Insurance/Registration For Old Bikes w/ Engine Swaps

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by nicholastanguma, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. nicholastanguma

    nicholastanguma nicholastanguma

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    As far as I know an old moto, 70s and older, is pretty much good to go for any engine swap I can fit between the rails, right? Or does this only legally "work" if the number of cylinders remains the same?

    Meaning, for instance, if I had an old Royal Enfield Bullet with a vertical single cylinder engine and had cut and chopped and welded the frame and then shoehorned an Aermacchi horizontal single in place of the verticle then registration and insurance wouldn't care since the bike's VIN would have remained unchanged?
    #1
  2. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    In Illinois, you'd be fine. I don't know about New York State. Here they just go off the frame number. They are also pretty ignorant of the old bikes. For example, I had to explain to them what "BSA" stood for. The guy I was talking to had never heard of such a brand. I guess he was born long after they went out of business.

    If you want to really do up your Enfield, maybe consider a Harley-ish looking V-twin. I don't know how far back they can retrofit, but I think it looks pretty cool.
    #2
  3. mykill

    mykill odd

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    It's probably all fine until something goes wrong. Insurance companies will take any opportunity to not pay out on a claim. Some things like a 1000cc in place of a 500 my go unnoticed but major mods may.
    #3
  4. concours

    concours WFO for 44 years

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    Nobody cares. I know of NO STATE in the US that attempts to record/enforce engine numbers.
    SOME manufacturers stamped them to match (GM)
    SOME did not (FORD)
    So, rediculous for them to attempt any of that.
    VIN only.
    #4
    JCool likes this.
  5. nicholastanguma

    nicholastanguma nicholastanguma

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    That's what I thought. Thanks.
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  6. nicholastanguma

    nicholastanguma nicholastanguma

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    Hmmm. Considering this...but not too concerned. Methinks there are so many radically modified motorcycles all over the world, from Japan to New Zealand to North America that insurance companies probably usually don't make such a fuss about it. Here's to optimism! :freaky
    #6
  7. Masterpotter

    Masterpotter Adventurer

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    If your old bike is an antique you should have insurance that is agreed value. This is usualy very cheep , and then for sure no one cares.
    Of course you should be sure the non-matching parts are not hot.
    #7
  8. nicholastanguma

    nicholastanguma nicholastanguma

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    "Agreed value," ah yes, this is a valuable tip. Thankee! :thumb
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  9. Caesars_ghost

    Caesars_ghost Air Cooled.

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    Yeah it would only be an issue in places like Germany or India, where there are, in fact, laws to prevent "unsafe" or "unapproved" aftermarket modifications. That's why the performance parts for REs tend to come out of the US and Britain, not India. India doesn't care if you put on a different seat, but slotting in a V-twin will run afoul of their law, and since everyone there knows what an Enfield is supposed to look like, it's a really obvious violation.

    In the US, in the teens and 20s, I believe some states did register cars by engine number, but they all quickly stopped for the reasons discussed. Engines get blown up, rebuilt, replaced all the time comparatively, a frame is a much better point of reference for what "makes" a particular vehicle.
    #9
  10. wheresbaoskee

    wheresbaoskee Adventurer

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    Can't speak for NY state, but in Cali the engine numbers are recorded on motorcycle titles. There might be a cut-off year for exemptions for older bikes, but I haven't dug that deeply yet. I have a spare motor that came with my KLR, so I briefly looked into how much the engine numbers matter here.

    FWIW: Doesn't seem to be that much a hassle here; although with all things DMV related there seems to be a "luck" factor involved. Learned this when I registered a diesel landcruiser here. Urban DMV was a nightmare. I barely got them to give me a temp sticker so I could drive it in for inspection without plates. When I went out to the suburbs the folks there didn't bat an eye. I left with plates and reg the same day.

    Short thread on the topic:

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/has-anyone-in-ca-had-to-change-engine-s-on-a-title.419597/
    #10
  11. nicholastanguma

    nicholastanguma nicholastanguma

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    Hmmm, interesting read, and very very valuable, I think; thanks for the link.
    #11
  12. nicholastanguma

    nicholastanguma nicholastanguma

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    Actually, I'm kind of depending on this.

    I suppose I'm in good company here in Old's Cool when I say this: I don't care at all about plastic electronic modern machinery that's engineered to be disposable, I like the proper mechanical systems of yore that are still DIY-friendly. Even all of my automobiles are old-tech stuff; neither my wife nor I even own a "modern" daily-driver or grocery-getter.

    All of our motorcycles are 1950's to -70's stuff imported from other countries decades after their original manufacture--none of our insurers know or care specifics about makes and models that are so foreign and/or obsolete.
    #12