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Europe Topics specific to Western and Eastern Europe, from UK to the Russian border, and south-east to Turkey.
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  #1  
Old 8 Jan 2012
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Utilizing my military friend in Germany to help purchase a motorbike

Hi All,

Great forum, I am on Advrider often. I searched the past couple hours for an answer to this without much luck. I did, however, learn other valuable information in the process.

I have a good friend stationed in Germany. He is also a U.S. citizen. Is it possible for him to buy a motorbike and I be on his insurance? If so, with full coverage or only liability? He is doing his best to find this information for me but he's busy with training for the next 1-2 months.

I plan on visiting much of western and eastern Europe, including Turkey and some of Russia; maybe morocco as well. Renting a motorcycle for 3-4 weeks is not only extremely expensive (3k++ Euro) but it appears to limit the geography I can traverse as well. I am still trying to discern what limitations (and licenses/insurance I need) exist geographically if I ride a motorbike from Germany to the more 'adventurous' locations I have planned.

Shipping a bike from the states does not make much sense in the context of this ride. If I must spend several thousand renting, so be it. Thanks for any assistance.
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  #2  
Old 8 Jan 2012
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You should be OK with this but depends on whom he is insured with. Of course, if you crash, it is his insurance premium that will go up! As long as you have a full license for the bike in your country of residence + an international license you should be OK.

You will need green card cover but that is often included in the policies for Europe - check with the company.

Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 8 Jan 2012
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Hi, a couple of thoughts:

1) In addition to being on the insurance, you should probably try to be on the title/registration as well, just to make things easier. In any event, you should probably plan to have a power of attorney, probably notarized, from him, making clear that you can do whatever you want with the bike.

2) I have to say that your route sounds rather ambitious for 3-4 weeks--Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey, and Morocco?! Up to you of course, but I would at least leave off Russia, Morocco, and Turkey, not because they are not worth visiting but because IMHO you are just talking about too much territory.

3) If you want to see all of these countries, you might want to reconsider shipping something from the States, but then just leaving it in Europe, either with your friend or with Stephan Knopf, etc. You can often get cheap flights to Europe if you shop around, and it is great to keep a bike there and fly in when you have an opportunity. I've been doing this for several years and it is great.
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  #4  
Old 8 Jan 2012
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hi Sahtt,
If you stay within the schengen visa countries don't see much of a problem just have your international drivers licence and your name on the insurance documnent. As far as the registration for the bike, if stopped the police will need proof that you have permission to ride that bike.
As far as i am aware most insurance ( and there are exceptions ) just cover third party liability once a border has been crossed . outside the EU you will have to purchase additional insurance.

If you leave a schengen visa country then the customs will want to see orginal registration documents, if your name is not on that document it gets difficult, not impossible just difficult. I think you will find life much easier if the registration (title) is in your name.

Shipping to Europe might not be that expensive, from UK to USA last year was around $800 , or failing that buy a bike yourself and sell it when you leave !

As our friend Motoreiter said your travel plans are slightly ambitious in the time available, you will be riding motorways all the time see and experiance nothing.

Hope this helps and see you on europes roads soon
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  #5  
Old 8 Jan 2012
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You gentleman are correct, the route is quite ambitious. I will likely have to carve morocco or Russia out of my itinerary and incorporate it into another trip. I want to be ready for it all, however, so I am unrestricted. I have a regular ol' corporate drone job so vacation time has its limits unfortunately.

Given North America is not as complicated border/licensing wise as Europe and the roads are generally more consistent in quality, I made it to Fairbanks, Alaska in 11 days from Texas; about 5500 miles/8800 km's (on a sport bike with no touring mods). That included two flat tires in very remote areas and having to back track 300 miles for parts while in Utah. I do not plan to duplicate that pace but I do enjoy covering a lot of ground. If I didn't have to come back for work, I'd spend two months.

Thanks for the tips so far, I am optimistic.
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  #6  
Old 8 Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sahtt View Post
. I do not plan to duplicate that pace but I do enjoy covering a lot of ground. If I didn't have to come back for work, I'd spend two months.

.
You could emulate this guy Home Page - Nick Sanders and put in a 1000 miles per day, every day.

