Importing a bike to CA?

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Max Kool, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Max Kool

    Max Kool Xtankteam™

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    Hi all,

    I have a question for those who know. Chances are I might move from Europe to California because of a job offer. Me and my wife prefer to take our bikes with us (2007 BMW G650 Xchallenge and a 2008 Yamaha 660 Teneré, both modern bikes with catalytic converters).

    I am assuming we can ride our bikes for the first months on the Dutch registrations and insurance. However, after some time we'd want them registered in CA. What are the steps one should follow?

    PS, and how about a Euro spec Mini Cooper Cabrio?
    #1
  2. AngryShawn

    AngryShawn Punchbowl Pooper

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    My experience with bringing out of state vehicles in to Ca is as follows:
    You will have to take the vehicle to a CA DMV to do a 'VIN verification'.
    As long as your vehicles have the emissions stickers that the DMV is looking for, you will be ok.
    Not sure though how it works with EU spec vehicles.
    Don't take my word for it though, I'd recommend you visit the DMV website for further information:
    http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffvr29.htm
    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/howto/htvr9.htm
    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/reg_hdbk/ch12/ch12_15.htm
    Be warned though, CA has stringent emissions laws when compared to just about any other state...
    Good luck!
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  3. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    In the US and Ca. it is all about emission stickers. If you purchased the bike out of country you will not have one that meets the requirements. They cannot be retrofitted.

    There are exceptions for Ca. http://www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/reg/reg256f.pdf

    You look like you may fit one. Reading it makes me think you will still have to meet DOT requirements. That is about horns, turn signals, headlight dimming etc. I don't know the procedure for that. It sounds like it has to come from a Federal agency. The Department of Transportation is Federal.

    A word of warning, as difficult as DMV makes it to import an out of state bike, an out of country bike will probably be a nightmare. Just because the law allows it, is not a guarantee that DMV will see it that way.
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  4. petzi-baer

    petzi-baer Been here awhile

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    A good place to search for a more comprenisive answer is here (search before you ask :-)):
    http://www.bayarearidersforum.com/forums/

    One number that is important in CA is 7500 miles. If I recall correctly, you don't need to worry about the emssion sticker if your bike has more miles than that. But you still need to go to CHP for approval. They are going to check the lights etc. Once the bike gets the seal of approvad from the CHP, you should be able to get the permission from the DMV or so ...


    That;s it in a nutshell. But there are always details. BTW I was looking into that process for some time, but I haven't done it myself.

    petzi-baer
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  5. Jeff aka BOLT

    Jeff aka BOLT Prefer Saturdays

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    With all the red tape involved... I'd sell them and buy bikes in CA. In most cases things cost more in Europe.
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  6. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    I understand this is an out of country purchase not an out of state purchase. It will not have any emission sticker, Ca. or Federal, so the 7,500 mile exception probably won't apply.

    This may help:http://www.motionpro.com/motorcycle/partno/08-0049/
    #6
  7. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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  8. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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  9. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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  10. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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  11. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Darn near impossible, sorry to say. The cost will likely be more than the bikes/cars cost, and is usually only done by wealthy collectors. That doesn't even take into account shipping costs.

    I would recommend removing all your favorite farkles and bringing them with you. Sell the vehicles. California is about bureaucracy, not function. Sorry man.

    Welcome to California, though! We have some great riding waiting here for you.
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  12. PatSmith

    PatSmith Been here awhile

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    One of the challenges you will find is that your type of situation is probably pretty rare. Because of that the DMV employees likely have little or no experience in that area. All to often they just say it can't be done. Frankly they don't seem to care to work thru the difficult and or abnormal situation. Good luck if you bring them
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  13. Max Kool

    Max Kool Xtankteam™

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    Sounds more and more a better idea to sell them over here, and get different bikes again from craigslist or something locally in LA.
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  14. PatSmith

    PatSmith Been here awhile

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    Agreed. Plenty of bikes on CL up and down CA. Be patient, bikes come and go all the time
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  15. Off Limits

    Off Limits Banned

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    sell the xchallenge but bring the tenere and sell it to me.
    #15