While a standard dirt bike is not considered street legal in the state of Iowa, according to Off Road Bible, plenty of Iowans own and use them on a regular basis. There are mechanical procedures one could do to their dirt bike to allow for city/highway driving but most of the time, they're used for recreation. Whether they are used for trail riding or hunting, or you plan on becoming an X-Games champion, dirt bikes are flat-out fun to ride.

If someone is only using their dirt bike for off-terrain riding, does the motorcycle need to be registered in the state of Iowa?

Unsplash - Billy Freeman
Unsplash - Billy Freeman

Dirt bikes are technically considered ATVs in the sense that they are both "off-terrain vehicles, according to Dirt Bike Planet. They are meant to be driven through trails and both are made for off-road use. ATV simply stands for All-Terrain Vehicle, which is exactly what a dirt bike is.


While you may be using your dirt bike for trail riding or recreational use, they do need to be registered in the state of Iowa. According to Iowa Legis Chapter 321I

Off-road motorcycles shall be considered all-terrain vehicles for the purpose of registration. Off-road motorcycles shall also be considered all-terrain vehicles for the purpose of titling if a title has not previously been issued pursuant to Chapter 321. An operator of an off-road motorcycle is subject to provisions governing the operation of all-terrain vehicles.

The Iowa DNR also says "resident machine must display a valid, current Iowa DNR registration decal and the registration certificate but be on the operator or machine." Riders only need to display their current registration sticker and the operator will need to carry the registration certificate on board.

What To Bring With To Register

To register a dirt bike, you will need to visit the County Treasurer's office and provide these items, according to Off Road Bible.

  • A title or manufacturer's certificate of Origin
  • Bill of Sale
  • Proof of Insurance
  • VIN inspection Report
  • Bike's Odometer Statement
  • A completed Application for a certificate of title/registration
  • Receipts of all the paid fees and taxes.
  • If the bike was bought in another state - A dealer's affidavit

Did You Know?

I would've never guessed this but supposedly you can register your dirt bike in Iowa without having a title. According to Off Road Bible, Iowa does not require a title to register the bike. However, if you register the bike without a title, your registration will make the bike non-transferable. You will not be able to sell the dirt bike with a non-transferable registration.

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