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  #1  
Old 17 Feb 2009
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US to Europe: Rent, ship and store, ship and ship back, buy and store?

Hello everyone,

I live in DC, I'm planning a European motorcycle trip and I'm at the very early stages of researching the cost of various options. I was hoping that I could get some advice from others who've done the same. I plan on touring Europe for 3-4 weeks this year with the expectation of returning for more fun every 2-3 years. I'm very flexible on dates and destinations. I don't think I have any particular preference between riding my own motorcycle or a rental (my own would be perhaps more gratifying and comfortable while a rental might be more fun and new). Here are the options I've seen:

1) Rent a motorcycle in Europe. This is probably the option with the least hassle. Prices for touring/enduro bikes seem to be $500-$1000 per week.

2) Ship my motorcycle from the US East coast to Europe and store it there under US registration indefinitely. This option didn't seem obvious to me but I've seen it mentioned. The one thing that I don't understand is how US registration could be maintained (or re-acquired) without periodic in person inspections for safety and emissions and the like. Wouldn't that mean that the motorcycle would have to be shipped back to the States every two years or so, depending on state regulations?

3) Round-trip shipping from the US East cost to Europe. I think I've got the rough picture that one-way shipping these days is about $1200. I guess this means that two way is roughly $2500 but I do have requests for quotes in to a few shipping companies. Does this sound about right?

4) Buy a used motorcycle in Europe, have European family/friend keep registration/inspection, and store it there. I suppose registration could lapse and it could be re-registered as needed as long as it's stored off the street and depending on the frequency of use and costs differences.

I have a few questions:

1) First of all, considering my criteria, are there any other options to consider? For example, has anyone explored buying the cheapest addressable property they can find in the EU, just so that they can register a bike there? How well does bike swapping work?

2) How much does it cost to maintain motorcycle registration in Europe, let's say the UK? I've heard of VATs and MOTs, etc but I'm not sure what it all means or how much it costs per year.

3) Does anyone have any advice/guidance/suggestions about any one of the options? Good, cheap places to rent? Good, cheap places to buy? Good cheap places to ship?

4) Which option do you think (or know to be) the least costly?

Thanks for any help! This forum is great!

- J
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  #2  
Old 17 Feb 2009
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The most hassle-free way has got to be rental from somewhere like Raceways Motorcycle Rentals UK - We hire Honda Suzuki Yamaha Peugeot Harley Davidson Triumph bikes at the best prices! Breakdown cover and insurance is included in their rates.
They only allow european use on shaft-drive bikes though. My mate hires a Dullvile a couple of times a year when a gang of them hit Europe. His other bikes are a KTM 2-stroke enduro and a 748 track bike so not best suited for a two week tour.
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  #3  
Old 17 Feb 2009
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talk to stefan at knopf tours (Welcome) about renting or storing in germany. good guy, very helpful. as mentioned in a different thread, pm me for ways to keep your dc bike in germany.
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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Yes

Yes Stefan is competent, fast and honest. It would be cheap to buy a used bike in Uk but too complex to consider keeping over years. I'd have thought the only buy option would be to buy per trip. Or perhaps you could get honest help from a European HUBBer? I'd hope that was a possibility. ie When you have a date set in advance a bit, ask for a bike to buy and resell for the period. I see it could be a bad idea but give it a thought at least. Linzi.
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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Another idea would be to arrange an exchange use of bike: You use someone here's bike and they go states side and use yours. A long shot perhaps but a thought. The MOT is an annual test done on bikes over 3 years old. It's about $50 per year. VAT is the tax paid on all new products bought here. Check back through threads to learn about MOT, road tax and registration issues in UK. I think it's easiest to rent for the first visit. It gets all really complex otherwise. Regards, Linzi. Stefan's webite is knopftours.de I think. Or try .com
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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Knopf Tours also has a container that the use every year to ship bikes to and from Daytona Bike Week. Check with them for space but it would be cheaper than shipping on your own. Although slower than air freight. If you go on your own read Grant's article on air vs. sea. It in the shipping section in the menu to the left.
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Old 18 Feb 2009
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Thanks for your help everyone.

I've gotten in contact with Stefan of Knopf and he is indeed a very nice and helpful guy.

I'm going to spend the next few days trying to cost the various options. I'll post back with what I find in case it helps the next HUBB greenhorn that comes along.

- J
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Old 19 Feb 2009
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This thoughtful fellow named Curtis has a lot of great information about shipping and storing:

Curtis' packing list and preparation tips for shipping your own motorcycle and touring Europe

Does anyone have experience dealing with Lufthansa Cargo directly?

- J

Last edited by jparke; 19 Feb 2009 at 03:25.
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  #9  
Old 21 Feb 2009
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I've decided to ship and store, using Knopf (http://www.knopftours.com) for both. Once everything is finalized, I'll post more detail on how I came to this decision, costs, etc.

Thanks again for everyone's help.

- J
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  #10  
Old 22 Feb 2009
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Check out posts by welovebikes on this forum, if i remember they rent out kitted-out overlanders.
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Old 22 Feb 2009
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When you get to Stephan Knopf's place in Germany (pass on greetings and much thanks again from me!) ask him about the scenic road maps he has for motorcycle tours. I had a large scale map that proved virtually useless, and he gave me fantastic maps of several countries on my itinerary, essentially SAVING the first leg of the trip.

I don't think you'll regret your decision to go with him.

(I used a different shipping company for various reasons, but I'll ship with Knopf Tours next time...)
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  #12  
Old 23 Feb 2009
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ALternative option available

Hi Jeff

Have just sent you a PM outlining an alternative that may suit you.

Regards


Chris

PS: Thanks for the plug Pottsy and look forward to buying you a one day.
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  #13  
Old 16 Mar 2009
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Don't worry about inspections expiring

At least in New York, you can renew a motorcycle registration by mail. So just have someone do that for you back home if it lapses while you're away.

As for inspection, that's only an issue in your state -- so you'd only get ticketed for it riding in the state in which the bike is registered.
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  #14  
Old 16 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by existent80 View Post
At least in New York, you can renew a motorcycle registration by mail. So just have someone do that for you back home if it lapses while you're away.

As for inspection, that's only an issue in your state -- so you'd only get ticketed for it riding in the state in which the bike is registered.
In DC you cannot renew the registration without an inspection which MUST be conducted in DC.
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  #15  
Old 25 Mar 2009
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Trike tour thru Europe

I am new tonight to HUBB and it looks like what I need. I read your threads and am doing the same steps. I have concluded that renting a trike is not practical so I plan to ship my trike. Which shipper did you settle on and is it air or sea? From what I have learned air looks easier but more expensive.
I plan to get to England then tour Ireland, England and on to my niece living in Vienna. This leg to last 4-5 weeks. She will store my trike till we return to Vienna in the late spring for 4-5 weeks thru Italy, Spain and back to England. Plan to start 1st leg in Sept 09. Any thoughts or feedback???. This is our first Motorcycle trip to Europe.
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