If you’re brand new to the world of these crazy dirt bikes, you’re probably wondering if they can be ridden on the street.
You certainly can ride a dirt bike on the road in North America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and much of Europe. Dirt bikes become legally-ridden vehicles once they are fitted with a headlight, horn, registration plate, brake lights, mirrors and indicators. The rider will also need to have a licence and the dirt bike registration must be valid.
This assumes that the specific dirt bike is DOT-approved. Some motocross motorcycles aren’t able to get registered and are therefore prohibited from riding on any public land.
Dirt Bike Riding on the Road
So while it’s certainly possible to ride a dirt bike on public roads across the country, would you actually want to do it? Probably not.
There are extensive opportunities to find offroad tracks to ride. Sometimes you don’t have a trailer to get to and from these tracks, so it sounds feasible to simply ride there on your dirt bike.
Now – riding for a long distance isn’t fun. You see – dirt bikes are designed for the rough stuff and they don’t perform well on the bitumen. Those knobby tyres make things a little jittery especially when it starts raining.
You need to be wary of other road riders as they don’t expec to see dirt bikes riding on the roads. These machines are most commonly found on the local forest trails and away from civilisation. Try and avoid lane slipping otherwise this could happen:
Some riders really love the look of dirt bikes and turn their dirt bikes into their daily commuter. They actually go and change the tyres and it turns into a motard motorcycle. These are essentially dirt bikes with road tyres, and sometimes a sprocket change to allow for better gearing on highways.
Difference in Capacities
There is a difference between the engine capacity because the bigger bore dirt bikes are better for riding at higher speeds such as highways. For example, a 450cc will be much more comfortable as you won’t be maxing out the revs at 70 miles per hour while you will be revving high with a 250cc dirt bike.
Likewise, anything 600cc and greater will be comfortable enough for highway cruising. Those tyres won’t be comfortable compared to say dual-sport motorcycle tyres which aren’t anywhere near knobby.
The Main Hazard
The main hazard and why we don’t recommend dirt bike riding on public roads is heavy rain. This makes things slippery due to the oil line. After all, the tires are designed for gripping gnarly rocks and dirt roads and need to dig down for traction.
Sometimes you’ll feel like your dirt bike is slipping from underneath you. Some riders simply pull over and wait it out until it stops raining. Likewise, they will find a different route like low-speed residential streets with less traffic without the pressure of riding on high speed highways. This applies to dry and wet conditions.
Take your dirt bike on the road for a short period of time. Sticking to one speed on the bitumen for too long leads to premature wear and tear. Avoid using your dirt bike as a daily commuter and leave it for the offroad tracks and trails.
Some riders choose to have 2 motorcycles – 1 for the road and 1 for the dirt. A wise choice if you can afford it and enjoy riding daily. Likewise, you could get a trailer and not have to worry about the risk of riding a dirt-orientated motorcycle on the road.
In essence – it can be done and it’s done often, but it isn’t ideal.