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  #1  
Old 15 Feb 2014
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US trip June -August 2014

Hi

First time Hubb user here.

My wife and I are from Australia and have booked our flights and will be spending 2 months in the US this summer. Flying in/out LA, so the plan is to buy a bike in LA and spend about 7 weeks touring the US. Plan is to try as many of the great biking roads as we can in those 7 weeks (without getting riders burn out!). Looking at buying a fjr1300 or similar, so won't be venturing on to the dirt.

A few items we are seeking feedback on are below:

- have done searches on foreigners buying/registering bikes in CA and it seems straight forward as long as you have access to a CA address for the paper work to be sent to (which we do). Let me know if you think this isn't the case.

- let me know how far you think is feasible to cover in 7 weeks. Should we stay in the western states, or do you think it would be feasible to get over to the east and do the Blue Ridge Parkway? I have a feeling that a loop to the east might be too much in the time (will be returning to LA to sell bike and fly home)

- some great bike roads I have heard of in the western part inc. bear tooth pass in Wyoming, San Juan mountain hwy in Colorado, pacific coast hwy, CA, hwy 12 Bryce Canyon national park & Capitol reef NP in Utah and going to the sun road in Montana. Would love to hear views on the above roads and other must ride roads particularly in the west.

- we are looking at spending some time in national parks (yellow stone and Grand Canyon), suggestions on other lesser known parks would be greatly appreciated.

- would be great to meet with local riders as we travel too. So let me know if you are keen to catch up for a ride.

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions,
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  #2  
Old 15 Feb 2014
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Hi mumfoda,

I am planning a similar trip and would like to add two questions to yours:

- How long does it typically takes in CA for the bike to be fully registered once you've found a dealer (hours/days/weeks) ?

- Is it possible to get a short term US basic insurance to cover damages in case of accident ? (I am 24 and just got the UK motorcycle licence; I also have a standard french driving licence for cars).

Thanks !
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  #3  
Old 15 Feb 2014
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Registration in California

I am a US/California citizen so am not sure about differences that might affect registration for non-US persons. When you buy a vehicle from a dealer, they will issue a temporary registration immediately that is valid. It expires in 60 days but your hard-copy should arrive with plates (for new) from the Department of motor vehicles in 10-14 days.
The link below covers the requirements for non-resident registration:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...,d.cGU&cad=rja
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  #4  
Old 16 Feb 2014
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Originally Posted by jmckeith View Post
I am a US/California citizen so am not sure about differences that might affect registration for non-US persons. When you buy a vehicle from a dealer, they will issue a temporary registration immediately that is valid. It expires in 60 days but your hard-copy should arrive with plates (for new) from the Department of motor vehicles in 10-14 days.
The link below covers the requirements for non-resident registration:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...,d.cGU&cad=rja
Thanks Mckeith, had a look at the link. Doesn't seem to raise any issues for me.

One further question: when registering a bike and providing the CA address do I need some proof that this is my address (e.g. Utility bill in my name) or is it just taken as read by the DMV?
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  #5  
Old 16 Feb 2014
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Quite refreshing to see you have done your research, so at least have a clue how things work here. As you've found, getting a bike registered should be no problem. Your chosen areas and routes are good too!

I've helped TWO sets of foreign riders buy & register bikes ... two Kiwis bought KLR's here in California, rode to Tierra del Fuego and sold them off. An Irishman and German also bought bikes here. All 4 bikes registered in California and legal. (I mailed the permanent titles onto them in Mexico)

The Kiwis (on our advice) arrived in USA with NO riding gear since it's MUCH CHEAPER HERE than NZ. So while we shopped for bikes, they ordered everything they needed online ... they said it was 50% to 75% cheaper here than New Zealand. Not sure about prices in Oz?

If you want to try gear on before you buy, (I would) check out Chaparral, just East of L.A. Biggest bike store in the world (true!) far as I know. Loads of stuff ... so no ordering /waiting. They've got most everything in stock, on the shelf.
Mens Street Bike Gear - Chaparral Motorsports

As mentioned above, Temp registration is good immediately, permanent vehicle title (called Pink Slip here in California) takes 2 to 4 weeks typically. But for USA and Canada travel the 60 day Temp registration is legal in ALL 50 states.

With a used bike bought from a private party you keep the same license plate. If you buy a New bike, the dealer gives you a temp plate and temp registration.

With a Used bike private party purchase, you go to local DMV (every town has one) and transfer title into your name, fill in some forms, pay fees and sales tax. Done.

With a dealer sale, you need do NOTHING. They do it all and you receive documents (pink slip, plates) in mail later. This is true weather you buy a NEW or USED bike from a dealer. (a used bike may stay on it's original plates) It's their job to handle registration, pay tax and all fees. (which you pay to the dealer!)

Dealers can also sell you insurance .. but may not be the cheapest ... but it is convenient and is effective immediately ... with NO work (other than paying) on your part.

Beyond this, I don't know much about insurance. I know foreigners have limited choices ... so the dealer option may be good?

The Kiwis and Germans I helped DID NOT buy any insurance here since they had only to make it to the Mexican border (120 miles South of L.A.)

USA insurance is not valid in Mexico, once in Mexico, you buy Mexican insurance. Also, California law allows you 10 days to buy insurance after buying a bike. (new or used)

Some folks mention Progressive as a company for insurance. But in my experience, they are crooks. So ask around, try to find a fair and inexpensive solution.

YOU WILL NEED to show proof of insurance if you get pulled. Honestly, you could probably show your OZ insurance ... and police would probably accept it. But ... in case of an accident you'd be screwed.


