Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > North America

North America Topics specific to Canada and USA/Alaska only.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 22 Jan 2012
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: uk
Posts: 6
Hello and options / opinions please


My friend and I are looking at doing a coast to coast (probably California to Florida), in Sept 2013. We are thinking of only a three to four week trip (work sadly), and really don't want to pay the high $$$ for rental. So we are thinking buy a bike, use it, and drop off in shop in Florida on arrival for them to sell on commission.

Having read through a number of forums and DMV etc I think the choices are:

1. Buy bike privately and sort out registration on arrival.

2. Buy bike privately and get owner to add me to the pink slip, signing away rights.

3. Buy from a shop, and try to get them to register it for us.

4. Arrive and try and buy bike / register in the first few days of being there. Given the relatively short trip I would prefer to have bikes sorted and 'waiting' for us if possible.

I have read of temporary plates to move bike from one state to another, but don't know much about that. We will also likely have just hotel addresses to use.

I know its a way away at the moment, but any advice suggestions greatly appreciated... Many thanks in advance
Reply With Quote
Old 22 Jan 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Helsinki
Posts: 1,590
I think 3-4 weeks is too short for the buy/sell-option, unless you really are able to sort out all paperwork either before arrival, or very quickly after you arrive. And that still leaves you the problem of getting rid of the bike. All of this is likely to get you an even bigger hurry to reach your destination, so even if it is probably do-able somehow, will the trip be enjoyable that way?

I´d try to arrange more time, or seriously think about renting, even though it is expensive (...but having a mad rush to sell your bike in a place, that´s unfamiliar to you, could also become expensive).
Reply With Quote
Old 22 Jan 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Cornwall, in the far southwest of England, UK
Posts: 454
Yep, the pivotal time is around 4-5 weeks. Less than this favours renting; whereas more time could mean that outright buying works out better .. BUT as pecha points out, with buying /selling you’re then inviting extra hassle at both ends.

A compromise might be to look into one of the Guaranteed Buyback Schemes, where:
  1. You purchase the motorcycle from a dealer at an agreed price.
  2. At the same time they agree upon a price that they will purchase the motorcycle back from you;
  3. This is based on how many miles travelled, and the overall condition of the bike on return, e.g. tyres, any damage etc.
  4. The bike is your sole responsibility (all maintenance, tyres etc are down to you.)
  5. Once you return from your adventure the dealer guarantees to buy the bike back at the agree price .. maybe less some(?) for excessive wear & tear and damage.
Remember, as you will be on a one-way ride from CA to FL, then unless the dealer concerned has shops in both locations, then you'll probably have to pay the extra cost of shipment /delivery back to CA.

Personally speaking, with just 3-4 weeks available, I would go down the rental route. And whatever you do, always bear in mind the above paragraph (what with the one-way route an'all).

The Southwest and Southern States are bloody awesome btw. Indeed, most of the USA - maybe with the exception of FL, which is a bit boring (sorry Floridians .. bless yor hearts .. ) is terrific touring country. You'll love it!

Right Way Round ...

Last edited by Keith1954; 22 Jan 2012 at 17:25.
Reply With Quote
Old 22 Jan 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Helsinki
Posts: 1,590
That buy/sellback-deal could work (but depends on the deal, of course).

Or you could possibly solve the getting-rid-of part by keeping the bike, and either freighting it across the pond after your trip – or maybe even keeping it in the US for some upcoming trips, if you´d want to do that. (Or naturally in that case you could also ask, if some dealer would keep it & sell it for you afterwards, but you´ll pay for that service, too.)

I know people buy used bikes to Finland from the US, so I guess it has to be worthwhile, even when you count in the freighting (I´d probably budget some 700-1000 USD to transport by sea, and by air, about double). But it´s worth noting, that here we have a special (read: rip-off!) tax, which applies even to used motorcycles, so I believe bikes are generally cheaper in the UK.

Another thing to keep in mind if considering a permanent import, are the ever-tightening EU regulations, that in the worst case might prevent you from registering a US vehicle here. It will depend on the bike, year model, spec code, etc., etc., and this is something where it would really pay off to do your homework well.

Last edited by pecha72; 22 Jan 2012 at 17:47.
Reply With Quote
Old 23 Jan 2012
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: uk
Posts: 6
Thank you for your replies so far folks - some interesting things to think about. I am still keen to buy and sell I think as one way rentals / hire appear to be about $100 per bike per day + a $500 one way fee! I have found a dealer in Florida that will sell the bike with a 10% cut, so am happy with that. So really I think it's just getting / registering the bike that I need to sort, and the best way to do that? We have our eyes on the KZ1000p as they are about our era (remember CHiPs??)..
Reply With Quote
Old 19 Mar 2012
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: san diego
Posts: 13
craigslist or advrider are the two best sources. I have bought a few bikes on advrider and found honest folks there. If you need help in San Diego let me know.
Reply With Quote
Old 19 Mar 2012
brclarke's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Victoria, BC, CA
Posts: 509
Have you written to any rental agencies and asked if they could offer you a monthly rate? Part of the reason the rates are so high to rent is because the bikes are not rented out every day.

I once did this years ago in Australia. Most places wanted about $100+/day for a 650cc bike with hardbags. I wrote to about 3 or 4 places, telling them I would be in Australia for 30 days and wanted to know if they could offer me a better price than $3000.

One rental agency in Sydney said sure, he could offer me a BMW F650 with Givi hard luggage for $2500 for the month, unlimited mileage. That's $83 a day; not bad for Australia.
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
Reply With Quote
Old 19 Mar 2012
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: UK but on the road in Lombok now
Posts: 227
What ever you do you will need an address in the States to sort the paper work.
I would rent for a trip of that length. It only takes a set of tyres or a break down on a second hand bike to bring the costs closer.
Reply With Quote
Old 19 Mar 2012
Moderated Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 502
If you are going to buy, buy a collectible model, use it and ship it home after; you pay VAT on entry.

I did this and bought a Suzuki GSX 750 (the older twin shocker version), rode it around the States, thrashed it senseless, brought it back, kept it for five years and sold it for what it had originally cost me.

Suggest rental - it was a shite load of hassle and I wouldn't do it again.
Reply With Quote
Old 22 Mar 2012
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Onalaska, Washington, USA
Posts: 238
Keep in mind that what state you buy in makes a difference. Each state set their own rules. Also some states have a sales tax, some do not. In Washington it is 7.8% but real easy and quick to register and license. Oregon is also easy with no sales tax. You will need to ask about other states. The USA is the cheapest place to buy any bike you want so buying and shipping home as a used bike can actually save you a little if you want to put up with the hazel.
Reply With Quote
Old 26 Mar 2012
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 3
Check out motomontana.com - Kyle is a super guy and will make you a good deal on a month long rental. You can fly in and be on the road within an hour- sure beats trying to buy, register, insure, and then sell a bike, and it might cost the same in the end. Montana isn't quite on the west coast, but it's only about 500 miles to Seattle, WA.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 21:36.