You should look for an importer. Usually, importers will bring in Euro/Canadian HD products but if you do the hard work: Find the bike and dealer- they will (for a fee) bring the bike through customs, convert the speedo (if necessary) and exchange headlight bulb to US spec. If you live in CA you will have to talk to dmvs to find out the correct exhaust for their emmissions standards (remember to re-jet/update EFI). If all goes smoothly it will usually take 4 to 6 weeks from the point of purchase. Talk to your insurance company, though. Some companies will not insure Euro bikes (even with the Statement of Conformity).
Good luck. There are some pretty sweet bikes out there that we lowly Americans don't ever get to see.
I'd love to be the first kid on the block with a Yamaha MT-01 or a GSX1400 Suzuki. would think you could get around the parts issue by buying online from an overseas shop or cross referencing part numbers.
Most manufacturers use the same oil filters and brake pads in a number of different models. You'd just have to figure out what matches, for example my Triumph uses the same cartridge oil filter as a number of Honda's and the Honda shop is right down the road, instead of an hours drive each way.
I'd do all the work I could myself though, I don't think you'd have a warranty, and even if you did I don't know if any dealer would put a claim through for you.
I wouldn't recommend a gray market bike in Kalifornia at all. Besides the aforementioned exhaust ( possibly at catalytic converter ) you will need the charcoal canister for the fuel tank emissions, and possibly different camshafts as well. VWW
I'm curious about the part where you have to prove the speedometer has been converted to MPH. Couldn't you just put stickers on the gauge with 10, 20, 30, etc MPH stuck to the appropriate spots? I wonder what threshold they use for a conversion.
Good thing I don't have money, I'd be tempted to buy a Z750.
I have owned 3 gray market bikes, and found that nearly all the consumable parts were interchangeable with other models. My experience was that all the mainstream dealers weren't interested in the hassle of helping to find parts etc. to the point that I concluded that nobody who worked there was an enthusiast of any sort. I did find a little independant shop who was as enthusiastic as I, and helped to cross reference oil filters etc.
If you can't find parts that fit domestic market bikes, be prepared to pay dearly for them, and shipping.
Finally, if your dream bike is a Japan only model, you might never locate a shop manual in english, so you have to use your experience to do the servicing.
I would definitely do it again, only with a different importer.
Don't know what state you're in. Some can be a real pain about titling and registration. I live in Maryland and just imported a 404 Unimog, so I know. If your state is uncooperative in this department there are companies in other states with liberal title laws that can help. I'm using Broadway for my truck. They may be of help for your bike. Good luck.
I bought a Canadian KTM Adventure 950 before it was available in the states. I got it here, but I wouldn't do it again. I won't bore you with the story but had i not been a lawyer able to get help from partners while i was cooling my heels in nelson b.c. it woulda been awhile. as it was it took me 5 days. i have pictures of me and the customs people with the partially disassembled bike in the stall at u.s. customs.
My wife has a black market gsxr 400. we were able to get it here and licensed. if you want to know how i will tell you but i won't guarantee it would work twice. the bike is just what she wanted. when it breaks i have to get the shop manual translated. some stuff from a bandit 400 will fit, some won't. my neighbor has a machine shop so sometimes we make parts, but it is an adventure. no grey or black market bike should be your only bike unless you don't mind downtime.
I imported a KLR 650 Kawasaki from Canada 2 years ago ,and I would do it again under the right circumstances.Just do your homework and find out from your local dmv.and your border crossing the exact procedure and paper work you will need.I spent about 15min. at the border,and had my bike licensed the next day.You will not have a warranty ,however I always do my own work,and my local Kawasaki dealer is a joke. My local Suzuki dealer who has been in business for many years is very helpful and has many sources for grey market bike parts and he has helped many people get parts for imported bikes.
In 1995 I sent a Yamaha RZV500R home from Europe. I took it apart and mailed it home to my brother through through the APO mail system. I then used one of the title services to get it titled. I didn't have any problems with inmsurance.
I have an '00 748r that was originally imported as a racing/track only bike and was upgraded by the original dealer (lights!) and sold as a street bike. It came with clean Ohio title, but because of it's history, the VIN number comes up blank on the d-base. For this reason, the NY title came back listing the year and make correctly, but "N/A" under model. Not a big deal as long as I'm riding it. But I imagine that it's bound to raise an eyebrow if/when I resell it and I have no idea how I can get NYS to correct the title.
I brought one in from Australia. Without realizing it, I was the importer. The US customs guy really cornered me and I got the 3rd degree. Only thing missing was the bright light in my face. Made a point of telling me that I was the importer and that if they found drugs or anything illegal in the bike, I would be arrested and charged with a crime. My biggest crime was not being aware that I was supposed to call a day or two before so they could inspect it at their leisure. I put them out by just showing up, and they went out of their way to be very particular. They made me go to the bonded warehouse with them while they took it apart. They looked in about every opening or possible hiding place. Had a dog sniff it. When they finished, they told me I could take it. I asked if they were going to put it back together, and they said no. I borrowed a few tools from the warehouse and put part of it back together. Then I had the load the biggest part (frame and motor) with a fork lift. I put the rest of the parts in my truck and took it all home to re-assemble.
I basically agree. However, subject to the newness of the bike and the way the customs agents interperet the regs things can change. i did that, thought i had it in the bag and then ran in to problems.
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