MSO Titles VINs

Answers to common questions regarding BBR Frame Kit and Complete Motorcycle titles, registration, MSO's, and VIN's

 
First, know that the vast majority of inquiries we get about a "BBR" bike, are really about either a Japanese playbike with BBR parts and/or graphics or some Chinese knock-off bike that was sold as a BBR bike. Note, that BBR has sold hundreds of times as many graphics kits as we've sold frame kits or complete bikes. Of the thousands of frame kits we've sold only (maybe) 1 in 100 left our shop as a complete bike.

Second, we've really only built one complete spec motorcycle (the MM12P). It sold during 2009 and 2010. All other true "BBR" bikes were either built by us as a complete custom motorcycle (where every single part was uniquely spec'd by the customer) or was assembled by someone else from one of our frame kits. Even of the bikes that left BBR, as a complete bike, most have changed hands and have a much different assortment of parts than when it left here.

Third, all frame kits (or complete motorcycles) sold by BBR since mid 2002 came with an MSO. This MSO, along with the original receipt, could be used by any US State DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to generate a title. If you buy a used BBR frame kit or complete motorcycle, you need to get the original MSO or a title from the seller.

You can find more info about the history of BBR motorcycles and products over on our BBR Product Identification pages. It has lots of pictures to help you identify complete BBR bikes and bikes based on our frame kits.
MSO stands for Manufacturer's Statement of Origin. Also known as MCO (Manufacturer's Certificate or Origin), it is a document used to create a title. It is printed on special security paper (to prevent forgeries) and considered proof of manufacturing and ownership. Pretty much any motor vehicle, sold in the US, starts life with an MSO. Your brand new shiny car or truck came with an MSO that the auto dealership used to create your title. It is simple documentation that the company that built your vehicle created to certify to the government the vehicle's information.

For more information, on MSO's and MCO's, see this Wikipedia page: Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin
Early BBR frames (and complete custom motorcycles) were generally sold without a title. If they had a title, it was usually the title for the bike that the 4-stroke motor came from. Sometimes, customers would take the title from the motorcycle that the chassis came from (often a 2-stroke race bike), the title for the bike the engine came from, and an invoice for the BBR frame kit to their local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). The DMV would generate a custom motorcycle title and a unique VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) much like the custom V-Twin (Harley) builders were doing at the time.

All bikes BBR Motorsports has sold, came with either an MSO or the titles from the bikes used to build it from and an invoice. In most cases, we do not have copies of those items any longer. You will have to track down the previous owners to get those documents or find who holds the title currently.
BBR can send a copy of the original MSO to the original buyer for $50. We will not issue a copy to anyone but the original purchaser and they must pay us the $50 fee. No changes can be made to the MSO. We can only make a copy of the original as it was issued.
Let us ask you a question: Would you purchase an automobile without a clean title? No? Then why would you purchase a motorcycle without a title? Without the MSO/Title you will never be able to have legal ownership of it. You'll never be able to get off-road tabs to ride legally on public land. Many states will confiscate any motor vehicle found without legal ownership. Without that paper work, it will never truly be yours.

If we were issuing new MSO's just for asking, what would prevent someone from stealing your  BBR bike and just calling us for a new MSO in their name? The whole point of an MSO/Title is to prevent a thief from getting a legal title to a stolen vehicle. Don't ever buy a BBR bike (or frame kit) without proper documentation!

Also, want to guess what happens if you walk into a DMV with an MSO for a motorcycle that has already been titled in someone else's name? I think it's safe to say it ends with you in handcuffs.
Treat this exactly like if you lost the title to your car. You'd go to the DMV with your VIN number and apply for a lost title. This differs from state to state and your local DMV should be able to help you with the proper paperwork.

Laws vary from state to state, but most DMV's won't tell you who a vehicle is titled to. If you're just trying to figure out if it has ever been titled, you may want to ask around to see how your DMV will treat it if the VIN comes up as stolen. Sometimes, the friendly people at your local motorcycle shop, or state patrol, can check if it comes up stolen before you go to the DMV (and hopefully before you buy it from the shady seller).

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has a website that will check if a VIN has been submitted as stolen or recovered by a member of NICB: NICB Stolen VINCheckSM

VIN Audit is a fee based website that will provide more information about a vehicle (based on it's VIN) for a fee.

Keep in mind that these websites are more automotive based and may not show all reports for stolen motorcycles. Many police departments treat motorcycle thefts differently from automobiles and may even purge the national databases periodically. Not showing up on one of these lists does not mean that the DMV won't flag it as stolen when you try to register the bike. BBR only lists these websites for our customer's convenience and has no connection to these websites. Use at your own discretion.

