How To Get A Vin Number For A Custom Motorcycle (Homebuilt, No Frame Number)

How To Get A Vin Number For A Custom Motorcycle

Do you know how to get a VIN number for a custom motorcycle?  this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.

If you want to drive on the road legally, then you are going to need to get a VIN number for your custom motorcycle frame.

So, how to get a VIN number for a custom motorcycle? To get a VIN number for a homebuilt motorcycle you need to provide the following documents:

•           Any VIN numbers that you have on the frame

•           Certification to show that you own the VIN number

•           Manufacturing documents for your frame

•           Certification of origin from the manufacturer of your frame.

Now, the process of obtaining a VIN number for a custom motorcycle will vary between states. However, in almost all cases, you are going to need to head to your local DMV.

Why do you need a vehicle identification number (VIN)?

If you want to drive your custom motorcycle on the road, then you need to have it insured. You will not be able to get the vehicle insured unless you have a vehicle identification number on it.

The vehicle identification number will also be used when you are registering the title of your vehicle. If you do not have a VIN, then you won’t technically own the vehicle. Well, you will.

But, you are going to run into all sorts of trouble trying to prove that you own it if you are pulled over by the police.

Read also: How To Get a Title For a Motorcycle Without Title in Ohio (Bike w/no Title)

Those that built their motorcycle frame from scratch

It is unlikely that many of you will fall into this category. However, we know that there are some people that will completely build the frame of their motorcycle from scratch.

If you are building a motorcycle frame from scratch, then we recommend that you head to the DMV before you start building.

They will be able to provide you with a VIN that you can attach to the frame during the building process.

It is worth noting that, in some states, they will ask you to prove ownership of the materials used in the construction of the frame.

This means that you are going to need to bring along as many receipts as you possibly can.

Read also: Can You Register A Motorcycle Without A License In Massachusetts?

The frame is made from old motorcycle frames

There are some people that will head to the local salvage yard and put together a Frankenstein motorcycle frame used from a wealth of different parts.

You may run into a few issues here, and the way in which the DMV deals with it will be dependent on the state.

All states will require that you have proof of ownership for the parts from the old frames. This is to ensure that you did not just steal them, etc. Remember, at one point, those frames would have been registered to somebody else. So, you can’t just randomly pick up frames. You will need to purchase them and make sure that you get receipts for each part.

This means that any VIN should be clearly indicated on the receipts. Not a general receipt.

In some states, you may be required to have the VIN inspected by local law enforcement agencies. Their job is to ensure that your VIN is not registered to any vehicles reported as stolen. if they are, then the frame will likely be seized from you.

This means that you will be left without a frame and a VIN! This is why it is ever so important that you only purchase your components from reputable locations.

Most states are going to offer you a new VIN for the new frame. This means that the process is going to be much the same as if you built the motorcycle frame from scratch.

There are other states that may give you a VIN based upon the parts that you salvaged. For example, if the bulk of the frame is made from just one bike, then you may be given that VIN.

This is why it is so important that you have a receipt. You are going to be given the title to the frame.

Read also: How to Take Over Payments On a Motorcycle (Harley Davidson Bike)

If you purchased a readymade frame

If you purchased a readymade frame, then it may have a VIN number already. You should have been given all the information when the frame was delivered.

The ownership of that VIN should have been transferred to you at the same time.

If the frame doesn’t have a VIN, then you should have been given a certificate of origin. This piece of paper will show the company that manufactured the frame and where they are based.

You will need to bring along the certificate when you apply for the VIN.

Safety tests

There are some states that may not allow you to get a VIN for your custom motorcycle until the motorcycle has been safety tested.

You will need to check your state’s local DMV if that is the case.

Even if they give you a VIN without any safety tests, you will probably still need to prove that your vehicle is roadworthy before you are legally allowed to take it out on the road.

The process of registering your VIN for a custom motorcycle

As we said, the process for obtaining a VIN for a custom motorcycle will vary between states. It will almost certainly go through the DMV, though.

The application can likely be started online.

This will tell you the documents that you need to gather. Of course, the exact documents will be dependent on the origins of your frame.

However, it is likely to include the following:

  • Any VIN numbers that you have on the frame. This includes certification to show that you own the VIN number.
  • Manufacturing documents for your frame e.g. receipts for materials or components
  • Certification of origin from the manufacturer of your frame.

You will also need to bring along documents that identify you. This means photo documents on a state-issued ID. Your driving license should be fine for this.

If the DMV requires any further documents from you, then this will be highlighted during the application process.

This may include you having to prove you have spoken to law enforcement agencies.

The final step will be to head along to the DMV with your documents and payment for the VIN if you haven’t made that yet. If they approve of everything, they will give you the VIN right away.

This will be highlighted on the title to your vehicle. The VIN will also need to be put on the frame. You cannot remove the VIN under any circumstances.

If there are other VINs attached to the frame (i.e. you have a Frankenstein bike), then you will need to remove these numbers. You should only ever have a single VIN on your bike frame. 

You should still try and keep any documentation of old VIN numbers just in case. This way if there is any problem with your custom motorcycle frame in the future, you will have everything that you need to hand.


Obtaining a VIN number for a custom motorcycle isn’t really all that difficult. The greatest challenge is ensuring that you have all the correct documentation to prove that you own the motorcycle frame.

If you do, then it is just a case of applying to the DMV and they will do the rest of the work for you.

Remember, once you have that VIN, it needs to be on the vehicle at all times. It will also need to be handed over to the insurance company.

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Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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