When the term “custom motorcycle” is mentioned, the first thing that may come to the mind of an average mainstream power biker is the soap opera, oil drenched, grisly, “American Chopper” TV show. To some chaps, this may even be “Harley choppers” of the like seen in Easy Rider. However, more bikers are enlightened to know that the term refers to any power bike modified aftermarket. Apparently, custom motorcycles that gain magazine features or win race contests have been built by manufacturers from scratch with its bespoke parts. That, is not our focus in this article.
Rather, we will be looking at the custom motorcycles with aftermarket modifications. These are motorcycles that have parts and accessories installed in them after the sale of the motorcycle by the original equipment manufacturer. Most bike owners that install these aftermarket parts and accessories do it for different reasons. For some, they want to improve the motorcycle’s power output, so they upgrade the engine performance, while some just want to stand out and look unique when they assemble in the midst of other bikers.
These days, we see a lot of young folks doing a lot of crazy things just to impress their peers. For those that own a power bike, they go as far as doing some absurd and weird mods caring less if the actions land them in trouble or not. Just as every country has its own traffic laws and regulations, there are also motorcycle modification laws governing every country which shouldn’t be broken. That’s why we have made a list of 10 illegal motorcycle mods that you can actually get away with and 10 that will always get you caught.
20 Get Away With: Back Fender Eliminator Kit
Even though you think a stock fender is obnoxious and takes up the entire back end of your bike, eliminating it completely isn’t a good idea – except you’re a professional sports bike rider who’s touring hills and mountains. However, some regular everyday bikers make use of a fender eliminator kit to remove their fenders, just to showcase the beauty of their rear tire. Removing your fenders completely sometimes leads to the removal of your rear license plate.
Riding a bike without a rear license plate could attract the cops, which would land a ticket and a possible warning.
But there’s a trick to this one. You can get away with it if you carry the license plate with you everywhere, presenting it when requested. But is it really worth the stress?
19 Get Away With: Omitting Both Side Mirrors
Some motorcycle owners remove their side mirrors after purchase as a way of modifying their bikes to look unique and beautiful, and also reduce drag. This happens a lot with sports bikes. The bike riders ignore the fact that the mirrors are used to view blind spots on the roadways without turning their heads back while riding. Apart from the fact that this modification is illegal, it’s also quite dangerous. Why? Turning your head back away from the road when you want to navigate to the left or right could lead to a serious accident that may cause serious injury or possibly loss of life. Apparently, most riders who remove the side mirrors attach a blindsight bar end mirror which is fixed to the clutch side.
18 Get Away With: Ape hangers
It’s clear that some people never get satisfied with the regular, thus they always venture into the abnormal. That’s the exact case of the Ape hangers. It’s an absurd modification that shouldn’t be done no matter the reason. The fact that the handlebars are lifted high above the head of the riders is a big no no!
Riding on a motorcycle with the handlebars over the driver's head will surely make the riding experience tiresome and painful.
Every ride on the motorcycle will be like an arm workout in the gym which will lead to your hands and biceps getting sore. The good thing is that it keeps you on a default surrender position when the cops get you. How awful! But most of the time they won’t bother with you because in some way, you look like some bad Motorcycle club leader, who’s only wanted by the big guys.
17 Get Away With: Adding An Extra Wheel
Adding an extra wheel to a motorcycle is a pure case of insanity. It’s also a classic case of uncertainty, involving a young biker who’s yet to know if he still wants a motorcycle or a car. Apparently, the law won’t take it easy with you as your license papers state you have a motorcycle but you’re running a “car-cycle”. Thus, you will be penalized. With this mod done on your motorcycle, you’ll be a regular customer to the patrol cops. Thus, it’s better to save yourself the stress and keep riding your bike on its standard two wheels because the mix and blend is obviously a bad idea. But on the bright side, if you have an attitude sweet enough, you can convince them that what you have is an experimental tri-cycle and thanks to Mother Mary, they may just let you go.
16 Get Away With: Large Rear Tires
Replacing your rear tire with a huge monstrous tire will obviously change the look of your motorcycle to something wonderful. Even though “having more could be merrier” sometimes, it doesn’t apply in this case.
A large tire at the back of your motorcycle scraps the aesthetics of the motorcycle in some cases.
