In September I am contacted by CFR to say the bike is on its way and is due to arrive UK on the 7th October. I am then contacted by the UK agent, ShipMyCar, who are handling the de-vanning and import process for the bike into the UK.
Suddenly it’s October and the bike is on the high seas on its way to Bremerhaven. Well that was the plan, but of course nothing ever goes to plan… not in my universe.
The bill of lading states that the bike is on the OOCL Atlanta, and am able to follow it on one of the maritime apps.. it left New York, went to Charleston then across the Atlantic to Bremerhaven and, according to the app, is now on it’s way to Le Harve, in France.. its now the 5th October and the bike is supposed to be arriving here in 2 days… I email SMC and ask what is happening, has my bike been moved to another ship? They don’t get back to me until the 12th when the Atlanta is already on its way back to New York, it hasn’t docked in the UK at all.. WHAT!! They now expect the bike to arrive on the 14th and I am to collect it from their warehouse in Milton Keynes.
Once the bike has arrived SMC send the NOVA, (Notification of Vehicle Arrival), to the HMRC and am awaiting the customs charges. I have sent the online evaluation and have declared a value of $2000, (deciding that a middle amount was better), on the import paperwork along with a submission of the repair invoice from Billings. I have paid all the SMC charges up front so there is only the customs fees to pay and then collect the bike, take it for an MOT check and apply for a UK licence.. simples??
On the 14th I receive the notice for customs duties, pretty fast work there, so I pay it immediately.
Much, much less than I was expecting so this is indeed a bonus.. at last!
On the 18th, SMC inform me the bike is ready for collection, but unfortunately I am fully booked for work and cannot get to Milton Keynes until the 1st November. I take the option to have them undertake all the paperwork and the MOT for a cool £350, but it will save me having to do it and the bike will have a UK registration quicker so I book it.
Next I receive a phone call from SMC to tell me the key is stuck in the petrol cap and they cannot get it out! They ask if I have a spare, which I do, so they will try to remove the key and get back to me in case they need the spare. Fast forward a week… nothing heard from SMC re the key so I drop them an email. The key has snapped off in the lock.. FFS… why didn’t they let me know and I could have posted the spare key so they wouldn’t have to destroy the petrol cap. They are quoting £98.67 for a replacement and say it will take 6-8 weeks to come from Japan… oh do fucking stop it… I look on Amazon and get a replacement for £25 and it will arrive tomorrow! Ok so it’s not OEM, (original equipment ie not an actual Honda replacement), but it will get me and the bike home. Next they now say I cannot get the bike on the 1st November, next Monday, as they have not yet done the MOT due to the stuck key and the bike needing a new petrol cap. Am so pissed off that I cancel the £350 paperwork/MOT order, I’ll just do it myself, I can take the new cap with me and ride it straight to the MOT place near my home.
On Monday I make my way by train to Milton Keynes and taxi to the warehouse. All goes relatively smoothly, they give me the old petrol cap, its in bits and broken, the half a key is also still inside; what a mess. The new cap fits perfectly so am able to complete all the paperwork and start her up. After a bit of coaxing she starts and all is good.
Am soon on my way back to London, still wobbling along at low speed grrr, will definitely look into that. I have already purchased a set of All Balls taper bearings which I discovered on the VTX forum is a possible remedy. The original bearings are poor quality ball bearings while the taper bearings are reputed to be much more stable and robust so I am hopeful it will cure the problem. The bike is also running pretty rough, could be that it hasn’t been run for a couple of months so there may be condensation water mixed with the fuel. I fill it up with top grade petrol but still it is rough. I’ll have to do a service when I get her back to the workshop, new plugs, clean the air filter and do an oil change that might help improve the running.
I go home first to unload all the luggage and then round to Zeus Customs to have her mot’d. The only point is the rear turn signals, they are red as per US standards so I will have to change the bulbs for orange ones, but they still pass the bike so all done.
I submit the paperwork for the new license number and wait for the DVLA to let me know then I can get the new plate made up. Meanwhile, the California plate I paid for still hasn’t turned up, James is waiting for that before sending the spare seat etc. to me. I have also asked him to get the name re-done for the tank, this time in orange.
While I’m waiting for the V5C (UK license), James sends me a bill for a New York toll.. ahhh was expecting something to come through. I try to pay it online but it doesn’t seem to like the fact that I am trying to pay from the UK, so once again I have to prevail upon James’ good heart to deal with it for me.. sorry.
Just two weeks later the new registration document arrives; I was half expecting there to be some problem or for customs to send me another bill as the charges were so low, but nothing.. all has gone relatively smoothly and the bike is now serviced with the new number plate attached and orange indicator lights. Just a few small things to finish, wiring up the heated clothing port is an absolute must.
Christmas and New Year have passed.. happy 2022 everyone.. and I plan to give her a ride on the next Dykes on Bikes London ride out due on the 9th January. I was to pick the bike up on the 8th but it honked it down with rain all day so decided against it. I still have to change out the head bearings and I also want to upgrade the lights to LED, especially the front spots as they are a bit gnarly, but all of that is dependant on my final decision whether to keep or sell. Am still dithering about it and I guess a few more rides will help to make my mind up… will keep you posted.
So that is the end of the Loadsa Money tour.. all in all an expensive trip, but well worth it. Hope you have all enjoyed my ravings.. see you next time.
Bike Update – February 2022
Took the bike for a ride a couple of weeks ago and have decided to get rid, it really is soooo heavy. I was looking at another Royal Enfield, the Meteor 350, and took one out for a test ride last weekend. It was ok and I quite liked it, but… I did a 50 mile round trip and my back was killing me; the foot peg position is really odd, kind of half way between mid and forwards so not going with that. Then took a look at the Honda Rebel 500, had a sit on one and also the 1100 which I really prefer, but ouch to the price tag at £10,000+ OTR; back to the drawing board then. On the way home I popped into Warrs Harley Davidson in Mottingham, my number one dealer, and yep got a bike! So the Honda is gone, swapped it in for a 2014 Sportster which I am going to take out to Spain and bring Piggy back. Just waiting for the spare seat etc. to arrive and then will do the exchange so that really is the end of the story this time!