If you'd like to follow the Chang Jiang import process . . .

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by Cowboy, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    A little over four years ago, my father-in-law bought a CJ750 from Shao Yiqi at CJSidecar in China. http://www.cjsidecar.com/

    Last year, he decided to ship it by sea freight to store it at my place, as he couldn't get it into Thailand where he lives. The bike arrived in Los Angeles, where we had another shipping company pick it up and truck it to Denver. After some paperwork with the Customs folks at the airport, we drove over to the warehouse and picked up one enormous crate. When we got it home to Wyoming, we dismantled the crate from around the bike, backed it off the trailer into the snow. After ten minutes or so of "some assembly required" stuff, and thirty minutes of cleaning the oily rust preventive coatings off the chrome parts, this is what came out: a 24 HP sidevalve "flathead" bike with a four-speed with reverse gear, painted to resemble its 1930s-1940s BMW forebears:

    [​IMG]


    I had only to add fuel and the bike fired right up with little fuss. I enjoyed a good six months of riding and fiddling with the bike, getting it running well at altitude, before my father in law finally came to visit (he lives in Thailand) and got a chance to ride his toy.

    He apparently enjoyed the ride, because he has now bought a second CJ750, which will be delivered soon. I thought I'd use this thread to walk through the process so others who may be interested will know what to expect if they import one of these bikes directly from China.

    I plan to explain the paperwork here, along with the various import forms necessary to bring the bike into the U.S. and get it registered.

    More to come . . . ..
    #1
  2. Gummiente

    Gummiente Rebel Without A Clue

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    I have your thread bookmarked. I've dabbled a bit in the CJ scene, but Canadian import and motor vehicle laws make it pretty much impossible to import one of these Chinese beauties, never mind getting it registered for on the road. I even went to far as to visit the "Canadian warehouse" of another CJ importer - who shall remain nameless for now - but came away empty handed, very suspicious and not at all impressed with their operation.

    So I'll now be living vicariously through your experiences. :thumb
    #2
  3. princess jamaica

    princess jamaica OLD DOG-NEW TRICKS

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    i've got one coming in the next week or so that i bought from "scooter bob" in west virginia.i just sold my 2wd dnepr,because i wanted a side valve.i'll be watching here,and keep you posted on mine.
    #3
  4. Team Dennis

    Team Dennis Certified Troublemaker

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    What does one cost???
    #4
  5. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    It depends on where you buy them. They are cheapest if you buy one in China, like my father-in law did. (four years ago, he paid the equivalent of about $1800 US each. Wherever you buy one, you will have to trust the builder in China, both to build a good quality bike and to get the paperwork right. You will have to deal with the shippers before the bike arrives, get the bike through customs, pick it up in a giant crate at a warehouse, then deal with the paperwork to get a title and register the bike. This is the route we have chosen with both bikes. We've had great luck so far.

    If you order one over the internet, instead of buying it on site in China, you should expect to pay more. Figure about $4000 + $800 for shiping to the U.S. This is supply and demand at work. The dealers in China will sell you a bike cheaper because they know you can buy one cheaply from a hundred sources around the country. These were very very common bikes in China, with more than 1.5 million made from 1957 to 1996, so there are lots of them still around. The dealers know, if you are ordering over the internet, that your local supply is more limited, so you are willing to pay more. They must be right, because they are selling lots of them this way.

    If you buy one here and someone else already did the import work, add at least $1000 more. You pay a premium (rightfully) because there are fewer things that can go wrong: the bike is already here, you don't have to worry that it may get damaged in shipping, it probably already has a title and will be a cinch to register. You also don't have to wait (sometimes several months) for the bike to arrive.

    There are lots of businesses catering to each type of customer.

    For links to the dealers who will build one and ship it to you from China, (as well as lots of other information on these bikes), check out the CJU site: http://www.changjiangunlimited.com/wn.htm

    Here are a couple of the U.S. dealers who will sell you one that's already here, with fewer hassles:

    http://www.scooterbob.com/changs.html
    or:
    http://changjiang-usa.com/chang_jiang_sidecar.html


    Even if you pay top dollar for a bike that someone else imported, these bikes are still a steal at the price: What other classic bike can you buy, freshly restored for under $6000?
    #5
  6. zenben

    zenben all roads are one

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  7. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    Well, since ZenBen has his popcorn ready . . . .

    Step one:

    Browse those websites, ask around at the Chang Jiang Experience yahoo forum, choose a restoration shop, and contact them (usually by e-mail) to order your bike. There are lots of choices, various cosmetic treatments, tons of chrome or the old military look, vintage BMW paint jobs, or WWII replicas. Choose your engine, either the older flathead, or the newer OHV type, 6 volt or 12, modern tranny with reverse gear, or old style without (but more reliable).

    Step 2: Paperwork.

