Buying and storing a motorcycle in Europe

Discussion in 'Vendors' started by wheatwhacker, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
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    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    I'm going to start this thread to answer questions you may have about owning a motorcycle in Europe.

    Can a non EU citizen buy a bike in Europe? The answer is yes, at least in Ireland.
    So far, I have purchased in excess of 100 bikes for Americans, Canadians and Australians without a problem.
    There is no sales tax in Ireland thus making the whole process even simpler.
    Bike is usually titled in your name within 3 weeks of purchase.
    I will use my address to register the bike.
    Good reliable bikes can be bought here for around 1,500 to 3,000 Euro, more if you want to go upmarket.

    Insurance?
    Insuring a bike within Europe is not a problem.
    There are plenty of companies doing green card insurance.

    We use http://motosapiens.org/motocamp/
    To handle all of our insurance needs.


    Registration (Road tax)
    Reg in Ireland is 88 euro/year. There is no MOT or any kind of inspection.

    Driving license.
    Any non EU license is good for up to one year in Europe.

    Purchasing a bike.
    The Irish form of Craigslist is called www.donedeal.ie. Most private bike sales are traded on this site. Texting/calling from a foreign number (non Irish) is not recommended as scamming is common and people are afraid of strange numbers and foreign accents.
    If you are interested in a bike that you see, send me a PM with the link to the bike and I will try and set up a deal.
    As soon are you make up your mind you want to buy a bike, I take a deposit of 500 euro via paypal. As soon as the deal goes through and both parties are happy, you paypal/wire me the balance. All very easy.
    I will then collect the bike, title it in your name and store it.

    My services.
    I will negotiate on your behalf.
    I will store the bike and, if necessary, have my mechanic get the bike trip ready.

    My fee's.
    I started this as a free service but, it is now eating into my free time so I have to start charging a fee to cover my expenses.
    Picking up the bike I charge 1 euro/mile round trip. I know this sounds expensive but, a 200 mile one way trip here can take up to 5 hours. This includes an inspection and if needed, a phone call to the buyer whilst I'm actually beside the bike.
    Title transfer is a flat 150 Euro which includes up to 3 months of storage in my insulated and very secure warehouse.

    I have an onsite freelance mechanic who will handle anything that need's to be done to the bikes before you arrive. You are also welcome to use my well equipped workshop.
    Well stocked motorcycle stores are only a short drive away.

    My location.
    I am located 15 mins from Cork Airport (ORK) http://www.corkairport.com/home.aspx
    My premises is a short walk from the beautiful town of Kinsale. http://kinsale.ie/

    There are a number of ferries within a short drive to the continent and the UK. I can pick you up and deliver you to your bike. I can also ride around for a few hours to see the sites and make sure you are comfortable with the new bike. We will also have to sample a few beers in a real "Irish pub"

    I hope this answers all your questions.
    My goal is to give the rider from overseas the chance to explore our beautiful country and the continent without having to go through the stress of shipping or the expense of renting.
    My goal in the future is to provide riders from overseas a place to buy, prepare and store their bikes and treat my place like a home from home. With an airport only 15 mins away, a 12 month riding season except for the odd frosty morning, a ferry port to the continent only a 20 min ride away, my location is perfect. http://www.brittanyferries.ie/home
    I will also do a bike buyback should you decide to sell your bike after your trip is over.
    This option is great for a rider wanting to do a once off 2-3 week trip around Europe.
    Buy the bike for say 2,000 Euro and sell for 1,500, you have a bike for less than 40 Euro/day, even less if you decide to stay longer.
    Sharing a bike between a few friends is also a great way to keep costs down, as switching names on the title is no big deal and can all be done within a few weeks.
    I also have plenty of storage for panniers, helmets, jackets, boots should you decide to keep some gear here.
    Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance.
    I can be contacted by phone/text at +14157421639 or email sfadvmoto@gmail.com
    #1
  2. IanJ

    IanJ Criminal Mastermind

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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I have subscribed to the Wheatwhacker plan, and am now the proud and expectant owner of a 2002 SV650, which I'll be retrieving this summer. I did the math on shipping and renting, and even if I can't sell the bike at the end, I'll still be ahead. This is for a 5 week trip, and I figured that about the 2.5-3 week point was where it started making sense to buy a bike rather than rent. 4 weeks and longer, and there's no question.

