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A more lengthy update will come. Sorry for being so long in this one... but I did want to point out to anyone buying a bike in EU for export - at least in Germany (and in Italy) you have a choice of a 12 day, 30 day, or 1 year export licence plate. I wasn't aware there was a 1 year plate, and only purchased a 30 day licence with taking a chance in non-German countries. As it turned out, I was stopped for random road checks in almost every country I've been in, and none of the policemen cared because the bike wasn't registered in their country. Then I went through Switzerland to get to Italy... viedotaped, stopped, interrogate for 3 hours, forced to give up my bike or get out of Italy, had to go back to Germany to get the 1 year plate (wish the German Registration told me I had that option in the first place) then now back in Italia enjoying the splendours of wine, women, and pasta.
Also, to note... I was involved in an accident with considerable damage to both my bike and the car... Sunrise Financial (one of two insurance companies I mentioned in an earlier post) were fantastic at taking care of everything. Very helpful and considerate. Also worthwhile buying the complete comprehensive and theft coverage for peace of mind, based on the number of warnings I get from Italians about my bike disappearing one night. I even locked it right in front of a police station in Paris, only to have the front duty desk officer tell me he honestly didn't think it would be safe, there?!?!
Lastly, another big thanks to Stefan Knopf (sponsor of this forum) who went above and beyond to help me when I got back to Germany. He had a million things to do as he was getting ready to go a his big trip that same week, as well as run his business and take care of his family, but he pre-arranged things, personally took me and trailered my bike to the Registrar and then the Licence Office, and hosted me in his B&B until I was ready to leave.
I will be looking into the costs and paperwork involved with selling it in EU, and will post info about it when I know.
The cost for registering for a year was very reasonable. I bought ADAC green card insurance through Knopf Tours, for the remainder of the year that I had to get, but base it on 12 months x whatever it is per month ($30? with Knopf, which by the way I concur with others who have said for the service and peace of mind, it is worth having him take care of it than try to speak German and make sure all the t's are crossed yourself). Once you have that green card insurance, the inspection and plate came out to something like $200. I'm sorry but my papers are not with me at the moment, but I remember it wasn't much at all.
If you buy the bike through a dealer, you could ask them to help arrange the licensing and plate, which they should do for you as part of the sale. Ask nicely and maybe they can help with the ADAC green card, if you don't happen to be buying the bike in Heidelberg, where Knopf is based at.
Sorry to sound like I'm giving him a plug, but it is more about sharing the knowledge of a good thing to fellow riders who want to do what I did. Knopf is a true biker himself, who happen to make a it into a viable business. But he is a biker, first, and the help he can give you with his experience of riding in Europe, where to go, maps, repairs, etc... he would be your best bet for getting advice on buying the bike in Germany. Oh yes, plus with the Excellent ADAC insurance, they will transport you and your bike back to your place of ADAC registration, which Knopf gives you to use as his address. So you're heaven forbid you are in a bad accident, you and the bike will be taken back to Heidelberg, which can be a godsend if you are in need of good healthcare or a garage and Stefan to help interpret.
If I didn't mention it before, the German way of handling money is archaeic. I had a bank draft, backed up by a fully covered Amex Platinum and they wouldn't accept it. I had to direct deposit the money into their bank account, and still they waited 5 days until it actually physically transferred into their account before they would give me the bike. So I suggest a certified cheque or equivalent made out to the dealer for an amount very close to what you want to pay, then maybe just pay the difference in cash when you finalize the deal. Saves you sitting around for a week waiting.
Actually, the German banking system is light years ahead of everything else I have seen. We have used direct transfers for decades, when in other countries this was unheard of. But, like in most places, it only works within the same country. Cheques have now gone out of use altogether and everyday payments are made with EC cards, accepted in most places. Normal credit cards are not often accepted, which is a big drawback for visitors, like I am now. The reason are the banks, which charge big fees. Don't know why.
buying, insuring and licensing a bike in germany is very easy, but for insuring and licensing you have to be a german resident.
if you are not, there are basicaly 2 ways:
#1 find somebody in germany, who will insure and license the bike for you.
in contrast to other countries anybody (foreigners included) with a valid riding license is allowed to ride bike insured and licensed in germany without beeingmentioned in the papers.
