Street-Legal Status for the Surron Light Bee (or Similar) Electric Dirt Bike
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Street-Legal Status for the Surron Light Bee (or Similar) Electric Dirt Bike

Surron light bee side view on bike path on busy street, not street legal
  • There’s a lot of mixed info out there about if the Surron Light Bee, an electric dirt bike, is really street-legal.
  • These e-bikes lack features necessary to be street legal, such as turn signals and mirrors, and often have motors with wattages exceeding legal limits.
  • Some riders may modify their bikes for higher speeds, posing dangers when ridden in inappropriate settings like city streets or mixed-use trails, leading to potential legal consequences and safety risks.

Bikes like the Surron Light Bee are gaining popularity. Living in Southern California, I see them everywhere, but mostly in places I shouldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, they’re incredibly fun to ride. However, a significant question looms over these Surron (or similar) electric dirt bikes: are they street-legal electric dirt bikes?


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Conflicting Info Being Shared on YouTube

Recently, there was a YouTuber who posted a video of himself on a Surron electric motorcycle riding in both the bike lane and the regular street. Bikes like the Surron Light Bee, Talaria Sting, E-Ride Pro, and the Segway X260 are lightweight electric dirt bikes. They lack the turn signals and mirrors that would allow them to be licensed and classified as a moped or similar, depending on the e-bike laws of a given state. Despite their popularity, their street legality remains subject of debate within the electric motorcycle community.

Another YouTuber posted a video where he interviewed a CHP officer about where these types of bikes can be ridden. City streets are out of the question. They aren’t a Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3 e-bike. In some states, they might be categorized as a “Class 4” e-bike. They go too fast to fit in the 3-class system, and they also don’t have pedals, so they can never be classified as an e-bike. They also have motors that are two to three times the maximum wattage allowed in the U.S. (which is 750 W), as stock motors on these bikes start at over 3000 W. So technically, they’re not street-legal electric dirt bikes.


Street-Legal Electric Dirt Bike Modifications and Safety Concerns

Surron electric dirt bike owners often remove the speed governor (derestrict) and upgrade their entire system (battery, controller, and motor) to higher voltage setups to increase speed, similar to customizing cars, bicycles, or motorcycles. There are riders who can hit 80 mph with these mods.

This would be fine if it was for OHV areas and private lands, where the rules are generally lenient enough and it’s much safer to ride in places like this. The problem is, I’m seeing kids riding these on the streets and on mixed-use trails where you’ll find hikers, dogs, mountain bikes, and even horses.


Surron light bee electric dirt bike front view on private dirt path as they are not street-legal
Bikes like the Surron belong where other motocross bikes ride, on trails specifically designed for off-highway vehicles.

In Southern California, most of us have easy access to fantastic mixed-use trails nearby. The trouble is, there’s no legal or safe way to use bikes like this on those trails or even getting to them without using a trailer. Riders are knowingly breaking the law — and worse, putting themselves and others in danger of great bodily harm. A 150-lb rider on a 125-lb bike multiplied by these bikes’ speeds equals disaster.


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Taking the European Approach?

What’s really interesting is that Surron does make a street-legal version of the Light Bee X, called the Light Bee L1E. The equipment it has makes sure it follows European road rules, so you can legally register and ride it on the roads. If Surron or the other manufacturers brought a model like this to the U.S., then it would be a street-legal electric dirt bike.

It’s the American versions of these bikes that are problematic. The manufacturers’ websites skirt the issue entirely, preferring not to talk about the legality of riding their bikes, let alone modifying them. It’s completely irresponsible on their part at the least and dangerous at the worst. Surron’s U.S. website doesn’t even list the motor’s wattage; you have to go to the Canadian website for that information.

The police in some places (Los Angeles included) are starting to recognize these bikes and begin enforcing the laws, giving tickets or fines, and sometimes impounding the bikes. The popularity of street takeovers in the U.S. and the U.K. are exacerbating the problem, filling the streets with dozens to hundreds of bikes, often doing even more damage to the reputation of electric micromobility.

It’s the knucklehead factor that will likely get bikes like the Surron Light Bee X outlawed. If you’re thinking of getting one, please consider where you will ride it.


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IMAGES: SURRON

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AUTHOR: 

TONY DONALDSON

7 Responses

  1. Thanks for this post, it is the most accurate out there about this subject. I have a 2022 Light Bee X, and it is one of the few street-legal ones in the US. It was not terribly difficult to make it so. I had to add a brake light, mirror and upgrade the tires to DOT approved. (In CO, turn signals aren’t required). Then I had to take the bike to a CO State Patrol officer for inspection and approval. He agreed it was definitely no e-bike, and was happy that I had decided to make it street legal instead of skirt the laws. He gave me paper-work to take to the DMV to register. But, the DMV computer doesn’t have SurRon as a listed vehicle manufacturer, so we got around that my listing it as a home-built kit-bike. Got it insured through Geico. I added an OHV sticker, so now I can ride it pretty much anywhere, legally. Only place I can’t go, nor would I ever want to, is on a dedicated mountain-bike trail, or road-bike/multi-use trail.

  2. There was confusion created in this category for years but based on the regulations, if speed is above 28mph and power is greater than 750W, the bike is not an e-bike.

    Surron since 2023 has focused solely on selling through its motorcycle dealer network. Those dealers through the Pre-Delivery Inspection process make their customers aware that they are purchasing an off-road only electric dirtbike.
    Surron has registered with NHTSA, and its only licensed distributor has obtained distributor licenses, where required, in the States the Surron motrocycles are sold. All Surron U.S. version motorcycles have legit VIN.

    Surron’s US version motorcycles state clearly on their dataplate and MCO that they are for off-road use only. Surron also includes that same information on its exclusive website http://www.sur-ron.com and IG account (surronusa_official ; surrontech). Surron does not have a separate US website.

    To cultivate the revolution of e-Moto industry, all manufacturers, distributors, and dealers need comply with the regulations, and we need work together to ensure anyone purchasing understands the regulations in their State.

  3. This is how I feel about the surron bikes why should I not be aloud to ride my bike where I want to ride just like everyone else if I was to do something wrong then give me a ticket for it.but to stop me from enjoying what I think is fun because of what other people have done is not right just because of Ferrari can go faster than the speed limit are you going to take it off the road too as far as that goes are you going to take all the super cars off the road because they go faster than speed limit

  4. Thanks for an honest article…the combination of bad information and knucklehead riders made it only a matter of time for crackdowns. As someone who’s lived through many laws and regulations made for things that once had none….When I see dozens of kids riding down the middle of the road riding wheelies wo a care in the world because they think “nobody can do anything cause I’m on a ebike, all I do is shake my head and think… Yeah that’s what you think. Your basically taking a good think and throwing it in the garbage for everyone. I started insuring my Grizzly this year just for for peace of mind and because I know what’s coming. Costs me 317 a year for theft and liability.

  5. If you ride a Surron in California Orange County their considered an off road vehicle. You will be cited and your bike will be impounded. But E-Scooters are ok ?

  6. I live in New Hampshire. I just added lights and registered it as an interior on-road trail bike. Boom Done

  7. And here i am in Germany, seeing all these US Kids driving their Sur-Rons and Talarias on the Road, thinking, damn, German laws are so strict, i just cannot have fun here like this, why do i have to buy the punk ass ugly street legal versions to do the same. When in fact it turns out, US laws seem to be even stricter on this, because up to a moped (28mp/h) , turn signals are not required here. Glad a found this article, makes me feel a bit better.

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