How to Register a Modified Bike in India

 If you are a motorbike enthusiast and wondering about how to register a modified bike in India, here is how you can get your bike modified within the legal parameters.  A significant number of people in India largely depend on motorbikes for their daily commute. For many young Indians, a two-wheeler of their own is one of their biggest dreams. Also, they are extremely passionate and enthusiastic about bikes and their modifications to make them look or perform differently. What is to be noted is that these modifications of bikes have legal implications. Too many changes to a bike have proven to be dangerous. Read on to learn more about how to register your modified bike in India.

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Modified Bike Registration - Step-by-Step Guide

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Is Bike Modification Legal in India?

According to the Supreme Court judgement in 2019, bike modifications are permissible and legal until and unless they do not change or alter the specifications of the vehicle. The Supreme Court authorises RTO to grant permission for colour and engine changes or minor adjustments. In cases, where a vehicle owner does not take due permission from RTO for bike modifications, hefty fines or legal action can be taken against them.

How to Register a Modified Bike in India 

It’s widely known that for a large number of people in India, motorbikes are their daily mode of transport. Many people are also very passionate about bikes and often modify their two-wheelers to make them look or perform differently. However, there are legal implications to modifying bikes as making too many changes to a bike can prove to be dangerous. The good news is, that you can get your bike modified within the legal parameters and get it properly registered with the RTO. Read on to know how you can register a modified bike in India. 

Steps to Register a Modified Bike in India

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 to a bike built for a low-powered engine, the bike may end up causing an accident on the road due to a technical malfunction. However, if you still want to make minor changes, you can do so by taking proper approval from the RTO. 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.

If you fail to get legal approval from the ARAI and go ahead with the modifications, you will risk getting your registration cancelled. If you do change the structure of the bike from what it originally was without any approval, your bike will be listed as illegal.

The authorities are already taking stringent action in this respect; the State Police, especially from Kerala and Karnataka, have started a crackdown on modified motorcycles. It is envisaged that the other states and UTs will soon follow suit.

RTO Rules for Bike Modification 

Apart from legal implications prescribed by the Supreme Court on bike modifications, there are certain RTO rules for bike modification that vehicle owners must abide by -

  • The base specifications like engine, seating capacity, brake system, etc cannot be modified or altered by the vehicle owner.

  • After the bike modification is completed, the vehicle specifications and modifications should be mandatorily updated and recorded in the RTO database.

  • The change in colour of the vehicle or painting of any symbol on the vehicle should be approved by the RTO.

  • The addition of any accessory should not hamper the functionality of the vehicle.

  • Any modification or adjustment that compromises the safety of the riders or the citizens will not be granted.

Read More: Bike Insurance Renewal

What Can be Legally Modified in a Bike?

Now that you are aware of the process of applying for a modification to your bike, it is also important to know the kinds of modifications you can legally apply to your bike:

  • You can legally change the colour of your bike. However, you can only do so as per the list of colours approved by the RTO. Moreover, you will have to take prior permission from the RTO for making any colour changes.

  • Very minor physical changes such as replacing the visors, decals, winglets, etc are allowed.

  • You can change the tyres of your bike if your bike company provides alternate tyres for the specific model of your bike. You cannot use any tyres other than the company-approved set of tyres.

  • You also have the option to change your engine if the existing engine on your bike has been damaged beyond repair. However, you will need to take prior permission from the RTO to replace your engine.

How to Take Permission from the RTO for Colour Changes

One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to modifying bikes is how to get approval from the RTO for changing the colour on your bike. Read on to know the step-by-step process:

  • Visit your nearest RTO office along with your RC book and a sample of the new colour you wish to change your bike to.

  • Fill out the NAVM form for colour available at the RTO and get a signed letter of approval from the RTO for the colour change.

  • Once you have gotten approval, visit a reputed bike workshop and get the colour of your bike changed. Make sure you only use high-quality materials.

  • Go to the RTO with all your documents and the bike and get confirmation and verification that everything is as per the RTO guidelines.

  • Once the RTO has approved the modifications, get the changes marked in your RC book by the relevant RTO official.

  • It should be noted that the RTO has prohibited using olive green or military green colours for civilian use, as they are only reserved for the defence forces.

Do's and Don'ts regarding Bike Modifications

Some of the do’s and don’ts, vehicle owners should be aware of, in case they are considering bike modification -

Do’s

  • Vehicle Performance - Even though bike modification is legal in India, the vehicle owner should prioritise the vehicle’s performance over its appearance. Any change that compromises the performance quality of the vehicle should not be undertaken by the owner. Apart from the performance, these changes might not be healthy for the vehicle in the long run, making maintenance an expensive affair.

