In need of help with Oregon Laws!


New Member
Local time
1:50 PM
Jun 10, 2008
Portland, Oregon
I need help on Oregon laws! I'm new to motor bicycling but am very excited to try. I currently bus/ride to work everyday which takes me about an hour, but I will be moving out in Gresham soon, and it will take me 2+ hours to bus/ride to work. The only alternative to a car seems to be to get an engine kit. I will be able to get to work in 40 min with the kit. It seems that they are very strict when it comes to putting a motor on your bike. Can someone help me figure out what is legal to buy, or suggestions on how to buy a bigger engine and get away with it? Thanks.
The long and short of it is, rack mount is pretty much your only option while still staying "legal". All of the chinese engine kits are over the 35.01cc limit imposed by our DOT. Golden Eagle (ad to your left) has kits that are under the limit which should bolt on easily but they're a bit more spendy. Expect to pay $495 to $695 depending on the kit. A GEBE four stroke will be less hassle and more dependable than a chinese 2-stroke kit though, so the extra cost may be worth it to you.

Now if you're super mechanically inclined and willing to build something yourself, you can get away with rigging a friction driven weed whacker engine (like me) and do the whole thing for around $75+ time to build.

You could help all of us by writing your local legislature to request reclassification of motor assisted bicycle to match the federal limit of 50cc instead of the 35cc limit. Unfortunately Oregon lumps motorized bikes in with scooters which gives us a bad rap. However, they do classify electric assisted cycles on their own which may give us a boost in changing the law.

Good luck and Welcome!
Is a rack mounted kit the only option because they are generally under the 35cc limit, or is it because that is the only place we are allowed to have an engine installed?
Only because of the size. I've yet to find a frame mounted kit under 48cc. There are plenty of r/c plane engines in the range we need but nobody puts them in a kit.

There are no restrictions in the law (that I've found) with respect to how the propulsion is mounted.

You could "technically" use larger than 35cc kit but it would require you to register your bicycle as a "moped" which then requires a VIN number and DOT certification of frame, etc. Basically, not gonna happen.

Good luck. Feel free to ask any questions and I'll try to answer. I researched the ODOT laws a bunch before I built my bike. Look for the thread "31cc Yardman in Progress" and you'll find my build. I just finished the mounting last night but have yet to fire it up. I'm hoping to do that tonight and post some more pics tomorrow.


True the above. My only beef with GEBE and Staton are that they are rack mounted and take away valuable hauling space. I have no doubt that there is a way to create a similar to HT kit in < 35cc range that frame mounts. My next project will be a custom frame mounted, clutched, chain driven, 23cc r/c motor. Probably with a staton gear box though... cuz those things are just cool.


So, an update to this for anybody interested. I recently wrote my senator about the law regarding this whole thing wherein I suggested that the law be revised to increase the allowed engine size to 50cc from 35cc to match the federal regulation... and wouldn't you know it, they found out how I can get a VIN and title for my bike and then classify it as a Moped. Gee thanks senator.

So, anybody interested should look up DMV form 550 which will allow you to register your bike as a custom built moped and receive a VIN decal from the DMV. After which, you can then add lights, blah, blah, blah, and get insurance, and whatever else... then you're legal.

Not a hassle at all, right?


from Sen MonnesAnderson
date Fri, Jun 13, 2008 at 11:39 AM
subject FW: Proposal to amend law concerning motor assisted bicycles


Hi Jeremy,

It seems that the DMV has a form for obtaining a Title for a modified bicycle. DMV form 550 should allow you to get a title and registration for a bicycle modified to be a moped.



From: BOWMAN Lori J
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 7:52 AM
To: SEN Monnesanderson
Subject: RE: Proposal to amend law concerning motor assisted bicycles


There is an existing process that would allow this vehicle to be titled and registered. The VIN would be issued by Oregon DMV. Once the bicycle was modified to be a moped, the customer could complete a DMV Form 550, Certification of Ownership Facts. This form can be used as the ownership document submitted to DMV when no other ownership document exists for the vehicle. The customer would need to include information on the form about why no ownership document exists. Also, since the vehicle would be considered an "assembled" moped, the customer would also be required to complete a separate form to describe what they had done to modify the vehicle (added the kit). At that point, DMV would issue an Oregon VIN decal for the moped and the moped could be titled.

That only leaves the issue of obtaining insurance on the vehicle, but if at this point the vehicle has been modified to be a moped and has an Oregon VIN decal applied to the vehicle, an insurance company should be able to issue insurance for the moped. I have not heard anything about insurance companies not insuring mopeds. It may be a more complicated process, because the title and registration might have to be done in two different steps, but I still believe obtaining title and registration for the vehicle you describe below is possible under current Oregon law.

Does this help?

Lori Bowman
Oregon DMV
Vehicle Programs Manager, Interim