Have you ever heard the hum of a motor when you’re somewhere remote and wondered what the source is of that invigorating racket? Chances are, moments later, some muddy but exhilarated dirt biker emerged from the woods, speckled with dirt and grinning from helmeted ear to ear. As more people look to the great outdoors to spend their leisure time — often closer to home than picking up the family and boarding a plane — now is the perfect time to find a new or used dirtbike to put some horsepower behind your adventures. One question you might have – are dirt bikes considered motor vehicles, like motorcycles? In short, yes, so they require similar licensing to own and operate as their choppier counterparts.
In Canada, there are many fewer motorcycles and dirt bikes than in the U.S. — 700K vs approx 13M. Thus, you have a much wider buying pool in the U.S. and may get a much better deal. Sadly, you can’t just buy a vehicle in the U.S. and chuck it in your car, cross the border to Canada and be done with it.
Don’t worry, we can help. Choosing dirt bikes for you and your (mature, able to handle the equipment) friends or family is rewarding, exciting, and easier than ever. Consider the border disappeared, that’s our promise to you. So don’t feel discouraged if the motorbike of your dreams is in Idaho and you’re in Nanaimo, B.C. We can get it to you.
Conformity with Laws
You’re legally required to keep records proving evidence of conformity for at least 6 years post date of the manufacture. If the records are maintained on your behalf, by a third party (like BorderBuddy), you must keep a record of the name, address and information of the person who keeps those records. With us, it’s part of our process.
The Canadian government recommends making necessary arrangements in preparation for showing evidence of conformity with the laws within the timeframe laid out by the government. It is unlikely, but possible that these records will be requested by the Minister of the Environment.
Be sure that your dirt bike/off road motorcycle outlined in the conformity/EPA certificate matches your product. It’s a no brainer, but we err on the side of caution so that you don’t get any surprises.
The Legalities of it all – Importing a Bike from the USA into Canada
As a country trying its hardest to preserve natural beauty and manage emission targets, it’s not a surprise that Canada has stringent laws when it comes to importing exhaust creating (carbon emission generating) products, be they farm equipment or leisure craft, like dirt bikes.
From the Government of Canada website:
“Emission standards for on-road motorcycles are governed under the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations (regulations) established under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA).
Your BorderBuddy expert will be able to answer any questions about duties and regulations. You can also try our free calculator to see what it will cost to bring or export your dirt bike.
Required Reading: What Is Considered an “On-Road Motorcycle”
On-road motorcycles have been defined for emission purposes as on-road vehicles with a headlight, taillight and stoplight that have two or three wheels and a curb weight of 793 kilograms (kg) (1749 pounds) or less. Any motorcycle that can’t exceed 40km (25mph for our non-metric buddies) on paved ground isn’t seen as an “on-road vehicle”. Simply put, any “motorcycle type” vehicle not considered to be an on-road vehicle is recognized as an “off-road recreational vehicle”. They carry their own emission standards under the Marine Spark-Ignition Engine, Vessel and Off-Road Recreational Vehicle Emission Regulations.
Prior to Importation
In order to bring your dirtbike into Canada or the U.S., you must follow conformity regulations for the EPA/Environment and Climate Change Canada. We’ve copied a chart below to break it down, but if it makes you more confused than confident, you know who to call *ahem*. There is also this handy guideline specifically about emissions legislation.
It’s time to start browsing! Most people buy from private sellers on Facebook Marketplace or eBay. AutoTrader is a trusted source and also sells dirt bikes and motorcycles, so it’s worth a perusal. Here are some additional resources for you, and if at any point you find yourself with questions, worries, or want an unbiased opinion on deciding between the bikes of your dreams, BorderBuddy is here to listen and chat, anytime! In the next part of this series, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to purchase, complete and import your dirt bike into Canada.