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Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  #1  
Old 19 Jun 2013
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Cool How to buy a dual-sport bike in Bolivia - it's easier than you think!

Hi all, I recently returned from a three-month adventure tour through Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador that I did with my best friend Vadim. The experience, needless to say, was incredible. You can watch a video documentary of our trip here: , the motorcycle tour is the last 15 minutes. Before then, I wanted to give some advice to newcomers on where and how to buy a bike in Bolivia. This is a guide for newcomers on how to buy a cheap dual sport bike in Bolivia. We spent five days doing research and looking around La Paz before we bought the bikes, and it worked out really well for us.

I had heard through the forums that Bolivia and Chile were the only two places to buy a Chinese knockoff dual-sport bike for cheap (~$1500) without having many issues as a foreigner. Since we wanted to tour Bolivia, we flew in to La Paz and with some help from locals and this forum, bought two 250cc dual sport bikes. They were beauties, and we were able to ride 9000km with them with limited problems (more on that later).

Before we left we bought all of our gear from the States because good gear in Bolivia is very expensive. We also got an International Driver's License from AAA for good measure as it only costs $25, they don't ask any questions, and it works like a charm in South America since the police don't know the difference. Also, if we were caught in a bribe, we'd rather them keep the AAA license instead of our real driver's license which we'd only pull out if absolutely necessary. As a side note, we didn't have motorcycle licenses in the U.S. but AAA still gave us the license without checking. The gear we each bought were: helmet, motocross compression suit, gloves, motorcycle pants, and motorcycle boots. We also took the necessary camping and survival gear that we strapped to the back of the bikes with some extra rubber tubing we bought from the local markets in La Paz.

When we landed in La Paz, we were told all the Chinese (cheap) bikes were sold in El Alto which is a 30-minute taxi ride from La Paz. Ask to go to "La Feria en El Alto" and the taxi driver will take you to the general area to buy the bikes, then just ask locals where to find "motos chinos" and they can point you in the right direction. All the dealers are located near each other on one major street (I forgot the name) and you can walk up and down the street and visit maybe 10 dealers to find the best match for you.

As far as bikes, this is the trickiest part. At the time we were in Bolivia (Sept - Dec 2012) the main brands available were Pegasus, Brozz, Fenix, Montero, and Mizumo. I hear the brand names often change because their reputations turn sour after a few years so who knows how long these ones will last. We ended up buying a Pegasus brand 250cc bike and didn't regret it for a second. It cost us $1490 a piece. You can use this forum and chinariders.net (see my post here on how we decided to go with the Pegasus: I'm in Bolivia ready to buy a bike! Chinese bike or Honda? - ChinaRiders Forums) for advice on which ones to buy. We went for the more simple bike with the least bells and whistles, and the only downside with the Pegasus was its thinner rims, which both of us eventually bent a bit given the uneven roads but it didn't stop us from finishing the trip.

Paperwork and legality is the toughest nut to crack. All of this should be taken care of by the dealer you buy the bike from (your receipt, your insurance, your documents proving the bike belongs to you, and your license plate). The problem here is that license plates take 2-3 weeks to actually arrive, which would have been a dealbreaker for us, except for one thing - you can get a temporary permit to ride the bike until your license plate arrives as long as you don't leave the country. The temporary permit is called a "permiso" and you can get it from the Bolivia Transit Police office ("Policia Transito") and they have many offices around the city, including one right down the street from all the moto chino dealers. Treat and tip them well and the police will write you a personal letter that will act as a temporary permit to go anywhere in Bolivia without a license plate until your plates are ready. THIS CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR US. Any time we were pulled over or given a hard time at the gas station we would just pull out this letter and people would back off.

So our plan was to buy the bikes in La Paz, do a 1-month loop through Bolivia, and return to La Paz to pick up our license plates and head straight in to Peru. And this is exactly what we did.

I would highly, highly recommend buying your bikes from AV Motors. The son of the owner Ronaldo (23 years old or so) speaks perfect English, won't rip you off, will take you through the markets to buy spare parts, and give you honest advice. He's awesome, and he sold us bikes that treated us really well throughout the trip (we had to fix things often, but we could fix everything with the tools we had). His cell number in Bolivia is 79141289. You can tell him the two gringos from America (Artia and Vadim) sent you, he'll probably remember us.

Hope this helps! Sorry for not attaching pictures but there are plenty at the following places:

My blog
Instagram




Artia
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Old 19 Jun 2013
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Great report! Yes, they are really the same bikes, just under different names (Sukida, Geely, etc). I bought one in Haiti and climbed all over the mountains.

The first thing you need to do when you get the bike is take everything off the frame and put lock-tie on all the bolts... then you will be pretty much trouble free for the short time that you own it!

I live in Peru and have offered to purchase bikes for people and get them all papered before they arrive so that they can just head out to wherever they want, then even buy it back from them to pass on to another traveler!

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Old 24 Jun 2013
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Location: Ecuador, amazone, puyo
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I loved your video!
Thank you for posting!!
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Freedom is all i need!
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Old 7 Mar 2017
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Selling

Hey guys. Great article.
I'm going to La Paz in a few days, and I'll check out En Alto.
But my friend is worried about reselling the bikes before we go home.
We could end our trip in La Paz or cusco.
How did you guys sell your bikes?
Did you sell them for way less?
Were there any problems, like paperwork or taxes?

I really appreciate all the advice already.
Thanks
Flea
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Old 7 Mar 2017
R.I.P. 25 November 2021
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The OP has not logged on in four years.

Mezo.
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250cc, bolivia, dualsport, motorcycle, south america


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