Bike Stuff - Buying Overseas / in Country

The information below should be noted carefully if you are considering buying an Enfield in India and riding it to Europe.


According to Indian legislation, only those persons who reside in India "and are in possession of proof of their residence" are eligible to purchase and register vehicles in their name.

Foreigners are, however, permitted to purchase vehicles in India for direct exportation abroad through regular 'Import Trade Control Policy', but these vehicles may not be registered in India .

Any individuals who may have succeeded in the past in purchasing and registering motorcycles or other vehicles in India have done so illegally and may be held liable under Indian law.

Under no circumstances may a CPD (Carnet de Passage en Douane) be issued (outside of India) for a vehicle purchased in India or bearing Indian registration plates.

The issuing clubs are asked to bring this information to the attention of members travelling to India.

Deborah Smith
Head of AIT & FIA Customs Affairs
10 April 2002

How to Buy an Enfield in India and ride it home...

by Wim Langebeen travelling with Wim VanRobaeys

The idea...

We are two Belgian guys who went searching for two new Enfield motorcycles in India in August 2000 and drove them back home overland. This text is made for anyone who would like to have some practical information on this issue.

It's no problem to purchase one in Chennai (the former Madras), since the Enfield-factory is in Thiruvottiyur (about 17 km from Chennai). First we contacted the dealer in Chennai, who showed us several models and sent us to the selling garage.

There are 5 models:

  • Bullet Machismo (350 cc and costing 52746 Indian Rupee with 1 US$ = 45 IR)
  • Bullet Deluxe (350 cc and 54552 IR)
  • Bullet Standard (350 cc and 59476 IR)
  • Bullet 500 (500 cc and 60016 IR)
  • Lightning 535 (500 cc and 67653 IR)

You have to pay a lifetime tax 2600 IR and one year insurance which costs you 2500 IR. Usually they also ask you a fee of 500 IR to bribe the authorities to speed up the process of bureaucracy.

Normally you need to be a national registered foreigner to buy a new vehicle, which means you have to have a fixed local address, which we did not, but that was no problem at all. (The dealer said he would invent one.)

We proposed to pay 25000 IR (that is a little backpack of small notes) in advance and pay the rest the moment the motorcycles had arrived. The dealer agreed, but we had to ask him for a written receipt.

Then, two days later the vehicles arrived and we could wait for three days more until the registration booklet was ready, or we could part immediately with some kind of quick made paper roughly saying this motorcycle belonged to us.

The latter was sufficient to travel through India, but not to cross the border. We asked the dealer to send the papers to an Enfield-dealer in Indore (a city in the North) so we could start the trip.

Since the booklet seemed out of stock, I had to ring the dealer several times to ask him for our booklets and after all it took 3 weeks in total till the dealer could send them to Amritsar (near the Pakistan border). The posting transport itself only took 2 days.

In the meanwhile we also purchased our 'carnet de passage', a carnet for free import and export of your vehicle in a country, which is necessary for Pakistan and Iran, and very convenient in Turkey.

Since the Belgian Royal Automobile Club was not very helpful, we contacted the Holland ANWB, which helped us very accurately. Before departure, we had to pay a guarantee of three times the cost of the vehicle (a lot of money!) which you get back when you register the vehicle in your own country. The carnet itself costs about 6000 IR per piece, when you ask them to send it by DHL.

It works like this:

When you have bought your motorcycle, you fax all data (cylinder capacity, license number, engine number, frame number, etc. to ANWB and they send the carnet by DHL to an address you ask them to send it to (we used an Enfield dealer in Indore). This only takes four days, but you have to make sure the address you send through is still existing and correct.

Some Facts and Tips about the Enfield:
  • Check the motor oil level regularly.
  • It may be useful to have a fuel filter.
  • If you don't like unpleasant surprises in the morning, then close the fuel tap overnight, otherwise it could leak until it's empty.
  • Check and tighten all fasteners daily. We lost several parts of our motorcycle, because we didn't do so.
  • Tappets are a weak point in Enfield technology. You have to adjust them regularly and it's wise to try to learn it from the dealer or someone who knows how to do it.
  • You can get big metal side boxes, but the frame fixing points are quite weak and break easily if they are to heavily loaded. You can also get a smaller version of the boxes, which we took.
  • We could drive 340 km with a full tank and never needed extra fuel on our trip.
  • First 500, 3000, 6000, 9000 km you get free service in India from the Enfield company. Use it while you can!
Some tips and pitfalls when you are planning coming back overland:
  • Try to get a visa for Iran before you leave home, otherwise you could get stuck in Islamabad, waiting for several weeks. In Delhi we got it in 3 days, but this seems to be a record.
  • Indian roads are terrible and traffic is quite dangerous. Don't count on advancing very fast. We didn't get further than 100 to 400 km/day, depending on the road condition. Pakistan and mainly Iran have good roads.
  • Actually, you can buy a new bike in every big city in India, so you don't need to go necessarily to Chennai. From every big dealer you can get a list of all dealers in India.
  • Never throw any paper away! At the Indian-Pakistan border you need 4 photographs, a copy of the registration booklet, the flight ticket, the invoice and the bank receipt of the encashed money with which you bought the vehicle.
  • Once we were in Belgium we had to pay Value Added Tax (21 % of the invoice of the vehicle) and import taxes (6% of the invoice). Hopefully we can now easily pass the automobile inspection.
  • You can also ship your Enfield from Chennai to Europe. The shipping costs about 20000 IR and it would take approximately 3 weeks. My friend paid everything in Chennai-probably a risky thing to do-and now 3 weeks later, he is still waiting for the bike to arrive in Antwerp.

Good luck! Email



I know the official response is from 2002 but do I assume the story of puchasing is also from 2002?

yes it is, BUT take careful note of the letter from the AIT at the top of the page. Best is to buy in Nepal, there are fewer restrictions and difficulties. If you do something like this, please post what you learn here to help other travellers interested in doing the same.

Thank you. :-)


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