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Old 23.10.2011, 19:28
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Importing my motorcycle

Hello all,
A quick introduction from my part, have moved over from the UK nearly 6 months ago and have been lurking on this site getting some information over the past few months. Work has been busy so never had much of chance to give it my full attention. So I thought that in return I should share my experience of bringing my Yamaha over and getting the Swiss plates. What follows is an account of my circumstances.

It’s a bit of a long post but I hope the information will be of use to someone. I hope that I can get to meet some of the bikers here and maybe go out for a ride together some sunny day.

I have a 2003 Yamaha TDM 900 which I brought over with all my possessions, I didn’t ride it over as I finished work on the Thursday in London and started work here on the Monday morning. So no chance to ride it over, plus the was the fact that as I was no longer resident in the UK my insurer would not cover me and at best would give me 3 days cover! Not ideal.

The removal company took the bike from me, boxed it up and shipped it over to Zürich. Once I had managed to get the 13.20a form – customs declaration with the all important Stammnummer the insurance company here were able to provide me with a Swiss motor policy and I was able to use it until the call from the Strassenverkehrsamt arrived. Thinking about it I was never sure how valid it was, however I did have a policy with the details of the bike so as I believe that I was covered.

I had to go to the office before hand, the reason escapes me now, but was handed some forms to fill out – information about the bike, cc, horsepower. I was told that I did not need a Certificate of Conformity and never requested it from Yamaha UK. I was also asked if the bike was original and I mentioned that it was. Nothing done to it other than a loud horn and the suspension was tweaked by a specialist in the UK.

On to the first visit to the office in Albisgütli I showed up with the bike for a 7.22am appointment to have it tested. At this point I had not used the bike much, only short trips around Zürich but nothing long distance. I failed to notice that the one of the front fork seals had gone and there was some oil on the fork, immediate fail! The other point that was brought up was with the head bearings, there was some friction and that is not good. So another point against the bike. The final point was the headlight, I had adjusted it to point in the opposite direction but obviously it had not worked. At this point the guy stopped the test and wrote down what needed to be done before returning.

Now, there was an issue which left me a bit annoyed. I have the original suspension unit that came with the bike, only difference is that the spring was changed by the specialist to suit my weight. Original spring was replaced with an Ohlins spring, that was all. The guy states that this is not standard issue on Yamaha and I need to get a letter from someone (importer or similar) to confirm that the spring was suitable to be on the bike. I got this done by the bike shop who sorted out the fork and bearings for me, however they mentioned that this should not have been required and they could only put this down to the fact that it was Zürich. I almost forgot, I had to wash the bike a bit as it was dirty .

Off to find a bike shop to get the work done. It gets done, very expensively might I add and I then return to the test centre for round 2. Form is there with all the previous issues, guy checks it all out, however now he decides to check the thickness of the brake discs – one disc is on the limit and the other is almost there too. So I’m a bit annoyed as this was not checked in round 1 (so incomplete test performed?). There is a small section of fairing missing/cracked, nothing much but apparently it can cause serious damage to people if they walk past the bike – I’m guessing it’s not an issue if I lose control and collide with them, not sure on that one. So there is a bit of hesitation and then he signs off on the bike. I get my Swiss plates – hurrah!!

Off to the office to fill out the forms, forgot to call the insurance company again so they could update the system online, so slight delay there. The woman at the desk was helpful and I handed over my documents but they also wanted the number plate so that they could return it to the DVLA. Log book issued and off I went.

My thoughts on this process are as follows;

Check the insurance situation but I wouldn’t risk it with the UK insurer by telling them you are off on holiday. As soon as you are non resident you don’t have cover anymore, so if anything happens you will not be covered.

Form 13.20a needs to be stamped at customs when you go through – I didn’t do it as it was done by the removal company.

If you bring an older bike across, it’s worth getting it checked out before going to the Strassen.

Any non standard items will need to be certified to be on the bike, I believe that it is anything that enhances the performance of the bike. I now need to get new discs but am not sure if I can use EBC discs without needing a letter from the importer. Crazy.

