Before you start modifying your bike, you should understand why the excessive modification of bikes is illegal as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Altering the structure or parts of the bike can have an impact on the technical performance of the bike and lead to accidents.
For instance, if an excessively powerful engine is fitted in a bike built for a low-powered engine, the bike may end up causing an accident on the road due to technical malfunction.
However, if you still want to make minor changes, To make the modifications legal, owners have to get the new modified parts approved by the ARAI (Automotive Research Authority of India) and get an endorsed registration certificate.
Can I register my bike now if I have already modified it?
If you have already modified your bike and are now looking for a way to register it, we are sorry but it will simply not be possible. Any RTO today will simply refuse to register your bike unless it has its original specifications.
If you don’t register and you are caught, the bike will be impounded. So in a nutshell, no, it is currently not possible to register any bike which does not match its original RC book that was issued when it was first bought.
What can be legally modified in a bike?
- The colour of your bike can be changed as the Supreme Court specifically said that changing the colour of the vehicle to any RTO approved colours will be allowed. This means that you can either wrap your bike or do a custom paint job as long as you take prior permission from the local RTO to do so.
- Extremely minor fitments and modification like winglets, visors, decals, tail tidys, engine bellys etc can be added and are legal.
- It is also allowed to change the tyres if the manufacturers offer different spec tyres for the base and the top variant. You can change the tyres then to match the ones on the top spec variant.
- The engine can also be changed provided your current engine is damaged or is not safe enough to operate, but even this requires prior permission from the RTO. You will have to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the RTO first to allow you to change the engine and then apply for re-registration once the engine is changed. If your old engine is in working condition then this won’t be allowed. Also, both the old and the new engines have to run on the same fuel. If the protocols are not followed, the vehicle’s registration can be cancelled.
Given below are the steps to register a modified bike in India
- Before you start with any kind of modifications on your bike, you need to take approval from the RTO.
- Note that RTO will allow for only minor cosmetic modifications to your bike so that it does not affect the performance of the bike and safety in any way.
- When your proposed modifications are approved by the RTO, you will have to get them registered on the registration certificate and your bike will be then regarded as a modified bike.
- Once the above processes have been completed, you can go ahead with applying the modifications to your bike.
- The modifications made must exactly match the modifications you applied for at the RTO or your bike may end up getting seized.
How to take permission from the RTO for colour changes
1. So the first step is to take your RC book along with a sample and precise name of the colour you wish to paint your bike to the authorised RTO under whose jurisdiction your vehicle is registered.
2. Fill the form for requesting an approval for colour change ( NAMV form) and get a signed letter of approval from the RTO for the colour change.
3. Go to a reputed workshop that can wrap or paint your bike properly. Always use good quality wraps and paints for the job. Get your vehicle painted in the same colour for which you got your approval.
4. Now, take your vehicle to the RTO, show the colour and the RTO approval letter, pay the necessary fees and get your RC book entry edited by the Authorized RTO officer.
It is important to note that you cannot paint your vehicles colour to Olive Green or Military Green. These colours are not permitted for civilian use and are only meant for defence vehicles. This is precisely the reason why the Royal Enfields Battle green (Classic 500 in the military green) is not available for sale to civilians in India. It is however exported to other markets outside India. Apart from the Military colours, camouflage patterns are also not permitted for civilian use.
Which Modifications Not Allowed
HID WITHOUT PROJECTOR
High-Intensity Discharge lamps are very powerful lamps and can potentially damage the eyesight of the onlooker. It is mandatory to install a projector lens to focus the beam from the HID lamps. If the police or RTO official finds out that the HID has been installed without any projector lens, the motorcycle wills its way to the RTO’s vehicle pound.
Engine swaps are very serious offenses. The chassis of your motorcycle has been designed to hold one particular engine, its power, its weight, and other things. Other crucial equipment like the wheels and the brakes are tuned for a certain speed.
THE PRESSURE HORN
The pressure horns are banned in India. Pressure horns operate at a very high level of noise. The extremely loud level of noise created by pressure horns can also cause loss of hearing. Such horns add to the noise pollution too.
Cutting the chassis, welding it with extra metal, or reshaping it in any way is illegal. Many custom motorcycle makers cut and weld the chassis to transform the motorcycle beyond recognition. Modifying the chassis disturbs the integrity of the motorcycle and the RTO sees it as a dangerous vehicle that can harm you or other people on road. Modifying chassis is a strict no unless you want to carry the motorcycle on a trailer and show it to friends and come back home.
A motorcycle has many other things than the engine. These extra things like the exhaust system have been tuned perfectly to work with the particular engine. Many motorcycle modifiers change the displacement of the engine by boring the cylinder for extra power. Also, their other modifications like increasing the nozzle size of the carburetor to put in extra fuel and replacing the stock air filter with a new one.
The number of stares a motorcycle gets when it guns through traffic making that high-pitch noise may give you few hair-raising experiences but to burst the bubble, such modifications are not legal.
Most affordable motorcycle exhausts are free to flow and to install them, the catalytic converter, that saves the environment from the harmful emissions of your motorcycle.