Questions for Korean Riders

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Skitch, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. Skitch

    Skitch Riding the range

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    Well, looks like the USAF has a new adventure in store for me: one year, unacompanied, at Osan AB, South Korea. I'm seriously thinking of bringing one of my bikes to help kill time on the weekend, but i have some questions:
    1. I keep reading it is crazy to ride in Korea. I lived in Okinawa for three years and loved the riding there, but i bet many would have said ti was crazy. There, i beat feet out of the city, and had a blast on the rural roads. So, is it easy to get away from the city and are the country roads worth the risk?
    2. i have an RT, a VStrom 1000, and a DR650SE...which bike would you bring?
    3. I'll be SOFA status...is it a big deal to get a license?
    4. Is it a big deal to register a bike? Inspections?
    5. Hows insurance?
    I'll take any other tips or pearls of wisdom. I've got about one month to make my decision.
    Thanks in advance,
    Skitch
    #1
  2. Ogurek

    Ogurek Adventurer

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    1. I learned to ride a motorcycle in Korea. Now that's crazy! :D Honestly, I didn't find it that bad to ride in Korea but I always had to be on my toes whenever cars (especially taxis!) were near me. A few friends got hit by cars but (luckily) nothing too serious happened... You can't drive on the express (toll) roads with a motorbike but the country roads are great for riding a motorbike. From Osan military base, it's really easy to get out of town.
    2. I'd take either the RT (BMW?) or the Vstrom... you'll be riding pavement almost anywhere in Korea. Although, my friend has a BMW GS800 in Seoul so there must be some off road riding that I'm not aware of...
    3. I've never been in the military, but usually you just hand in your American license for a Korean License. Easy as that.
    4+5. I've never had to deal with a foreign bike so I'm not sure what's involved or how easy it is... Try this website: http://www.roaddragons.com/Home/tabid/37/Default.aspx It's the motorcycle club for Yongsan military base in Seoul. I'm sure they can help you more than I can...
    #2
  3. Skitch

    Skitch Riding the range

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    Thanks for the info. I will follow up with the link.
    Skitch
    #3
  4. G-van drone

    G-van drone Been here awhile

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    You're going to need a Korean motorcycle license for a "full-size" or "largee-sizuh" motorcycle. Handing over your motorcycle license from someplace else doesn't work here. It's a "skills" test (lol) - no written exam. You can check out videos on YouTube. Insurance is absolutely mandatory (you cannot plate your bike without it). It runs me about $400 per year on a 650 Hyosung. The insurance is not like it is in the states - $400 gets you liability coverage, and that's it - you cannot get fire, theft, collision. The hour it takes to get out of Seoul is a pain-in-the-ass, but once you get out in the sticks it's worth it. There are well-paved roads here that are on-par with Tail-of-the-Dragon . . . . but lacking the EMT infrastructure in case you decide to wad yourself up someplace. Riding up north near the DMZ is a very unique experience. Good luck.

    Oh yeah - if you're in the military - you might be able to bring your own bike here - I'm not certain about that. But if you're buying here - everything is ridiculously expensive. Ducati Multistrada at $34,000 . . . GS Adventure for a little more. Japanese bike very expensive too. It's a rich man's sport, unless you ride Korean.
    #4
  5. Ogurek

    Ogurek Adventurer

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    Sorry... G-van is right. I forgot that Korea doesn't make any sense... Car licenses can be exchanged but they don't allow you to exchange a motorcycle license. You'll have to take the motorcycle test even if you have an American motorcycle license. Why? It's Korea... :)

    I'll recommend taking your bike to Gangwon province... Driving in the mountains there is great!
    #5
  6. docjsh

    docjsh Seoul Rider

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    Seoul
    I've lived in Korea for 9 years and have been riding here for more than 5 of those years. I currently ride a V-Strom in Seoul and I enjoy it and it's ability to navigate traffic and go for long runs in the country.

    The other respondents were correct in the driver's license area, although SOFA members may have slightly different requirements. I would check with your command unit which should be able to sort that for you.

    Insurance is a requirement to get your bike tagged, but active duty military may be able to get USAA or other US insurance. Otherwise, you can check with local insurance companies. The quote of $400 a year is on the really high side. I pay $170 a year for my bike through Hyundai, but I do have a Korean-speaking wife, who has an uncle who works in insurance. Be careful with Korean insurance, because at $400 per month, you may be paying for coverage that only covers car-to-car accidents and is irrelevant for motorcycles. Hopefully, you'll have a Korean-speaker that can help you out with that area.

    There was a website for the Korean Driver's license agency (dla.go.kr) but it hasn't worked for me the last time I tried to visit the site. However, some details for the test include: 6000 won for the test plus you'll have to get a "check up" which costs a little bit and is done right at the testing center. You'll also need pics which can be taken at the center as well. When I exchanged my auto license, I was required to take a brief written test, which was mostly common sense and was available in English. However, the written test may not still be required. The riding test is a low-speed riding course that includes 90-degree turns, S-turns, a narrow, straight line pass, and ends with a cone weave. It's not difficult for an experienced rider, but you have to use the agency's bike, which is a low-slung, 250-cruiser (A Hyosung Mirage).

    I failed the first because I wasn't used to that style of bike. A tip...stay in first gear and use the throttle sparingly. The idle on the bikes are set pretty high so just letting the bike pull itself along with a bit of clutch action was all I needed on my second try.

    Anyway, good luck and welcome to Korea.
    #6
  7. tgribb

    tgribb n00b

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    I'm in the army and it is very easy to reregister and get a license. Off road forget about it I ride a Harley road king and wish I had my XR650L it would be so much easier going tough traffic. To get your license all you have to do is take a 20 question test and MSF course.
    #7
  8. BFMC Beaner

    BFMC Beaner n00b

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    If you're gonna be at Osan AB the nearest MSF course is taught at Camp Humphreys Motorcycle range out the CPX gate at the 25 meter Rifle range complex. If you already have a Motorcycle endorsement you can take the one day Experienced Riders Course. It's taught by Scott Stuerwald and Judy Kim. I can get contact information from them to apply for the course.
    #8
  9. Skitch

    Skitch Riding the range

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    I just re-took the MSF ERC (now called BRC-2) three weeks ago. If I read the Osan info correctly, this card should buy me out of any classes that i might have had to take at Osan...correct?
    Thanks in advance.
    #9