for the Layman
Motorcycle Riders Foundation's (MRF) Review of the
EPA's Emissions Regulations for Highway Motorcycles
for 49 States (except California ) issued in December,
December of 2000, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation
(MRF) learned that the United States Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) was proposing California-style
emissions standards for the rest of the country for
all motorcycles, street and off-road models, in a
single rulemaking process. The MRF, working with our
Supporting State Motorcyclists' Rights Organizations
(SMROs), was instrumental in having street motorcycles
removed from that process in September, 2001 and placed
into a separate EPA “proposed rule.”
MRF and SMROs continued to work diligently to impact
the final rule through the comment period and into
the rule approval process. For a complete chronological
review of the many steps taken by the MRF, visit our
website at www.mrf.org/epa.php.
EPA issued their final emissions regulations for highway
motorcycles for 49 states on December 23, 2003. These
new regulations will become effective in stages, starting
in 2006 and harmonizing with California 's standards
in 2010. You can view the entire 49-page EPA rule
by visiting their website at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-AIR/2004/January/Day-15/a006.pdf.
While this new rule dramatically reduces tail pipe
emissions, there are some exemptions written into
it for kit bikes, custom motorcycles, and small volume
MRF does not believe that the exemptions are broad
enough or that the rules, as written, fulfill the
needs of highway motorcyclists, the small volume makers
and the aftermarket. We fully intend to continue to
work for revision of some parts of the rules.
we present some of the most frequently asked questions
from street riders and an explanation of what the
rules will mean to you. This explanation does not
apply to California.
will this new EPA rule mean to me?
you are going to buy a new motorcycle at your local
dealer, the only things you may notice are that by
the 2006 model year, most motorcycles will come with
fuel injection and will require special diagnostic
tools for service work. Some may have catalytic converters
in the exhaust pipes. Both are in use in some models
already. There has been no change to the “anti-tampering”
provision of the Clean Air Act.
will this rule affect the motorcycles I already own?
new EPA regulations only apply to motorcycles built
for 2006 and later. You will not be required to retrofit
your current motorcycles to make them comply with
the new rules.
I modify the engine or exhaust on my 2006 or later
new EPA rule contains the same language that the old
rule contained about this subject – modifying your
motorcycle's engine or exhaust is considered “tampering.”
The Clean Air Act, Section 203(a) states that it is
illegal, “for any person to remove or render inoperative
any device or element of design installed on or in
a motor vehicle in compliance with regulations under
this title prior to its sale and delivery to the ultimate
purchaser or after such sale and delivery to the ultimate
I still build my own custom motorcycle?
in 2006, it will be legal for you to build your own
custom motorcycle. In the new EPA rules this is called
a “kit bike” and it will not have be to tested to
verify that it conforms to the new emissions standards.
There are, however, some very specific rules that
will apply to your kit bike.
are only allowed one emissions-exempt kit bike in
may not sell your once-in-a-lifetime emissions-exempt
kit bike for five years after its final assembly.
may have someone else assemble your kit bike for
you as long as you have purchased the components
prior to the start of the assembly.
cannot build your kit bike by modifying a factory-built
motorcycle that was certified to meet EPA emissions
standards. You must start with a new engine and
the existing rule, all kit bikes are supposed to
be tested and certified to meet the 1979 EPA rules.
EPA-exempt kit bike can be used on the road without
any travel restrictions.
is meant by “one exempt kit bike for a lifetime?”
refers to the wording of the new EPA rule that allows
for the construction of your kit bike and it refers
to your lifetime. You are allowed one EPA-exempt kit
motorcycle that has no restrictions on how and where
it may be used under this rule. The exemption is for
the motorcycle owner's lifetime. When and if
a new rule comes out that addresses engine certification,
the lifetime exemption may be rewritten.
I have to assemble my EPA exempt kit bike myself?
you do not have to assemble your kit bike yourself.
You can pay someone else to assemble your kit bike
after you purchase the “kit” or components that will
be assembled into the final motorcycle.