The places and routes you've picked are all really good IMHO. Try to avoid hottest weather. Some of your route is VERY hot mid Summer. Try to time your ride to go into Sept. and October if possible. Best weather. Wise to stay out West. The East and South are another trip. So much to see in the area you've mentioned ... a thousand good places and a thousand fantastic roads.

If you come through Northern California, PM me and I can help lay out a nice route around here. Riding paradise if you know where to go.

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  #6  
Old 16 Feb 2014
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Hi Mollydog

Thanks for all the information. Will be buying some gear when we arrive in US, it is much cheaper than aus. Chaparral looks good so will probably spend an afternoon out there stimulating the US economy.

Think I will buy a second hand bike from a dealer so it sounds even more straightforward if the handle all the paper work. Will have to do more research on insurance, I have heard that progressive is one of the few choices for foreign riders.

Heat may be an issue on our ride, we arrive in June and staying to mid August, so I think we will just have to deal with it. Thinking of heading south first to Arizona then work north through Grand Canyon then Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Washington then back down the coast to LA. Hopefully that way we avoid the hotter southern parts during late July/august.....well that's the plan anyway.

Will be heading back through Northern parts of CA, so will PM you about some routes.
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  #7  
Old 16 Feb 2014
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Hi,

First of all good luck on your up coming trip and welcome to the Hubb.

Myself and my wife are also from Australia and have done two tours of the states in the last seven years. The first one was about 15,000 km in 6 weeks through the western states and up into the midwest and Rockies, the one we did last year was an 11 week 30,000 km ride that took us up to Alaska, across Canada, down to the Great Lakes to Arkansas back west through New Mexico and up into Idaho.

On both trips we did ship our own bikes so we can not offer any advise on purchasing or registering a bike in the U.S. We have to agree with the comments about buying your gear over in the states, we brought over a few items but the majority we ordered on line and picked up when we arrived.

The route that you have chosen sounds good, if we can help you in any way or have questions you may like to discuss with an Australian who has done it before feel free to send me a PM and we can discuss it in more detail.

Good Luck and ride safe,
Jeffrey
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  #8  
Old 16 Feb 2014
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If you haven't already done so, have a read of http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...nals-can-58648
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  #9  
Old 16 Feb 2014
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Some good points in the thread above. One thing ... several NON Californians talked about Smog Checks. One guy got it right. California has NO SMOG CHECK for motorcycles. Some states do have Smog checks but not California.

Another big tax saving tip if you buy from a private party:
When you buy a bike from a private party the seller must fill out the Pink slip with certain information:
Mileage shown on bike
Sale Price
Buyers information
Date of sale
Bike details

It is very common practice for the buyer and seller to "agree" on a price to put down on the Pink Slip "for the DMV". Don't get greedy here ... but typically if I'm paying $5000 usd for a bike ... the seller is happy to put down $2500 ... or even less. If you do this, be sure the seller puts down the agreed upon figure on the DMV release of liability form he sends to DMV to alert them to the sale. So the two figures must MATCH. They NEVER ask about price unless the bike is BRAND NEW. If someone at DMV do ask just say it was sold in "As Is" condition ... indicating it had crash damage. But they have never asked me, ever, in dozens of bikes bought and sold.

So, when you go to DMV to turn in the pink slip and register the bike in your name, you have to pay sales tax on the amount stated on the Pink Slip.
So you've just saved 9% of $2500. A nice savings.

A dealer will typically NOT help you out with this ... too much at risk for them I guess? But does not hurt to ask.
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  #10  
Old 18 Feb 2014
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Thanks Molly Dog.

Will keep in mind re potential tax saving, but likely to be buying from dealer for ease. Will look for a bike on cycle trader I think.
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  #11  
Old 19 Feb 2014
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I don't have anything to add to the buying a motorcycle thing, but some places you can go and see. Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is amazing and very much worth a visit. Also King's Canyon is very similar to Yosemite without the crowds, and General Sherman tree is the biggest on the planet.

I'm sure you know this already, but the Moab area is stunning even if you aren't going off road, and there's always man made wonders like Golden Gate and Hoover Dam. And stuff like the extraterrestrial Highway, Roswell, White Sands, the Salt Flats.

You know, there's probably way more than 7 weeks of stuff to see unless you narrow down the requirements some.
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  #12  
Old 20 Feb 2014
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Thanks, will check these out when planning our route.
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  #13  
Old 12 Mar 2014
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Hi mumfoda,
I'm another one heading to the US this year. I'll be there mid July for two months. Will you still be there? Maybe we can meet up somewhere?
Cheers,
Matt
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  #14  
Old 18 Mar 2014
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hi everyone

Can anyone explain if "having a californian address" only means having an address to pickup the paperwork (without necessarly living there or being registred there as a citizen). So can it be an address of a friend who lives there?
Or do you somehow have to be an American that is registred there? Or does the address have to be in your name e.g. a rented appartment.

Because I'm trying to buy an US plated Moto as an non-us citizen.

Thanks for any info.

@mumfoda:
as my trip suggestion: yosimety and zion are two of my favorite parks in the US. Cool (or sad) thing about US Nationalparks is you can basicly explore everything without getting once off your motorcycle or out of your car. It's like a huge drivethrough. When in Zion I recommend you the angellanding hike though. 2h hike. one of the coolest things I've done in the US. Also the highway nr. 1 is super curvy and for sure fun by bike!
let us know how it works out...
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  #15  
Old 24 Mar 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzMatt View Post
Hi mumfoda,
I'm another one heading to the US this year. I'll be there mid July for two months. Will you still be there? Maybe we can meet up somewhere?
Cheers,
Matt
Hi Matt

We will probably be up in Wyoming or Montana by mid July. Whereabouts are you starting your trip from?

Regards

Damon
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