    Buying a bike 5000 miles away is a bit weird, but it seems to have been accomplished successfully. FWIW, I gave my seller the whole story of what was going on, and he seemed comfortable with it. Didn't seem bothered by some dude sending him money, and some completely other dude picking up the bike. Your mileage, as usual, may vary. I recommend you sign up for an international long distance plan before embarking on this course of action.
    #2
  3. lhendrik

    lhendrik Truffle Rustler

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    This looks like a good thing. Is there any reason it wouldn't work for a car? I was thinking of getting a 4 wheeled vehicle for an overland adventure in Europe/Asia.
    #3
  4. Daandus

    Daandus Adventurer

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    Cool that you started doing this Martin!

    (my wife and I visited Martin while he still lived in the USA, and I can only say that he is very good with bikes and I would trust him for sure when I would need a bike!)

    By the way: most European insurances also cover 'the countries around the Mediterranian' as long as they are not completely messed up. Out of my head, Morocco, Tunesia, Turkey are covered, but I think a few more. These 3 are amazing allroad-bike countries by the way!
    #4
  5. yauhen

    yauhen Adventurer

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    Jun 23, 2009
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    Seattle,WA
    I am a newly expectant owner of a Honda Transalp that Wheatwacker picked for me today! I am planning to pick it up this summer as well. My trip is only two weeks long but I am planning to keep my bike in with family in Belarus for another round next year.

    I really appreciate what Wheatwacker does! He even was the one who found the bike!
    #5
  6. deanosky

    deanosky Adventurer

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    Jul 22, 2009
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    Melbourne
    Dear Members.

    Martin helped me with my first overland motorcycle trip.

    When 'Wheat whacker' was living in san fancisco I arrived at his door step fresh from australia and he had purchased a KLR 650 for me to travel down to brazil.

    Not only did he put me up in his house he helped me with getting the bike set up for the trip.

    I got all the way to Brazil without a major mechanical problem.

    With his help the start of my trip was stress free and so simple.

    He is a genuine guy who knows his bikes inside and out.

    Should be more guys like him.
    #6
  7. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley On my way

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    Back home in the UK
    Something you will have to think about is which side you want the steering wheel on, in Ireland and Britain it will be on the right, the rest of Europe the left. Which would be best might come down to personal choice as half the countries in Asia drive on the left and half the right, well nominally anyway.:lol3
    #7
  8. Ken Fritz

    Ken Fritz Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
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    Location:
    Orangevale, CA
    More than a year ago, Wheatwhacker helped me find and buy a nice Varadero that has served me well. It did seem strange sending money to a foreign seller to buy a bike without seeing it, but what Wheatwhacker did for me made riding in Europe fantastic! I've used that same insurance with no problems and saved a lot of money, too.

    And I made lot of nice friends in Ireland, too. If you haven't ridden there, you have really missed a great experience.
    #8
  9. BikerPop

    BikerPop Retired and cruising

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    When I first saw Martin's (Wheatwhacker) post, I immediately realized that if he did everything he said he would, it would solve the biggest problem of buying a bike in Europe (I'm in the U.S.) - that is, having an address in Europe to use for registration, etc. Less than two weeks later, I had found a bike in Cork, Martin went to see it, paid for it (I had used PayPal to send him the money) and picked it up. Two weeks after that, I received a photo from Martin showing the new registration with my name on it! I'll be flying over in a few weeks to begin a 4-month ride around Europe.

    For a very reasonable fee, I'll be able to store the bike at Martin's place until I fly over for my second trip - what a fantastic arrangement! I thought I'd have to worry about re-selling the bike but this is even better - my own bike whenever I feel like going over! I've already been spreading the word to my biking friends about this great arrangement. Martin is providing a tremendous service to out-of-the-country bikers and am looking forward to my first trip over!
    #9
  10. ewbutler

    ewbutler Adventurer

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    Location:
    Annapolis, Maryland
    Hi Martin,
    I think this is a great idea and I'm really glad to see it. In 2000 it was difficult to find any motorcycle rentals in Ireland or the UK and after much research I found someone in the south of England who rented me a Suzuki Katana (sp?) that my wife an I rode through England, into Scotland and took the ferry across from Troon to Belfast. We spent three and a half weeks wandering Ireland and enjoyed Kinsale as well as many other spots throughout Southern Ireland. We were recently talking about going back for a longer stay and considering the pros and cons of renting, buying there or shipping a bike from here. I decided to look to ADVrider for some insight and found your excellent offer.
    I have a question regarding the feasibility of shipping a bike from the States (probably by air and out of Toronto) to Dublin, registering and insuring it in Ireland and leaving it with you for storage. If that can be done without much difficulty I'd probably do it sometime this July. At your convenience please let me know what you think.
    Best Regards,

