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Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Old Jun 2nd 2011, 8:11 am
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Default Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Hi,

I am in the process of an H1B application, if successful we will be moving to Southern California. I would like to bring my motorcycle with me but I am not sure if it will meet the strict California emissions laws. Does anybody have experience of this?
It is a 2010 UK model Triumph Speed Triple 1050cc with 2000 miles on the clock.

I know that I could sell it for approx. £6000 in the UK and use the cash to buy another bike in California but I have around £1500 of extras fitted to the bike which I would not be able to re-coup. I think that if we are shipping a container load of stuff from the UK anyway it would be just as easy to take the bike aswell.
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 11:26 am
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Unless a car or motorcyle is 25 or more years old you can not import it as it does not "comply" with the NHSTA and CA standards. If the model has been imported and is less than 25 yrs old it can me modified by a "Registered Importer" which is very expensive. Under no circumstances put the bike in your container and try to sneak it in as you will get charged demurrage while US Customs decide what to do with it.
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 12:39 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Originally Posted by speedtriple View Post
I think that if we are shipping a container load of stuff from the UK anyway it would be just as easy to take the bike aswell.
Definitely not true. If it doesn't meet the 25 years old rule then just don't do it. My husband decided to 'stick his bike in the container and see what happened', it held up our shipment clearing through customs by weeks while he tried to get the necessary certificates to show it met all the US standards. The model sold in the UK and US is identical so he thought this would be OK. In the end we had to re-submit the paperwork showing the bike as a temporary import which would be returned to the UK or destroyed in a year or less, just to get the container released from customs. Our other option was to have the bike destroyed (and pay them to do it!). He bought a new frame to put all the parts of the bike onto and is getting the old frame crushed. If you like the extras that much can you not bring them in as parts? (which would have been a better option for us if we had known in advance).
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 1:33 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Given there is a brand new one on ebay for $9,300 I would say sell it and replace it here. (My USC husband rides a 1965 Bonneville)
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 1:36 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Thanks for all the replies. It is now obvious that I should sell it here and buy new when I get there. I'll take the nice bits off and take them to the US with me (assuming my visa is approved)

Thanks.
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 1:40 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Originally Posted by speedtriple View Post
Thanks for all the replies. It is now obvious that I should sell it here and buy new when I get there. I'll take the nice bits off and take them to the US with me (assuming my visa is approved)

Thanks.
Sounds like a plan. Is there a dealer in the area you hope to move to?
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 1:49 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Originally Posted by bevinva View Post
Sounds like a plan. Is there a dealer in the area you hope to move to?
Yes, We are looking at either Brea or Fullerton at the moment, the dealer is located in Brea and apparently my potential new boss knows the owner so it may work out ok. I'll hold off contacting him until I know that the visa has been approved.
The only down side is that I'll have to take my motorbike test again in the US, do you know if it is anything like the UK one (which is fairly stringent these days, luckily I missed the new version)
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 2:03 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

I considered bringing my Yamaha MT-01 over but as it wasn't a model they sold here I was told by Yamaha that it would be a nightmare to import so reluctantly sold it.

After getting here I spoke to quite a few dealers (not all Yamaha) who said it wouldn't have been a problem. However, this is South Carolina, not California - that makes a huge difference!

Still looking for an MT-01 though (there was a Canadian import in Florida once).....
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 2:19 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Originally Posted by speedtriple View Post
Yes, We are looking at either Brea or Fullerton at the moment, the dealer is located in Brea and apparently my potential new boss knows the owner so it may work out ok. I'll hold off contacting him until I know that the visa has been approved.
The only down side is that I'll have to take my motorbike test again in the US, do you know if it is anything like the UK one (which is fairly stringent these days, luckily I missed the new version)
If it's anything like the driving test you won't have any problems, varies by state though, I'm in Virginia.
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Originally Posted by speedtriple View Post
Yes, We are looking at either Brea or Fullerton at the moment, the dealer is located in Brea and apparently my potential new boss knows the owner so it may work out ok. I'll hold off contacting him until I know that the visa has been approved.
The only down side is that I'll have to take my motorbike test again in the US, do you know if it is anything like the UK one (which is fairly stringent these days, luckily I missed the new version)
If it's anything like the car test as long as when you get on the bike you are facing the right way you'll pass
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 3:10 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

My bike test was a hoot. I thought the car test was pretty poor but this took the cake.

Never even left the test centre car park. There were a few painted marks on the floor which you had to navigate around and do a sort of emergency stop (couldn't get faster than 20 mph though because the place was so short!). Check the local DMV handbook - ours had a plan of the markings and what was expected. All in all took about 10 minutes.
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 3:15 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Originally Posted by Sheepdip View Post
I considered bringing my Yamaha MT-01 over but as it wasn't a model they sold here I was told by Yamaha that it would be a nightmare to import so reluctantly sold it.

After getting here I spoke to quite a few dealers (not all Yamaha) who said it wouldn't have been a problem. However, this is South Carolina, not California - that makes a huge difference!

Still looking for an MT-01 though (there was a Canadian import in Florida once).....
Here's the California Motorcycle handbook pp6 & 7 are the practical test details.
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 4:29 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Originally Posted by rallybug View Post
Here's the California Motorcycle handbook pp6 & 7 are the practical test details.
That looks even easier than the SC one!
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 4:43 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Also last time I looked on the Triumph website they were doing a special offer on the 2010 Speed Triple (to make way for the 2011).

I miss my T509 now come to think of it
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Old Jun 2nd 2011, 5:50 pm
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Default Re: Import Motorcycle from UK to CA

Originally Posted by Sheepdip View Post
I considered bringing my Yamaha MT-01 over but as it wasn't a model they sold here I was told by Yamaha that it would be a nightmare to import so reluctantly sold it.

After getting here I spoke to quite a few dealers (not all Yamaha) who said it wouldn't have been a problem. However, this is South Carolina, not California - that makes a huge difference!

Still looking for an MT-01 though (there was a Canadian import in Florida once).....
Shouldn't do...a lot of the regs are federal, the state requirements make it more complicated if they have higher emission standards.

Basically, the US don't want you importing your motors over and have made it practically impossible to do so unless it is for a temporary period.

Parting up the bike is doable and bolting it all onto a new US chassis when you get it and then registering it as a new motor, though insurance might be a hassle, that depends on the state.
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