Motorcycles are awesome! It’s the literal origin of “wind blowing in your hair” or “wind blowing in your helmet” if you live in the Golden state. It’s a smooth way to get around town for sure, not to mention the beautiful scenic motorbike rides in California like Angeles Crest Highway and Pacific Coast Highway One! These days, you don’t even have to sit in a dealership all day long to purchase one. It’s become quite common to buy motorcycles through private sales; Websites like Craigslist, CycleTrader, Ebay and Autotrader are helpful.
Use eTags© to Quickly Complete Your DMV Service. Renewals, Title Transfers and More, All Online!
There’s also the good old classifieds. Doing the research about the motorbike is all on you. But when you’ve done your vetting and you’re ready to buy, you must register the motorcycle with the state. There are options depending on if you want to do this in person or online with companies like eTags. Either way, read on to learn about the process!
In 2019, California had 808,377 registered motorcycles, more than any other state that year
Starting with the most basic and obvious requirement, you need to get the motorcycle title. The same way you need a title (or pink sip) for your car, you need one for your two wheels. Don’t forget the golden rule of private sale vehicle purchase! No title, no sale!
A lot of bike riders think you can transfer ownership using ONLY a registration, but you do actually need that bike title! A good tidbit to remember is that a title proves ownership, while a registration allows you to operate your vehicle on public roadways.
For the most part, the title and license plate (registration) go together, unless you won’t be riding your bike.
When registering your bike for the first time, you’ll need both documents; the title to buy it and a new registration to ride it! When you’re ready to register the motorcycle, part of the deal is transferring the title in order to get that new registration in your name.
Additionally, best practice would be to get a Bill of Sale signed too! This isn’t always a hard requirement. But for extra protection and peace of mind, it’s a great idea to have a record of the sale. If the motorbike title is not available, you can use REG 227 or “Application for Duplicate or Paperless title.”
This form has sections both for the buyer and seller, so go prepared with a copy of the document if you know there’s no title available. You need an odometer disclosure if the bike is 10 years old or younger, which you can submit on the title. But if there’s no title, you can use REG 262 “Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment form.”
Motorcycles with three wheels or a sidecar require only a Class C driver license in California
California requires all motorcycles to be insured. It’s a common misconception that you need to get the vehicle registered before getting it insured, but it’s actually the other way around. You won’t be able to register the motorcycle without valid California insurance policy. Once you have these documents, you hop, skip or jump to your local California DMV office to register. Heads up, you may need an appointment to do this in person.
SEE ALSO: 4 TIPS FOR MOTORCYCLE SAFETY
The average cost of motorcycle insurance in 2020 is $1,173 per year for a full coverage policy
Alternatively, you can do this online without ever going to the DMV! Companies like eTags will transfer your title and register your motorcycle online.You can expect specific instructions on the requirements (like all of the above documents) and how to fulfill them. It’s a fast and easy process. You can even get a digital copy of your registration while you wait a few days for it to arrive in the mail.
If your paperwork is in order and all the requirements are met, you can get the title transfer completed online in just about a week. eTags has a knowledgeable customer service team ready and willing to help with all things title and registration related. They are available Monday-Friday and you can reach them in a lot of different ways such as phone, email, text and even social media!
Depending on your California county, there is a USE tax of 7.5% to 10.25% when purchasing a motorcycle through private sale
Take advantage of having options and decide what works best for you! Ultimately, you need your motorcycle titled, insured, and registered so that your hair (or helmet) can blow safely in the wind!