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Until last week, my plan was to go with the Nepal idea, and probably to aim to get back to England before mid-June to deal with the import restrictions.
However, things took a turn for the worse when I failed to get an Iranian visa. Magic Carpet (who arrange Iranian visas) didn't even try submitting my application, since they say there's no hope at the moment. They say, 'We process your application through our office in Tehran, who apply on your behalf to the Iranian Foreign Ministry.' Apparently all applications from British people are currently being returned unprocessed (they're not actually being turned down, presumably to avoid a diplomatic fracas with the Foreign Office). The website of the Iranian embassy in London says that applications from individuals must be made through an agency such as Magic Carpet, and that in any case it is Tehran that decides, so I'm not sure it's worth trying to apply myself in London. What's the Iranian visa situation like in Delhi now? I'm planning to apply for one there as soon as I arrive (early Jan.), just in case. Failing that, Magic Carpet say that they'll try in Feb. if things improve, but there's no knowing at the moment whether they might. They did say that one possibility was that a visa might be granted if all accommodation were pre-booked, which for a ten-day visa at about 35 quid a night would be an expensive frustration - or are Magic Carpet just having me on?
So it's not looking good for the overland route. My fall-back option is just to tour around India. Have you been to any bike dealers? Any recommendations?
The one problem that occurs to me with that is when I come to sell the bike shortly before flying home, I'll be left with a wad of rupees, and I don't know of a way to convert them back to dollars. I've read that Foreign Exchange Certificates (which I guess are needed to change from rupees, if that's possible) are supposedly valid only for three months, so if I'm there for longer, the ones obtained when buying the bike would have expired and I wouldn't have accumulated enough newer ones. Anyway, I'm sure in practice things don't work as they're supposed to in theory, and I guess I could try flogging it to a foreigner for hard cash...
The latest info we have is that getting a carnet and riding an Enfield Bullet to Europe is NOT currently possible.
You COULD fly the bike to a non-carnet requiring carnet such as Greece or Turkey, and ride from there with no trouble.
Registering in your home country is, as always, a tricky process with non-officially imported bikes.
Odds of getting a European or US spec Enfield IN INDIA is slim to nil. The common method for the importers of these bikes is to import the best possible spec they can, (and if they import enough they can get a reasonable machine to start with) - and the emphasis is on "start with" - THEN toss the rubbish bits and add good quality ones - usually electrics from Japan and decent local rubber etc. Finally, they add whatever else is needed to comply with local regs - and then get it certified. If you're doing some volume, not bad, but one at a time, not likely worth it - unless you can get it in as it is.
In the US, the trick is that if it's older than I believe 15 years it doesn't have to comply with current specs, and they can get them in - usually - in some states.
Generally the whole operation is a minefield.
Try talking with your local importer of Enfield - PERHAPS you can sweet talk them into working something out for you.
Vikingking, I'd suggest you buy a used one there and ride it around, and flog it when you leave. If you still really want one, buy it at home ready to go and legit. If you want a used one, there are usually some available used at a very reasonable price from some disillusioned new owner that didn't understand what he was buying.
<font face="" size="2">Odds of getting a European or US spec Enfield IN INDIA is slim to nil.</font>
Nearer nil is my impression. Watsonian Squire (the importers of Enfields into Britain) explained to me why even in theory it would be next to impossible. The US/European spec bikes are actually made as such in India, rather than modified when they reach their destination. However, some of the parts needed to build them are not manufactured in India. Instead, they are taken into India but kept in bond, so although physically in the country, from a customs point of view they haven't been imported (to avoid paying duty on them). The bikes are then put together and exported. Thus these foreign spec bikes cannot be released onto the Indian market because some of the parts in them are never technically imported into India.
In principle, you might think it possible that Royal Enfield might be persuaded to export a European spec to somewhere other than Europe (e.g. Nepal), but Watsonian Squire reckoned this would never happen in a million years.
James & Grant special thanks for your illuminations on this thread.
Will, where are you in Delhi, and how long will you be here? I would happily meet up for a , just that I have been holed up for 4 days moaning and watching espn (great premiership and European coverage here!)
Problem 1. Carnet
James, it looks as if you have come up with some pretty good ideas on the 'how to get back' issue. From what you say you can buy an enfield in Nepal, register it in your name in Nepal, then get a carnet to take you from nepal, through india, iran, pakistan, turkey, and into happy europe?
Would the bike be really registered in your name?
Could you buy either a second hand or new bike in Nepal?
Problem 2. Iranian Visa
Mmmm. Seems like this could be a showstopper allright, I did a little research on the lonely planet discussion groups. (Which I think are really really good, see www.lonelyplanet.co.uk)
Just searching around the essence seems to be that tourist visas are really difficult to get without booking a tour. Not for us. But that a transit visa is a better option. see quote below taken from LP board.
To obtain a tourist visa as an American, you need someone to vouch for you. Whoever vouches for you is held responsible for you during your visit to Iran, and due to this all travel agencies in Iran require you book a guided tour for them to vouch for you. The only way around this would to have friends or family in Iran, and being held responsible for you they'd probably need to trust you pretty well (and the visa still might not be granted).
The transit visa is the best option if you have no connections in Iran. You'll need a visa for a neighboring country beforehand, but this will allow you to travel independently. It is valid for 5 days, but can be extended once you are in Iran. How long they'll extend it for seems to vary on how much the officials like you. I've been told chances are 50:50 for Americans who apply for transit visas having them granted, however.
I will go and find out what the Iranian embassy have to say when I am feeling normal again.
Problem 3. Registration in the UK
Problems problems, about registration, I have only questions.
James, what are the new regulations that come in in June, where did you find out about them, and could you do a quick outline. I did a quick search online and turned up nothing, the dvla site is difficult.