But, seriously, Europe is not really so complicated on the paperwork front, as outlined by the earlier posts; IMO visas are the things to consider to be the more complex administration, combined with that pesky insurance issue if you are really concerned about having full coverage against all eventualities.
I have taken a bike not owned by me abroad, and I just carried a letter signed by the named owner of the bike that gave me permission to ride it - no one within Europe wanted to see it because no one ever asked to see any documents.
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  #7  
Old 9 Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sahtt View Post
I do not plan to duplicate that pace but I do enjoy covering a lot of ground. If I didn't have to come back for work, I'd spend two months.
First, as others have mentioned, the paperwork in Europe, particuarly within Schengen, is not complicated. In fact I've been riding there for years on vacations and have never been asked for any documents, ever. You probably know this already, but just in case, I wanted to mention that there are no border posts, etc. within Schengen, so you can roam at will over some pretty serious territory. That is not to say that you should not have appropriate docs, but as long as the bike is rego'd, you have some evidence you are authorized to ride it, and insurance, you'll probably be OK.

Second, I have no doubt that you could cover the amount of ground that you mentioned, but for me at least it would not be very fun. If you're going to super-slab around Europe you might as well stay in the US, cuz superhighways are pretty much the same everywhere you go. While I also enjoy putting in long days in the saddle, I don't usually cover much ground, because I stick to the smallest roads I can find. In Europe in particular this approach is really rewarding, and you end up seeing all kinds of cool, out-of-the-way, centuries-old towns, castles, etc. that you you never see otherwise. Obviously everyone is different and you should certainly do what you enjoy, but I'd at least consider a slightly more leisurely itinerary!

Third, I know you haven't asked, but if you are looking for areas to eliminate from your route, I'd consider Northern Germany, Poland, and Ukraine. I've found most of these areas to be pretty dull (with exceptions of course), and I'd probably try to spend more time in other places.

Lastly, from what I understand, bike theft is a big problem in many parts of Europe, so I always try to find some kind of secure parking at night (unless I'm in a really dinky town), especially if you don't have comprehensive insurance.

I don't mean to come across as being patronizing, but just wanted to pass on my thoughts based on my experience riding in Europe; your trip sounds great, best of luck with it.
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  #8  
Old 9 Jan 2012
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Like the OP, I live and ride in North America.

When you take a long trip here you can easily skip lots of stuff. Maybe you've seen it before--cities, national parks, local attractions you've been visiting since you were a little kid. Or maybe it merely greatly resembles stuff you've seen before---there are local variations, but vast swathes of North America were settled and developed within the same time frame (Native Americans aside), and never featured the drastically different arrays of little kingdoms and civilizations and contrasting cultures so common throughout Europe. Or maybe you skip it because it's easy enough to come back and catch it next year, or the year after. There's not even a lot you need to experience culturally, since basically we're fairly similar no matter where you go (again allowing for some exceptions). So if you're headed for Alaska you get on the road early and ride like crazy--if you want--and in a week you're there.

Europe's not like that, thank god. In many cases the roads are actually better, so if what you want is to skip everything worthwhile and make time to some distant spot on the map, you can certainly do so. But once you get off the main highways and slow down a bit you realize how rich and varied everything is--culturally, linguistically, gastronomically, architecturally, and however else you can name. Plus there's some amazing riding on the back roads, whatever your riding style. As indicated above, if you're staying on the main roads you'll make good time, but basically you might as well stay home.

You've got three weeks, maybe four. That's a good amount of time to loop up to Nordkapp if it's summertime: you'll catch spectacular scenery, get some glimpses of the Soviet days and the current Russia, pass through six or eight main language zones (and lots of minor ones, each representing a thousand years of proud history). Or you could head south through parts of Eastern Europe into Turkey--another fascinating trip with wonderful riding, as long as you recognize you'll run out of time if you try to include--as everyone should--more than a quick taste of Turkey. Or do an Adriatic/Balkan loop, with bits of Italy, Greece, Albania and the former Yugoslavia. Or the Alps, France and Spain. Or....