I build EPA-exempt kit bikes and sell them?
this rule, building EPA-exempt kit bikes and selling
them to other people would not be allowed. The ultimate
owner must own the components before the assembly
process begins. You can build as many kit bikes as
there are people who are willing to pay you to assemble
their components. People or businesses that purchase
kit bikes to assemble and then sell them are not covered
under this exemption, but may be able to use the “custom
motorcycle” exemption explained later in this document.
happens if my EPA-exempt kit bike is wrecked or stolen?
way this new EPA rule is written now, you would not
be able to replace your stolen or destroyed EPA-exempt
motorcycle. You are only allowed one EPA-exempt kit
bike in your lifetime under the new EPA rule.
if a court orders me to sell my EPA-exempt motorcycle?
this federal law, you are not allowed to sell your
EPA-exempt kit bike for five years after the date
of final assembly, even in case of death, bankruptcy,
or divorce. After five years, your EPA-exempt motorcycle
can be sold. If you do sell your EPA-exempt kit bike,
you will not be allowed to own another exempt kit
I be able to build my one EPA-exempt motorcycle whenever
is going to depend on how the EPA looks at the data
California brings to the process in 2006. The California
Air Resources Board (CARB) has similar rules that
take effect in 2004 and will be up for review in 2006.
The EPA is planning to review this data and other
exemptions when CARB reviews the effectiveness of
their regulations. When that review is completed,
the EPA may choose to regulate all motorcycle engine
manufacturers at that time so that all engines, including
those built by the aftermarket industry, will be required
to meet the EPA's emissions standards when they leave
the factory. If they decide on that course of action,
they feel the exemption for kit bikes will no longer
be needed because there will only be EPA-compliant
engines available for builders. The California process
will not have anything to do with the exemption.
When and if the EPA sets standards for engines, the
kit exemption would likely go away.
there any other exemptions that might affect me?
is one other type of exemption that will apply to
riders, and that is the “custom motorcycle” (CM).
This is like the kit bike in that it does not have
to meet the EPA emissions standards, but different
in several other important ways. A builder may build
24 or fewer per year and sell them commercially by
notifying the EPA and including a tag somewhere on
the motorcycle stating: THIS MOTORCYCLE IS EXEMPT
FROM EPA EMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS. ITS USE ON PUBLIC
ROADS IS LIMITED PURSUANT TO 40 CFR 86.407-78(c).
The 25th and all subsequent motorcycles built that
year by that builder must all comply with the new
emissions standards. An individual can own as many
of the CM exemption motorcycles as he/she can afford.
However, there are severe restrictions on how and
where they can be used on the roads. Use on public
roads is limited to display purposes, such as traveling
to and from motorcycle shows. This could be a show
in your hometown or a show on the other side of the
country. The distance does not matter, only the reason
for the travel.
I have to buy the components for my CM before the
the builder can buy all the parts and build the motorcycle
before he/she even has a customer for it. However,
when done in this manner, the travel restrictions
will apply to this motorcycle for as long as this
rule is in effect. The motorcycle will have to comply
with the restrictions on public road use.
there be limits on how many miles I can ride my CM?
the only limitation is the display purpose clause.
The CM is not supposed to be used as a daily ride;
it is intended to be a show bike that can only be
ridden to shows or displays.
can I obtain additional copies of this document?
can download and print as many copies of this document
as you need by visiting the MRF website at www.mrf.org/epa.php
and scrolling down to the link entitled “EPA For The
Layman.” There is access to a downloadable pdf version
of this document located at the bottom of that page.
should I contact for more information about the new
MRF Government Relations Assistant
also invite you to view and print the following pdf
version of the EPA For The Layman.
*Note: You need the Adobe
Acrobat Reader to view the PDF file below. If you do
not have the reader installed, you can click the icon
below to go to Adobe's site to download the free software.
If you already have the pdf reader plugin installed
in your browser, clicking the link should open and display
the file. You may have to 'right click' on the link
if you want to save the file.
Here to Download and print the "EPA For The Layman"