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Getting a Title for an Old Dirt Bike

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Hey guys.

I am looking to buy an off road only dirt bike from 1987. I live in Ohio and titles were not required for off road vehicles that long ago. Does anybody know if you can get a title for a bike this old? And if so, how?

Thanks.

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Ohio is pretty easy all around with titles but you have to follow some rules.

* Make sure it really is a dirt bike and not a dual sport with the lights ripped off. If it was ever a dual sport (e.g., a 1979 ke100, XT350 or old DT), then it had a title when it was new and you won't be able to get one now.

* Make absolutely positively sure it has never been issued a title (dirt or street). If it has and the guy lost it (or the guy he bought it from lost it), you will not be able to get a title.

* Play dumb and offer only the information they need. For example, I screwed myself once for volunteering for no reason that a bike at one time was owned in Illinois. She said, "oh really?" then pulled out a giant book that looked like it was 20 years old. Looked up Illinois and said, "yep, they titled dirt bikes back then. you need to get the original from the guy in Illinois" Doh!

* I've had some people tell me that, technically, if you follow the ORC to the letter then only the original owner can be issued a title, making it illegal to sell a dirtbike without one. In other words, before the other guy can sell you this bike, he's legally required to get a title first. I don't know how strict this is, though, because used dirt bikes still change hands all the time without titles. Still, if you want to play this card, you could use it to persuade the guy you're buying the bike from to get the title first.

* Likewise, I've also been told the easiest and quickest way to get a title on a previously non-titled dirt bike is to walk in and say, "hey, i've owned this old dirtbike for 25 years and want to sell it. how do I get a title?" Of course, you should only do this if it's true :lol:

* What you need will vary from a signed affidavit that you're the legal owner (that they give you and you can sign there) to an original bill of sale from the dealer or MSO (good luck with that one!).

* Once you get the off-road-only title, you can convert it to a street title with very little effort in Ohio. However, you can never go back to a dirt title. So, if you go street, make sure you really want to have to buy plates every year because you can't go back to off-road only (which only requires a sticker every three years)

Of course, the main rule is if you don't like what you hear at one local BMV office, drive to the next one. Chances are you'll get a different answer and with your previous experience will have a better idea of what to say.

Good luck. Let us know how it works out and what you had to do.

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* Make absolutely positively sure it has never been issued a title (dirt or street). If it has and the guy lost it (or the guy he bought it from lost it), you will not be able to get a title.

not true. You can get a title by purchasing a title bond from your insurance company.

I bought a drz400 that had a title and was registered... the guy said there was a lien on the title(total lie) and he didn't have the title. Long story short, I never got the title after 6months of dealing with the seller. I purchased a title bond from my insurance company.(usually a % of the cost of the vehicle) and got a title issued in my name.

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title bond huh? i got hosed in a vehicle purchase that in fact has a liened title. who exactly do i contact about said bond?

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title bond huh? i got hosed in a vehicle purchase that in fact has a liened title. who exactly do i contact about said bond?

if it has a liened title, it may be a different story. My deal infact did not have a leined title. The seller I bought it from got hosed on a deal and didnt get the title from the seller he bought it from..... long story but the title was clear it just wasn't in the correct hands.

I would start by contacting the DMV and tell them your story. Iowa has a vehicle enforcement division of the DMV that looks into stuff like this free of charge. You just send them a written explanation of the situation and all your documentation and they will investigate it for you.

If they can't resolve the issue then they will usually send you the paperwork to get a title bond from your insurance company. You submit that with your information for registration and you get a title made out in your name that is bonded for 3 years.

Basically it insures that if anyone comes back in the next 3 years and claims to be the owner and produces the title, the insurance company will pay them the value of the vehicle.

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not true. You can get a title by purchasing a title bond from your insurance company.

I bought a drz400 that had a title and was registered... the guy said there was a lien on the title(total lie) and he didn't have the title. Long story short, I never got the title after 6months of dealing with the seller. I purchased a title bond from my insurance company.(usually a % of the cost of the vehicle) and got a title issued in my name.

TRUE! You are right.

Of course, you can do just about anything if you throw enough time and money at it.

There are a ton of used bikes out there. It's almost always better to walk away, especially if you're not sure you're getting the full story!

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TRUE! You are right.

Of course, you can do just about anything if you throw enough time and money at it.

There are a ton of used bikes out there. It's almost always better to walk away, especially if you're not sure you're getting the full story!

You got that right!!!! If I had to do it over again I would have bailed on the deal. It wasn't worth the hassle I had to go thru to get a title.

I was just trying to give everyone an option if they ever ran into a similar situation as I did. :bonk:

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Every state has different laws and rules about this so it can be very confusing. That said it seems getting a bonded title is becoming the easiest and most efficient way to obtain a title for a vehicle that does not have one. Contact the state office that issues titles and don't take the runaround for an answer...ask for the person's supervisor and keep working your way up until you get to the right person who knows the answers and can give you the info you need.

In Illinois you are required to have the vehcle inspected by a police officer assigned to this task and then have it appraised and the bond must be for one and one half times the appraised value. I'm sure Ohio has a variation on this. It sounds complicated and like it's a hassle but be patient, it's worth it in the long run.

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