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  • 1 Post By mark manley
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  #1  
Old 12 May 2013
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Buying a Bike in Europe and opinions on Wheatwhacker?

Hi folks!

I'm in the middle of looking for a motorcycle in Europe and packing some luggage racks on it and biking across many of the countries. I'd like to aim for Morocco or India, haven't decided yet.

I found a user on another forum called Wheatwhacker who offers to help assist non-europeans in buying a motorbike and getting registered and such. He calls this service Motofeirme. I'm wondering if anyones used his services or have any opinions on such a transaction?

Also, recommendations on bikes for that kind of trip? I'll need reliability and the ability to put panniers on it. I'm thinking about buying some Pelican cases and drilling holes in them and mounting them on the existing luggage racks.

-silenceforus

EDIT: Well I've come to update this post!

I've completed TWO deals through Motofeirme, or Martin, or Wheatwhacker as he's known here.

I bought a Transalp from someone in Ireland, and Martin facilitated the purchase, he even brought a friend who was quite an expert on Transalps to check it out for me. I approved the purchase, and it was placed in storage for a few months until I got there. When I arrived he was quite helpful, came to get me sorted in the middle of a work day for him, and had a mechanic show up as well to run me through the bike and what I should keep an eye out for. I even managed to mount the boxes I brought in his shop, so that was nice to have access to that.

After my trip I was in need to sell it again, and was in Spain. I posted a for-sale, and Martin even helped out by posting on the Motofeirme Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/motofeirme ) which is where it sold. I found a Canadian that Martin connected to me, and we Skyped, agreed on a price and a drop off point (At his friends in southern Spain) and I mailed the title back to Martin in Ireland! He took care of all the rest for us.

It was well worth the relatively small amount of money to help facilitate these purchases, and although the storage fees can be a bit pricey, his facility is well secured and has what you need to get your trip started. I hear he's adding on a space for sleeping overnight there too, for travelers who arrive late!

Three cheers for Martin and Motofeirme!

Last edited by silenceforus; 2 Apr 2014 at 18:44. Reason: Finished a transaction and wanted to update with my opinions and experience!
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  #2  
Old 12 May 2013
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Hello and welcome,
I cannot comment on the service Wheatwacker offers as I know nobody who has used it, you also need to give us a little more information such as which country you hope to start in, bikes that are a good buy in one are not always in another, how much you want to spend is also an important matter.
Something about yourself is also useful, your country of origin to start with might not make any difference when buying a bike, although it can when insuring it and will when you plan your trip, certain passports can be a problem in certain countries.
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  #3  
Old 12 May 2013
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Hi, I can't comment on wheatwackers services either, but I can give you some information based on my research over the last few years as legislation advisor on a UK/ France based motorcycle forum.

The laws on bike/vehicle ownership in all European countries have tightened up considerably over the last few years. This is in response to European Legislation; terrorist activity; illegal immigration, and also to the large amount of vehicles on the road which are uninsured.

In most European countries it should now be impossible to Insure a vehicle if your name is not on the registration document as the owner /keeper.

To be the registered keeper of the vehicle you either need to be a permanent resident of the country or have a residential address where you can be contacted ( holiday home or similar). One used to be able to use friends/ post box addresses, but now registration authorities are asking for things like household bills in your name which prove you have an address. The computerised systems check automatically various databases to confirm your status. Tourists can not buy and register vehicles in their own name.

If you borrowed a bike, trying to get insurance cover for travel outside the country of registration is nigh on impossible,and especially if you have a non European Driving licence. I would be very wary of any European Insurance agent who says they can cover you. Underwriters and re-insurance companies are very tight on their risk management, so triple check any Insurance offered to see if the underwriter is a major company. Don't forget an agent is merely an agent not the Insurer, and I regret that some are not particularly scrupulous or honest. There was one agent in the U.K. who used to be able to provide cover for non European licence holders on a borrowed bike as a named rider on the U.K. owners policy- but even he has stopped that service.

Hire companies have their own arrangements with Insurers and Insurance comes as part of the hire package, this may include European cover, but hire companies do not normally allow bikes to be taken out of the country of registration.

