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Old 03.12.2008, 02:50
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Importing a Harley from the U.S.

I am moving to Zurich soon and have a 1999 HD Fatboy, 1350cc. I am looking for anyone who has imported a Harley from the US and I am wondering about...

1. trouble passing regulations for noise, emissions, etc.
2. approximate cost/avail. service for modifications
3. any laws on handlebar height

I've read other discussions on importing motos which have been helpful for other info. I am most concerned with how strict the noise laws are and handlebars (12 inch height).

Any tips are much appreciated, any biker/golfers out there?
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  #2  
Old 03.12.2008, 08:03
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

I would spare myself a lot of grief if I was you and (temporarely) make the bike as stock as possible. The people at the 'strassenverkehrsambt' are real nitpickers.
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Old 03.12.2008, 08:43
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

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I've read other discussions on importing motos which have been helpful for other info. I am most concerned with how strict the noise laws are and handlebars (12 inch height).
I know a few guys that have put on aftermarket pipes (they weren't very loud) and got away with it but kept the originals to swap out when inspection time rolled around again. Have also seen a couple of hogs with ape hangers cruising around but can't imagine they would be legal here.
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Old 03.12.2008, 09:15
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

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I am moving to Zurich soon and have a 1999 HD Fatboy, 1350cc. I am looking for anyone who has imported a Harley from the US and I am wondering about...

1. trouble passing regulations for noise, emissions, etc.
2. approximate cost/avail. service for modifications
3. any laws on handlebar height

I've read other discussions on importing motos which have been helpful for other info. I am most concerned with how strict the noise laws are and handlebars (12 inch height).

Any tips are much appreciated, any biker/golfers out there?
The other poster is correct about keeping it as stock as possible.
Repairs here can cost really a FORTUNE. There is a Harley Shop
close to where I live. How are you going to get it here?

One thing is that you have a year to change over from US plates
to Swiss plates.
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Old 03.12.2008, 23:17
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

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The other poster is correct about keeping it as stock as possible.
Repairs here can cost really a FORTUNE. There is a Harley Shop
close to where I live. How are you going to get it here?

One thing is that you have a year to change over from US plates
to Swiss plates.

Thank you all.
**Unfortunately, the handlebars are going to have to stay as is and I'll have to go with plan b and leave the bike here if you all think they are too high. They are safely below my shoulders, so they might not be too noticable.
**Pipes, the baffles I have don't really do much to quite 'em. I can install ones that should help make it much quieter or I could always reinstall the stock pipes after I get there if the v&H's get rejected.
**It will be included with our shipment of other personal belongings so I'd be saving $ there.
**Plates, my tags just expired. I would guess you have to have current US tags to get the year grace period??

Anyone know how much cost/trouble it is to modify for emissions?
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  #6  
Old 03.12.2008, 23:52
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

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**Plates, my tags just expired. I would guess you have to have current US tags to get the year grace period??

Anyone know how much cost/trouble it is to modify for emissions?
As far as the tags are concerned I think you'll need to update them in order operate the bike here on your Kansas plates. I've got a co-worker who's got a Harley, I'm off work this week but will see him next week and I can ask him about emission requirements for a bike of your vintage but you wouldn't need to worry about it for at least a year anyway if you're using the Kansas plates. I'll show him your bike and ask about the bars as well but don't get your hopes up..
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Old 04.12.2008, 00:30
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

I might just have to find out what getting a ticket is like in Switzerland.
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Old 04.12.2008, 04:27
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

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I might just have to find out what getting a ticket is like in Switzerland.
Learn from others.....getting a ticket for some things here can be seriously ugly.
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Old 04.12.2008, 08:08
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

Why don't you try contacting this shop here in the Zurich area where they have a lots of experience with custom motorcycles:

http://www.twincycle.ch/

Also interesting:

http://www.harleyparts.ch/HDMac/page_hdmac.html

You will be riding here:

http://www.sengers.ch/index-d.html
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  #10  
Old 04.12.2008, 23:10
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

Thanks for the web links, I attempted to contact the Harley dealership to pick their brain a bit. I'll try the other shop as well.

Tickets. It seems like it is very difficult to research the laws, so it's a matter of continuing to ask around or a ride and find out sort of thing. I have heard some penalties are very serious.