I was lucky to find a replacement headlight (from a EU bike) on ebay and fitted it. New prices were shocking and probably wouldn’t have been worth it. This will be the main issue with any bike, except some BMW’s which I believe have a lever to flip the beam direction (might be wrong).

I had no certificate of conformity but I got through ok, not sure if it would have helped or made it easier if I had one. Would get one the next time. For Yamaha it’s free to the first owner, otherwise I think it would have cost £60 to get one.

My two visits and the plates from September to 31 December came to somewhere around 400CHF. I could have saved about 130CHF on the second visit.

I would do it again as I don’t think the process is too difficult, now I know what to look out for I’m a bit better prepared.

If there are any questions please ask I can answer here or please drop me a line.

G
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Old 24.10.2011, 15:15
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

Great report.
Will be bringing in two bikes next year when the weather warms up a little, my Buell Ulysses and BMW GS 1200. The GS might be a bit of a pain as it was bought as a project bike, and needs some small things to finish.
Appreciate the advise on how picky they can be, will make sure that all modifications are back to OE spec. and will start ordering Buell parts from the USA for cost reasons (headlight will be required for sure).
Will be great to start biking again, but not looking forward to insurance costs.
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Old 23.11.2011, 14:44
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

Read this with great interest!
I rode my bike over this May, great ride, took 13hours but worth it.
I have it registered and insured in the Uk with no limit on how long it is out of the country as getting it registered and insured in Switzerland would just not be worth it. Pipes way too loud for the Swiss and heavly customised, plus made enquiry on insurance and was qouted 1500chf full comp (paying £145 in UK!!!). Every now and then I think of registering it here but then decide not to as this would change the bike to normal, and who needs that? I am however thinking of selling it here as second child due and riding days are numbered. Question? Am I able to sell it here without registering or ship it back to UK?
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Old 23.11.2011, 15:14
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

Personally I would take it back to the UK for sale, it's not very easy selling something here that is un registered and it would have to go through MFK change of pipes etc. Not many Swiss seem to buy things to then have to do even the smallest amount of work to them....
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Old 23.11.2011, 15:24
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

Part it out.

What is it?

Tom
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Old 23.11.2011, 15:37
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

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Read this with great interest!
I rode my bike over this May, great ride, took 13hours but worth it.
I have it registered and insured in the Uk with no limit on how long it is out of the country as getting it registered and insured in Switzerland would just not be worth it. Pipes way too loud for the Swiss and heavly customised, plus made enquiry on insurance and was qouted 1500chf full comp (paying £145 in UK!!!). Every now and then I think of registering it here but then decide not to as this would change the bike to normal, and who needs that? I am however thinking of selling it here as second child due and riding days are numbered. Question? Am I able to sell it here without registering or ship it back to UK?

Just as a point to readers who come over from the UK, Carol Nash have a policy that gives unlimited cover in Europe while you are on UK plates.

Re riding over, there is a lovely cut through that avoids mucking around with the Aachen/ Koln autobahn and takes you past the Nurbugring...

http://maps.google.ch/maps?saddr=E40...a=1,2&t=m&z=10

There are some lovely and relatively free roads all the way, and on a good day the run takes about 2 hours. longer if you stop at Nurburgring to pick up souveniers.
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Old 23.11.2011, 16:15
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

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Great report.
Will be great to start biking again, but not looking forward to insurance costs.

You can pretty much relax on that point. Unless you have a horrendous driving record (i.e. got caught over the limit), your insurance will be a lot cheaper than you think.

As a new (ish) rider, I got the base 3rd party fire and theft on my 9 year old Triumph Sprint ST for chf 200 per year.

And if you get what it known as a "wechselshild" (sorry for the crap spelling), you can insure multiple bikes on 1 licence plate.

I've got 2 bikes I swap the plate between, and I only pay the premium of the most expensive bike.
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Old 23.11.2011, 18:34
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

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Just as a point to readers who come over from the UK, Carol Nash have a policy that gives unlimited cover in Europe while you are on UK plates.
Perhaps so but this would be assuming the bike is still registered in the UK and they are still domiciled there..
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Old 25.11.2011, 16:51
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

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Part it out.

What is it?

