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Old 01-03-2013, 04:03 PM   #1
Mike_a OP
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RTW on native bikes?

Recently I watched the Long way round, a good series. But one thing got my gears turning more than anything else during the whole show. That's when the camera mans bmw broke down and they bought him a local pos in the middle of Mongolia. Now that got me thinking of doing a RTW trip on cheap used/local bikes. If/when one breaks down and you can't fix it, sell if for what you can and buy another cheap pos. I enjoy fixing things, so that would only add to the experience, your opinion may very. Has anyone ever heard of someone doing something like this? How hard is it to go to another country and buy a motorcycle? And then would you be able to cross borders with it, or would you have to sell it at the border and buy another on the other side. It's not a realistic trip for a broke college student, but just thought I'd bounce the idea off you guys to see if it can even happen.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:43 PM   #2
Witold
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Damn near impossible to do in 2012.

To be able to cross borders, you don't just have to buy a bike. You also have to have registration in your name, insurance in your name, title in your name, and sometimes a carnet depending on the country.

All of those things are a huge PIA to do on a tourist visa in most countries.

I've purchased bikes in other countries and it works fairly OK sometimes - depending on the country - and it can save you money for in-country riding. But trying to cross borders is a logistical nightmare.

I think the only place where this might work out OK is the Eurozone... I know some foreigners manage to do it and tour Europe this way.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:25 PM   #3
Pecha72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_a View Post
that got me thinking of doing a RTW trip on cheap used/local bikes. If/when one breaks down and you can't fix it, sell if for what you can and buy another cheap pos. I enjoy fixing things, so that would only add to the experience, your opinion may very. Has anyone ever heard of someone doing something like this? How hard is it to go to another country and buy a motorcycle? And then would you be able to cross borders with it, or would you have to sell it at the border and buy another on the other side.
As stated above, it depends a lot on the area. In Europe, North America, Australia and a few other ´western´ countries it might actually work quite well, though you still need to do your homework on registering, insurance, etc.

But as I understand it´s the ´more exotic´ regions you´re interested in, like Asia and Africa? Then I think it would become much harder, especially to cross borders, and do many countries with one vehicle. Buy in a country, and sell in the same country, ok could be do-able, but to really do a RTW-tour this way? I think it would be easier to just get a bike from home, prepare it, and get its paperwork done at home, and then go with the one bike. The idea of buying a “local POS” might seem appealing, but it could have its downsides, too... like when you really happen to get the worst POS there is, and you spend most of your time at workshops, or stranded somewhere......

Some particular areas, however, may be exceptions: 11 years ago I did manage to visit 8 southern African countries on a bike rented from South Africa (the owner gave me a written permission for me to cross borders, that maybe helped, and also the fact that several of those countries were in the same customs union). If I could do it on a rental bike, I think I could have done it on a bike bought from South Africa, too. (But remember it was a long time ago).

Also bikes from Thailand should be able to visit Cambodia, Laos and in reality Malaysia as well (without a carnet, though Malaysia is officially a carnet-country). That would also be a very good trip. And haven´t done it myself, but I hear that similar options (buy somewhere, and ride at least a few countries) exist in some parts of South America as well.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:46 AM   #4
TechnomadicJim
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Originally Posted by Pecha72 View Post
Some particular areas, however, may be exceptions: 11 years ago I did manage to visit 8 southern African countries on a bike rented from South Africa (the owner gave me a written permission for me to cross borders, that maybe helped, and also the fact that several of those countries were in the same customs union). If I could do it on a rental bike, I think I could have done it on a bike bought from South Africa, too. (But remember it was a long time ago).

Also bikes from Thailand should be able to visit Cambodia, Laos and in reality Malaysia as well (without a carnet, though Malaysia is officially a carnet-country). That would also be a very good trip. And haven´t done it myself, but I hear that similar options (buy somewhere, and ride at least a few countries) exist in some parts of South America as well.
This is good to know. I am considering a trip staring in South Africa where I would buy a bike and travel around some of the southern african countries and then return to South Africa to sell the bike.

