Having decided to go to the States August through to October, I can now get on and decide the how, what and where.
Have thought long and hard about what I am going to ride while I’m there… have several options in mind:
- Ship one of my bikes over and back
- Buy a bike and then bring it home
- Buy a bike and sell it at the end of the trip
- Rent a bike
So taking them in reverse order, what are the pros and cons?
Rent a bike – Very expensive for the length of time.. am looking at over $7000 eek!
Buy a bike and sell it at the end of the trip – Sounds simple but it’s fraught with problems… How do I sell it? Privately? might take a long time; to a dealer? will they want a bike for cash and no part ex? mmmm risky. Contacted Boston HD to get an idea of whether they would sell and buy back… Jolene responded saying she would get back to me…. Still waiting.
Buy a bike and bring it home – Again sounds simple, after all will probably have to ship a bike home anyway, however the UK charges 30% import duty.. could be very expensive and then need to have it registered here etc. Do I really want another bike… mmm yes of course one can never have enough Harleys, but is it sensible.. probably not.
That leaves option 1 – Now, again one would imagine this to be a pretty straightforward arrangement. Find a shipping agent, get a quote, take the bike and drop it off, ride around for 2 months, drop the bike to have it returned home.
Alas, this is not the case…
Find a shipping agent – well if you can get one to reply. Must have tried at least 10 specialist agents, all proclaiming to be the worlds best motorcycle shippers. Had only 3 1/2 replies.
Now things are further complicated by the fact that I have one bike in Gibraltar and if I’m going to ship to the US then this is the one. The panhead is still under construction and the sportster is not for touring, so it’s got to be the fatboy.
Air or Sea?
Air is quicker, but sea is cheaper and would seem to be easier in some respects; for instance, prepping the bike for transport, clearing customs and so on.
I did consider taking the pan, but that leads on to my next problem….
Apparently, any old insurance just won’t do. Obviously, I’m insured for the UK and Europe, but the US is a whole new kettle. I now find out there are only a few companies who will cover non-US residents to ride over there and it ain’t cheap! $400 for 2 months.
I am told that insuring the pan with non brand compliance will be near impossible, so that further re-enforces the fatboy.
So, only option – fatboy by sea, ahhh but the fatboy is in Gibraltar… Ok ships go everywhere, Gib is a major port, surely someone can ship direct from there? Nooooooo
Motorcycle Express. Hurrah found a shipper from Lisbon or Madrid, yippee, although it’s by air so more expensive. Fill in the extensive quote form choosing Lisbon as the departure point and send it off. Response is they can only ship from UK.. What!!! Then why have the option on the website, reply ‘Lisbon will allow uncrated bikes inbound but not outbound’ OK what about Madrid? ‘ Madrid stopped allowing it’.
Worldwide Shipping and Freight – anything – anytime – anywhere. ‘We only ship from/to U.K.’ – see what I mean.
Schumacher Cargo and Logistics Inc. My colleague Kevin will respond… Still waiting! (This is the 1/2).
H-C Travel… Fantastic! David is a gem and the communication excellent. But, only from/to UK or possibly Rotterdam or Bremerhaven but have to deal with them direct and probably in German.
H-C seem to be the best bet, although am still waiting for Kevin from Schumacher. So that means I will have to fly to Gib, get the fatboy, ride it home and then on to Portsmouth for despatch, probably £500 to cover that.
My final option, if I can get someone to answer me, is to buy in the States and ship to Spain or Portugal… Watch this space.
Of course, if any Harley Dealer in the States wants to loan me a bike in exchange for loads of publicity please do let me know 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Any other ideas very gratefully received.
Can’t plan my itinerary until I know my starting point. If it’s H-C then I’ll be landing in Baltimore… decisions, decisions.