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  1. #1

    Default California registration question.

    alright so Iím new to this whole chopper thing.

    Anyways, I bought a shovelhead thatís been put in a survivor frame from some time in the 70s I was told. The frame is all molded and painted this bitchiní sparkle blue... I canít see the vin on the frame and I really donít want to grind off the paint, but I will if it means getting this thing legally titled. All I can do is forge a bill of sale from the p.o. I live in California. Is it better to register as special construction? I heard someone mention ďborrowingĒ a License plate. What do you all think?

    ! Thanks!

    Kevymetal

  2. #2
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    What year is the motor? If the motor is 69 and earlier the title goes with it, not the frame. Early frames had no vin.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxblood View Post
    What year is the motor? If the motor is 69 and earlier the title goes with it, not the frame. Early frames had no vin.
    Take your bike to your local indy shop and have them take a look. My only other recommendation is DONT take short cuts. Thats how you loose your bike and go to jail. Besides, how can you really enjoy jamming not knowing your bike is legal, or even stolen. Forging is exactly what you said: Forging. And "borrowing" a license plate? No way. Dont get wrapped up in "Ive got a chopper and just have to ride it now", or "Ill never get caught"

    You didnt answer: What year is the motor. Like what was said, 69 and earlier you dont have a prob

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    I hope you didn't pay much or got an epic parts deal if you did. What posessed you to buy a motorcycle without a title?

    Don't do ANY retarded shit like borrowing plates and consider whoever suggested it a dumbass. It's only a TOY like all motorcycles and no toy is worth getting busted. Bubbas do a lot of stupid shit to vehicles so don't imitate Bubba.

    The paint should not be a consideration. That's a trifling priority. I'd make damn sure I knew were every number or removed number was on a mystery bike and since it was cheap enough to buy without a title it's cheap enough to be sure some dumbass didn't alter existing numbers. Since it doesn't have title there is a REASON it doesn't have title and none of those reasons are good news.

    If it's not titled to a (generator style) engine (that also means you KNOW the belly numbers and serial are correct!) then title passes with frame one way or the other. "Survivor" is just hipster bullshit meaning "old" and frames are cheap.

    If such a creature showed up in my hands I'd tear it apart axle-to-axle, blast the frame to inspect for numbers, and since I'd have no MSO probably replace the frame with a titled frame from another state (used frames are easy to make into great drivetrain caddies). However that doesn't solve the engine number issue. If it's hot you can lose the bike. Aftermarket cases are reasonable and stock cases are only special if they're generator cases ($$$) while cone cases aren't very good so no loss to replace.

    A motorcycle is nothing but a pile of money on wheels. Decide what you want then let the dollar figures + legality determine the best route to get there. That machine or drivetrain HAD a title and whoever has that title owns it, not you under the eyes of the law. Don't feel bad because it's a common noob mistake but now you have a motorcycle-shaped pile of parts needing a legit title however you get that.

    When you buy a bike without title it should be considered a parts machine when you live where laws are actually enforced, but HDs are easy to sort out if you wrench or are willing to learn. If you're not already or eager to become a skilled motorcycle mechanic there's no point in owning a Shovel but if you are they can be a lot of vintage mechanical fun.

  5. #5
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    I think most people have fudged the state's paperwork a little when someone forgot to sign the odometer statement or something equally mundane and stupid for a legally acquired vehicle.

    The laws used to be deliberately designed to frustrate people and drive them insane. The DMV women were trained by the KGB to look and find some technical bit of nonsense to deny you your purchase at the last second. They spent hours before work smiling condescendingly into the mirror to be sure they had "the look" down just right when they did so.. After you left, they all went into the back room and laughed at how easy it was, and offered a burnt offering to Ralph Nader.

    But, that is for a 100% straight up, legal, thing you acquired in a morally defensible way.. Even if you were caught? The infraction is a technical one. You bought this and it really is yours. It was not stolen. Everyone acted in good faith. The only problem was hurtling through the state obstacle course.

    If you're talking about straight up faking title documents, that's a felony in many states and it will stick.. Because there's no real defense for it.

    If the bike comes up stolen, it would be completely reasonable for a judge or a police officer to assume that you stole it or you knew it was stolen and you just didn't care.

    So.. You might want to take that into consideration when making your decision.
    Last edited by confab; 03-28-2021 at 9:06 AM.

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    PS: OTOH, it IS California..

    With all the problems they have? They'd probably laugh and give you community service for something this mundane.

    Maybe even a Good Citizen award.

  7. #7

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    The motor is ‘72...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by docmel View Post
    Take your bike to your local indy shop and have them take a look. My only other recommendation is DONT take short cuts. Thats how you loose your bike and go to jail. Besides, how can you really enjoy jamming not knowing your bike is legal, or even stolen. Forging is exactly what you said: Forging. And "borrowing" a license plate? No way. Dont get wrapped up in "Ive got a chopper and just have to ride it now", or "Ill never get caught"

    You didnt answer: What year is the motor. Like what was said, 69 and earlier you dont have a prob
    Motor is ‘72. Thanks for the advise. I realize after reading some responses that it’s definitely not worth going to jail for something that could have been avoided.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    I hope you didn't pay much or got an epic parts deal if you did. What posessed you to buy a motorcycle without a title?

