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Old 8 Nov 2011
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Knoxville, Georgia, USA
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Buy a bike in Europe or store one of mine there?

Hi all, and I'd like some input and advice from anyone that has anything useful. I live in the US, and I have family in the UK. I usually visit with them for a few days, then fly into Germany and rent a bike. I've had good results and bad. I'm a little short gimpy old guy, and sometimes I wind up with a bike that is just not comfortable for me. Too tall, badly maintained, or just too dang expensive!
Sis says she will store a bike for me at her place, out of the weather, cared for, and secure. I hope to keep riding when I visit for at least the next ten years. NOW, the big questions are:
1.)Should I buy a bike in UK and try to register and insure it as a non-resident?
2.)Should I ship a bike over,and just bring a new registration decal every year?
3.)Should I keep renting?
Bear in mind that Harleys and Goldwings are good as far as seat height goes but the weight is a concern. I'm good on something under 31 inches or 790mm. More than that on a heavy bike is sketchy. I don't go adventuring or off road, although I have been down the backside of Stelvio Pass on the dirt roads through the forest into Switzerland without any problem.
Any input would be very welcome. Thanks, Marcus789
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Old 8 Nov 2011
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Posts: 3,893
You might offer some more information....like for how long you usually ride after visiting your family. A week? Three days? A month? What do you pay for your rentals? And what's all this about Harleys and Goldwings? Are you saying that's what you ride? There are a lot of bikes out there which are suited for short folks, and most of them are not great heavy beasts.

I'd buy a bike in the States, new or used, ship and store it. A locally-registered bike in the UK is going to present someone with a lot of trouble updating the paperwork, inspections, insurance and whatever else is necessary. Bring it from the States and you can update the registration every year for minimal cost and insure it locally for brief periods. Rentals, as you've noticed, are expensive and only occasionally satisfying. What's the point in that?

Couple of issues: prepping for storage every year, which in my own experience has involved adding a bit of carb cleaner and preventing the battery from freezing (but fussier folks like to mess around with all sorts of things--suspending the bike to prevent flat spots on the tires, oiling everything to prevent rust, etc. etc. etc.). Plus there's the real possibility of theft, particularly if you're thinking of storing one of those $15,000 machines.

Hope that's helpful.

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Old 9 Nov 2011
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Eumundi, AUS
Posts: 81
I get to Europe on average once a year and have saved a heap on having my own bike over there (stored with a mate).

I insure it with local insurers each year and have it registered care of one of my businesses in Africa. (no rego checks, no decals, no speeding fines and easier crossing borders)

Buying a bike in Europe is good (by comparison to OZ), especially if you can get your VAT back by 'exporting' it to Switzerland or some other non-EU. The US is still the best though, especially with the poor economy at the moment.

I'm also thinking about shipping a bike I have in the US to Europe as we ride the continent more than north america. I may retain the Californian rego for convenience and insure it locally when in Europe.

Mark II
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Old 9 Nov 2011
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Denmark
Posts: 166
If you are a regular visitor to the UK then buying a bike in the UK and keeping it there is by far the best option.

I am English but now live in Denmark and so I am not totally up to date with the regulations but I do know that a lot of US citizens buy bikes in Europe and keep them here. The biggest problem is to find a place to store them, but you have that covered.

You don`t say what bike you are looking at but Harleys and Goldwings do not come top in the touring lists as far as I am aware. Parts out on the road being a factor I would think. There are plenty of cruiser type bikes that would suit you. The Yamaha Virago 750/1100 is popular in Europe. They are not expensive, parts are freely available and they would fit your size.

As long as you have an address to use in the UK things are a lot easier.

I wish you every success.

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