    After you've ordered the bike and paid for it, you will get a package of paperwork in the mail. Here's what you should receive:

    Chinese Registration/License card. This is a small plastic folder with two laminated cards inside. One card has a photo of the bike on one side (probably a pre-restoration photo) The other side lists the following information:

    License plate #
    Vehicle Type
    Registered owner's name
    Address
    Engine Serial #
    Frame serial #
    Make & Model
    Gross Weight
    Passenger Limit
    Passenger limit in driver's cabinet
    Registration date
    Issue date
    DMV seal

    There is a second card in the folder, which is used for safety inspection stamps (the bikes get a stamp each year.)

    There should also be an English translation of this registration information, which is just a sheet of paper with the information typed on it.

    Invoice: The invoice is unremarkable, as it just contains the information you would expect on any invoice: seller and buyer names and addresses, a reference to the goods, the price, and whether there is any balance due. Except for the seller's Chinese address, this could be any invoice for goods bought from any U.S. seller.

    Packing list: I did not receive one of these last time, but there was a packing list in this year's packet of documents, with the letterhead of what appears to be a shipping agent. It simply identifies the buyer, the goods inside the crate, the port in China it was shipped from (both our bikes were shipped from Xingang, and the destination port (Denver, Colorado in our case) (I always chuckle when I see a document that lists Denver as a "port")
    The Packing list also mentions the shipping terms (FOB Xingang) and the motorcycle's date of production. My guess is that this date of production is not normally mentioned, unless the bike is coming to the U.S., where certain import restrictions don't apply for bikes manufactured more than 21 years ago.

    Second Invoice: For some reason, they sent a second invoice this time, and like the packing list, it is on the shipping agent's letterhead, not the seller's. The same information is on this one, except this one also mentions the date when the motorcycle was produced.

    Bill of Lading: The bill of lading is a document that has been used by shipping companies for centuries with little change. It contains lots of information. It instructs the personnel at various ports as to how the shipment should be handled at each port, who should receive notice when the package arrives, what ship it will be placed onto, and what "voyage #" for that ship. It notes the date when it was placed on board, (November 19) and the estimated arrival date (December 5). Like most of these documents, it lists the seller/shipper/exporter, the buyer/consignee. It also lists the type of container and the contents of the container. In this case, the container is described as one wooden case, containing a vintage motorcycle. It also lists the size of the crate (4 cubic meters) and the weight (500 kilos) It lists the port of lading (loading) (Xingang, China) and the port of dishcharge (unloading) (Los Angeles, CA) it also lists the final destination (Denver, CO).

    In this case, when the ship arrived in Los Angeles, the carrier (Kasy Logistics Co, Ltd) notified the "release of cargo contact" (T.J. Expediters, Walnut, CA.) who picked up the crate and took it to their warehouse. At this point, T.J. Expediters apparently drafted an invoice, dated November 30, informing us they had the crate in their posession, oh, and by the way, please send more money to cover some additional security fees, handling fees and a "pier pass."

    So on December 7, we overnight a check for these extra fees ($172) to California, and T.J. Expediters places the crate and paperwork on a truck bound for Denver. Well, I'm not sure where they get the name "expediters" because that truck does not arrive in Denver until after Christmas. But it is here! The bike is sitting in a "customs" warehouse in Aurora, which will not release the bike to me until I show up there with a release form stamped by U.S customs.

    So now, I'm downloading the forms necessary to release the bike. These include an EPA form 3520-1 that requires you to note the type of engine, so they can determine whether it complies with EPA emissions standards. This process is made much easier for me by the fact that the bike is over 21 years old, so it is exempt, and can be released easily.

    I also need to fill out a USDOT form HS-7, which is intended to ensure that the vehicle conforms to U.S. safety and theft prevention standards. Once more, the bike is exempt, since it is more than 25 years old.

    The remaining form I need to fill out is a U.S. Customs form 7501 "entry summary" which asks for all kinds of information in a language only their officers can understand (and I'm guessing that a lot of it is gibberish to them too.) Thankfully, they only required me to fill in about 1/4 of the available boxes on the form last time. (thankfully, the ones that asked for something in English!)

    So I will drive to Denver on wednesday with a flatbed trailer to pick up the bike. I will have to stop by the customs warehouse first, and pay them $60 (certified check only, please) to release the IT or "international transportatin" document to me. I will then take the document to the "port of denver" (which is a U.S. customs office near the airport) and pay them a duty of 2.5% of the value of the bike, (a bit over $50) then they will stamp the paperwork to release the bike. I can then take the paperwork back to the warehouse, where they will load the crate on my trailer.

    Will the crate contain a bike? Will it still be in one piece? Will the customs warehouse and U.S. customs find an excuse to demand more fees?

    Tune in next time and find out! Photos coming soon!
    #7
  8. Jimbosidecar

    Jimbosidecar Adventurer

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    I've shipped several of our BMW powered CJs to Canada. The customers got them licensed, registered, and insured without any difficulties that they've reported to me anyways.
    Regds,
    Jim
    <www.mycj750.com>

    #8
  9. CaptRick

    CaptRick On dry land 4 now.....

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    Im watching with interest to see how this one turns out....