The risk of course is yours if you decide to buy. It used to be a fun and easy thing to do, to buy a bike and go exploring in Europe. Unfortunately those days are now gone, and IMHO with the state of traffic and driving ability in a greater part of Europe it's not worth taking any risks, especially when it comes to Insurance.
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  #4  
Old 13 May 2013
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Some information per Marks request:

Country I'd like to start in is Ireland, or Germany. I can do anywhere though.

I'd like to spend less than 3,000 euro on the bike all-told.

I'm starting out here in the United States, and flying to Germany and then going from there.


Pongo, thanks for that information. As I understand it,Ireland is a little less strict, and it's possible to get insured and own a bike as long as you've got a residential address to register the bike at.
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  #5  
Old 14 May 2013
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If Ireland is anything like the UK there should be a good choice of BMW F650's well inside your budget. If you keep any eye out there might even be one with panniers and some other kit already fitted. Tried and tested a good choice.
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  #6  
Old 14 May 2013
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I know wheathacker personally (when he still lived in San Francisco, he also helped out overland travellers a lot) and we stayed at his place for over a week.

During that time, we saw him help out numerous people, all with a big smile (and a in his hand ;-))

Now, back in Ireland, he professionalized it a bit.
I trust him 100% and can honestly say I wouldn't doubt for a second using his services.
I do think he takes a small cut nowadays for his help, but hey, isn't that simply fair? In the past it was costing him way too much time and money...

Just contact him with your questions, he'll inform you on the process and various options. And say 'hi' to him from me! ;-)
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  #7  
Old 15 May 2013
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silenceforus, I bought my bike in France last year after spending a bit of time searching on the internet I found one I liked, on a site similar to ebay, called beboncoin.fr, or 'the good corner'. I paid €3200, so around $4200US I would guess, though you can buy a lot cheaper, all depending on what you want.

What Pongo says is largely true, though I am an Australian resident and have no European passport and I was able to buy and insure this bike in my name.

As Pongo mentions, one might be lucky enough to know someone who is a resident of the country.

I am lucky enough to know someone living in France and was able to use a utility bill with a cover note by my friend to say I was living there at no cost, to the local authority.

Now the beaut thing with France is that its rather cheap to do. To have the bike in your name, the 'Certificat d'immatriculation' or registration is priced according to vehicle age and engine power. My TDM 850, being a 2001 this model attracted a 50% discount and cost me a grand total of €84, I rattled up some loose change I had. This is a once only cost, unlike many other countries where you pay annually. This makes it very easy in terms of having the bike left there in storage for when I go to Europe.

The other thing is insurance, or assurance as it's know in France. It is important to get your paperwork in order here. You need a signed letter from your existing vehicle insurer to state the number of years with beginning date you have held insurance. Now, I obtained assurance with AXA, fairly large orgainsation, and if you can show you have 13 years like I did, then you are able to attract a 50% discount on your premiums. I was quoted wildly stupid figures and some who just nodded their heads before I found a small AXA branch in the middle of France. When my premium is due, I can easily pay in cash at any French post office. Maybe one day they will get more modern and I can pay via the internet. Presently, it costs me a few hundred euros a year.

Owning my bike in France is a fraction of what my bike here in Australia costs me.

So, it is possible if you look into it, and talk to people.
But I agree with Pongo, I suspect it will not be too long before it becomes harder to do, in which case I better hang on to the car and bike I have over there.
_____
Paul
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  #8  
Old 15 May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenceforus View Post
Hi folks!

I'm in the middle of looking for a motorcycle in Europe and packing some luggage racks on it and biking across many of the countries. I'd like to aim for Morocco or India, haven't decided yet.

I found a user on another forum called Wheatwhacker who offers to help assist non-europeans in buying a motorbike and getting registered and such. He calls this service Motofeirme. I'm wondering if anyones used his services or have any opinions on such a transaction?

Also, recommendations on bikes for that kind of trip? I'll need reliability and the ability to put panniers on it. I'm thinking about buying some Pelican cases and drilling holes in them and mounting them on the existing luggage racks.

