makes A Road Legal Pit Bike
In short, a road legal pit bike has a frame that has been registered by the DVLA and classed as a road vehicle.
All on road pit bikes that already have number plates will already have a registered frame. From here, life’s pretty straight forward. Or at least as straightforward as it is with a regular road bike or car.
You’ll simply need an MOT, insurance and tax completed and you will be away riding your pitbike on the public road.
If you’re not looking to spend the extra cash on one of these premium already-registered pit bikes, but are more interested in getting one and registering it yourself. There are some other factors to be aware of.
To get into the position where you can register your pit bike for the road you will need to have a bike with sufficient ground clearance and a tall enough seat height for it to pass the DVLA’s minimum requirements.
At time of writing, the DVLA requires all motorcycles registered for the public road to have a ground clearance of over 310mm. They also require a bike to have a seat height of over 900mm.
Other stipulations include a rear reflector, a horn, road legal tyres, a sealed fuel cap and the other usual daytime MOT aspects such as being in a good state of repair.
If your bike already fits the bill with this, then you are well on your way to having a road legal pit bike.
Steps To Making A Pit Bike Road Legal
If you are trying to find out how to make a pit bike road legal and working toward your own on road pit bike, there are a few routes you can take to achieve it from ground zero with no bike in your possession. Below I will outline the three best methods of getting an on road pit bike:
- Getting a ready registered pit bike frame
- Ensuring you get the right size pit bike
- Custom developing a bike to fit the requirements
Option 1 – Getting An Already Registered Pit Bike Frame
Sourcing a registered pit bike frame is a great way to go and removes a lot of the hassle involved with getting your pit bike registered and road legal.
You can occasionally find registered pit bike frames for sale for second hand. These are usually from bikes where a previous owner did the work and then eventually stripped their custom pit bike for parts.
Or maybe the previous owner crashed their bike but the frame is still intact. Even if the frame has some damage, sometimes they can be jigged up and bent back into shape, and then welded up solid.
The likelihood is that any already registered frame you purchase will be a good size and you can then use this as a base to build up a pit bike that will pass an MOT.
If you are starting with a registered frame, don’t forget you will need to notify the dvla about engine number change, unless you got the engine with the grame of course.
If you end up with a registered frame which is a small one, such as a CRF50 style frame. You will need to be aware that you will have to increase swingarm length, wheel size and tyre size to ensure it will pass the MOT.
If you’re especially unlucky and end up with a very small frame. You can take this a step further and increase the length of the front forks and rear spring and damper to raise the bike up a bit more.
Once the bike is ready it’s a simple case of getting it through an MOT daytime or otherwise, getting it insured, taxed and then registered with the DVLA.
Then voila, you have yourself a road legal pit bike. But bear in mind if you’ve opted to get just a daylight MOT then you can only ride 30 mins after sunrise up to 30 mins before sunset. Which might not be enough for you in winter.
Option 2 – Getting A New Pit Bike That’s The Right Size
This is another good way and one you may even prefer, although it’s usually more expensive as it involves purchasing a brand new pit bike.
If you get a brand new pit bike, you can request from your dealer an official certification of newness. From a big main dealer such as Honda or Kawasaki, you can usually get this for free, but if you’re looking at one of the smaller suppliers, it can cost around £20.
Once you have that you will need to complete the below steps:
- Get an MOT daytime or otherwise
- Get insurance – you can get pre-DVLA registration
- Fill in V55-5 for DVLA and wait for logbook – Ensure the bike is classed as enduro
- Tax the pit bike
- Get a number plate
And then you will have a fully road legal pit bike.
If you’re looking for more detailed information on the DVLA’s form, we advise that you check out this video below which clearly explains it:
Option 3 – Build A Pit Bike That Fits The Criteria & Register It
This option for how to make a pit bike road legal is somewhat of a mix of the previous two options.
Basically I am suggesting here that you might build a pit bike from either new or used parts that will fulfill the DVLA’s criteria for road registration and the MOT’s stipulations and then apply to get it registered with the DVLA the exact same way as you would have a new pit bike.
Of course, this brings with it the challenging parts of both the previous methods, but it also will prove to be the most cost-effective and cheapest way to obtain a road legal pit bike.
To make your life as easy as possible. I would recommend starting with a CRF70 size frame rather than a smaller CRF50 size one. This way you should have a head start of fulfilling the previously mentioned ground clearance and seat height requirements.
Simply follow these steps:
- Build a pit bike which is eligible
- MOT it
- Get it insured
- Complete the DVLA’s V55 form and submit for your log book
- Tax your pit bike
- Get it a number plate
That’s how to make a pit bike road legal in the cheapest way possible.
To round off this helpful how-to guide for on road pit bikes, it’s worth mentioning that if you intend to take your pit bike on the public highway, you should do so very carefully.
Pit bikes are very small vehicles and can often be unseen by other road users. Due to this I would always recommend adding lights onto your bike, even though you are only riding during the day.
An annoying contradiction to this is the daylight MOT’s stipulation that the bike “must not have lighting at time of MOT”. Although I suspect this is just to inconvenience those looking to break the rules and ride beyond the light illegally.
Now, if you do have any specific questions on how to make a put bike road legal in the UK, make sure to get in touch with us at The Offroaders (in the comments section just below) and we will do our best to help you.