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Old 12-02-2008, 12:45 PM   #1
briang
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Default I'm thinking of building a custom bike/trike

I'm wondering what the process would be to make it road legal. Where would I take it to get inspected? What is involved in the registration process? It's most likely gonna be from the ground up, rather then getting a bike and trying to change it.

Last edited by briang; 12-02-2008 at 12:56 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:26 PM   #2
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Check with your local DMV about getting it registered.In NC we used to be able to get something similar registered as salvage or lost title. Now if you make a VW trike with salvage parts they want proof of title for each main part, ie: title for VW rear end and title for Harley front end.Try to get those when all you bought is a part of a vehicle. Make sure to grind off any VIN numbers if that's the way your state operates. Your DMV should give you direction in what will be required.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:36 PM   #3
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Thanks i was gonna Head over to the DMV tomorrow, figured I'd try and save the trip. That's a good bit of info to know about needing titles for the main parts.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:11 PM   #4
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some states (not sure about yours) have a "Home Built" title, these are usually used for trailers, but anything home built can be titles this way. I have known a few people that built trikes (well ok, it was a dad or uncle of some friends of mine ) and they never had a problem getting them titled and licensed (then again, this was 20 years ago or more) Good Luck!!
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briang View Post
I'm wondering what the process would be to make it road legal. Where would I take it to get inspected? What is involved in the registration process? It's most likely gonna be from the ground up, rather then getting a bike and trying to change it.
I'm afraid you're in for a long and expensive ride. PA totally changed the process for "special construction" and "R-Title" (reconstructed) vehicles. A trike would probably be considered special construction. Not just any inspection station can do the paperwork and inspection anymore, it has to be a specially "certified" station. There was a lot of bs and expense in obtaining this special cert so most of us opted out of it. Since there are very few stations that do it, they can pretty much name their own price and from what I hear, it can vary from $200 to $800. Also, if there isn't one real handy to you, you have the hassle and expense of a long transport...with no guarantee it will pass. I used to do the paperwork and inspection, just for the cost of the annual inspection...$20.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcn View Post
Check with your local DMV about getting it registered.In NC we used to be able to get something similar registered as salvage or lost title. Now if you make a VW trike with salvage parts they want proof of title for each main part, ie: title for VW rear end and title for Harley front end.Try to get those when all you bought is a part of a vehicle. Make sure to grind off any VIN numbers if that's the way your state operates. Your DMV should give you direction in what will be required.
Sorry, I posted the other before I saw this. Marcn is right...in PA, they want the VIN from every vehicle that you salvage parts from (I don't think you need the title) and you have to have the sales slip for all new parts, for proof you paid the sales tax.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:48 PM   #7
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Wow, that's a kick in the nuts right there. Thanks for the heads up. Well the idea is still in its infancy, one more thing to consider. Think the DMV will have a list of shops that could do it?
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:56 PM   #8
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ask if the State Patrol can do it, I nkow this isn't PA, it's Missouri hehe, but at one of the State highway Patrol stations (about a 20 min. drive from my house) they do inspections like that, for salvage vehicles and Special Construction (that's what I meant before, with the home built, I just couldn't remember the name )
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:05 PM   #9
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^ That would be great since I can practically hit the local barracks with a rock from the end of my driveway. Not really its about five miles.
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:35 PM   #10
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Gol, you're thinkin' logically and in PA, that unfortunately doesn't apply. A few years ago, that was an option but the PA State Police are no longer overseeing the inspection program, except for school buses. The DOT "diesel cops" are still State Police staphed but the rumor is, they want out of that too.

It sucks, 'coz the cops were relatively easy to deal with but these new "District Inspection Officers" can be real a$$holes. They're like the DOT cops...not a damned clue about what they're looking at. Most of them have no mechanical background or experience and they'll try to fine you, for something that's perfectly legal. In order to avoid a rant, I'll just say that "Yes, PennDOT can provide you with a list of the specially certified inspection stations." A local station may also have a listing available.

The DOT makes most all of the inspection regulations available online but last I looked, they were long out of date.
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:40 PM   #11
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One thing that may get you around the crap; Buy a bike, get it registered,strip it down and do your rebuild but keep that bikes VIN # frame. If you keep it two wheeled, it's all good.
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Gol, you're thinkin' logically
damn, I knew that something was wrong there, since I am talking about Government LOL (even if it is just local )
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:49 PM   #13
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It sucks the toopers don't do it anymore.

marcn You had a good idea and if I decide to do a bike, that's what I'll do. But I'm leaning more towards a trike and using a small four or six cylinder from a car, auto trans with manual valve body and a narrowed car rear axle.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:08 PM   #14
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VW's work great for that with the engine in the rear. Good luck and post pics along the way
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goliath616 View Post
damn, I knew that something was wrong there, since I am talking about Government LOL (even if it is just local )
It's all politics, really. The cops want out from under the manpower drain and the DOT doesn't want the responsibility either. With all the infighting and backstabbing going on, nobody wants to make a decision on anything or take responsibility for enforcement. Everyone's so spooked that nobody wants to pass anything at all questionable, for fear of getting busted. Here, our driver's license and inspection licenses are linked and if we lose our inspection license, our driver's license goes with it....it sucks.
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:35 AM   #16
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Once you find out who will be doing the inspection, go spend a few minutes with him on a day he's not busy. Tell him your plan, and get him involved. The "better to do it first and ask forgiveness later" attitude will sink you with most inspectors. He does not have to approve anything you built. By talking to him you can get an idea of what he specifically has the biggest issues with. If he wants to make sure the brakes stop, then buy brand new master cylinders and calipers. Don't even bother with used. It will give him warm fuzzies and get you past that first inspection. Ask him if you can show him a few parts along the way to give him more peace of mind. or if he just wants it all in one shot to save time.
If he thinks you sound competent, the battle is 90% over.

Then your biggest worry is that he'll leave to find a less stressful job, and the new guy will have an entirely different approach.
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:55 AM   #17
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Also remember....Thanks to the EPA you can now only build 1 custom in your lifetime, be sure you like what you build. At least that's what I heard.
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