Massachusetts Riders/people with a legality oriented mind

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by mattysids, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. mattysids

    mattysids Member

    I don't know if this question is stupid or not, but would you guys consider these bikes to have an "automatic transmission"? I see a clutch to make it manually operated. The DMV told me that it doesn't require any registration if it has no automatic transmission.

  2. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    It's not a stupid question at all, just that the answers are a little vague.
    It probably belongs in the Legal forum too and will likely be moved there.

    I think you meant to say does have an automatic transmission.
    From Mass RMV site:

    The bikes I now own, which are rack mounts, have a single speed centrifugal clutch which qualifies as an automatic.
    The so-called happy time kits, the 2 stroke engines that originate in China for the most part have a hand clutch, though you can get them with a centrifugal. This is a bit of a gray area. Essentially they are single speed when the drive train runs to a sprocket on the left.
    Some states articulate in their regs something like "shall not cause the operator to shift gears", etc, etc. Mass does not, just "automatic".

    The add on assemblies that jack-shaft the engine drive train to run to the right side or engine mount assemblies that cause power to run through the bikes gear train are another gray area. I'm not knocking them because they can make a lot of sense and others might have various opinions on this but mine is in essence you are shifting gears manually and outside the letter of the law if stated that the bike must be an automatic.

    Lastly it should be said, this is one of those questions that sometimes the more you ask the RMV the more hassle you stir up for yourself. Keep it under 50cc, under 30mph, keep the noise down, wear a helmet and ride responsibly.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2009
  3. Scotchmo

    Scotchmo Member

    Massachusetts and California both say the same thing, "automatic transmission". Other states are more specific, "incapable of being manually shifted". You can't really use the clutch to take off without quickly ruining it. The clutch lever is used to engage or disengage the engine. And there is no transmission to shift. The laws can be somewhat vague, but I believe that the HT engines meet the intent of the law. If the authorities complained, I would add one of the centrifugal clutches. The only difference in operation is that with the centrifugal clutch, you do not have to disengage the engine when you come to a stop.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015
  4. cheeseman

    cheeseman New Member

    Somehow, I doubt the police would give you a hard time over having a clutch. Most likley they wouldent even know what that extra lever on your handle bar is.

    They are more concerned about how fast you are going and weather you are wearing a helmet.