    Don't do ANY retarded shit like borrowing plates and consider whoever suggested it a dumbass. It's only a TOY like all motorcycles and no toy is worth getting busted. Bubbas do a lot of stupid shit to vehicles so don't imitate Bubba.

    The paint should not be a consideration. That's a trifling priority. I'd make damn sure I knew were every number or removed number was on a mystery bike and since it was cheap enough to buy without a title it's cheap enough to be sure some dumbass didn't alter existing numbers. Since it doesn't have title there is a REASON it doesn't have title and none of those reasons are good news.

    If it's not titled to a (generator style) engine (that also means you KNOW the belly numbers and serial are correct!) then title passes with frame one way or the other. "Survivor" is just hipster bullshit meaning "old" and frames are cheap.

    If such a creature showed up in my hands I'd tear it apart axle-to-axle, blast the frame to inspect for numbers, and since I'd have no MSO probably replace the frame with a titled frame from another state (used frames are easy to make into great drivetrain caddies). However that doesn't solve the engine number issue. If it's hot you can lose the bike. Aftermarket cases are reasonable and stock cases are only special if they're generator cases ($$$) while cone cases aren't very good so no loss to replace.

    A motorcycle is nothing but a pile of money on wheels. Decide what you want then let the dollar figures + legality determine the best route to get there. That machine or drivetrain HAD a title and whoever has that title owns it, not you under the eyes of the law. Don't feel bad because it's a common noob mistake but now you have a motorcycle-shaped pile of parts needing a legit title however you get that.

    When you buy a bike without title it should be considered a parts machine when you live where laws are actually enforced, but HDs are easy to sort out if you wrench or are willing to learn. If you're not already or eager to become a skilled motorcycle mechanic there's no point in owning a Shovel but if you are they can be a lot of vintage mechanical fun.

    Thanks for the reply. Honestly what possessed me was the esthetic of the bike. I got too excited right out the gates and I figured how hard could it be to obtain a title?.... what I didn’t think about was the thing could very well be stolen. Maybe I’m a dumbass. After reading some replies, I realize what not to do. Nonetheless, it’s in my garage and I’m gonna put in some work and see what I can learn. My last bike was an Ironhead and enjoyed every minute of riding and wrenching (mostly wrenching). I like the vintage route. Old stuff has more character in my opinion.

    The bike was the previous owners’ project and he ran out of garage space with several other bikes being built.
    It is not the original motor in this frame.
    It’s got delkron cases that read ‘72. ‘84 rotary top trans. It’s got a wide glide with 18” and 21” star hub wheels and ape hangers. I got a good deal but still payed too much to gamble on...

    Sounds like I need to strip the frame to get to the numbers and go from there....
    better yet maybe just part it out and buy a bike with some paperwork....
    not sure what to do.

  10. #10
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    There are companies that get titles for cars, trucks and motorcycles. I'm not talking AAA here. Look in your area for one of these companies and talk to them.

  11. #11
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    As Californian 33ers mention there were quite a few bikes (ahem) questionably acquired by gangs then snuck back into the system so a title service won't avoid that potential problem.

    However cases and frames are affordable thanks to the aftermarket. The non-serially controlled parts don't matter so ya may as well keep those, and aftermarket engine cases are superior parts. Ya could consider it a reason to build a higher end bike than you intended. For example you could buy or build an aftermarket generator (far more desirable than cone) bottom end or a hybrid alternator primary side/generator timing side engine for the best of both worlds and every possible frame style is for sale new with an MSO. Old frames make great drivetrain caddies so even that doesn't go to waste ( I now keep an eye out for more to slay as I love mine).

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    As Californian 33ers mention there were quite a few bikes (ahem) questionably acquired by gangs then snuck back into the system so a title service won't avoid that potential problem.

    However cases and frames are affordable thanks to the aftermarket. The non-serially controlled parts don't matter so ya may as well keep those, and aftermarket engine cases are superior parts. Ya could consider it a reason to build a higher end bike than you intended. For example you could buy or build an aftermarket generator (far more desirable than cone) bottom end or a hybrid alternator primary side/generator timing side engine for the best of both worlds and every possible frame style is for sale new with an MSO. Old frames make great drivetrain caddies so even that doesn't go to waste ( I now keep an eye out for more to slay as I love mine).

    This is something I will consider!

    Just to be clear....

    Could I transplant my motor and trans into a new frame with an MSO and be able to acquire a title that way?

  13. #13

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    Try registering as special constuction ONLY if you are sure it is not stolen.You would need reciepts for all the parts and a California Highway Patrol check. If all checks a blue metal stamp is rivited to the frame by CHP. if there are any numbers on the motor that indicate a previous state registration, CHP will run the numbers to see if they turn up stolen.If they do, you will loose the bike, but have legal grounds to get your money back from the person you bought it from, assuming you got some kind of reciept that you bought it from him. Good luck

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