?Storage? If I had a plan for storage, I would feel ok with this being a project after I settle in. Impossible to know if I'll have a garage until we get there so that's a big risk right now. I imagine storage is tough to find and expensive!
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Old 05.12.2008, 08:34
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

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?Storage? If I had a plan for storage, I would feel ok with this being a project after I settle in. Impossible to know if I'll have a garage until we get there so that's a big risk right now. I imagine storage is tough to find and expensive!
If housing is being arranged for you then be sure to tell them you'll be needing a garage as well. Garages here are optional, sometimes even houses don't have enclosed parking. Tell you what, if push comes to shove and you find yourself without a place to park the bike when you first arrive I have room in my garage for your bike until you find something closer to your own residence. I don't live inside Zurich City proper but do live in the Canton of Zurich about 20-25 min. away. I know how stressful moving from the States to Switzerland can be so hopefully this will be one less thing you'll have to worry about until you do get settled in.
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Old 06.12.2008, 07:02
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

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If housing is being arranged for you then be sure to tell them you'll be needing a garage as well. Garages here are optional, sometimes even houses don't have enclosed parking. Tell you what, if push comes to shove and you find yourself without a place to park the bike when you first arrive I have room in my garage for your bike until you find something closer to your own residence. I don't live inside Zurich City proper but do live in the Canton of Zurich about 20-25 min. away. I know how stressful moving from the States to Switzerland can be so hopefully this will be one less thing you'll have to worry about until you do get settled in.
It is up to us to find our place (with some help), we will be in a temporary place for a few months and everything will be stored until we find a home. So as soon as I arrive, I'll be on a mission to find a garage with a house. I appreciate the back-up plan offer and may take you up on that if I get into a pinch. We hear April and Oct are two times of the year with the most housing turnover so we may get lucky.

**If I have extra space in our boat container, I'd be happy to add something if you need anything from the states. Boat shipment will arrive around mid April I believe. Packing the container around Jan 15.

Feeling better. Thanks
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Old 08.12.2008, 05:06
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

Anyone needing a little something, let me know. I'm more than happy to help.
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Old 08.12.2008, 07:15
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

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I might just have to find out what getting a ticket is like in Switzerland.
Unfortunately the ticket is the easy part. If youy get stopped for a noisy exhaust the cops will arrange a nice little trailer for your bike and take it off to the compound - the charges can be frightening. And you still get a ticket.

If you can't put the bike back to stock then you need an EU compliance certificate for each mod. Difficult, if not impossible, and expensive in your case.
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Old 29.12.2008, 10:51
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

Hi,

I can tell you about my recent (October) experience importing a H-D from England. My bike (a Sportster) had only a few modifications from stock, namely SE pipes and air cleaner, and a bobtail fender. I spoke with H-D Zurich and a couple of other garages, and they all agreed that the SE stuff will have to go if the bike's to pass the technical test. I also needed some technical data not recorded on my UK registration papers, but required in Switzerland. Most of the stuff I could find in the User's Manual, but not the max speed and max power. I went back to H-D Zurich with my VIN and they produced a sheet with the technical data for my type of bike. I forgot what this is called, but it's associated with a vehicle type number and it's issued by the STVA for every make and model and I believe even for custom build vehicles, once they've been dyno-tested, etc.

Anyway, as everybody advised, I wanted to have the job done by professionals, but the quotes I got for parts and labour were a bit excessive. I still had the old pipes, but I needed to buy a new headlamp with the beam bending the continental way, a new air filter and cleaner backplate, plus all the little bits and pieces required to put it all together (gaskets, O-rings, clamps, screws, etc.). To minimise the damage I ordered my parts from Chicago H-D over the Internet, and even after import duty and Swiss VAT they came way cheaper than If I'd bought them from H-D Zurich or the independent garages (who sell H-D parts at the same price as H-D).

In the end I dug out the service manual (good investment, didn't realise I'd really need it when I got it), bought a torque wrench and did it all myself. It took me longer than it would have taken the pro's, but the satisfaction was priceless!

Come test day, I went to the STVA with all my papers, scared as hell, as I can't speak German and I've read and heard all sorts of horror stories about STVA testers, but the inspection man was so happy he had a paper in German, he didn't even bother to check the UK registration doc. He checked all the serial numbers, checked if the headlamp, pipes, and other bits had the European approval (an "E" in a circle and some letters and numbers around it). I also had to buy a rear reflector, as they would give you grief if you don't have one, also with the "E" mark on it. Then he took the bike for a spin around the block and also to check the beam height and bend. I don't believe he checked for sound and emissions, it seems that he just copied it all from the paper I gave him. I was told by H-D and the other garages that for self-import they don't check this stuff, but they seemed a bit unsure.

There's a brochure on the STVA website describing various scenarios for registering a self-importing bike and what STVA look at, but it doesn't give too many details. One thing that helped though was a statement that they will accept an odometer in miles, although the speedo has to show Km/h. Luckily mine showed both mph and Km/h, albeit smaller, so I didn't have to change it, although the H-D guys scared me that STVA may argue the Km/h numbers are too small.

