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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
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).
Location: Cornwall, in the far southwest of England, UK
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:
You purchase the motorcycle from a dealer at an agreed price.
At the same time they agree upon a price that they will purchase the motorcycle back from you;
This is based on how many miles travelled, and the overall condition of the bike on return, e.g. tyres, any damage etc.
The bike is your sole responsibility (all maintenance, tyres etc are down to you.)
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!
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.
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??)..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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