-silenceforus
He's on this forum too. Maybe he'll be along shortly to answer some of your questions.
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  #9  
Old 16 May 2013
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Wheatwhacker made buying a bike so easy for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by silenceforus View Post
Hi folks!

I'm in the middle of looking for a motorcycle in Europe and packing some luggage racks on it and biking across many of the countries. I'd like to aim for Morocco or India, haven't decided yet.

I found a user on another forum called Wheatwhacker who offers to help assist non-europeans in buying a motorbike and getting registered and such. He calls this service Motofeirme. I'm wondering if anyones used his services or have any opinions on such a transaction?

Also, recommendations on bikes for that kind of trip? I'll need reliability and the ability to put panniers on it. I'm thinking about buying some Pelican cases and drilling holes in them and mounting them on the existing luggage racks.

-silenceforus
Hi mate,

I've just picked up my bike from Wheatwhacker, and I can say I was blown away by the help he gave me during the process of buying a bike. I live in Australia, and I work a 60+hour a week high-stress executive role. I don't have time to waste. I'd beaten my head against a freaking brick wall with insurance companies in the UK and I'd spent hundreds of dollars worth of my time fooling around with them.

I got talking to Martin (Wheatwhacker) here, and he mentioned he can sort me out a bike. He called the seller, went above and beyond what one can reasonably expect from a fellow HUBB forum member, and laid the groundwork for the seller & I to chat over the phone and the sale went well. I now have a 2000 R1 *titled in my name* for an absolute steal of a price, stored in Martin's shed for the 3 months or so until I got over here. The bike is in great shape, Martin took multiple photos, has a motorcycle mechanic who works at a dealership here who is a mate of his who fixed it up for me, I will have my Irish motorcycle license tomorrow and FULL COMPREHENSIVE insurance for the bike which is a hell of a lot better than just the Green Card which is liability only.

Martin's been so damn good in helping me I kept wondering when the kicker would kick in. It hasn't yet, it's just been a really friendly guy who loves helping other riders afford their dream bike tour. He's done more than 100,000k's touring all over the world, he can tell stories of places I didn't even know existed and has given me so many tips on clever touring you will only find from an old hand who's been there and done it and will happily share all the experience and wisdom he's accumulated along the way.

If you jump on ADVRider you'll see a few guys who have been sorted out by Martin, and are really happy. Martin currently has I guess around 10 to 15 bikes in his shed at the moment that are waiting for their owners to arrive and go touring Europe for 3+ months. While I was here, another one of Martin's customers from the US was picking up his bike too and he had a damn good laugh and dinner was awesome.

You won't regret going with Wheatwacker. He made buying a bike so easy, and given the amount of people now who are using his services and taking up his time, he's taken what I personally regard as too small of a cut to cover his time and the amount of sheer effort he goes to in order that people can have their travel dream come true.

That's my 2c
-J
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  #10  
Old 16 May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenceforus View Post
Hi folks!

I'm in the middle of looking for a motorcycle in Europe and packing some luggage racks on it and biking across many of the countries. I'd like to aim for Morocco or India, haven't decided yet.

I found a user on another forum called Wheatwhacker who offers to help assist non-europeans in buying a motorbike and getting registered and such. He calls this service Motofeirme. I'm wondering if anyones used his services or have any opinions on such a transaction?

Also, recommendations on bikes for that kind of trip? I'll need reliability and the ability to put panniers on it. I'm thinking about buying some Pelican cases and drilling holes in them and mounting them on the existing luggage racks.

-silenceforus
Good morning from Ireland.
To answer your question, yes, I can get you set up with a motorcycle here no problem.
The process is very simple here but, it does require a great deal of trust from all parties.
Here is how it works.
You decide on the bike you want. I am recommending Honda transalps, and Valaderos because they are cheap, simple, reliable and easily sold. I also have a soft spot for Suzuki Vstroms but they make some decent money here. My recommendations are not written in stone and I'm sure you may have your own preference.

Next, as soon as you have found the bike, I will contact the seller and negotiate a price as well as organize payment and collection. Some sellers will accept paypal or a bank transfer but, most, understandably only want to see cash. I can front the money if I get a deposit via Paypal. The balance after I purchase the bike.