Note: Once the bike (or frame kit) left BBR, we have no idea who titled it and no way to search for the owner. We may know who purchased it, from us, originally - but after that - you probably know more than we do.
First, note that we no longer sell complete bikes or frame kits. That part of our business ended around 2010 with the crappy economy. So you're asking about something we haven't done for at least 7 years. The fact that we've stopped building frame kits and complete bikes is complicated and discussed in many places on this website. We won't rehash the reasons why (again) here, except to say that we don't build them anymore.

Here's how this usually goes: Somebody lists a bike or frame kit for sale up on Planet Minis. The ad says they don't have the title (or MSO), but you can call BBR to get one. Before it sells, we get a call from half a dozen potential buyers asking about a new MSO. We describe the process (as described on this page) to each one of these potential buyers. Then the seller calls us mad that we told a potential buyer something wrong (in their mind) and they won't be able to sell their frame kit now. They call back later with a VIN (often a partial) or just a name of who they think was the original buyer. This continues for roughly 17 phone calls from the seller and potential buyers. All of whom think we're the bad guy. We dig through boxes of paper invoices and binders full of MSO copies trying to figure out what the frame kit or bike is. In the end, BBR employees spend a couple of hours and make exactly zero dollars.

To be honest, we don't have to generate replacement MSO's at all. We do it as a courtesy to our customers. We've debated stopping doing it entirely. It is a complete pain in the butt for us. We may start only accepting calls from the original purchaser. If this continues to suck time and money from us, we will stop doing it altogether.

If you do plan to call us with a question on MSO's or Titles or VIN's, have as much info available as possible. You should probably have a photo of the bike (or frame kit) and a photo of the VIN tag ready to send to us. Try to find as much info on each person that has previously owned the bike (or frame kit). That chain of ownership will make it a bunch easier for us to try to track it down. If it was sold through a shop, and you know their name, that makes it a lot easier to find too. Before you ever call BBR, you need to do the work of finding out who bought this bike (or frame kit) first and determine if it has ever had a title created for it. We can't do that for you. You're the only one that knows who you bought it from. Whoever that is, they need to tell you who they purchased from, and so on.

The #1 tip is don't buy a bike or frame kit without an MSO or a title. If you are selling one, do the work of tracking down the original purchaser and having them get you a copy of the MSO or a real Title.

Don't be mad at us if you're the one that made the mistake of buying a motor vehicle without the proper legal documentation. It's not like this is new stuff. VIN's have been in use in the United States since 1954. They were standardized in 1981. Most states have required titles for motor vehicles since at least the early 1970's. Titles and registrations help prevent theft and aid in recovery of stolen goods. The laws and requirements exist for a reason. If you choose to be ignorant or disregard them, don't be mad at us.
VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number. It's basically the serial number for a motor vehicle. VIN's are standardized throughout the world as a 17 digit sequence. Each digit has a meaning and each manufacturer has a unique VIN identifier.

For more information about VIN's, see this Wikipedia page: Vehicle identification number
On BBR frames with a VIN, it will be stamped on a permanent foil decal. The decal is black print and graphics that clearly says "BBR Motorsports, Inc".

On back-bone frames (like the Super Pro CRF50 (XR50)), the VIN tag is on the left side of the frame tube under the gas tank.

On most perimeter frames, the VIN tag is on the inside of the right perimeter spar tube. You'll have to remove the gas tank to see it.
Modern VIN's are 17 digit sequences.
Requirements for street legal motorcycles vary wildly between states. BBR VIN's indicate that our frame kits (and complete bikes) are intended for off-road, competition use. For some states that will disqualify them from ever having a street legal title issued. We cannot change that part (or any part, really) of our VIN as it would require emission testing and safety testing (running millions of dollars) to be allowed to use a VIN intended for street legal use.

In some states, the VIN won't matter. In Washington state, currently (2017), it only requires that the components (like tires, brake lines, etc) are DOT approved for street use and the motorcycle has the necessary lights, turn signals, horn, etc. Then a certified motorcycle shop can inspect your bike and issue the necessary paper work to get a license plate. Generally, they charge under $100 for the service (plus any parts, of course). More info for Washington State can be found on the WA State Department of Licensing website here: Plates for modified off-road motorcycles. Note that BBR Motorsports does not provide this service.

BBR is really off-road oriented, so we don't sell lighting kits or turn signals for any of our bikes or the typical Japanese playbikes that we manufacture parts for. For kits and help adding the necessary turn signals to your motorcycle, we suggest contacting our friends over at Baja Designs. They should be able to help with any motorcycle lighting needs.