Ah yes, and therein lies the rub Tony. I have contacted a myriad of UK insurance companies and explained my case to them. It seems almost a blanket rule they have "Non UK resident rider, no insurance". Regardless of whether the bike is owned and insured by a UK resident. As soon as I get on the bike, bye bye insurance!
BUT, I have found one company who seems willing, Aviva. This is the email transcript:
I'm looking to travel over to Europe later this year from Australia, and have a friend in the UK who is happy to lend me his motorcycle while I'm over there to tour around on. Unfortunately his insurance company will not insure his bike if a non-UK resident is riding it. I'm a fully licensed motorcycle rider in Australia, and am legally recognised to ride in the UK (and also able to exchange my AU license for a GB should I take up residency as the UK recognises Australia as having a comparable system of licensing), but I'm having trouble finding a company that agrees with any of this and will insure his bike with me as a rider.
I was wondering if that is a service you can offer, or if you may have any ideas or contacts who would?
Thanks in advance
Dear Mr Knott,
Thank you for contacting us regarding a motorcycle policy.
I can advise that with the information you have provided that if the DVLA in the UK are happy with the licence you have to ride a motorcycle in the UK then we can see no reason why we couldn't in theory insure your friends bike and then add you on as an additional driver. But once you have checked with the DVLA then your friend will need to contact our sales team on 0800 068 5637 to advise us of his driving history and to ensure yours is acceptable as well before we can comment any further.
I hope this helps but if you need any further information please do not hesitate to contact us again.
Web Self Service
So, I've currently got my friend in the UK chasing it up. I'll let you know how it goes, but it's looking somehwhat hopeful...
BTW, this is almost verbatim the reply I got from every other UK insurance company I contacted with the above email: "Unfortunatley we are not able to cover non UK residents, on any of our policies"