I will then proceed to get the bike titled in your name using my address here.
Insurance is handled by motocamp in Bulgaria. If you are from the USA, you have to get green card insurance. Citizens of Australia and several other countries, like the previous poster, are able to get a regular Irish license and therefore able to get regular insurance.

My charges.
I have a bike collection charge, depending on the distance I have to travel. I am located in Cork, as a reference point.
I charge 10 euro for paperwork and 30 Euro/month for storage.
If you are reselling the bike when you are done, I will charge a small fee. So far, everybody that has come, has decided either to store for future trips, or, managed to sell it themselves so, I have no idea what to charge yet.

There are no more charges. I am quite happy to help travelers and return the karma that has been shown to me over the years of my travels. When you arrive here in Ireland, you are welcome to stay as long as you want, use my tools, share food, help on the farm. I'm a 15-20 min drive from Cork airport or a 20-25 euro cab fare if, I cannot collect you myself.

That's it in a nutshell. So far there have been zero problems getting anything done. You are buying a used bike, therefore I cannot accept full responsibility for the reliability of it. I will check it out and give an honest opinion on it. Obviously the lower mile and newer bike will give more trouble free miles but, that is a personal choice.
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  #11  
Old 7 Jun 2013
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bike for sale in europe

When were you looking to tour? I have a bike for sale in Europe right now that is registered in the states
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  #12  
Old 9 Aug 2013
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Hi,
I just returned to the US from six weeks of touring Ireland on a bike purchased through Wheatwacker. His efforts made the transaction easy and trouble free from the time of purchasing the bike in March to my first sight of it in late June to dropping it back off at his location in early August. His facility is a 5000 square foot industrial building situated well off a two lane country road behind an iron gate and with massive iron doors. He's presently installing security cams that can be accessed by bike owners 24/7. I have absolutely no concerns about safety and security. He has a mechanic available if needed and tools and workspace to do your own work if desired. The facility is about 30 minutes from the ferry to either France (about 16 hours) or England (substantially less) and opens up opportunities for easy access to broader travels. Martin is sincere, honest and even humorous and I expect to keep a bike with him for the foreseeable future.

Wade Butler
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  #13  
Old 9 Aug 2013
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Hi,

Im just selling my Transalp in Germany

Honda XL 650 Transalp auf Wunsch gedrosselt als Enduro/Reiseenduro in Stuttgart

The problem will be the registration. If you dont want to bring the bike back to Germany, we could use a so called EXPORT Numberplate, wich is valied for up to one month and allows you to leave Europa with it. If you want a permanent registration, you need someone with a adress in Europa who is willing to take a big risk. Many countrys such as Swiss, Austria and Italy charge the bike owner for speed fines not the driver...

Other questions per PN
Greetings from Germany, Tobi
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  #14  
Old 2 Apr 2014
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Well I've come to update this post!

I've completed TWO deals through Motofeirme, or Martin, or Wheatwhacker as he's known here.

I bought a Transalp from someone in Ireland, and Martin facilitated the purchase, he even brought a friend who was quite an expert on Transalps to check it out for me. I approved the purchase, and it was placed in storage for a few months until I got there. When I arrived he was quite helpful, came to get me sorted in the middle of a work day for him, and had a mechanic show up as well to run me through the bike and what I should keep an eye out for. I even managed to mount the boxes I brought in his shop, so that was nice to have access to that.

After my trip I was in need to sell it again, and was in Spain. I posted a for-sale, and Martin even helped out by posting on the Motofeirme Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/motofeirme ) which is where it sold. I found a Canadian that Martin connected to me, and we Skyped, agreed on a price and a drop off point (At his friends in southern Spain) and I mailed the title back to Martin in Ireland! He took care of all the rest for us.

It was well worth the relatively small amount of money to help facilitate these purchases, and although the storage fees can be a bit pricey, his facility is well secured and has what you need to get your trip started. I hear he's adding on a space for sleeping overnight there too, for travelers who arrive late!

Three cheers for Martin and Motofeirme!
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