Motorcycling in Europe

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by wheatwhacker, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    I'm not sure if this should be in vendors but, I'll start here anyway.
    As some of you may know, I have been buying bikes here in SF for the past few years for travelers arriving from overseas, hosting them at my house here and helping them set their bikes up, offering advice and basically being a place to go when you get off the plane, much better than a hotel.

    On a recent trip home to Ireland, I was informed that my return to the "home country" is necessary due to an aging uncle who is unable to operate his ranch anymore. I "was volunteered" to come back and look after him and the ranch.
    This is a painful move, especially as I have become accustomed to the great lifestyle here in SF but maybe is is beginning another chapter in life.
    This city and it's beautiful surroundings got me into adventure motorcycling and after a few years I was able to brag that Alaska and Panama were crossed off my list of places to go, as well as numerous other amazing places in the USA.

    My plan when I go back is to get into organic grass fed beef along with some vegetables to supply to the nearby city of Cork and also the port town of Kinsale. A simple and humble lifestyle. My motorcycle trips will continue, but now I'll be looking at Europe and Africa as potential destinations.

    As well as the farming operation, I hope to be as valuable to Americans in Europe as I was to Europeans in the USA when it comes to motorcycle touring.
    Buying/selling/renting/advice/repair/bike storage/accommodation, do not hesitate to contact me. I hopefully will be up and running next summer to help anybody.
    Again this a non profit operation. My love of adventure, motorcycles and helping people see my home country is payment enough.
    Pass this on to anybody that is considering touring Europe next summer.

    WW.

    Thank you
    #1
  2. lhendrik

    lhendrik Putins Puppet

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    Good luck with the new venture. I'll look you up on my next UK adventure.
    #2
  3. Ken Fritz

    Ken Fritz Long timer

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    Hey Wheatwacker, I hope you guys ride by on Tuesday from your Shasta trip. Beer and BBQ are on me, put the bikes in my garage and we'll have a good time.

    Your help getting a good Varadero at a good price :deal in Ireland, the registration:deal, and getting it set up the way I want it was invaluable. You know the number - call me for the BBQ!:beer

    In a coupla weeks I'll be having a few pints with Elton for ya'!:dutch
    #3
  4. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    I'll certainly keep you in mind ww. I've had some great times in the Alps, perhaps I should look your way for the next trip.
    Jim
    #4
  5. jitubisht

    jitubisht Jitendra

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    That's a great gesture, I will be getting in touch for sure :)
    #5
  6. Yappei

    Yappei Adventurer

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    Sounds like you have had a great adventure just helping people in S.F. I'm sure you will continue with the experiences in Europe. My wife and I are looking to ride Italy and a couple of the surrounding countries. I ride a Triumph Tiger 955i and just ordered the Triumph Tiger 1200 Explorer (should arrive here in Costa Rica this month). In my single days I had a Yamaha FJR 1300 based in Faro, Portugal and rode Portugal, Spain, France and Germany many times on various business trips to the region but this was a long time ag.

    Does anyone have suggestions about how I can go about buying a bike in Italy or maybe in one of the surrounding countries. I'm thinking buy one then selling it after the trip. Obviously rental is another option if the bike is reliable. Is it possible for a U.S. citizen to buy a bike in Italy or one of the surrounding countries?

    Does anyone of ride suggestions through Italy? Favorite places to stay, good adventures, good roads (my wife will be with me).

    Thanks, Look forward to the comments.

    Yappei
    #6
  7. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    My plan there is to concentrate on a sell and buy back deals.
    I'll sell you a bike, get it in your name, help with green card insurance and buy it back when your done.
    The longer you stay in Europe, the cheaper it will work out.