#2 buy a temporary insurance at a german motoring organization and show your bike at a road traffic licensing department for registering.
if you need help in buying, insuring or registering let me know.
You are quite right, airhead, but I need to repeat a warning here:
if the bike is not registered in your name you can't easily take it out of the EU. You need written authorisation from the owner, the details vary from countr to country. Dto. for carnet.
if you use export plates the bike must leave Germany within a short period and is not supposed to come back. Rego is deleted from the German database, meaning paperwork if you want to re-import it. Also, some countries do not recognise/accept export plates. This includes ITALY!
maybe there is some confusion about the term "export plate", because people mostly use it for exporting bikes. its is popular, because it allowes a short time insurance and registration. the difference between a regularly plate and an "export plate" is that the expiration date is stamped on it. in both cases the bike is registered and insured on your name, you have the insurance green card (gruene versicherungskarte) and the motor vehicle registration card (kfz-brief), which proves, that you are the legal owner. additionally you should have the contract of purchase with the previous owner.
if the registration time has expired, you are free to insure and register again. you can even get an ordinary insurance and registration.
I am yet another Canadian who is travelling over to Europe with hopes of purchasing and riding a motorcycle through Europe.
The airplane I'll be on arrives in the U.K. at the end of September, but it appears that registering and insuring a bike in Germnay is much less complicated than doing so in England (even though I have almost no knowledge of German).
I do not yet have European residency, but my plan is to travel to Greece, by motorcycle, where I can acquire a European passport because of my heritage. Is it possible to re-register and insure the bike in Greece (or somewhere else in Europe) once the temporary export plates expire? This seems to be the purpose of the temporary export plates. If the bike I wish to acquire works out for me, I have plans of shipping it back to Canada at a later date -- I have plans of a Canada-South America trip in the near future!
(By the way, the bike I'm looking for is a 1980's BMW R80 g/s Paris-Dakar. There is one near London that is looking good, and there are a couple for sale in Germany, however, my skills (or lack thereof) in German language make it hard for me to interpret the advertisements.)
Any advice is greatly appreciated, either directly to my e-mail, or through these posts.
I have decided to go to Germany to purchase a bike - the U.K seems to be very difficult to register and insure a motorcycle.
Airhead: I would really appreciate some help purchasing/registering a bike in Germany. I am ideally looking for a pre-1995 BMW G/S Paris Dakar... something I would very much like to export to Canada at the end of my trip.
A final question on registering and insuring in Germany. If I were to purchase a 1 year export plate (or even a 30 day one), do I have that amount of time to leave Germany? Or is it a reduced time. And once I leave Germany, would it be easier to re-register the bike somewhere else in order to bring it back in? (Im just thinking that it is easiest to export the bike through Knopf tours..)
I was interested to read Mollydogs experiences about however when he applied for insurance cover over the phone, the person at the other end clearly didn't recognise his US accent. If he HAD recognised it, I wonder if he'd had been so successful. Also should a serious accident occur and a claim was made on the insurance company, what would the companies reaction have been when they discovered they'd insure a non-resident rider from another country?
This interests me as a friend in the US wants to by a bike in the UK and leave it here for extended periods. He intends to fly over and ride it around the UK and Europe.
My advice to him would be as follows - (and please someone correct me if I'm wrong) -
DRIVING LICENCE - His US driving licence is valid for any stay for up to a year and would be perfectly acceptable in Europe also (as my old faded pink UK one was last year)
BUYING A BIKE - Straightforward online.
REGISTERING THE BIKE - He intends to leave the bike in a friends garage here so I can't see any problems having a "Joe Bloggs, c/o 1 High St, Newtown" type address.
TAXING AND MoT TESTING THE BIKE - A friend would need to do this on his behalf.
INSURANCE - When I rode across the US for three months earlier this year, I got my insurance in the US but at $300 for three months fully comp, it was expensive. If Bennetts are happy to insure US riders, that's fine, but I'd like to hear it from them and that they wouldn't regard it as a bit dodgy. When he's lying in a hospital bed in Italy with a wrecked bike outside, it would be reassuring to know his insurance cover is waterproof.
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