Tuesday, October 11, 2011

HQ on Buying a Dual Sport Motorcycle in 2011

Over the last year or so, HQ has gotten a lot of phone calls and emails from riders who are seeking advice on buying a dual-sport motorcycle. It appears most of these questions are being prompted by recent FS Travel Management-related closures of level-3 roads to non-street legal OHVs.

For those riders who are looking for a street-legal off-road motorcycle, HQ suggests they purchase a new street-legal dirt bike or a used bike that was plated and/or grandfathered in before the State of California closed the dual-sport conversion process (circa late 2003/early 2004).

HQ believes that manufacturers have stepped up to the “plate” and are producing true off-road worthy dirt bikes and when given a choice… riders should select a bike that complies with the licensing requirements that govern our sport.


  1. KTM and Husqvarna have really stepped up to the plate (no pun intended) and offer us competition-worthy dual sports. They're every bit as high maintenance as their enduro counterparts, but have the golden plate.

    Also, be weary of out-of-state plated dirt bikes (bikes that weren't originally factory dual sports). It gets complicated having the right CARB stickers and passing DMV inspection.

  2. You can take a chance and try getting your green sticker bike plated at the local DMV. Some are more willing than others, but technically they are not supposed to place any bike made after 1976.

    Sometimes you can get one by that has certain VIN numbers - see Thumper Talk for details - but when you sell it they may lift the plate.

    You can buy a plated Honda XR 650L or a Suzuki DRZ 400 used for a reasonable price and they are far more durable then the KTM or Husky that are really race bikes with a plate.The Honda and Zook are "good enough to do the job" if heavy. So work out with some weights and get in shape.

  3. Don, any hope that CA legislature could pass something similar to Washington State's SB5800, which set up a process that authorizes dual sport conversions?

  4. There is always hope but not much at this time. Right now other issues are on the front burner... such as getting our OHV grants program restored to full funding and heading off attempts by far left groups to deep six the expansion of the Tesla property for OHV at Carnegie SVRA.