    I keep hearing the old," I'm from the government and I'm here to help you"
    #9
  10. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    In the government's defense, last year the whole process was cheap and painless. The only stories I've heard about problems in the import process come from questionable sources: Ural dealers, who want to convince people that the self-import process is too risky. (So you will be more likely to buy a bike from them, instead of importing one)
    #10
  11. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    Well, wish me luck. I THINK I have all the paperwork in order, cashier's check ready for the customs warehouse, flatbed hooked up and ready to go, and ADVrider's own GEEK and SCRAMBLEDBEN ready to help me unpack the bike.

    Pics of the new toy to come tomorrow!
    #11
  12. See-Double-You

    See-Double-You Long timer

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  13. CaptRick

    CaptRick On dry land 4 now.....

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    :thumb
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  14. Srbenda

    Srbenda Embassy of South Carolina

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    :ear

    Let us know...
    #14
  15. princess jamaica

    princess jamaica OLD DOG-NEW TRICKS

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    looks like cowboy will be getting his first.i'm anxious to hear more about his experiences,and then report mine.
    #15
  16. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    I started the morning at Forward Air in Aurora, Colorado, picking up the IT document. No problem there. The poor girl at the desk apologized at least five times for being disorganized when she couldn't immediately put her hands on the IT for me. She found it in good order. I headed off to an obscure building near Denver International Airport, home to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Port of Denver. I was ready. I had forms for the EPA, DOT, and customs ready, all filled out and signed, as well as a Power of Attorney to sign documents for my wife, who couldn't come along today.

    I seem to have found the most helpful guy in the CBP office. He started out asking for the Bill of Sale and Invoice, the IT document and my drivers license. He disappeared for a few minutes. I was ready with the rest of the documents when he come back. He didn't ask for any. He just grabbed the stamp, stamped my IT, and sent me on my way. No EPA forms, no DOT forms, and no customs duty to pay, either!

    Within an hour I was back at the customs warehouse with my clearance. Unlike the port, the warehouse folks were happy to take my money. They brought out the crate. I checked it over, and found it had several small fist-size holes where something had smashed through. I looked inside one of the holes, to figure out which was the front of the bike and which was the back. I asked them to load it back end first onto my trailer, so I could get the bike off the crate bottom easier later. If I thought there were lots of holes in the top and sides, you should have seen the bottom! It was a real mess. The crate last year was a mess too, despite being built from better plywood, but the bike inside was fine last year, so I was hopeful. I noted the damaged crate when I signed for the shipment, and went my merry way.

    As it happens, ScrambledBen (you'll find him over on the Rockies forum) wanted the crate, and he lived only a couple miles away, so I headed for his place to dismantle the crate. Geek couldn't join us, but Ben and I made short work of it. The bike looks great. (Pictures to come) It is nearly identical to the one above, only the pinstripes are red instead of white. It is a sidevalve engine, four speed tranny with reverse, electric start and kicker. It came with the usual array of spare parts they know you will need eventually. Since spares are hard to come by in the U.S., Shao Yiqi is in the habit of providing a number of wear items when he ships bikes: brake shoes, a spare of each cable on the bike, extra plugs and wires, spokes, sidecar cover, a complete set of gaskets and seals, and a few items I haven't figured out yet.

    We attached the battery cables and tried the key. The headlight came on strong, and the starter spun the engine over. We checked and found the crankcase full of clean oil. I added a few gallons of gas, tickled the carbs, primed the intake, closed the choke, and gave it a kick. Hmmm, maybe another kick. Nothing. I tried spinning it over with the electric starter, and it soon fired up. It idled well, and generally sounded good.

    While it warmed up, we freed the wheels from the crate bottom. (They build small rails around each tire to make sure the bike doesn't move around in the crate.) When it was free, I backed it up so the rear wheels were off the crate bottom, and we pulled the bottom out from under the front tire.

    After Ben and I got our fill of checking over every little part of the bike, we strapped it down for the ride, and I headed off to class.

    I can't wait to get it home on Friday and take it for a spin.

    PIctures will be coming as soon as I can get them uploaded, then I'll take you through the (state-specific, so maybe not so useful) process of getting the bike titled and registered in Wyoming.

    If any of you guys are around Denver want to check out the bike before I head for Wyoming tomorrow night, I'll be near DU with it during the workday Thursday. Shoot me a PM.
    #16
  17. Lomax

    Lomax Nanu-Nanu Adventurer

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    :clap Sounds Great. You had a fairly easy day. A little tuning and a long break in and it looks like you are set to go. I hope DMV works as well.

    Marc
    #17
  18. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    I suspect DMV will go just fine. The biggest hang up at DMV last time was relatively minor: When they tried to pick the manufacturer from a drop-down menu in their computer, there was no "Chang Jiang" there to choose! It's been added to their system now, so this time should be easy. (Knock on wood) I've been preparing for this process for a long time. Every time I'm in the DMV, I I joke with the clerk who helped me through it last time. It wasn't difficult, but it sure wasn't routine either. She remembers me!:evil
    #18
  19. wyowillys46

    wyowillys46 Petrosexual.

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    Black with red pinstripes? I like that combo. I've got to come over and check it out!
    #19
  20. ironbrewer

    ironbrewer Hopefully Riding

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    Pictures!!:lurk
    #20