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Interpretation ID: nht81-2.41

DATE: 07/01/81


TO: Trelleborg AB, Tire Division


TEXT: This responds to your recent letter asking for information concerning the requirements of Safety Standard No. 119 (49 CFR @ 571.119), as it applies to motorcycle tires. Specifically, you asked what markings must be on the sidewalls of knobby motorcross tires (motorcycle tires designed for off-road use) to satisfy the requirements of Standard 119.

If your company designs the tires exclusively for off-road use, with no expectation that they will be used when the motorcycle is on the public roads, Standard 119 is not applicable to the tires. Therefore, no markings would be required on the sidewall of the tires. On the other hand, if you believe the motorcross tires will, in fact, be used on the public roads, as well as off-road, they must meet the marking requirements specified in section S6.5 of Standard No. 119 (copy enclosed).

Standard No. 119 and its marking requirements apply to all new tires designed for highway use on non-passenger-car motor vehicles. In response to the petitions for reconsideration of Standard 119, the agency stated that manufacturers of motorcross tires would have to determine if the tires were designed for highway use (see 39 FR 5191, February 11, 1974, copy enclosed). In the absence of a showing to the contrary, however, this agency would assume that motorcycles equipped with motocross tires are ridden on the public highways to and from race competition or trail use, which would mean the tires are subject to the requirements of Standard 119.

Following the publication of the above-mentioned notice, a manufacturer of motocross tires requested an interpretation of Standard 119, and stated that its motocross tires are not suitable for use on public roads, and are not designed for such use. The agency responded that such tires are not subject to the requirements of Standard 119, based on this set of circumstances.

However, as noted above, each manufacturer must make this determination. Please note that if you decide that the tires are not subject to Standard 119, 49 CFR Part 574 prohibits the DOT certification label from appearing on the sidewall of the tire. Please further note that a manufacturer's determination of this point is not dispositive. That is, this agency has authority to independently re-examine the manufacturer's determination. If the manufacturer's determination was incorrect, the manufacturer would be liable for civil penalties of up to $ 1,000 for each tire imported into this country which did not meet all the requirements of Standard 119. If you need any further information on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact me.



U.S. Department of Transportation -- National Highway Traffic Administration

FMVSS-119 Motorcycle Tires


Trelleborg AB, a Swedish Tire Manufacturer, Code no LW, plan to export motorcycle tires for motocross ( = Not for highway use) to USA.

Actual sizes are: 4.50-17 and 4.50-18.

Please tell us what we have to observe regarding the text on the tire walls.


TRELLEBORG AB -- Tire Division;

Erik Sundelin -- Diplomengineer