Q&A - Modifying a Motorcycle

Q&A ImageI am wondering if you can let me know about a few things about building a 400cc or less Japanese chopper. (cheap insurance less than 401cc):

  • I am thinking of cutting and welding the frame into a hard tail as it will just be an in town cruiser.
  • I am planning on cutting down the rear fender and installing a solo seat and relocating the licence plate and brake/signals as well.
  • I am going to leave the stock exhaust intact though, no need to make an annoying slow bike 
  • I am planning on a doing a custom paint job myself with my newly developed airbrush skills.

Are their things that I need do to avoid potential problems with the police and motor vehicle?



The easiest answer for the items above is the one with regard to your paint job. All you have to do there is notify ICBC of the change in body colour when you complete the job. They will issue you with a new licence and insurance document showing the change.

The rest are subject to the Superintendent's Standards and you can either buy your own copy of the inspection manual or read it at your local library. This will allow you to decide what modifications would be forbidden and how far you could carry out modifications that were not explicitly forbidden.

Be very careful of frame modifications. Welding is generally not allowed. The other modifications you list may be allowed depending on how far you wish to go with them.

The simplest way of avoiding trouble may be to choose the inspection facility that you wish to use to have the bike inspected and passed once you have made your modifications. Work with them before you start to see which modifications that they will pass and which they will not. Once you have been inspected and passed, have them list the modifications that you have made and that they have passed them on facility letterhead. Keep this with your inspection document so that you can show curious enforcement personnel what you have done and that the facility accepted it as proper.

This is not a guarantee that it will keep you out of trouble, especially if you have chosen a facility that may be known for passing borderline legal modifications. If police know that the modifications are illegal or unsafe, they are required by the Motor Vehicle Act to remove your passed inspection decal and may choose to send you to another inspection.

Yes, the police can require you to attend a specific inspection station rather than letting you choose. If you fail to obey the inspection order or go to a facility other than the one designated in the order (if this is specified) you will definitely have further difficulties.

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