How difficult is it for a foreigner to buy a bike in China?

Discussion in 'Asia' started by secondratemime, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. secondratemime

    secondratemime Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    26
    Location:
    Bournemouth
    Some friends of mine are moving to China for a few years and its given me the urge to buy a one way ticket to go visit them, and then ride back home to England with my bud. Now i figure it would be about the same if not cheaper than shipping my bike over there, but how about all the paperwork that goes with it?

    Is it possible for a foreigner to buy and register a bike over there? And perhaps more importantly, if I bought it, would I be able to ride it out of the country and into another one?

    This is all just an idea at the moment, but I thought id see if any of you guys have any thoughts.

    Cheers

    James
    #1
  2. SCQTT

    SCQTT Zwei Kolben

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,702
    Location:
    Mike's Sky Rancho
    What would you buy?

    China is a big place, where would you buy?

    I know their import duties are insane. 100% is not uncommon.

    Perhaps buy in HK (there is a BMW dealer there) then ride to your friend's, then home.

    I know there are lots of motorcycle tours, but it is really rare to see anything beyond a 125 motorcycle or scooter there.


    From time to time I have access to a Fireblade in Jiangmen.....I might as well be flying a UFO based on the look of shock most local people have.
    #2
  3. secondratemime

    secondratemime Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    26
    Location:
    Bournemouth
    I was honestly thinking of some chinese made bike to which spares would be plentiful. Im fully aware that this thing would break down, but chinese bikes are usually pretty simple, so I'd hope they'd be easy to fix too. I certainly wouldnt be buying a western bike from a dealer in china. So maybe a 125 enduro type bike at the best!

    Like I say, it's just an idea at the moment, so I just want to hear some thoughts. They're living in Beijing, so it would most likely be from a shop there. I'm more concerned with the paperwork involved than the type of bike I could end up with, as I'm sure they're pretty universally terrible out there.

    James
    #3
  4. bigdamo

    bigdamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    173
    Location:
    52 miles west of Venus
    Yes you could buy a Chinese bike and ride it through China but you would find it very difficult.Getting a Chinese motorcycle license would be very hard then you have to find a chineses national who will register the bike in there name for you.

    Start your research herehttp://www.mychinamoto.com/forums/forum.php
    #4
  5. GreeKKTiNoS

    GreeKKTiNoS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    995
    Location:
    Athens Greece
    #5
  6. cras

    cras Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    23
    I live in HK now, but when I lived in Beijing I had a CJ-750 that was registered to me in my Chinese name but with my US passport number. It was a painless procedure (took one morning), but I was there with a work permit. I'm not sure if you could do it on a tourist visa.

    CJ's were the biggest bike you could legally bring inside the 4th ring road, but they had the side car. I think 250's were the biggest solo allowed.

    Many foreigners got by getting a bike registered in Hebei province which was easier, but technically not allowed inside the 4th ring. There were also lots of people riding scooters and other small bikes that they didn't even bother getting plated.

    This was 2004-2007, and I've heard that in the run up to the Olympics all this was cracked down upon, and most CJ shops have since closed or moved as a '97 CJ was the last year you could get registered, and after 11 years the registration couldn't be changed or it had to be destroyed (who knows the real story).

    I didn't know any foreigners that bothered with getting a license either (before the Olympics), but after I do know a guy there now that finally had to get one. There are several consultants that can help you get a Chinese license in Beijing that advertise in the local expat magazines available at most bars.

    Also, it's not possible to buy a bike in HK and ride it across the border. You have to make a big investment in South China to get those dual plates.

    I have heard that a new bike can be bought at the duty free port in Tianjin (2 hours from Beijing), but I never made it down there. http://tianjinexpats.com/community/forum/topic?id=2697
    #6
  7. bigdamo

    bigdamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    173
    Location:
    52 miles west of Venus
    Everything changed after the Olympics.

    Many cities will not even allow motorcycles in now.
    #7
  8. SCQTT

    SCQTT Zwei Kolben

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,702
    Location:
    Mike's Sky Rancho

    Very true
    #8
  9. cras

    cras Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    23
    I left Beijing for Guangzhou when they had just instituted the ban based on 'purse snatchings'. I figured it was only time in Beijing. I still see an occasional CJ up there, but not like it was. Saw one in Shanghai last week.
    #9
  10. greybeard146

    greybeard146 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    303
    Location:
    out there, 'neath a starry sky...
    Research the Ride Reports section, there's some great China Rides info in there. :deal
    #10
  11. bigdamo

    bigdamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    173
    Location:
    52 miles west of Venus
  12. SCQTT

    SCQTT Zwei Kolben

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,702
    Location:
    Mike's Sky Rancho
    I ride a 2005 Triumph Speed Triple when I am in Tawian. The urban riding is scary, but the mountain roads are AWESOME!
    #12
  13. Marshallblank

    Marshallblank Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    126
    Location:
    Atlantis
    you should try some southeast asia city.. such as jakarta, or vietnam.. its confusing for no one get killed by the traffic there..
    #13
  14. deaninkl

    deaninkl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    153
    Location:
    KL, Malaysia
    Secondratemime, unfortunately you can not generalise within China accept to say that bikes in genral are difficult the register legally in most big cities these days.

    The rules change constantly, some cities have banned bikes completely, Beijing seems at least a little more open, I've heard they have a Harley dealer there now. If you live in China and have a work permit its quiet easy to buy a 125cc bike outside of major cities, a license may be difficult to get as many police agencies do not let foreigners have licenses for bikes.

    I got a licesne in Shanghai 15 years ago, but buying a bike was another story, I didn't want a 125 and I didn't want a Chang jiang....so there wasn't anything else to buy. And pretty much still isn't.

    As a tourist its pretty much impossible to get a chinese licesne, it has been done but its very very difficult.

    there is no standard way of doing it, you basically have to get there and try, the more irritation you cause the better chance you have of getting something.

    But the rules differ in every town and of every day you ask and to whom you ask. If you find a well connected helper doors can open.

    good luck.
    #14
  15. Smackit

    Smackit Life Is Good Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,059
    Location:
    Reno, Nevada & Guangdong China
    BMW, Harley, Ducati, Yamaha, Jialing, Galaxy, Shineray...just to name a few choices of brands available. The rules for bike sales are emission based and have nothing to do with engine size. Any bike sold in the world can be sold in China as long as the manufacturer is willing to spend the money to put it through China's very strict emissions testing and vehicle approval processes.

    You don't have a China residence permit, so purchasing in your own name and getting a license is pretty much impossible. Leaving the country and traveling to Europe on a bike in another persons name would probably be rather difficult. Unless it was one of your friends that was traveling with you as you cross borders. You could get a job in China, get a residency permit, get your Chinese license, buy a bike and then quit the job and leave the country with the bike.

    Cheers!
    ChinaV
    #15