If you’re a recreational KTM or GasGas dirt bike rider, chances are most of your time on the bike is spent on dirt and rougher terrain, but you may be wondering if it's illegal to ride your dirt bike on the road. Dirt bike isn't just a clever name. Bikes, generally, are excellent ways to get around for more practical purposes. Sure, you could invest in a road bike, but the operative word here is investment. They’re not a cheap thing to collect. With that, wouldn’t it just be so nifty to use the one bike for dual purposes? If you’re reading this it’s likely your answer to that is yes! Luckily, in Australia, dirt bikes are legal on roadways, with some caveats. Here’s what you need to know about hitting the bitumen on your bike.
Basically, the same rules apply to your KTM or GasGas road riding as any other driver or rider sharing it with you. You need to have an applicable licence and your bike needs to be registered and ADR-compliant for the roads that allow bike access. When riding, you need to follow the same road rules as all drivers and riders on the road, including speed limit and you are excluded from riding in national parks (unless on designated vehicle areas and carparks - to be used for parking only) and footpaths.
Your licence needs to be current and valid, including riding a bike that matches your licence level (for example, a Learner or Provisional licence is restricted to a 650cc motorbike).
Your registration needs to be appropriate to on-road riding. If you only have recreational registration, this is not legal for roads and is only applicable in certain states. More information on all the rules regarding on-road dirt bike use can be found in the NSW Motorcycle Riders Handbook.
Aside from the legalities, there are other things to consider when taking your KTM or GasGas on-road.
This sort of goes without saying, of course if you use your bike for practical and play, it’s going to increase your kms. But the symptom of this is that you’ll need to keep a closer eye on your maintenance and servicing intervals. [link to KTM servicing blog] Your tyres will wear faster (and so become a hazard on roads with oil spills and weather conditions) and you’ll need to be checking your oil levels daily, and potentially change the oil more often due to the motor running at an increased load for longer periods of time and your nuts and bolts a couple of times a week.
You might be highly skilled on the dirt track, but it’s a whole different game on the roads. While the terrain is generally smoother and seemingly more predictable, you need to ride with a different mindset in terms of hazard awareness and the handling of your bike.
You're riding with several other people to consider. It’s as much about what they’re doing as what you’re doing. It’s important to stay alert and realise that even if you’re in the right, if something goes wrong, it’s likely you who will draw the short straw. Keep aware, ready to react carefully, and stay safe.
Riding too slow can be just as dangerous as riding too fast. You’ve got to be able to keep up with the speed, while also factoring in rain, high winds and mild flooding.
If you’re new to taking the bike off the dirt track, keep your trips short and local at first until you get the hang of it. And if you want to make it your main mode of transport, it might be good to save your pennies for a bike built for on-road use, or a motard.
If you aren't looking to use a road registered dirt bike or get a licence than there are still other options. It's legal in Australia to drive a dirt bike without a licence or registration so long as it's done on private property and not on state owned land.
Looking for a new dirt bike in Sydney or other NSW regions? Check out our range of KTMs and GasGas!