  • Safety - Safety is the most important aspect of any vehicle. Installing certified safety devices on your vehicle also offers the opportunity to avail a discount on bike insurance premiums.

  • Update in Information - The vehicle owner will have to update vehicle specifications and modification details with the RTO as well as the insurance company, to avoid legal repercussions as well as complexities during an insurance claim.

Don’ts

  • Impromptu Decisions -The idea that might look exciting in films or imaginations, might not be practically feasible, therefore do not rush into things without any research. Modifications or adjustments that look fancy, might cause inconvenience in future.

  • Illegal Modifications - Any modification or adjustment in the bike that is against the  RTO rules for bike modification, when undertaken by the vehicle owner, makes the vehicle owner liable for hefty fines or legal actions.

Important Points to Remember Regarding Bike Modifications

There are five points every vehicle owner must remember regarding bike modifications - 

  • Take Permissions - The vehicle owner should abide by the RTO rules for bike modification by following proper protocol and procedures as per their modification idea. Pasting stickers or photos, do not require permission from the RTO. Once the permission is granted and the modification process is completed, the vehicle owner should update the latest specifications in the RTO database.

  • Inform Insurance Company - The vehicle owner needs to inform and update the records of the insurance company regarding the bike modifications. Do not wait for the renewal period to do that. In case of non-intimation, the company might not compensate the policyholder for any vehicle damage.

  • Functionality is Priority - While appearance makes the vehicle look more appealing, the functionality of the vehicle should still top the priority list. There is a possibility when the brake system, engine, etc. are modified by the owner for aesthetic looks, it may hamper the performance quality of the vehicle and lead to an increase in the depreciation rate of the vehicle.

  • Security Devices - Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) offers Anti -Theft devices for vehicle protection and security. Apart from security reasons, vehicle owners can also avail of discounts on insurance premiums as well.

  • Professional Services - Professional bike modifiers can cost a little extra on your pocket, but it is advisable to get your vehicles modified from them instead of a local mechanic. A professional has complete knowledge about the specifications of the bikes and knows how to modify them as per the customer’s wish, whereas local mechanics have basic knowledge and understanding of the bikes.

Bike Modification and its Impact on Insurance Premium

Check out the table below to understand the impact of bike modification on Insurance premium -

Category 

Meaning 

Example

Impact

Qualitative Features

Vehicle modifications that enhance the performance quality of the vehicle

Speed 

Considering speed enhancement modification has been undertaken by the vehicle owner, the insurance company will hike the premium amounts, as they find it a risky affair

Appearance 

Vehicle modifications that make the appearance of vehicle appealing and aesthetic 

Accessories that give the bike a sporty look

Insurance companies offer a choice to the vehicle owner to get insurance for these accessories or not. In case the policyholders want insurance against additional accessories, they will have to pay a little extra amount in the premium.

Safety

Vehicle modifications that enhance the safety and security of the vehicles

Anti-Theft Lock

Safety measures taken by the policyholders for their bikes are appreciated by the insurance company, therefore, they offer a discount on the premium amounts.

To Conclude

If you are planning to make major changes to your bike, it is always a good idea to take approval from the ARAI and RTO beforehand. In case the authorities catch you with a modified bike but without papers for approval of modifications, your bike may get confiscated and you may have to face legal action. Hence, make sure all your documentation is in place before you make any modifications. You should also keep your vehicle protected with a two-wheeler insurance policy so that you are always financially covered in case of accidents. You can check out the various two-wheeler insurance plans on Finserv MARKETS and choose a plan that suits your needs.

FAQs on Modified Bike Registration

  • ✔️Can you modify your bike in India?

    You can modify your bike in India but only as per guidelines approved by the RTO.

  • ✔️How to register a modified bike in India?

    Before you start any modifications on your bike, you will need to get approval from the ARAI and RTO by visiting them and filling out the relevant paperwork.

  • ✔️Can I change the colour of my bike?

    Yes, you can change the colour of your bike, but only as per the list of approved colours provided by the RTO.

  • ✔️What happens if I do skip my modified bike registration?

    If you fail to get approval from the RTO and still modify the bike, the authorities may take away your bike and you may face fines and legal action.

  • ✔️What kind of modifications can you make on your bike?

    You will only be allowed to make minor cosmetic modifications on your bike so that the safety and performance of the bike are not affected.