And apart from marring the aesthetics of the motorcycle with the performance, a large rear tire totally changes the ride handling. If you are not an experienced bike rider, you could just be a moving comet lurking to hit any unlucky motorist on the roadway. Obviously, this will give you extra attention from many people, especially patrol cops. But you can avoid them at some instances by simply claiming that your front tire is under-pressured – if that will consistently work.
15 Get Away With: Cross Breeding Different Makes
No doubt, putting two different brands of bikes together in one project can create a stand-out machine that appears far better than anything. This is so especially if you are combining two well-renowned motorcycle brands like BMW and Ducati. Apparently, this may be the only mod that doesn’t put you in the black books of the cops. However, your motorcycle may rank as one of the most illegal mechanical mods ever. While the blend of both bikes may look beautiful, the mechanical functionality may end up becoming ugly. The danger of this combination is seen largely when the machine goes faulty.
14 Get Away With: Side-Mount Number Plate
Some bikers feel that clearing the cluster off the rear mudguard gives smoother lines, and fixing the number plate and the rear light at the side is a neat way to modify their motorcycle. You can choose to change the position of your number plates to the side of your motorcycle, but you can’t change the look the cops will be giving you thereafter. Thus, the only issue is that you will be pulled over by the cops more frequently than a church mouse borrows money.
This is because a cop driving behind won’t be able to see the plate number.
Thus, he will believe your motorcycle isn’t registered until you’re stopped and he views it at the side of your bike – at which point you would have gotten away with the crime anyway.
13 Get Away With: Dummy Personal Protection
There are some simple and harmless things that look sinister and scary at the first glance especially if it’s an adult handling it. For instance, imagine you are driving back home on your way from work and you see a sinister looking guy driving side by side with you on a Harley Davidson motorcycle flaunting his muscles. When you take a second look at this dude, you notice a weapon-like object dangling from his handlebar. You’ll get scared right? Obviously, you’ll. That’s the effect a dummy personal protection mod on a bike creates. It’s an obvious cop magnet. Even though this is illegal, you may actually get away with it. But despite the illegal fun you’ll get with these mods before getting caught, there are some motorcycle mods that once spotted, land you in striped overalls.
12 Get Away With: Removing The Reflectors On Your Motorcycle
A lot of people may or may not know, but removing the reflectors on your motorcycle is illegal. Some power bike owners tend to remove the reflectors on their power bike in the quest to make their bike have a more “sporty feel.” However, they forget that the reflectors have a specific function. Reflectors are placed on the motorcycles for the safety of the rider while riding at night. They help reflect light from headlamps of vehicles coming from behind. This helps improve the visibility of the motorcycle on the road. During the day, you can escape a patrol cop because he may not notice – but not when night falls.
11 Get Away With: Multiple Headlamps
In the quest to be creative and unique, some bike riders go as far as removing their OEM headlights and replacing it with multi headlamps. This modification may seem unique but it looks weird. To make matters worse, it’s absolutely illegal for a motorcycle to have more than one or two headlamps.
Apart from the fact that the multiple headlamps give the motorcycle the looks of a martian, it could also distract other incoming motorists on the roadways at night.
Thus, you may not escape from being pulled over by the cops, especially after every motorist you have passed has complained about you. The good thing is that you can get away with it without your bike being seized, but not without a ticket.
10 Always Caught: Coloured lights
All vehicles across the world have the same standard light for certain purposes. The reason why red is used for brake lamps is because it has the ability to travel faster than any other shade of light. Another reason is that the red light is a universal sign of distress or warning. Thus, changing it gives wrong information to other motorists. The same thing applies to the yellow light, it’s perfect for headlamps because our eyes are used to the sunlight. When you change this color, it may look trendy but it makes the road less visible. Hence, it could result in a major accident. This is why using this illegal mod doesn’t escape being caught.
9 Always Caught: Pressure horns
When it comes to noise pollution on the roadways, you can count on the pressure horn to do its damage. Pressure horns operate at an extremely high level of noise. The noise that comes from a pressure horn can actually result in loss of hearing. So, if you don’t want to lose your motorcycle, the best thing to do is to avoid using the pressure horns in traffic. This is due to the fact that installing them on your bike is first of all illegal. Thus, the solution to pressure horns is to install the OEM dual horns. These dual horns produce less noise and above all, they are legal.