This is it, now I'm waiting for the weather to warm up a bit :O)
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Old 20.10.2010, 20:58
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

Very late update,

I brought the '99 Harley and overall it was pretty simple, not too expensive and totally worth it! Here's a summary of how it went and some important notes...

-Most important, you must have or get a copy of the title and/or registration to the ORIGINAL owner. You need the DATE the first owner registered the vehicle, called date of immatriculation here. My bike was 10 years old and the original micro film was about a month away from being destroyed. I was VERY lucky!

-A side note, plan on registering it right away even if you've heard you can ride on your US plates for a year, unless your US insurance will cover you here. Swiss Ins won't cover US plated vehicles. I didn't have any luck with that, anyway, so had to do the mod's, inspection and plating right away. This ended up saving my ass on the whole immatriculation paperwork thing since the original doc's would have been toast had I waited!

-I had the Harley dealer in Zurich do all the necessary modifications, inspections and registration with the Strassenverkehrsamt for around 200 Francs. I picked up the bike ready to ride, totally worth the fee!

-13 inch Apes, stainless cables and other slight modifications like sissy bar, foglamps, aftermarket pegs, etc. were fine. These compliant modifications were listed on the registration so it won't be a problem for the future inspections, hopefully! I have no idea how much it helped having the dealer (vs. me) talking to the inspection guys, but I'm guessing it wouldn't have gone so smooth for me. Again, worth the 200 Francs.

-Things that had to be modified to Swiss standards: new light relfectors/bulbs/wiring, new speedo (mine was only mph), new exhaust pipes <80Db (bought stock pipes to pass inspection and just kept those on), air filter had to be the "closed" variety - not open to the back. A couple other small things like a reflector in back and new license plate holder. You'll probably be fine with little extra accessories but if they can be easily removed, just do it to avoid sticking points during inspection.

All in all I think it was less than 2500 CHF to do everything which is a lot less than buying new or used here. I've seen two bikes, nearly the exact bike as mine (same year, similar mileage and w/o my upgrades) advertised for the equivalent of about 4500 USD more than what I paid in the USA.

My final note...If you can't handle expensive, don't move to Switzerland.
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Old 14.02.2011, 10:37
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

I got a Dyna Street Bob 2010 with ape hanger. Check it out, it's a 40 cm or something, not quite sure. But still, it is legal, no problem with it.

http://www.englishforum.ch/attachmen...6&d=1277805023

Concerning the noise, I changed my pipes (Screaming eagles), they are a bit louder than the original ones but I will change again, my Vance & Hines Short Shots black staggered are waiting to be mounted
They are very loud, around 110 Db, so for sure I will have to put quiet baffles to reduce the noise.

Once you change the pipe on your HD here, it is not legal anymore but depending on the cop, you will get away with it.
You just gotta be lucky enough
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Old 14.02.2011, 10:49
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

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I got a Dyna Street Bob 2010 with ape hanger. Check it out, it's a 40 cm or something, not quite sure. But still, it is legal, no problem with it.

http://www.englishforum.ch/attachmen...6&d=1277805023

Concerning the noise, I changed my pipes (Screaming eagles), they are a bit louder than the original ones but I will change again, my Vance & Hines Short Shots black staggered are waiting to be mounted
They are very loud, around 110 Db, so for sure I will have to put quiet baffles to reduce the noise.

Once you change the pipe on your HD here, it is not legal anymore but depending on the cop, you will get away with it.
You just gotta be lucky enough
I'm thinking about getting a sportster 48 and want to get a bit more sound out of it than with the stock pipes (test rode this saturday, great bike but a bit too quiet for my taste). Is getting the screaming eagles a good choice ? I'm not interested in more horses, just want to get a bit closer to the sound of my old shovels... And don't want to be stopped by police
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Old 14.02.2011, 11:30
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Once you change the pipe on your HD here, it is not legal anymore but depending on the cop, you will get away with it.
You just gotta be lucky enough
Hmmm. You got an example of that? In Zh and SG the standard practice is to take your bike off you on the spot and charge you a lot of chuffs to get it back. I can't see any Swiss cop passing up that nice little earner
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Old 14.02.2011, 11:45
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Re: Importing a Harley from the U.S.

I have a very loud buell - it would never get into CH via the SVA, so it is going back to the UK.
I imported a KTM and a BMW GS with no problems at all - but as the buell only has the std wheels, switch gear and tank left , it's not going to get through!

13 inch apehangers .... why ?

I have seen the backpatch clubs here with some ludicrous sized ones. Can't help the bike handling ....
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