Some questions on a Europe trip, and motorcycle shipping...

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by cialowicz, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. cialowicz

    cialowicz Adventurer

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    Hello All,

    I'm new to ADVrider, but not to riding.

    This Summer or Fall, I'd like to take a motorcycle trip with my uncle. He lives in Poland (along with most of my family), so I would go from Krakow to Spain, a little bit into Morocco, and then back. I only have 3 weeks of vacation time that I can use, so the plan is to go through Germany/France and other countries we've already been to quite quickly, and then to spend most of the time in Spain and Morocco.

    My question is this: how difficult is it to ship a motorcycle to Europe? I live near Boston, so I could put one on a ship a month ahead of time, and then pick it up when I fly over... or I could take it on an airplane with me. How do the costs compare? Does anyone know of any good, reputable shipping companies in the Boston area? What about airlines? How does one put a motorcycle on an airplane? How about insurance and registration overseas? Is it possible for me to buy insurance for Europe here in The States?

    Also, what about buying a bike in Europe? I could always send my family money ahead of time... but the risk of that is ending up with a bike that is not well-prepared. I'd like to keep the costs down, and I'll probably be getting a used motorcycle.

    I suppose a third option is renting. How much would that cost? I'm also not sure that I would be able to rent a motorcycle, as I am only 23 years old.

    Finally, what sort of motorcycle would you choose? My first bike was a 1976 Honda CB750F, and then I got a 2001 Honda RC51. Neither of those would be well suited to this trip. I was thinking about getting a Suzuki SV650 for fairly cheap ($2-3k), and then outfitting it with a larger windscreen, sorting it out mechanically (tires, engine, etc), and getting luggage for it. What are your thoughts on this? My friend also has a Kawasaki Z1000 that he would be willing to sell to me for a good price, but I think the Kawi may be a bit to sporty for such a long trip.

    Thank you for the advice.

    Cheers,
    Mike
    #1
  2. cialowicz

    cialowicz Adventurer

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    Ooops, I suppose I should have put this in "Trip Planning". D'oh. How do I move the thread?
    #2
  3. braindead0

    braindead0 Head Fisherman

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    Wait around a bit, a moderator should be along shortly to move it...

    Welcome!
    #3
  4. Global Rider

    Global Rider Alps Adventurer

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    It isn't; its easy.

    By ship is the cheapest. Air will cost you more, but its worth it in my opinion.

    I did all the leg work incluiding building the pallet and prepping the bike for the dangerous goods inspector. If you get a shipper to do that, you pay more.

    Going directly to the airlines costs more than dealing with a shipper.

    Check out the BMW MOA Global Touring site for a list of shippers.

    Your US registration is fine in Europe. Insurance is available both here and there. Here is it grossly overpriced, whereas in Europe it'll run you €22 (about US$33) per month from the ADAC. Thats for liability only.

    After all that...for a mere three weeks, I'd rent.
    #4
  5. cialowicz

    cialowicz Adventurer

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    Thanks for the info above. After looking at all the costs, rental does seem attractive. It's expensive, but it'll be cheaper than getting another bike, sorting it out, shipping it, insuring it, and then worrying about customs and such.

    $70 euros/day: http://www.moto4fun.pl/index_eng.php

    Not too bad... I wonder if I can find anything cheaper.
    #5
  6. Global Rider

    Global Rider Alps Adventurer

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    Thats cheap, even for a V-Strom 650.

    But then Warsaw is a long way from the heart of the Alps or Spain, so I hope that rate includes "unlimited kilometers".
    #6
  7. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    Middleweights seem to run 500 Euro's/week in Germany from what I could see.
    Jim
    #7
  8. Jeff Munn

    Jeff Munn Just along for the ride..

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    Just be sure that your rental company knows all the countries you wish to visit. Times are changing in the EU, but many companies use to forbid rental bikes from going into former eastern bloc countries, and Morocco won't allow you to enter thru Customs on bike you don't own. (unless you use Iberian Moto Tours, they seem to have broken the code on that.)

    Also, as was said before, you'd better be sure you have unlimited mileage on the rental.

    Check out Stefan Knopf at Knopf Motorradreissen. He has rental BMWs will pick you up at Frankfurt, and can do all the insurance paperwork too. He also ships if you want to do that. Stefan is a great guy. I've shipped with him myself.

