Are Dirt Bikes Street Legal In England?

Not long ago I bought an Honda XR80 for my son to ride as his first dirt bike and wanted to know if it was road legal here in England as it didn’t have a number plate. Here is what I found.

To make a dirt bike street legal in England you must have a Certificate Of Newness from the manufacturer, valid MOT, NOVA declaration, V5 Log Book, Insurance and a Number Plate. You can apply to make any dirt bike road legal by going through the process of obtaining each of these.

In this post I’ll cover the process in more detail to explain what each element is and how to get obtain it. You need to do things in order because you wont be able to get a V5 Logbook without a NOVA declaration for example.

Certificate Of Newness

Your first step to making a dirt bike legal to ride on the road in England.

This is sometimes called a conformity cert and is a document from the manufacturer that you can use to inform the DVLA of the bikes spec. This includes the size of the engine and year of manufacturer.

For my XR80 I would us the Honda link below and request one by simply providing my bike details link frame number.

Here are some of the main dirtbike manufacturers found on UK roads with direct links to their websites where you can request you certificate. If you have another manufacturer just Google them.




Dirt Bike MOT

Taking an off road bike for an MOT is not as easy as it perhaps should be. The person doing the MOT can interpret the pass rules in different ways and this leads to different test centres passing what other places would fail.

One thing for sure is that you bike will need to have a horn to pass and thing can be fitted independently to the bike power supply, meaning grabbing a horn from eBay and wiring it up under your seat or similar is probably the easiest and most cost effective option.

Other criteria will vary from test centre to test centre. For example if you have no lights then some will pass you and state ‘no lights present at the time of testing’ and will state a day time only MOT.

Rules also vary for if you do have lights and dont use them because you ride in the day but they dont work. You may get away with painting them over, or masking them up and some will only pass if the light works.

Other factotrs include indicators, which may or may not be required, and if you need a chain guard.

One of the best ways of getting your MOT cert is to talk through the requirements prior to the test or but it through and see what comes back before correcting anything and retesting.

For the sake of making the bike raod legal, you just need an MOT regardless if it says daytime only or not.

NOVA Declaration

With a valid MOT and Newness Cert in hand the third step is to apply for the NOVA decleration.

NOVA stands for Notification Of Vehicle Arrival and is applied for to the HRMC and then used to apply for UK registration with the DVLA. This came into existence in 2013 as a way to help prevent fraud of incoming vehicles onto the country

If you have imported the bike to permantly reside in England then you have 2 weeks from the arrival date.

V55/5 Log Book

Every vehicle registered on the road in the UK will have a log book which details the vehicles spec and owner info. You must have one of these to tax the vehicle and when selling if the vehicle is road registered.

If you are thinking of buying a second hand road registered dirt bike then make sure the seller has one of these is their name. I mention this is my Ultimate Buyers Guide for Used Dirt Bikes along with a load more must do checks, so be sure to check it out if you are considering buying second hand.

To apply for the log book you need to submit your info to the DVLA and they will ask for the previously gained docs during your application.

Here’s the link

Number Plate

Your V5 log book will have your new registration number on it and you will need this proof of ownership along with ID to be able to get a number plate made up for your bike.

Places like Halfords will make up a plate whilst you wait providing you have your documentation.

Bike Insurance

Finally you can get your bike insured and you are fully road legal. In following years you will need to get road tax but for now this should of been part of the log book appliction process, covering you for the first year.

It’s usually worth having a little shop around for motorbike insurance as pricing can vary just like all insurances. I personally like using a comparison type site like which is built for bikes rather than ones like Gocompare with is for all vehilces.

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