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Old 03-06-2013, 04:16 PM   #1
mabuz OP
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Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Western PA
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Question Buying Dirtbike with Bill of Sale Only? (PA)

Hey everyone,

I wanted to get some opinions on this from some of the more knowledgable folks here.

Wife and I have our first kid on the way now, so Ive been thinking about selling my XR650L, or trading it for a dirt only bike again. I found a guy locally (craigslist) that was looking to trade his dirt bike for a street legal bike, and is interested in trading straight up for my bike.

In talking with him a little more, planning on when/where we can meet to look at the bikes, I mention I have a clean title in hand, and ask him about the title for his bike. He says yeah, I have it and its clean...but its still in the original owners name, form Missouri or somewhere, and he can only really do a bill of sale for it.

I guess the title was never signed off into his name, so he is unable to transfer it to himself, and in turn transfer it to me, so he can only do the deal through a bill of sale. He says he has no way to get ahold of the old owner, so now aim wondering if this is legit or not.

I spoke with a notary to ask about this and was told that in PA any motorcycle must be transferred and registered through the state. Now, I am the type that thinks the state is always just trying to get more of your money any way they can and questioned the need to title an off-road only bike. The notary said if it was an ATV I could get away with this, but being a motorcycle, even one that is not street legal, a title has to accompany it here.

My biggest concern is to be sure this isn't a stolen bike, could care less if the state misses out of their transfer fees or not.

Am I worrying for nothing here since he does have a title, just not in his name...or is something fishy? I have owned dirt bikes, ATVs, and street bikes in the past, and have always had a title with them, $60 or so is not much to make things smooth and legit in case of a sale. I also know of guys that buy used dirt bikes without titles because they don't care, and will never have their bikes on a public use area or roadway.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:27 PM   #2
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Are you ever going to want to sell the bike? The problem will be even worse then.

Whether you want to do what is essentially an "under the table" transaction is up to you. Really HE should title it in his name and THEN sell it. For him to do that, is there more than just the title fee at stake for him? Like sales tax plus interest and penalties on the couple of years he dodged the tax.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:01 PM   #3
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Location: NEPA Right at Base of Blue Mountain Ski Area .5 mi
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Besides you who is ever gonna know? No one has ever asked me for any owners paperwork for any of mine or my sons bike. I've been to plenty of hare scrambles and different events and no one ever checked anything. Now a street legal Enduro bike I wouldn't touch without a title. Trying to get one after the fact is a real PITA.

I recently bought a used PW50 for christmas without a title? It traded hands 3~4 times before we bought it.

Get a bill of sale and get that notarized along with the original title or certificate of origin in the case of an off road only bike. Having those documents will prove ownership and really isn't that all that your really worried about? Proving that you legally purchased the bike!
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Old 03-08-2013, 08:19 AM   #4
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I bought a used 2003 YZ250F several yrs ago for my son. I hadn't bought a dirt bike in a long time and didn't think about titles. I do have a bill of sale but that's it. I've had the bike for about 5yrs and no one has asked to prove it's mine I've bought off rd permits for it from time to time and still no one has asked for proof of ownership.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:04 AM   #5
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Location: Philthadelphia, Pennsylvania
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I would pass on the bike for a couple reasons.
If you are ever stopped on the bike, it can be confiscated by the Police until you prove ownership.
As long as that bike is titled in someone else's name, they can still make claim on it and say it was stolen.
Aside from being out of what you pay/trade for that bike, you risk being charged with receiving stolen property.
And as another inmate said, you'll have problems selling the bike as well.
Pennsylvania requires all motor vehicles to have a title.
Registration is only required when the bike is street legal and will be used on the road.
There is a separate type of registration for ATVs.
I'm going mainly by memory here.
I can look it up for you if you want, but I would suggest you pass on this bike or any other bike that has no title.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:08 PM   #6
mabuz OP
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Location: Western PA
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No need to look it up, what you posted was pretty much what the notary told me.

I am passing on this. Sending texts back and forth with this guy makes me feel more and more uneasy with how he's responding to things. Story changes bit by bit with the more questions I ask him. Just getting an overall bad feeling on it, not worth the trouble.

Thanks for all the replies though guys.
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:36 PM   #7
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My suggestion was going to be to get copy of the title he has and do some research,,,,, first, take the VIN to a local popo and have him run it. Then do a bit of research and maybe locate the person listed on the title to get them to sign it.

If it was a bike you really couldn't live without then it might be worth the leg work.

In the end,,, an offroad bike without a title or MSO isn't that uncommon and it's up to you to make the call. Sounds like you make the right call considering the sellers attitude.
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:00 AM   #8
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If you ever wish to ride in Canada (for Example) you may need to prove the bike is yours crossing the border either way.
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