Monday, September 11, 2006

 

Decisions, Decisions...

Camping this weekend reminded me how much I love camping (thanks, Clint and Carolyn!) but driving out there reminded me that I miss motorcycling. I still own a bike but, it isn't running very well right now and I don't trust it when I have someplace I need to be. I want to replace it, but the available choices just aren't that interesting. Or I should say, not that practical. Yes, a motorcycle can be practical. But a crotchrocket generally isn't, especially the newer ones that are a bellypan away from being track-ready. The kind of motorcycle I want would weigh 450 lbs or less, be able to take a passenger and sidecases, and have an upright riding position that won't cause shoulder cramps and CTS after a couple hours.

While bikes like that are everywhere in Europe, they are few and far between in the US market, aside from a couple of very expensive BMWs and the Suzuki V-Stroms which are too big for us short guys. What does get imported over here are so-called "naked bikes"; crotchrockets without bodywork or any kind of windscreen at all. As near as I can tell, that's because the magazines over here constantly drool over the European "streetfighter" scene, but the bikes themselves didn't and don't sell well in the states. On the other hand, there's a very active long-range touring scene whose members are inconoclastic, affluent and open-minded about the bikes they ride. That group would eat up the bikes linked above, but since they're essentially ignored by the press, they don't get the chance. And I end up looking at scooters to accomplish the mission I have in mind. Anyone want to grey-market me a Honda CBF1000 (and somehow magically get rid of the VAT that puts it in BMW price territory)?

Comments:
Thanks for coming!
 
You can get VAT refunds at some stores if you go to some government office and get a stamp proving that you're really a tourist, but I don't think that would work for motorcycles. And you'd have to come to Germany to get it too.
 
Hey Christina! Actually I have the impression for some reason that you can get VAT refunds if you are buying something to export it, even something big like a car. I can't remember where I got that though, so it could be totally wrong.
 
That's cool if true, but I don't really know either. I only know that if I import anything from the US with a value over 50 euro I have to pay VAT on it. Which sucks. A lot. I recently ordered a book and DVD from Amazon.com that came to just under 50 euro, so I thought I was safe, but no, they decided to tax me 12 euro anyway (and they counted the book twice). It's too much of a pain to complain about it too. I'm told you have to pay the paperpushers for the time they spend looking up whether they screwed up calculating the taxes, so it ends up easier and cheaper to just let them win (I'm not up for fighting for the principle of it).

But anyways, if you find out that there is an easy, not much effort on my part way I can help you get your motorcycle, I will be glad to help out.
 
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