8 Always Caught: Engine Swaps
As regards engine swaps, this is a bad decision that can lead to your motorcycle getting seized. Before you start to argue about this, it’s important to know that the chassis of your motorcycle is designed to hold a particular engine, its weight, its power and other things.
Also, other important parts like the brakes and wheels are tuned for a certain speed.
Thus, if you make the decision of changing the engine of your motorcycle, you’d be changing the whole dynamics. In a case where you’re trying to revive a vintage motorcycle, it’s best to try and recover the engine rather than swap it with another engine.
7 Always Caught: Extra Loud Exhaust
When motorcycles gun through traffic with very loud noise, two things are likely to happen. First, the motorcycle and the rider are bound to get a lot of stares from the public and two, they are also very likely to get a lot of handcuffs, wrapped around their waists, chasing to hug their wrists. The good news for other motorists, which is bad news for you, is that an extra loud exhaust is illegal hence this modification will get you caught. In order to avoid this, it’s best to use affordable exhausts that are free flow. This kind of exhaust saves the environment from the harmful emissions of your motorcycle. And while doing this, this exhaust will still give you the growl you desire from your motorcycle.
6 Always Caught: Removal Of The Front Brake
This is one of the most absurd modifications you can ever do to your motorcycle – except if your aim is to convert it to a “The Grim Reapers Killing Machine.” Before you think about doing this you need to know that front brakes are far more effective than the rear brakes. About two-thirds of the stopping power of a bike comes from the front brake. Weight transfer is more pronounced in motorcycles due to its wheelbase relative to its center of mass height. Even danger mouse wouldn’t attempt this stunt for any sort of public-road driving mania hence, it’s best you avoid this mod at all cost. If you’re still wondering if this mod will get you caught, the answer is … Off course you know, Yes!
5 Always Caught: License Plate Obscurers
A license plate is your motorcycle’s identification thus, it’s a wrong move for you to remove your license plate in the name of a mod.
The only time anyone may want to use this mod is if they plan to ride in a reckless fashion and don’t want people around to report them.
Another reason may be that you don’t want the police to simply identify you, but despite all that effort, you’ll still get caught. This mod just has a way of revealing the intent of the rider before the action.
4 Always Caught: HID Without Projectors
The fact about High Intensity Discharge lamps is that they are very powerful lamps. And thanks to this enormous power, these lamps are capable of temporarily blinding oncoming traffic on the highway. Thus, if you have high intensity discharge lamps, it’s mandatory for you to install a projector lens alongside. The function of the projector lens is to help focus the beam of light from the high intensity discharge lamps. In other words, if you don’t want your motorcycle to be seized by the cops, it’s best to ensure that this mod includes a projector lens.
3 Always Caught: Attaching A Get Back Whip To Handlebar
Attaching a “get back whip” to the handlebar of your motorcycle as a motorcycle mod is quite questionable from a legal perspective. The big question here is why would a bike owner want to attach a get back whip to the handlebar of his motorcycle in the first place? Some say that the idea behind this mod is to ensure that other motorists notice the biker hence, they’ll be safe. Others say it’s a symbol of your club’s colour. Whatever the reason for using this mod may be, it will definitely get your motorcycle seized.
2 Always Caught: Gatling Exhaust
Gatling exhaust is a mod that is not only illegal but will also get you caught. Matter of fact, it is so far from a good idea. Anyone that uses a Gatling exhaust may just be trying to live the dream of being “Rambo” rather than concentrating on the reality of using a workable bike mod. The truth about this mod is that using it won’t make anybody believe that you have real Gatling shooters at the back of your bike, but mother nature may just feel that way after you’ve choked her with excess greenhouse gases. And when she’ll tell the cops, you’ll be in for it.
1 Always Caught: Adding A Sound System With Speakers
Adding a sound system with speakers to your motorcycle is a bad idea from every angle. It’s enough that your motorcycle has a loud sound, hence, it’s not wise to increase the noise coming from your motorcycle by adding a sound system with speakers because the sound excites you. This doesn’t just make your loud motorcycle abusive on public roadways, it also makes it dangerous, irresponsible, and destroys the quality of life of the bike owner. It also endangers the health of other motorists and last but not the least; it would result in your motorcycle being seized.
Sources: Jalopnik.com, AxleAddict.com, Cartoq.com