    Wade Butler
    #10
  11. IanJ

    IanJ Criminal Mastermind

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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Wade, I looked into the idea of shipping a bike from the EU back to the US, and emissions regulations completely nixed it. Check with Canadian and UK/Ireland registering bodies carefully if you decide to ship a Canadian bike to Ireland. It will be much simpler to buy a bike in IE and store it there, if Canadian/EU laws are anything like the US laws (and I suspect they are).

    The problem with bringing an EU bike back to the US is that the EPA won't let anything on the road that doesn't have an EPA compliance sticker. This includes bikes that emit less noxious crap than the US standard requires. If it doesn't say EPA on it, it's not allowed. There's a very short list of EPA-certified importers, who can bring a vehicle into compliance (this is all available on the EPA site), but none of them suggest by their names that they are interested in dealing with two-wheeled vehicles. Obviously Canada and EU import regulations may be different, but given how fast the EU is progressing through the EURO III standard to EURO IV, I doubt it'll be easier.

    Believe me, I was seriously disappointed when I figured all this out. I was totally psyched about buying a German bike and shipping it back to the US after my trip. I also thought seriously about shipping a US bike to Europe and back (from Seattle or Vancouver), but the cost started at $3000 and went up to ship both ways, with $4000-4500 being a more common response. I'm sure it can be done cheaper, but I didn't have any luck finding those deals. I came to the conclusion (and acted on it) that the simplest and cheapest course of action was to buy a bike in Ireland via Martin. Having done it, I still think that's true (but ask me in September after my trip is finished -- I may have a different opinion then! ;) ).
    #11
  12. ewbutler

    ewbutler Adventurer

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    Thanks for the insight IanJ I appreciate it. The bike I would be shipping is registered in the US and shipping from Canada would be a matter of convenience and reasonable cost. It would ship one way for approx. $2,200. US and I could go on the same flight which would be very convenient. I'd ride from home in Maryland to the airport in Toronto, load and go. My interest would be in leaving the bike in Ireland for future use or sale but preferably to have it available for future use,definitely not to bring it back to the US. It's not my primary bike and if I don't ship it I'll sell it here. It's a nice old KLR that I haven't used in quite a while and it deserves to be ridden. I agree that if EPA, Inspections, Bureaucracies and general red tape issues are problematic I'll gladly impose on Martin to negotiate a local purchase. Thanks again for the info and have a great trip.

    Wade
    #12
  13. IanJ

    IanJ Criminal Mastermind

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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks, I'm really looking forward to it! 6 weeks and at least 8 countries, probably more, with friends in most of them.

    I like your plan of shipping the KLR, but maybe Martin can help you sort out the import regulations. Keep in mind you can get cool dual-sport bikes in Ireland that you can't get here, like the Africa Twin, the Tenere, and the Transalp, so it might be even more appealing to shop there. I thought hard about getting a Europe-only bike for my trip, but the ones that really pique my interest would make poor touring bikes, so I went with a more sensible choice. I've always wanted an SV650, though, so this is a good way to try out a different bike than I normally ride. I would love to be able to get one of the neat 250cc bikes back home, but not badly enough to pay all the money I'd have to pay.
    #13
  14. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    Location:
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    Importing a bike is a great way to go, great satisfaction in doing it and a great conversation starter with other bikers. I imported 3 bikes from the states, 2 of my own and a friends in the same container.
    To be honest, it's not financially feasible. Take the value of the bike your shipping, the cost of shipping, cost of import doc's, add them all together and you will have the price of a euro bike plus change and zero hassle.
    There are a ton of hidden charges importing a bike and the fact you can't sell it here makes it more of a pain. You could sell it to another US resident by doing a title transfer in your home state but that really limits your selling market. An Irish reg bike is easily disposable if you need to sell fast.
    I'm not pushing this on anybody, I'm just giving people another choice.
    For a 3 week trip, a 2000 euro bike is a break even point plus the sale of the bike when your done can recuop most of the purchase cost.
    A cheaper bike or a longer trip and your way ahead of renting.
    Shipping, well, if your happy spending non refundable money on shipping, it's a personal choice. It does give you the satisfaction of riding your own bike on a different continent. It also makes logical sense if you are intending on continuing on a round the world trip.
    Again, my service just give's another option.
    #14
  15. ewbutler