    WW
    #7
  8. MarcoBiko

    MarcoBiko n00b

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    Hi wheatwacker,

    This operation you intend to run seems too good to be true. I'm flying into London on August 16, 2012 and have been searching for a way to buy a bike over there without the nightmare hassle of insurance and registration. I'm from Calgary, Canada. I just quit my engineering job and decided I need to travel while I'm still young. My budget affords me around $2000 CAD so...like $1400 Euro or so. I do all my own wrenching on my Suzuki 04 GSXR 750 so the bike doesn't need to be in mint condition. I could care less about superficial damage so long as the engine is solid. Anyway, please get back to me as soon as you can to see if we can work out a deal. I'm so stoked that there's a dude out there like yourself doing this. Cheers.

    Marcus
    #8
  9. Platinumgrit

    Platinumgrit Adventurer

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    Hell yeah - I second Marcus on this one. I'll be landing in London around 3 weeks before the IOMTT next year, and I want to buy a sportsbike to ride around Europe on. I do all my own work on all my bikes (88 GSXR 750J, 88 Honda Bros 650, 04 CBR600RR) and I'm the same. Don't care about pristine cosmetics, I want something mechanically sound with a fresh set of decent tyres on it. I'm thinking either CBR1000RR, K6/7/8 GSXR 750, or Crossplane R1. Was toying with the idea of a Ducati 748 (hey... come on, I'm in Europe, I am tempted to tour around Europe on one of the sexiest bits of motorcycling kit. But like all the sexiest things, there's always a lot of drama! Riding an unreliable, high-maintenance 'bitch' might be a good way to waste all my holiday money...)

    I'm leaning towards a K6/7 GSXR 750 as, I've got an Ohlins TTX36 rear shock for a K7 gixxer lying around that hasn't sold yet.
    #9
  10. Donmanolo

    Donmanolo Been here awhile

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    My full support to wheatwhacker.....sounds like a great gesture in giving you folks from over there an easy way to get hold of a hassle-free bike,

    Unfortunately buying a bike down here in Italy (no idea about the surrounding countries) is far from hassle-free. Unless you can find a dealer willing to offer a buy back scheme disguised as a long term rental, then you need to have an italian residence permit before you can actually buy a vehicle here.

    It is however possible to buy a bike in Germany as a non-resident and put export plates on it for up to a year, allowing you to ride it wherever you want in that time, and even sell it in germany or wherever else.

    Otherwise I think I'd just go with Wheatwhacker, even including the cost of getting a bike from ireland across to mainland europe it would still probably work out cheaper than buying here.
    #10
  11. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    Thanks for the support guys.
    So I have been doing some more thinking about the whole project.

    As much as you would all like to buy whatever bike you want, ride it all over Europe and then expect me to buy it back, I will end up with a garage full of motorcycles that I have no use for. If, for example, you want to ride a GS1200 on your epic Euro trip, it's better you go to the rental companies that can cater for that kind of customer.
    The customer I am after is the person who want's to see Europe on a reliable motorcycle. I cannot afford to have a stock of BMW's that are expensive to service and purchase as well as the dreaded phone call from Spain that the bike is broken down and we need a ride back.

    I was originally going to go with Suzuki Vstroms but after another ADV'er here found a Honda Varadero I am now convinced this is the bike to tour Europe on.

    The bike is bulletproof, has a nice upright riding position, can easily carry a passenger, plenty of power and looks great.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Varadero


    As a rough guide, I will sell these bikes for aprox 3-4K Euro's and buy them back at an agreed price. I figure your looking at $50/day, cheaper the longer you keep it.
    Each bike will be fully serviced and ready to go as soon as you land in Ireland. The ferry to either England, Scotland or France, are only hours from my home.
    Here is an example of a nice 2 week Euro tour.

    http://goo.gl/maps/YcC1

    There are many more options. Go straight to France from Cork, but, what Euro trip is complete without a trip to London.

    As soon as you buy the bike, you are on your own. I will try and go through the bike as much as possible before you arrive and if you have any thoughts as to what would make it better, I'm all ears.
    I am open to other bikes but, for now I want to keep it simple and cheap.

    I hope to be up and running in the Spring of next year. I will also have accommodation available. If you decide you want to keep the bike and store it at my place or anywhere else, that's fine, we can work something out.

