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Topic: Imported Motorcycle - Sharing My Experience  (Read 732 times)

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Imported Motorcycle - Sharing My Experience
« on: November 10, 2008, 10:54:38 PM »
Hey all,

I just finished the process to get my imported motorcycle certified, licensed and road worthy for the UK.

I thought I'd share some of my thoughts for anyone planning to do the same.

The first thing that I'll say is that when all is said and done, the cost to move it will work about even for me buying the same motorcycle (2001 Triumph Sprint ST) in the UK. The irony is that, my motorcycle is a Triumph, but it is a California spec triumph Sprint ST, so it had to be treated as if it was a motorcycle brought in from outside of the EC.

Two resources I'll suggest are the VOSA itself, and the MSVA booklet. The VOSA (Vehicle Operator Services Agency) are here:

http://www.vosa.gov.uk/

If you are bringing a motorcycle from outside of the EC as I did, you will likely need to go through the Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval (MSVA) Scheme. The booklet to guide you through this is here:

http://www.vosa.gov.uk/vosacorp/repository/Motorcycle%20SVA%20Guide.pdf

I would also make as many phone calls as you can to the VOSA to clarify when necessary. I found them more helpful than many UK bureaucrats that I've dealt with.

In order to get my motorcycle registered, I needed the following items (by the way, this already assumes that you have legally and properly imported your vehicle, which is its own set of hurdles, but my shipper was really good at holding my hand with that process):

1. Insurancei
2. Proof of identity (that's no problem...passport)
3. Proof of address (again not  a problem...utility bill will do)
4. HM Customs and Excise form stating it was imported and state of duties to be paid (or not, in my case)
5. Original title of ownership in the U.S.
6. Letter from Triumph saying when they built it and where (April 2001)
7. MOT Test certificate (extensive test to see that it is a road-worthy vehicle) [29 GBP for test]
8. MSVA Test certificate (near as I can tell, the MSVA is IDENTICAL to the MOT test, with just a few other checks, but everything that was already OK'd on my MOT was RECHECKED!) [78 GBP for test]

By the numbers, here are some thoughts:
1. When you insure your vehicle in the UK, be sure to call around for someone who will insure on what is called the vehicle chassis ID (this is what we yanks call the VIN). Also, talk to your insurer in the U.S. and get them to give you a letter that states how long it has been since you filed a claim. Use this to get a no claims bonus in the UK and you will save yourself hundreds of GBP/year. Make sure it specifically states motorcycle claims only, and if you want to get a no claims bonus for your car, make sure that you have a separate document. Your no claims for car can't be reused for your motorcycle. When you register your vehicle, you will need to surrender your insurance certificate, but this was mailed back to me promptly, with my notice that my application was accepted.

2 and 3. These are straight forward. Your proof of identity is your passport, and your proof of address is any utility bill.

4. You should receive this upon legally importing your vehicle. As I stated above, make sure that you work with your shipper on this. They really held my hand and told me all the paperwork I needed to supply in order to import my bike.

5. Should need no explanation.

6. This is called a 'Letter of Manufacture'. You get this from your manufacturer. This was harder than I expected given that Triumph are in the same country. The guy I talked to was slow to respond, and sent me a letter for the wrong vehicle initially (A Bonneville of the same year, doh!). Call the main office for your bike manufacturer in the UK and start from there.

7 and 8. As far as I can tell, there is little difference between the MOT and the MSVA tests, but you still have to do them both. The MSVA may be a little more thorough. You might end up needing new headlights, but I didn't. A common thing for (left hand drive) Europe is that headlights dip to the right, which points them directly at oncoming traffic in the (right hand drive) UK. My triumph didn't dip to the right or left, which was fab, because it meant they were ok for use in the UK without any modification.