The point is that any of these will fill twice the amount of time you've got without ever getting boring. Your trip doesn't become realistic just because you decided to give up on Morocco. The question is, will you find this out in advance and adjust your plans, or will you learn it on the ground and eat crow? Me, I aimed for a generous mix of both....and ended up spending 8 months on the trip you describe doing in 3-4 weeks. FWIW, I covered a lot of ground in a hurry and still missed vast areas. You'll see.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark

Edit to add: Oh yeh, insurance. Buy the best green card coverage you find, then purchase at borders when necessary. It's not a big deal, although certain countries (Morocco, Serbia, to a lesser extent Macedonia) are foolishly expensive. Some countries will make you pay at one border, not at another (Croatia); some will make you promise to purchase insurance at first opportunity but will make it impossible when the time comes (Ukraine and Albania, in my experience). Others charge very nominal amounts, which themselves turn out to be negotiable (Moldova, Turkey). It's all ok. Don't fall into the trap of spending a lot of time trying to work the angles in advance: for the most part it's all hassle-free. If you had a year to spend on your trip that would alter the balance, but with a month you want to spend a bit extra and see as much as possible.
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Old 9 Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
Like the OP, I live and ride in North America.

When you take a long trip here you can easily skip lots of stuff. Maybe you've seen it before--cities, national parks, local attractions you've been visiting since you were a little kid. Or maybe it merely greatly resembles stuff you've seen before---there are local variations, but vast swathes of North America were settled and developed within the same time frame (Native Americans aside), and never featured the drastically different arrays of little kingdoms and civilizations and contrasting cultures so common throughout Europe. Or maybe you skip it because it's easy enough to come back and catch it next year, or the year after. There's not even a lot you need to experience culturally, since basically we're fairly similar no matter where you go (again allowing for some exceptions). So if you're headed for Alaska you get on the road early and ride like crazy--if you want--and in a week you're there.

Europe's not like that, thank god. In many cases the roads are actually better, so if what you want is to skip everything worthwhile and make time to some distant spot on the map, you can certainly do so. But once you get off the main highways and slow down a bit you realize how rich and varied everything is--culturally, linguistically, gastronomically, architecturally, and however else you can name. Plus there's some amazing riding on the back roads, whatever your riding style. As indicated above, if you're staying on the main roads you'll make good time, but basically you might as well stay home.

You've got three weeks, maybe four. That's a good amount of time to loop up to Nordkapp if it's summertime: you'll catch spectacular scenery, get some glimpses of the Soviet days and the current Russia, pass through six or eight main language zones (and lots of minor ones, each representing a thousand years of proud history). Or you could head south through parts of Eastern Europe into Turkey--another fascinating trip with wonderful riding, as long as you recognize you'll run out of time if you try to include--as everyone should--more than a quick taste of Turkey. Or do an Adriatic/Balkan loop, with bits of Italy, Greece, Albania and the former Yugoslavia. Or the Alps, France and Spain. Or....

The point is that any of these will fill twice the amount of time you've got without ever getting boring. Your trip doesn't become realistic just because you decided to give up on Morocco. The question is, will you find this out in advance and adjust your plans, or will you learn it on the ground and eat crow? Me, I aimed for a generous mix of both....and ended up spending 8 months on the trip you describe doing in 3-4 weeks. FWIW, I covered a lot of ground in a hurry and still missed vast areas. You'll see.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark

Edit to add: Oh yeh, insurance. Buy the best green card coverage you find, then purchase at borders when necessary. It's not a big deal, although certain countries (Morocco, Serbia, to a lesser extent Macedonia) are foolishly expensive. Some countries will make you pay at one border, not at another (Croatia); some will make you promise to purchase insurance at first opportunity but will make it impossible when the time comes (Ukraine and Albania, in my experience). Others charge very nominal amounts, which themselves turn out to be negotiable (Moldova, Turkey). It's all ok. Don't fall into the trap of spending a lot of time trying to work the angles in advance: for the most part it's all hassle-free. If you had a year to spend on your trip that would alter the balance, but with a month you want to spend a bit extra and see as much as possible.
Nice summary there Mark with lots of food for thought.

Regarding Croatia; breaking news!! That country has just signed up for the EU, so green card cover for the EU should now cover riding there also.
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  #10  
Old 26 Jan 2012
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Good news gentleman - flight to Valencia for May 17th is booked and IMTBike will have a BMW there waiting for me. Here is hoping to a warm May in the Alps and Romania

I did not exhaust every possibility of buying a bike myself, but all the ones I looked at were not stress/cost efficient. If I bought a bike, various restrictions on where I could take it arose (i.e. western nations have varying restrictions insurance wise of bringing bikes into Eastern Europe). In addition, securing insurance beyond minimum liability is difficult. To guarantee it for all nations I might visit was next to impossible. I couldn't take a 5-7k Euro risk if the bike was stolen in Serbia etc. It would have been a huge roll of the dice for minimal savings vs renting a bike, despite how expensive it is.
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