How To Build A Legal Custom Motorcycle?

As an individual (or even a professional) if you don’t know all the correct answer(s) and have never heard of EPA, ARB, SMV. ECO, you are better off reading an excellent article published by HotBikeWeb. In a few paragraphs easy to understand you will comprehend what can and can’t be done when you want to build your dream ground-up motorcycle.


15 Responses to “How To Build A Legal Custom Motorcycle?”

  1. 1 bertrand Nov 12th, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I’LL LET YOU KNOW SOON . . . .

  2. 2 James Nov 12th, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Interesting. I built a roland sands style bike and got a lot of used parts from the dealers at . I was on a tight budget so used motorcycle parts was the way to go.

  3. 3 Michael Schacht Crocker Motorcycle Co Nov 13th, 2008 at 9:14 am

    This article is a must read for anyone wanting to build a custom motorcycle from scratch.
    With all the new implemented compliance rules, this is vital information that all builders and their customers need to know. Very interesting and informative article.
    As always, thanks Cyril.

  4. 4 alan Nov 13th, 2008 at 8:36 pm





  5. 5 Rodent Nov 13th, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    After I figure out how tomove my plate from vertical to hororzontial to comply with Florida’s stupid law, an change my pipes to make the rednecks in MYrtle Beach happy I might worry about other stupid shit.

  6. 6 Nicker Nov 13th, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Personal Use Exemption
    (for individuals only, not manufacturers)
    . Exemption can be used to build a custom or kit motorcycle.
    . Allowed only one exempt motorcycle build per lifetime.
    . Motorcycle cannot be sold for five years.

    If this is truly a “Personal Exemption” (which i doubt) you would be able to build as may scooters as ya wanted, under a PUE title (sorta like a dealer’s plate), but you could never sell them. And only you could be operate them (by definition one at a time.

    This smells like more social engineering… trying to get us to stop playing with IC toys.

    To me “custom” means using any powerplant i fance not being limited to “approved” stuff.

    Bullshit like this is gonna require massive civil disobedience…. 🙂


  7. 7 Michael Schacht Crocker Motorcycle Co Nov 14th, 2008 at 7:40 am

    If complaining was the solution, we would have solved this compliance problem long ago. When was the last time you were able to stop any government action? Face it. The changes are coming and we can cry about it or deal with it as we always have, by figuring out how to do what we do within the boundaries they set.

  8. 8 Michael Schacht Crocker Motorcycle Co Nov 14th, 2008 at 7:48 am

    I just got off the phone with Borat. He said no EPA compliance in his town yet and lots of room in the chicken coup for nice bike building guest.

  9. 9 alan Nov 14th, 2008 at 9:39 am

    everybody take his license plate of and send it back to the dmv and everybody ride with no plate
    that just a start to say stop

  10. 10 Jeff Nicklus Nov 14th, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Not long ago I was talking to a “Friend” at NHTSA who informed me, unofficially, that sometime in mid 2009 EPA/DOT will be instituting a reporting system wherein we as manufacturers will be mandated to report quarterly the number of “complete kit bikes we sold and to whom those kits were sold, the number of individual frames we sold and to whom they were sold and the number of MSO’s we issued for “Incomplete motor vehicles” and associated parts therein and to whom they were issued….” This reporting system will be used as a “double check and balance system” so that EPA/DOT could keep track of the motorcycle built under the “Once in a lifetime exemption” regulation.

    Ahhhhh another shinning moment for Big Brother!

    Over & Out,


  11. 11 Nicker Nov 14th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    That “once in a lifetime exemption” is out-n-out bullshit. It pretends to be for guys like me who no longer “sell” scooter. But it isn’t. It’s simply a control mechanism. I should be able to build (or buy) as may scooters as i like. It isn’t about air quality because i can only ride one scooter at a time. Those that i don’t ride sit in the garage and have no effect on air quality.

    It’s obviously about controlling you guys who build and sell bikes. Which is also bullshit. You should be able to build and sell as many bikes as you want. The air quality component involves how many bikes are actually ridden. And that could easily be managed by issuing the operator a licence plate, instead of plating each bike. It’s tough to operate a bike without a plate.

    For now, my solution is the. To get a 32 highboy on the road ya need a old title and frame.
    If that works for the car guys, it should work for a scooter.

    Got a licensed 59 BSA A10 on the frame rail. No one’s keeping me from stuffing a supercharged 2 liter motor into it and running it under the original title. Hell my only problem is finding the time to finish it.

    My version of Civil disobedience……… :-).


  12. 12 Jeff Nicklus Nov 14th, 2008 at 5:39 pm


    I couldn’t agree more!

    Good luck with the 32 Highboy!

    Over & Out,


  13. 13 Nicker Nov 15th, 2008 at 10:44 pm


    “… Good luck with the 32 Highboy!…”

    That was just an example.
    Those things are megabux out-a my range.

    I’ll just keep on hammering on my A-10…
    Finally ready for an Eaton M60 blower, … at the right price of course…. 🙂


  14. 14 Luke Nov 17th, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I hate to point a finger at another group of motor-heads, but bear with me. Can’t you take any hot-rod, muscle car, classic, etc…. with the original title on the fame, and pretty much stuff any big block with a blower or super charger in between the rails? I’m pretty certain that none of these re-built cars has to go to emissions testing in any state, and you never have a problem at the DMV getting your plate. Nobody is telling car builders ‘only one in your lifetime and you can’t sell it for 5 years’! Sure, they have CAT converters, but they still suck fuel to the tune of 8 MPG.

    Does anyone agree with me on this?

  15. 15 Jeff Nicklus Nov 17th, 2008 at 3:59 pm


    I think you may be missing something here. Yes, you can buy an existing car and stuff whatever motor you can fit in the engine compartment and you can do that as many times as you like. Also you can buy an existing motorcycle and build the bike however you like and do that as many times as you like ….. what you can not do is buy a NEW Frame and build a new motorcycle and do that over and over again. There is a “Once in a lifetime” exemption to do so with a “New motor Vehicle-motorcycle”. Today this applies to motorcycles and will soon be the same for cars. Once EPA/Dot gets the motorcycle industry under control the cars will be next. Beware of Big Brother!

    Over & Out,


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