Why is the registration in the UK, at least pre June, such a problem? The internet is littered with stories of people who have ridden enfields back to the UK. I presume that they were able to register the bikes there? Speaking to a couple of dealers here, Inder and Maddan, they have both exported bikes to individuals in the UK apparantly without problem.
Finally, if a bike is pre 68, which for enfield means made in the UK, then does this change the import situation. although this would be a bit of a dodge it seems possible here to get 1965 enfield, of which only the frame and engine are 1965, rest new enfield india parts. I presume though that this would make it legally, registration, and import wise a 1965 bike.
What constitutes a euro spec enfield? does that just mean 12v electrics and a decent front brake?
Thanks for any more light you can throw on this for me.
Finally, sorry for the delay in responding, I have been ill for the last few days and not up to much, hoping to be back in full action shortly.
I am being kicked out of the internet cafe now, they have even turned off the stereo, it was playing a sort of indian Eurasue type music. More likely to stay now.
And James, what is the news on your trip, tell me about yourself, and how you came to be onto this adventure.
Glad to be of help – I’m keen to get things clear in my mind, too, since I’m flying to Delhi soon after New Year.
Problem 1. Carnet
<font face="" size="2">From what you say you can buy an enfield in Nepal, register it in your name in Nepal, then get a carnet to take you from nepal, through india, iran, pakistan, turkey, and into happy europe?</font>
Yep, I reckon it’s possible.
Would the bike be really registered in your name?
Could you buy either a second hand or new bike in Nepal?
Yes and yes, allegedly. The set-up in Kathmandu that sells Enfields is called Himalayan Enfielders. I’ve been in touch with a bloke called Chandraman Pun, whose email address is ‘enfielders at ntc.net.np’. A couple of months ago, he said ‘You can buy a brand new or rebuilt Enfields from us and it can be registered in your name directly with no hassles.’ Remember, though, that this is the guy who originally told me he had European spec bikes, but that might have been a genuine misunderstanding on his part, since he seems helpful. In terms of cost, he said:
The cost of new 500 cc in Nepalese Rupees is 1,85,000/- (one hundred eighty five thousand) inclusive of all the taxes. Besides this you need to pay registration fee which will be another two thousand Rupees.
We also sell rebuilt Enfields and prices depend on the condition and the year of manufacture. Maximum it will cost you 1,00,000/- (One hundred thousand) and minimum could be around 60,000/- (sixty thousand). Presently we have four rebuilt Enfield 350 cc for sale. They are of 1979, 1982, 1989 and 1995.
185000 rupees would be about US$2450, which is pretty steep by Indian prices. He says he sold two new 500s and a re-built 350 to some Belgians earlier this year.
Problem 2. Iranian Visa
I don’t know about visa requirements for Americans – I think they are different from those that apply to everyone else. Tourist visas for non-Americans used to require an invitation from within Iran, but not any longer, at least on the form issued by the London embassy. But I think you’re right that the transit visa could be the best option, since all indications are that they are quite easy to extend once you’re in. I look forward to hearing what you find out – sorry to hear you’ve been unwell!
Problem 3. Registration in the UK
<font face="" size="2">James, what are the new regulations that come in in June, where did you find out about them, and could you do a quick outline.</font>
<font face="" size="2">EC whole vehicle type approval … became mandatory throughout the EC for all new types of motorcycle introduced after 17 June 1999 and will be mandatory for existing types (i.e. types that were being registered in a Member State before 17 June 1999), from 17 June 2003.</font>
The consultation documents about introducing a Single Vehicle Approval scheme are at http://www.roads.dft.gov.uk/consult/...ycle/index.htm . I had a problem finding more information until I found a number in Appendix 5 of booklet PI5 (How to Import your Vehicle Permanently into Great Britain), which is at http://www.roads.dft.gov.uk/vehicle/sva/pi5 . They put me on to Lawrence Thatcher at the department for transport (tel. 020-79445020), who is dealing with it. I spoke to him again this morning. The options are in the hands of the minister at the moment. When he decides, it will go out for consultation again, probably mid-January. Even if the test itself turns out to be affordable, I have a strong feeling that it would take a good deal of work to get an Indian spec bike through it.
<font face="" size="2">Why is the registration in the UK, at least pre June, such a problem?</font>
It’s not, so this has got to be the way to go if you don’t mind getting back by then. If it’s over three years old, it’s got to pass an MOT, but I don’t think the requirements for that are too stringent. Otherwise it can simply be registered with no fuss.
<font face="" size="2">Finally, if a bike is pre 68, which for enfield means made in the UK, then does this change the import situation?</font>
I did come across something along those lines, but of course to get a carnet, an Indian-registered bike would be no good. I don’t remember there being many Enfields in Nepal, so the chances of getting an old one there are probably slim.
<font face="" size="2">What constitutes a euro spec enfield? does that just mean 12v electrics and a decent front brake?</font>
I think it’s rather more than that – see the vca005 pdf referred to above. There are plenty of bits that have to be EU approved. The euro spec still has a front drum – the disc is only available as an add-on in India. I think even new Indian spec bikes have 12v electrics, only a smaller battery than on the electric start model that’s now available in the UK.
<font face="" size="2">And James, what is the news on your trip, tell me about yourself, and how you came to be onto this adventure.</font>
I’m ditching my job and doing some travelling before a career change. It’s been postponed repeatedly and plans have changed a bit – was going to Africa initially! But now it’s finally happening and I can’t wait; I’ve got about five months to spare. Haven’t travelled by bike before but always wanted to. How about you? Have you been away for a while already? Maybe I’ll catch up with you if you’re still in the area in January.
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