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  #1  
Old 23 Apr 2010
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Any experience importing a non-U.S. bike to the United States?

I recently learned about a bike that I didn't even know existed: Honda NX-4 Falcon. It appears to be very much like the Suzuki DR-Z 400, but perhaps intended more for the street (whereas the DR-Z is obviously a dirt bike with lights and mirrors). The NX-4 appears to be the adventure bike of my dreams. (Please don't laugh -- everyone has their own dreams, and mine tend to involve smaller bikes like my CB160 vintage racer.)

It is simply beyond me why Honda does not sell this model in the United States, but the fact is, they don't. They apparently build them in Brazil, and I did find a Honda products site in Mexico that lists them as a model sold there.

My question: Does anyone here know what it would take for a U.S. resident to legally import a Honda NX-4 into the U.S.? Or is it such a hassle (or so costly) that it's insane to even try? It appears to use an engine very similar to a current U.S. model, so I would think that emissions would not be much of an issue.
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Last edited by cb160racer; 23 Apr 2010 at 04:48. Reason: More specific question
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  #2  
Old 23 Apr 2010
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Get in touch with this Guy

Ronald Schuyler
EPA Imports Line
Compliance & Innovative Strategies Division
Light - Duty Vehicle Programs
2000 Traverwood Drive
Ann Arbor , MI 48105
Phone (734)214 4100
Fax (734)214 4676
EMail Imports@epa.gov

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Old 23 Apr 2010
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I don't think you're going to like what you hear--it's reported very, very expensive and time-consuming. But I'm prepared to be totally wrong about this, and I'd like to hear about what you learn.

Falcons are everywhere throughout Central and South America.

Mark
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Old 23 Apr 2010
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I don't think you can import it if it was never a US approved bike.
But for some reason you can build a POS bike and call it a chopper and its OK.
Bring it in as parts and say "I built it"
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Old 23 Apr 2010
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I also have looked at this bike many times in my travels through Mexico, Cental and South America. I sat on this bike at a dealer in Mexico a few years ago. I think it would make a great travel bike. I wish Honda sold them in the US or Canada. In the US and Canada there is a big gap between 250 cc and 650 cc just waiting to be filled. I have wondered about importing one of these as well, although never actively pursued the enquiry.
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Old 24 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredsuleman View Post
In the US and Canada there is a big gap between 250 cc and 650 cc just waiting to be filled.
So true, and so puzzling. The Suzuki DR-Z400 and the Kawasaki EX-500 seem to sell in pretty large numbers, yet they're almost the only choices between 250 and 600. And I will never understand how 600cc crotch rockets came to be considered "entry level" bikes. I ride one myself (Honda CBR600), and as a first bike it would be like using a Ferrari 360 Modena Spider to learn how to drive.

It's especially frustrating to know that 300-400cc bikes are built in huge numbers by the major manufacturers, but they don't even bother to try selling them here in North America.

Wahhh! I want a 400cc Honda Falcon!
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Old 24 Apr 2010
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Originally Posted by John Ferris View Post
Bring it in as parts and say "I built it"
Hmmmm, interesting idea! I wonder how that might work. Have you (or anyone you know) ever tried this?

The odd thing is, the bike is obviously not something banned from North America due to being smoggy or dangerous or whatever, so having one in the U.S. wouldn't seem to be going against the intent of the law. It's just a marketing decision on Honda's part that prevents me from owning that particular bike. Damn!
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Old 24 Apr 2010
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You miss the point. It is banned in America, because the manufacturer has not seen fit to pay the money and take the time to have it certified for sale there. It's expensive to do this, hence most manufacturers (cars and bikes both) don't bother with many of their products.

The "intent of the law" is to keep out bikes which have not been proven to meet USA safety and emissions requirements, however weird, inconsistent and/or pointless they might be. I assume the same is true if I want to permanently import an American bike into Europa....say, a nice carburated KLR.
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Old 24 Apr 2010
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Check out the US Dept of Transportation's Conforming Vehicle list. If the bike you are looking at has been imported even one time before, the docket number will be listed and you should be able to get access to the crash test/emission info/etc.

You will still need an importer though...

Otherwise you can go through the process of building your own file, but if the manufacture has not done the required tests or the bike does not pass specific requirements - you may be SOL. Or you could find ways to make the bike meet the requirements on your own dime and provide studies/tests showing that it meets the requirements (again on your own dime).
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Old 24 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb160racer View Post
I recently learned about a bike that I didn't even know existed: Honda NX-4 Falcon. It appears to be very much like the Suzuki DR-Z 400, but perhaps intended more for the street (whereas the DR-Z is obviously a dirt bike with lights and mirrors). The NX-4 appears to be the adventure bike of my dreams. (Please don't laugh -- everyone has their own dreams, and mine tend to involve smaller bikes like my CB160 vintage racer.)
Dreams are good ... but there are lots of ways to "re-create" your dream bike without trying to import a Falcon. IMHO, you are on a fool's errand with this. Mark and Ferris have summed this up perfectly. The system is stacked against you. Importation Ain't gonna happen.

The Falcon is based on a XR400, but with a budget motor, body work and chassis. Budget everything actually. Why not convert an USA XR400 to a more dual sport/street based bike? Or just buy the Suzuki DRZ-SM with the 17" wheels? Better bike anyway.

Or get really smart and buy a used Husky 450 or KTM 450 Dual sport/SM type bike. Great deals around on 2/3 year old KTM SM's. Both KTM and Husky make street legal dual sports or Super moto bikes. Fun bikes!

You could also buy most of the Falcon parts in Mexico; like body work, headlight cowl, seat and more. Then simply adapt it to an XR400. My guess this would be possible with some skills and work, but in the end, a waste of money condsidering all the other good options we already have here.

IMHO, the DRZ-S or SM is a better bike than the XR400 in every way, and I'd guess is also better than the Brazil made Honda Falcon you desire. All current Honda 150's and 230cc XR's are made in Brazil and are imported to the USA. Shame they left the Falcon behind, but there are reasons for this.

Lots of equal or better alternatives here if you look around.

BTW, it costs the OEM "about" $100,000 in fees PER BIKE MODEL (paid to DOT and EPA) to certify a machine for US importation and takes 6 months to a year.
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Old 24 Apr 2010
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Thanks for everyone's thoughts and opinions on the topic.
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