    Good luck.
    jeff
    #8
  9. Frank Warner

    Frank Warner Traveller

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    There is more over on http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ about internation motorcycle travel.

    For Morocco Tim has done a Moroccan data base over on http://www.ukgser.com/

    For 3 weeks - I'd rent.

    First time there as a tourist - only do bits of europe! There is enough there to keep you happy for 3 weeks without rushing off to Morocco! Arrr you 've been to France/Germany .. but not Spain .. cool - 2 weeks in Spain would be good. A few days to get there and back and a day for jet lag.
    #9
  10. silly torque

    silly torque kiwi in NL

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    If you going to hire....Unless you want to do the ride across europe. get a budget flight from Cracow to Spain hire a bike in Spain - get more fun riding time. then get the ferry across to Morroco (about 26 EUR) and hire another bike for morroco..... All this would give you more good riding time and less hassle

    and +1 for horizonsunlimited.com
    also have a look at http://www.ukgser.com/forums/showthread.php?t=89396

    it's a fantastic source of info for Morroco
    #10
  11. musicman

    musicman Been here awhile

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    After you ship a US registered bike to Europe, how long can you leave it there?
    #11
  12. CourtFisher

    CourtFisher Been here awhile

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    "Technically"/ legally, no longer than 90 days.
    BUT, in reality, indefinately. Many US-registered bikes are kept in Europe "indefinately" AS LONG AS your US/State registration/plate is maintained up-to-date, AND you take out/ maintain at least the minimum mandatory Euro 'green card' vehicle insurance for the specific period(s) you are operating the vehicle in Europe.

    Insurance links & other info at
    http://www.bmwmoa.org/global/ToEurope.htm
    #12
  13. Wheelon

    Wheelon n00b

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    For a shorter trip, it may not be worthwhile to ship your bike unless you're really intent on having it there. I'm guessing that even the cheapest way would cost over $1,000 after taxes and everything--and that's assuming you don't have to make any modifications. There may be some exemption for temporary status, I'm not sure. A1AutoTransport inc delivers in both Europe and the US so you might try them, even if just to see what kind of price they give you (they'll tell you for free). My advice would be to contact 4 or 5 shippers and see what the prices are. That'll give you a good idea of whether it's worth your time or not.
    #13
  14. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    As Court Fisher said - keep your US registration current. I believe that you can only get "Green Card" insurance for up to 6 consecutive months - so keeping it as a daily driver wouldn't be an option.

    I kept one bike with Stefan Knopf from 2009 through 2013 and sold it to another US Citizen - thereby relieving me of the responsibility to get it out of the EU. I recently (last March) shipped another one over, which is now impatiently waiting for me to appear and go play.

    Also - the Virginia tags are a great conversation starter.
    #14
  15. marty hill

    marty hill The Energizer Bunny

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    Or you could go to either Toronto or Montreal and ship the bike via Air Canada for $560 US each way as I did about 8 weeks ago. I use a paperwork guy on the way out for $150 but zero on the way back. You have to fly Air Canada to get this price but they were less than Delta would have been from the states. Nice to have all your stuff packed on the bike and carry nothing. The guys at both ends were great. I rode to Stefans and stayed the first night then headed east. Green card ins. costs vary greatly so shop around.

    Oddly enough, I stayed with friends in tewksbury on the way to montreal.
    #15
  16. GvG

    GvG Been here awhile

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    Come on people, just look before you reply to a 7 year old thread. :fpalm
    #16
  17. marty hill

    marty hill The Energizer Bunny

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    Info is current and people are still asking.
    #17
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  18. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    And the details change over time. In 2009 I paid €22 for a month of Green Card insurance. It went to €105 in 2010 and is almost double that now.
    #18
  19. L0nerider

    L0nerider 2003 XT600E

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    Isn't that why the site is here? To keep threads updated with the current info? So really thats the point of adding to old threads.

    Wayne
    #19
  20. Manray

    Manray Killing Time

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    Marty, what did the $150 paperwork entail (Dangerous Goods Document)? Also, when you dropped off your bike with Air Canada Cargo, was it loaded crated or uncrated? Were your panniers attached to the bike? Thanks!
    #20