    ewbutler Adventurer

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    Thanks for the clarification Martin it makes the decision much easier. Armed with the information you provided I can't find any upside to shipping and documenting and so on. You've already made my life easier:1drink. Now it's just a matter of figuring out what I want and doing some shopping. I'm selling some bikes and checking out what's available in your neighborhood and I'll be back in touch as things start to come together. Thanks again I really appreciate it.

    Wade
    #15
  16. Ken Fritz

    Ken Fritz Long timer

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    That is exactly why I chose to buy a bike in Ireland with Martin's help. The money I spent was well spent; rather than supporting the freight companies and the tax men, I support the locals who sell and fix motorcycles and I have something (a good bike) to show for it.

    The Varadero I bought near Cork has been a great 2-up bike; we'll ride 9 European countries this summer on it. We only did 5 countries last year on it. Scandinavia is next year. What a dream - and it's affordable, too.

    To say that it's paid for itself is an understatement. I like it so much I got a custom saddle for this year's ride, and for the next ride and the next ride, and....

    Thanks again, Martin!
    #16
  17. Northam

    Northam n00b

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    It's great that you are doing this, Martin! I am thinking of visiting Europe again then!
    #17
  18. ewbutler

    ewbutler Adventurer

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    Who knew....yesterday morning...that today I'd have a motorcycle in Ireland?:clap The idea came to fruition when I saw Martins thread and recognized that, hey, this might be a real possibility. I made a couple comments on line and asked a couple questions and the responses, from other inmates as well as Martin, opened the door to a "man, what if....." moment.
    I previewed donedeal.ie as recommended and spend several hours looking at bikes,prices,locations and factoring in mileage, apparent condition, age, type and functionality and then,finally, through the luck of the draw a 1994 ST 1100 caught my attention. I emailed Martin, we've since talked but haven't yet met, sent him the info on the bike and asked his opinion. To cut to it, he went to look at the bike this afternoon, called from the location, sent on 7 pictures, interviewed the owner, rode the bike and assessed its reliability and condition.
    And a couple hours ago Paypal closed the deal! A huge thanks to Martin for all his effort on behalf of a stranger, to the inmates who shared their experiences and definitely to BALDY(and a contribution) for making it all possible. Looking forward to 6 weeks in Europe on my own bike.
    Ride safe,
    Wade
    #18
  19. rockydog

    rockydog just a guy

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    Location:
    okieland
    here's how it works with Martin: I live in Oklahoma so the cost of getting the bike to a port(Houston), transport there and back, twice if I want to bring a bike back home is pricy. My solution was... http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=803515&page=3 scroll down the page

    Tell Martin a budget, size/models etc, he finds some bikes on the Irish equivalent of Craigslist, sends you links, and makes some calls, you tell him one you like and he checks it out. There is going to be a modest pickup charge if it's out of his territory. He looks at the bike, takes pics with iphone and sends them, calls you as he is looking at the bike passing along his recommendation. If it's a go he buys it and you send a bank money transfer covering his costs(that was my arrangement).

    The bike is transferred to your name using his address. He sends pics of documents.

    Get insurance through motosapiens, mail copy of passport or drivers license to them, 160 euros/3 months. Once insured, you get current tags online, 88 euros/1 year. Paperwork is with the bike.

    I bought a 96 Transalp, $1,600 dollars, round trip to Dublin for $825. Bus or train transport from airport to Cork, $25/30?

    All transactions, info is straight up. No hidden port costs, no 4-6 week shipping delay, I get to buy a new toy and I'm ready to Rock An Roll!!
    #19
  20. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
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    2,989
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    [​IMG]

    Inmate, bnordgren aboard his Yamaha TDM getting ready for a trip to France, leaving tomorrow morning.
    Bike prepped, titled in his name and green card insurance purchased.
    No shipping, no headaches, (well, apart form the beer we may drink tonight)

    Life is good
    #20