Motorcycle VIN inspections - The Jockey Journal Board

Go Back   The Jockey Journal Board > General Discussion > The Board

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-06-2020, 03:41 PM   #1
karl wolf
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Mill Valley, Northern Ca.
Posts: 19
Default Motorcycle VIN inspections

I am looking for someone who has had a good experience, and fairly recently had a VIN inspection done by a CHP.
I have a fairly original looking knucklehead motorcycle that was registered in Oregon. I started the process of registration in Calif, but am concerned about the inclination of the CHP to register motorcycles as "special construction."

I am in the SF bay area, hoping to get a reference to a sympathetic CHP officer.
I hope for a responce via PRIVATE MESSAGES. So as not to complicate anyones situation. I will be willing to travel.

Thanks in advance, Karl
karl wolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 01-06-2020, 04:39 PM   #2
Super Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NJ
Posts: 7,680
Default Re: Motorcycle VIN inspections

Why would the CHP title the bike as a special construction if it's a fairly original machine? Is the VIN unaltered? What about the belly numbers?

I have no idea what the CHP check, but if the bike was registered as 1947 FL, for example, why wouldn't they just check the vin, then transfer the title?
"No one knows what they don't know." - Govmule84, Wannabe Hipster
HD48FL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2020, 05:30 PM   #3
Senior Member
JasonMcElroy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: San Jose CA
Posts: 1,124
Default Re: Motorcycle VIN inspections

I had three CHP inspections when I moved to California (Bay Area) four years ago.

Some points to consider:

- Basically, they want numbers on a frame whether it came with them originally or not. In the case of a pre-number HD frame they'll want to use a blue tag sticker

- Do NOT got to a DMV for an inspection (some offices have this service). They are far less knowledgeable than the local CHP station

- Have your supporting docs in hand. In my case I had a few pages printed out of a Palmer's book on pre-'70 HD frames. Also had old title and reg on me.

- You must specify to the inspector whether you want special construction or an original title. You *do* have this option even though some in the DMV system claim otherwise.

- Clean off any identifying numbers on your engine & frame before going and make sure they're clearly visible. This helps avoid a CF or an annoyed inspector.

- If you get an inspector who wants to spec constr your pristine oem bike, don't debate them. Just say you'd like to skip it and consider your options to address later. You are allowed to leave without the inspection.

- If you have any bikes with with a VIN that is not 17 digits, just skip the DMV and go to CHP first. Otherwise DMV will kick you out after waiting for hours in the best case, or issue you a title/reg with an incorrect VIN in the worst case.

- CA titles and registrations for motorcycles have both motor numbers and frame numbers. That's why they need to blue tag frames with no numbers.

- Make sure to take the appropriate DMV forms with you as they don't have them at the inspection station. This caused me another visit.

Here's how my three bikes turned out:

1) 1966 BSA is now titled with an incorrect VIN. They have the title I turned in showing the correct VIN (proving their admin mistake) but wont' change it without my having to go for another CHP inspection. Annoying.

2) 1958 frame 1971 motor Harley. This had been title off the motor for the last 20 years and caused me lots of worry. CHP guy walks up and says "Cool bike. Shovel motor in a drop-seat panhead frame." Then gives me a blue tag for the frame an an app for special construction title. Perfect! Years of worry over.

3) 1964 totally stock panhead. Gave me a blue sticker for frame. Let me put it on head tube almost totally obscured by headlight shroud as I requested so it wouldn't be visible on the frame tube by the motor. Made the frame number the same as my existing VIN (FLXXXX). Got a real HD title and NOT special construction.

The BSA inspection was done at the Santa Clara DMV office (avoid).

The other two were done at the CHP office on Junction Drive in San Jose. As friendly and knowledgeable an experience as one can have with the police in my opinion. Call for an appointment.

JasonMcElroy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2020, 08:29 PM   #4
Senior Member
tomsoftail's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Boston
Posts: 369
Default Re: Motorcycle VIN inspections

Great response from Jason!
I'll add that my MA title in my name for my 1948 FL was issued as xx48fl#####. Yes I do have a five digit 1948.

I had to amend this in person after a year or so. I just wasn't interested in the hassle and the cost. $100 isn't a lot of money but it goes a fair ways at a swap meet.
tomsoftail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2020, 08:42 PM   #5
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: N.California
Posts: 5
Default Re: Motorcycle VIN inspections

I am in Sonoma County and have had occasion to visit CHP for VIN verification on my motorcycles a half dozen times.

Bring every piece of paper that documents the legal ownership of the bike with you.

CHP will Blue Tag the frame, no doubt about it and that Frame tag is your new VIN.
They will tie the motor's numbers to the Blue Tag but also it will be titled as a Harley not Special Construction

Some CHP sites have Saturday Drop in hours for VIN issues and my experience in Sonoma County has been very straight forward and professional while also relaxed.

If you do opt for a Saturday visit go way early, it's first come and they do limit the vehicles they check on
FL55 is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:11 AM.