I did a bit of research when in Ecuador too. You can buy a brand new chinese import dirt bike for around $1000 (US) in Quito and take it at least into and around Colombia without need for any carnet / documents.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:28 AM   #5
Mark Manley
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It is possible for a foreigner to buy a bike in South Africa or Namibia and travel most of Southern and East Africa from there, I know somebody who went as far as Kenya on a SA registered bike with no carnet.

The same in most SE Asian countries although if you particularly want to go to Vietnam you have to buy the bike there as foreign vehicles are not allowed in but you can take that one out to the rest of the subcontinent.

India you cannot technically buy there but there are ways around it involving it being registered to a local or you can rent.

South America you can buy in some countries, I am not sure which ones and then take it to others, no carnet needed there.

Both Canada and some states in the US allow foreign registration which allows you to go to North and Central America.

Australia it can be done but I am not sure if all states allow it, bloody expensive at the moment as well.

The UK and I believe other European countries allow foreign ownership, finding insurance in the UK is not easy but possible, once in Europe you can travel to Central and Eastern Europe from there.

That is just about everywhere covered so yes it is possible.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:48 AM   #6
Pecha72
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Most of central and northern Africa, Middle East and Central Asia could still throw a few challenges to the buy/sell-plan. But taking your bike from home might not solve every problem either.
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Old 01-05-2013, 02:03 PM   #7
Witold
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I can confirm what Pecha72 said about Southern African countries. That is exactly how I covered ~8 countries in the region in 2011.

"Buy in a country, and sell in the same country, ok could be do-able, but to really do a RTW-tour this way?"

This won't work at all, or it will require tons of time and effort. At most borders, there aren't people just waiting to buy your bike. Even if you find someone to buy your bike they will want a ridiculous discount because you are a "rich foreigner that needs to get rid of his bike ASAP". On top of that, as a rich foreigner you will probably be paying a substantial premium when you buy so you get screwed on both sides of the transaction.

Some regions are full of bikes and it might be easier to do this because motorbikes are popular, but in many countries motorbikes are not popular at all and no one is looking to buy your bike. It will be a PIA to find and buy a bike, and it will be an even bigger PIA to find someone willing to buy the bike from you. The only way this would be possible is to fly to some big city, rent, tour the country, and fly to another big city in another country. The problem with that is that there are very few countries that have cheap motorcycle rentals. I've looked all over, and there are no more than a dozen countries with <$50/day moto rentals.

I've ridden in Thailand twice and covered most of the country on a motorcycle. When discussing Thailand, it is necessary to distinguish between scooters and "big bikes" - they are not treated the same. As far as I know, it will be impossible for you to buy and register a "big bike"/"regular bigger cc motorcycle" on your Tourist visa and without that paperwork you will not be able to cross into neighboring countries. And if you rent, virtually all rental places require you to leave your passport at the rental place for "big bike" and the bike paperwork is not in your name so you can't cross to other countries anyway. Scooters are a lot easier and no need to leave your passport.... but they are scooters. People correctly say that leaving your passport at the rental place is not a good idea, but this is how every place in Thailand renting "big bikes" does it. (I've heard of people leaving multi-thousand deposits to get around it, though. No one has been able to point me to even one legitimate shop that doesn't require leaving a passport for a "big bike" rental.)
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Old 12-06-2013, 12:14 PM   #8
TechnomadicJim
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Just thought I would pop back here and point out that I successfully bought (and registered) a bike in South Africa and I'm currently in Namibia and have over 6000 km's on the clock. Here's the ride report :

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=930940
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:20 AM   #9
Vertical C
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Confirm you cant buy a bike in Australia, NSW at least as a foreigner unless you have a working visa minimum
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:35 PM   #10
Witold
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Confirm you cant buy a bike in Australia, NSW at least as a foreigner unless you have a working visa minimum
Interesting... I was actually under the impression that Australia might be one of the easiest places to do this. It seems like every so often I read a story about some hippies who buy a cheap van, ride around the country, and sell their van...
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