I would take your bike to get its MOT at a dealer of your brand of bike. That way, anything that doesn't test out, they can fix for you with relative ease.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We motorcyclists are known for making many mods to bikes. When doing your MOT and MSVA tests, get your bike as stock as you possibly can. Even seemingly innocuous things like your windshield can cause you to fail. The guy who tested me actually looked at the thickness of the windshield, and that the edge had a protective rounding so that it wouldn't slice through someone in an accident. Your exhaust silencer is also a really big one. If it doesn't say it is street legal in the EC, forget it. You won't pass. Period. This is a really common mod for bikers, so if you got that sweet throaty muffler on your ride, find a cheap stock one and bring it with you and use that for your tests. But be careful, don't just slap it on without a retune because with the MSVA, you do have to pass a basic smog test, too.

I'd also be careful of any rebuilt forks or shocks, too, as any mods will likely be found and you'll have to explain!

Good luck.
Peter


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Re: Imported Motorcycle - Sharing My Experience
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 06:04:42 PM »
Good information, but it's now ten years old.  I'm about to do the same with my Harley this summer.  I was wondering if anyone has any more up to date information.
Married December 31, 2017
Online Application Submitted:  February 1, 2018
Biometrics completed:  February 5, 2018
Application received in Sheffield:  February 9, 2018
Email from Sheffield:  February 12, 2018
Decision Email Received: April 25, 2018
Passports returned:  April 30, 2018


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Re: Imported Motorcycle - Sharing My Experience
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2018, 01:24:16 PM »
Seems to me that the most important bit was where he said for the amount of money he spent, he could have bought the same bike here. 

Could that be true for you?   Come to think about it, I've rarely seen any Harleys over here.  Isn't there a British motor cycle that would be fun to have?


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Re: Imported Motorcycle - Sharing My Experience
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2018, 01:35:47 PM »
Seems to me that the most important bit was where he said for the amount of money he spent, he could have bought the same bike here. 

Could that be true for you?   Come to think about it, I've rarely seen any Harleys over here.  Isn't there a British motor cycle that would be fun to have?

There's a Harley dealership about a mile from my house (in Wokingham).  I see them everywhere!   ;D

https://www.harley-davidson.com/gb/en/index.html


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Re: Imported Motorcycle - Sharing My Experience
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2018, 01:41:41 PM »
A Harley is a little different. If it were anything else, I’d definitely sell it and buy another bike when I got there. There’s a Harley Owners Group in Leeds near to where I will be living.
Married December 31, 2017
Online Application Submitted:  February 1, 2018
Biometrics completed:  February 5, 2018
Application received in Sheffield:  February 9, 2018
Email from Sheffield:  February 12, 2018
Decision Email Received: April 25, 2018
Passports returned:  April 30, 2018


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Re: Imported Motorcycle - Sharing My Experience
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2018, 01:45:06 PM »
A Harley is a little different. If it were anything else, I’d definitely sell it and buy another bike when I got there. There’s a Harley Owners Group in Leeds near to where I will be living.

I can see this.  I suspect you can have a much cooler one in the USA than the ones they sell here.  More power and all!


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Re: Imported Motorcycle - Sharing My Experience
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2018, 01:51:07 PM »
Well, mine isn’t really all that special, it’s just that it’s worth quite a bit more there than it is here. I’ve also owned it for several years, so it qualifies as a personal vehicle and is largely exempt from the taxes that generally apply to imported vehicles.
Married December 31, 2017
Online Application Submitted:  February 1, 2018
Biometrics completed:  February 5, 2018
Application received in Sheffield:  February 9, 2018
Email from Sheffield:  February 12, 2018
Decision Email Received: April 25, 2018
Passports returned:  April 30, 2018


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Re: Imported Motorcycle - Sharing My Experience
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2018, 04:04:30 PM »
Well, mine isn’t really all that special, it’s just that it’s worth quite a bit more there than it is here. I’ve also owned it for several years, so it qualifies as a personal vehicle and is largely exempt from the taxes that generally apply to imported vehicles.

Then rock on, don't let us kill your dreams.  You will undoubtedly get some attention everywhere you go,


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