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Trip Paperwork Covers all documentation, carnets, customs and country requirements, how to deal with insurance etc.
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  #1  
Old 9 Mar 2008
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American Buying a Bike in UK for trip through Europe

This is a really specific question that I haven't been able to answer from all the great posts on this site. So here goes:

I'm an American looking to buy a bike in the UK, travel by bike through Europe, and eventually reach Cairo. I don't have insurance in my home country. I know I need green card insurance for the EU, and that I can buy insurance at the border for most other countries. Can I legally buy a bike, buy green card insurance, and get transit tags in the UK while being a US citizen?

Also, I'm unclear about insurance still. Say I kept my bike and I drive somewhere outside the EU and I must buy insurance at the border for however much. Is that all I need? What does that even mean to buy insurance at the border? Does that mean I'm insured by that country, or do they contract with some company to provide insurance to tourists? Basically, I want to buy a bike in the UK, and know that I can drive in northern africa or the middle east and be legally sound.

Thanks,
BA
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Old 9 Mar 2008
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There are a great many posts on here that if you search you will find your answers. Also you can search my posts and you will see my thoughts on doing that. Short form is that my opinion is that its a lot cheaper buying in the states and shipping over. And thats stated from experience.
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Old 9 Mar 2008
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Arrow

BA, I think most of this has been well covered elsewhere. In short, a UK address is needed to buy and insure a bike. This will get you all over the EU no problem. Beyond that, insurance is invariably available on the border.

Things do get complicated however in terms of permission to enter - have a look at the topics on "carnet de pssage".

It all depends on which non-European countries you want to go to. Each has its own set up, varying from easy to infernal-teeth grinding-hair pulling nightmare.

Simon
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Around the world 2000-2004, on a 1993 Honda Transalp
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Old 11 Mar 2008
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thanks for the posts. however, shipping a bike from the US: minimum of $400 or something, right? possibly waaaay more. So if I can buy a bike in UK for equivalent price, pay 50 euro for green card insurance, and whatever small fee to get transit tags, how is it cheaper to waste money shipping a bike I just bought from the US to the UK? Especially if I'll have to get the insurance anyway. Just don't see that, unless there's some huge hidden expense I don't know about yet.

Also, I understand you have to have a UK address to buy and register a bike in the UK. However, I'm only interested in getting it out of the UK and the EU altogether. Would I still need a UK address to just get transit tags? Doesn't really make sense that I would, since the bike is clearly not staying in the UK. This question should be answered definitively soon enough, as I have an email in to the DVLA, and they're working to get an answer to these questions. I'll make sure to post for others with the same questions

Last edited by bombsaway; 11 Mar 2008 at 20:28.
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Old 11 Mar 2008
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bike in uk

Hey mate.I think your looking at way more shipping cost than that.I am shipping my bike by air from toronto canada as the only one in usa i can find was more expensive.plus i can fly on the same plane as my bike' It is $1500 from toronto to london one way.also the green card insurance is $600 for 2 months and then my flight cost. lucky ive got free miles so dont have to pay that.for shipping it will cost you about $800 one way plus your insurance and your fight.i think either way your looking at between 2k to 3k. Now if you buy a bike there don't forget our dollar sucks so 3k uk pounds is $6000.It certainly isn't cheap either way but if you take your bike from here i think it will be cheaper and less hassle.Just thought i'd give you an idea of the real costs.
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  #6  
Old 12 Mar 2008
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brittman,

thanks for the advice. I received a very thorough and informative email from the DVLA today explaining the situation. The only question I had for you was the green card insurance. Where are you getting $600 for 2 months? Everyone on this site, and the sites I've checked quote 50 euro/month.

So, here's the deal on buying a bike in the UK.

You do not have to be a citizen. All you need is a friend with a UK address (thank god I studied in glasgow) and you're good to go. You have to pay taxes on the bike (although I think if you're exporting it out of the country the same day you register it, you might be able to skip this. If the bike leaves the UK for less then 12 months, it's still considered registered there, but under temporary export. Over 12 months is considered permanent export.

The only trick is that if the current owner has the old registration form, you'll have to apply for the new kind when you pay your taxes, and that will take 20-30 business days to process. So that's kind of a hold up.

Anyway, I decided that the cost of doing a motorcycle trip in Europe right now is just too high for me. So I'm going old school on my perfectly serviceable bicycle. See you all around. You'll probably be passing me this summer while I'm struggling up hills in Switzerland. rock on! happy trails.
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