    There are options here and if we all work together, we can make this work.
    #11
  12. Platinumgrit

    Platinumgrit Adventurer

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    Speaking for myself only, all I need is a little help buying the bike. I won't be asking you to buy it back ;-)

    Also, you might be interested in this stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpU5oBelQJs

    I've used it in all my bikes and cars for the last 8, 10 years? It's brilliant. I do all my own engine rebuilds, and when I tore down my drift car (92 Silvia S13) after blowing it's head gasket for the umpteenth time thrashing it's nuts off, I was impressed by the lack of mechanical wear.

    My Honda Bros made noticeably less noise after I threw it in, and my 04 CBR600RR, after a good thrashing (Roil is heat-activated) literally started singing. It revved out so freely and with so little noise, I could hardly believe it. Also, a mate started to get a groaning sound from his 94 Toyota Celica's gearbox last year, and after putting this stuff in and taking it for a decent drive, the groaning noise has stopped and the notchiness changing into 2nd gear has gone as well. The gearbox is still not in great shape, but it's obviously making less friction than it was before the roil was added.

    If you're going to be selling & buying back machinery, it's worth looking into. You should be able to find a Neways distributor in Ireland near you. I used to be one, but after buying a 19L drum I haven't needed to order any in ages so my membership has lapsed.
    #12
  13. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    Helping you buy a bike and getting it set up for you is not a problem. Let me know what you want and I'll make it happen. I should state that I'm not interested in buying all the bikes back. It's an option if your not intending to return. I will have fully insulated storage for motorcycles so, if your returning to Europe on an annual basis, it makes WAY more sense to keep the bike in storage.
    I will broker a deal on a used bike here for you.
    I will buy back the same bike, if it's one I think I can resell, for an agreed price.
    I will store any amount of bikes in a secure, insulated barn.

    You guys are the bosses here. You tell me what you want and I will make it happen, no problem. You see a bike you want in the classifieds, I will check the bike over, pick it up, prep it to your specs for the trip and have it ready when you arrive. The bike will be in YOUR name, green card insurance is only $100/month, while you are riding it.
    I'm getting some serious inquiries here already and the first client is headed to Ireland this Saturday to pick up his bike.

    I repeat, I am here to provide a service, not make a profit. I have helped out umpteen travelers traveling from all over the world coming to the USA, working from a rented house with a small garage. Now, I have room and, I'm on the edge of Europe so, it's time for the Euro adventure.
    #13
  14. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    Perfect. You are the exact customer that I cater for.
    First thing is decide on a bike so, let me know what tickles your interest. For budget solo traveling, the Africa Twin (750cc) can be picked up pretty cheap, with boxes.
    You pick the bike, I will pick it up and have it ready for you or I can just store it and you can prep it yourself.
    For 2 up riding, there are other choices depending on your preferences and budget.
    Like I said before, green card insurance is available for $100/mth and reg is approx $40/year.. The bike "has" to be in your name, hence, purchasing the bike is a better option than renting it.

    Example of the current line up of Africa Twins for sale.
    http://www.donedeal.ie/find/motorbikes/for-sale/Ireland/africa twin?source=all


    Again I repeat, this is a voluntary job. I only charge for my expenses and a small charge for storage and pick up.
    #14
  15. grumpyman

    grumpyman Adventurer

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    waiting to hear from you
    today or monday would be nice
    rob from oakland
    #15
  16. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

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    #16
  17. Ken Fritz

    Ken Fritz Long timer

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    We were considering shipping our 1150GS GS to Europe or renting a bike there for 2000+ miles and 3+ weeks. We didn't want to send the GS by sea ($1200+each way) because it takes too long - we'd be without the bike for at least 35 days each side of the Euro tour. We could spend $4000+ for round trip air freight out of Vancouver, but we're in CA, so that meant more cost just getting to and from Vancouver -- add another $800-1000. Rental was more expensive than shipping. What about buying a bike over there?

