Gray – Market?
Ever wonder where your friends got their exotic motorcycles that weren’t made to be sold in the USA? Did they ever explain the process they went through to get that motorcycle imported from another country to them?
The import of motorcycles manufactured not to be sold in the US is referred to as the Gray-Market. There are two methods you can employ to import a foreign-made motorcycle into the US.
This May or May Not Suck
First, you contact a dealer in a foreign country and ask them to find the motorcycle you want to import. Next, pray that the language barrier does not hinder your requested specs and hope you get the motorcycle you want. (Sucks)
What doesn’t suck is how you look while wearing your 4 Season Motorcycle Jacket.
This following method works best and is less of a headache for you. Find a motorcycle importer who specializes in importing the make and model you want to buy. (May not suck)
This eliminates the headache involved in this process of importation. The US government requires your import to meet specific standards to be allowed into the US. These standards come from the EPA, DOT, FMVSS, and finally, your local DMV. There is why you find an importer to locate and import the motorcycle you want, they do all the work, you pay the bill.
25 Years or Older Rule
Importing vehicles 25 years or older have a benefit, there are no Customs clearance restrictions. You are not free and clear yet, your state of residence may require safety modifications before a license is issued. California mandates vehicles manufactured after 1975 meet their emissions standards.
Knowing the year, make, and model of the motorcycle you want to import is not good enough for the feds.
- You need proof of the date the bike was actually manufactured.
- A label with the date of manufacture on the vehicle from the original manufacturer.
- The first sales invoice.
- A 25 year or older vehicle registration.
- The age of the motorcycle verified by a recognized vehicle historical society in writing.
21 Years Versus 25 years
Bikes being 21 and 25 years of age or older does have some benefits. The EPA has no requirements for import inspection on 21-year-old motorcycles or vehicles. The DOT and FMVSS allow 25-year-old motorcycles or vehicles to enter the U. S. without complying with their standards.
Riders who want to import exotic motorcycles are looking for one with a two-stroke engine. As the US government imposed stricter emissions standards, the two-stroke engine went the way of the Do-Do bird, extinct.
The US motorcycle industry chooses to go with the easier to maintain a four-stroke engine. A two-stroke engine fires on each revolution of the crankshaft making for a lighter engine. The drawback, oil and fuel must be mixed during combustion, causing more pollution. Because they are lighter, the two-stroke motorcycle has a higher power-to-weight ratio.
Meaning, a 125cc two-stroke engine is equivalent to a 250cc four-stroke engine. You get one of these two-stroke import motorcycles, and you can show it off while wearing Leather Motorcycle Vest.
Where to Look
One such custom importer is Moto 2 Imports located in Washington DC specializing in importing Japanese two-stroke motorcycles. They can get you just about any motorcycle you want as long as it is older than 25 years, 1994 model year.
The owner, Tim Hope, puts it this way about getting good quality motorcycles for his clients. “It makes more sense financially to pay a premium when I am looking for the bike rather than trying to restore something farther gone,” “Rebuilding these bikes is financially futile. You’re usually better off spending more money upfront for a nicer specimen.”
A quick look at how to get an import motorcycle with as little hassle as possible, let the importer do the work. When you look for an importer, do your research and locate one close to where you live.