I along with many others in California have successfully registered my Sur Ron as a Moped. Each state varies in its requirements, so this only covers California.

From the California DMV Website:

Mopeds

Picture of a moped

A “motorized bicycle” or “moped” is:

  • A two or three-wheeled device, capable of no more than 30 mph on level ground, and equipped with:
    – Fully operative pedals for human propulsion.
    – A motor producing less than two gross brake horsepower and an automatic transmission.
    – An electric motor, with or without pedals for human propulsion. (CVC §406(a))

Driver must have a motorcycle license (M1 or M2).

If you operate a motorized bicycle which meets the definition of CVC §406(b), you:

– Must be 16 years of age or older.
– Must wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet.
– Are exempt from the motor vehicle financial responsibility, driver license, and moped plate requirements (CVC §12804.9).
  • A motorized bicycle is issued special license plates and identification cards, which requires a one-time $18 fee. No renewal is required.

I have highlighted the areas on the form you need to fill out and how to answer.

This link takes you to the PDF Moped application.

Many people run into the issue of the VIN not being 17 digits. My insurance company called to verify that my VIN was 15 digits. Unlike some who add letters or numbers to make their VIN 17 digits I did not. Nor did I try to ‘cheap out’ to get the lowest premium possible through online companies. Nope, my primary concern is liability if I hit someone or destroy property. Of course I would be concerned if someone stole my bike, but the real exposure to my hard earned assets is liability. Up to you to decide. Just remember cheap insurance is expensive if during a claim you are not covered well.

And in CA liability insurance is required for a moped!

OH and moped plates in CA do NOT require annual registration. So once paid you are good for life! How great is that!?

Formerly mundane errands are now fun not to mention saving wear and tear on my car. Make no mistake, my primary use for the Sur Ron is off-road and now with a valid CA Plate it is legal at all CA OHV parks too! To have it serve as a dual sport electric bike is incredible!

Just a simple piece of aluminum slightly bent is what I use to mount my moped plate to the rear tail light bracket. I use wingnuts so I can easily remove the plate when “I just wanna be a fancy electric bicycle.”

8 Comments

  1. Hey thank you so much for this! What insurance company would you recommend?

    • I use State Farm through my regular “human” agent.

      • What do you mean by “human”?

        • I suggest you address that question to the State of California since it is their statement, not mine.

          • Lol ok, so do I just hit up one of these “human” agents? State farms seems so different then all the other insurance quotes I got. Also do you know that they will pay out on a theft claim? I saw someone with progressive who had his Sur Ron stolen and progressive wouldn’t pay because he didn’t have a title but was registered as a moped.

          • Hahahaha, hey Rami I have used State Farm for decades. I CANNOT speak first hand about being reimbursed for a theft claim because I’ve not had a theft. I will say that I’ve had a house fire, three vehicles totalled, and two accidents in my lifetime. IN EACH AND EVERY CASE they covered my claim well. Yes when I was on the private FB group Geronimo had his bike stolen. I cannot remember who was his insurer, but I do know THIS. ANY insurance firm will gladly take your premiums, but the real test comes at the time you file a claim. And that great deal you though you got and bragged to your friends about doesn’t mean shit if your claim is denied. To each their own, but my personal experience with State Farm when filing a claim has been stellar. Having a real agent makes a difference to me personally. When I need to file a claim I don’t get on my computer, I talk to Carol and she handles everything….well.

            Up to you.

  2. Hi, thanks for all the info. I’m in the research phase of trying to decide whether to sell my old RM250 dirt bike to purchase one of these bikes. I also live in CA. I see that you have pedals on your bike, is that required to make it legal? I really hate pedals, lol. Also I was under the impression that these bikes were quite a bit faster than the stated 30mph limit. Do they check that when you register it?

    • Hi Christopher, I believe I may be the only human on Earth who has the pedal kit installed, so no worries. To answer your question about the CA law regarding pedals, if you read the portion of the post where I’ve quoted the DMV:

      “A “motorized bicycle” or “moped” is:

      A two or three-wheeled device, capable of no more than 30 mph on level ground, and equipped with:
      – Fully operative pedals for human propulsion.
      – A motor producing less than two gross brake horsepower and an automatic transmission.
      – An electric motor, with or without pedals for human propulsion. (CVC §406(a))

      As you can see you do NOT need pedals. No one checks, you do it all online. Hope this helps


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