    I was searching for solutions on ADV and Horizons Unlimited when Wheatwacker came online on ADV with some suggestions on how to buy a bike in Ireland. I was very skeptical, but it has worked out better than expected.

    Wheatwacker helped me locate a good deal online for a 58,000 mile 03 Honda Varadero XL1000V near Cork, Ireland. His moto mechanic buddy near Cork did the pre-buy inspection and provided me some recommendations on what the bike would need: new rear tire and rear brake pads. Finding a bike near Cork was crucial so he could easily check it over before the purchase. That part was easy - there a lot of bikes for sale all over Ireland at good prices.

    With some trepidation and nightmares featuring 1) my money going overeseas 2) my wife and me arriving to find no bike or perhaps a pig of a bike, 3) no mechanic, 4) the seller long gone, 5) no recourse for my money --- I went ahead with the purchase.

    So now with Wheat's assistance, we have the bike and it's registered in my name in Ireland. Wheat's mechanic buddy in Kinsale changed both tires (I wanted to have good rubber on both ends), installed rear pads, Givi crash bars and suspension lowering kit, test drove the bike some more and told me it was ready to go. I bought the bars and suspension kit online out of the UK and had them sent to him for installation.

    The bike came with awesome Hepco & Becker side cases and top case, so we just needed to pack with those cases in mind for our trip.

    Just like Wheat and his friend promised, the bike really was ready to go when we got there. His friend delivered the bike to me, I paid him for the tires and his labor, he showed us around, we had a few pints of Guiness and made new friends.

    My wife and I rode it two-up in Ireland (under-appreciated place - Ireland), across the UK, the length of France and into Spain, then to Andorra and up to Paris. All without a glitch. The bike's now stored with a friend in Paris until our next trip. Wheat offered storage back in Cork, but we have other plans farther from Ireland away for next year.

    Wheat's moved back to Ireland now and he's sending me the reg papers for next year. He did a great job and we saved a ton of money vs. shipping our GS or renting a bike. He has offered to buy the Vara from us, and maybe after next year's trip we'll do that.

    I got Green Card insurance from Doug and Polly at www.motosapiens.org/ in Bulgaria for 60 euro/29days. That's another good place to ride: Bulgaria. We did it last year and loved it. We plan to go back next Spring on the Vara.

    The whole deal :deal has been unbelievably easy because a couple of Irishmen want to help other riders.
    Thanks Wheatwacker!:D
    #17
  18. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

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    All that 'cuz it was a Honda and you were dealing with us Irish dudes LOL





    :)


    .
    #18
  19. Ken Fritz

    Ken Fritz Long timer

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    Yeah - all that because it was an Irishman and a Honda.
    Re: Honda vs GS:
    The Honda is better than the GS in many ways, but I like the ride/suspension on the GS much more. For the money, that Vara is tough to beat. Chain lube is a big mess and a real pain when travelling, but some have had FD problems, too, so it's maybe a wash on that score. The Honda's headlight is so far superior to the GS headlight, there's no contest. Engine heat off the Honda is more than the GS, especially in slow traffic or stopped in traffic. Those radiators really keep the tank and the rider HOT. I was hotter at 90F on the Honda than on the GS at over 100F. The GS gets better fuel mileage and hauls a load better, too. But the price is sure good on the Honda. The stock Honda seat is more comfortable than the stock GS seat. The Honda is really ugly, even when compared to a GS. For a good ride for a month at time, the Vara is great. For long rides, it's great. But it's not a GS.

    The Pyrenees are a rider's paradise. :clap We'll go back again. Fuel in Andorra was nice at .30 euro/liter less than anywhere else we went. :deal
    #19
  20. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    Thanks for the glowing ref Ken.
    I am back here in the homeland now, getting set up slowly but surely.
    If any of you are thinking about the same thing as Ken did, don't hesitate to contact me. Bikes will be easy to buy in a few months as winter is coming in.
    #20