Tom
It's a 2004 Suzuki VZ1600 with 6500 miles on it.............tons of custom work done on it, though I still have the original pipes and cat (back in the UK)
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Old 25.11.2011, 16:53
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

And yes already insured with Carol Nash, full European cover unlimited.
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Old 25.03.2014, 14:00
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

does anyone here have any experience of bringing a bike over from Germany ? Seriously considering doing this shortly and just wondering if there are any particular steps or pitfalls to be wary of.
thx.
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Old 25.03.2014, 17:05
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

I brought my Honda CBR 600 over when I moved here years ago and had no problem getting Swiss plates for it. I didn't even have to change the headlight.

Basicly if your bike (whatever model you have)was also sold in Switzerland and Europe in general then you will not have any problems. However IF you have non standard parts, things like performance parts or handle bars and rear-sets etc, then unless you have the paper from the manufacture stating they meet the Swiss requirements which are generally the same as German TüV standards then you will run into problems.

Also if you have removed the rear foot rests as I did on my Buell, when its time for testing you have to put them back on otherwise the bike will be registered as solo only.

Last edited by swissrob; 25.03.2014 at 17:19. Reason: cant spell proper
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Old 25.03.2014, 17:11
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

I have never had a problem with aftermarket bars, foot-rests/controls, brake pumps, fuel tanks, seats, body-work, mirrors, or removing turn signals.

Wheels, exhaust, brake-lines/calipers are another matter.

Tom
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Old 25.03.2014, 17:16
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

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I have never had a problem with aftermarket bars, foot-rests/controls, brake pumps, fuel tanks, seats, body-work, mirrors, or removing turn signals.

Wheels, exhaust, brake-lines/calipers are another matter.

Tom
Maybe but they can if they want to pick you up on most of those things. I nearly put superbike bars on my Honda and would of needed the paper for the top yokes and the bars. You don't have to have turn signals, but if fitted they have to work!
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Old 25.03.2014, 17:18
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

.... and you live in Lugano where its allowed unless its forbidden. Other way round in Zurich
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Old 11.06.2014, 10:19
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

Since modifications and MFK is already being discussed, I have a question.

I bought an Aprilia RS125, and it is the restricted version with 15hp. Fiddling with the valve and getting to 35hp is not a big issue (technically), and the bike was also imported in that same configuration. But I would still need to get it through MFK just because it would be considered a major modification? Right?

And what would they test actually? I mean, there is nothing to see other than a happier engine and maybe a little louder, and even the VIN plate that reads the db levels at different RPMs is giving the levels for the unrestricted version.

Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 11.06.2014, 11:03
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

Expect to pay CHF 1000-1500 for the test.

Tom
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Old 11.06.2014, 11:33
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

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Since modifications and MFK is already being discussed, I have a question.

I bought an Aprilia RS125, and it is the restricted version with 15hp.
[...]
Anyone have any ideas?
Vinatge? Looks like the pre 2008 models where aviable i n Switzerland with more than 15 hp.
http://www.toeff-forum.ch/index.php?...&threadID=3863

Newer ones may not met the newer noise and exhaust regulations.
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Old 11.06.2014, 11:55
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

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Vinatge? Looks like the pre 2008 models where aviable i n Switzerland with more than 15 hp.
http://www.toeff-forum.ch/index.php?...&threadID=3863

Newer ones may not met the newer noise and exhaust regulations.
2004 model, and when looking for insurance without the Type number of the grey card, both 15hp and 35hp models were available to choose so it was definitely offered in the market.
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Old 18.05.2020, 12:57
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Re: Importing my motorcycle

Thanks a lot for the post, very informative. I have a 2017 Fireblade which I was initially thinking of selling before my move to Zurich, but the second hand blades in Switzerland see quiet a bit more expensive than in the UK (not sure why). So I am considering importing my bike.

I was wondering what made you decide you wanted to import rather than sell and buy another one ?
How difficult is it to sell an imported vehicle in Switzerland ?
Also it seems that unless one is out of the UK for 9 months out of 12 in a given financial year you are still classed as a tax resident in the UK. But I am pretty sure for insurance purposes they would class you as a non-resident right away : (
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