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Privately Importing a Bimota to Australia

 
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Andrew034



Joined: 02 Apr 2017
Posts: 17
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:15 pm    Post subject: Privately Importing a Bimota to Australia Reply with quote

RAWS and the Furano

Sorry folks, this is a long post and only of real interest to a few Aussies,

Ever since they were first released back in the early 1990’s I have lusted after a Furano, however they were never imported into Australia and even if they were I doubt I could have afforded one. Then in 2016 I saw one was being offered in the Annual January Bonhams auction held in Las Vegas, but circumstances meant I was never going to be able to organise the bike logistically while I was working overseas, however I noticed it didn’t sell.

In January 2017 I returned to Australia and again a Furano was being offered the January Bonhams motorcycle auction (the same one?), so here was an opportunity to at last own one of the 152 Furano’s ever made.

Some research revealed the following; if I wanted to import a second hand motorcycle for use on the Australian roads here in New South Wales, there are a few viable options:
1. as a personal import, but you need to have owned the bike while living overseas for at least on year
2. if it is a pre 1987 model, basically anyone can import it, the Furano was made in 1992, so no go.
3. by special permission from the minister for transport, good luck…
4. as an import under the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (RAWS)

There are also other options for specialist vehicles which I won’t go into.

All people I know that have imported bikes to Australia have used either option 1 or 2, however my realistic option was RAWS. After a bit more digging into RAWS, I found a couple of companies that had certified a Bimota in the past and made contact. The system was broadly similar for both companies, they would organise an import permit and then arrange a compliance plate for the bike when it arrived, which was very vague sounding.

In the first instance, it is logical and clear to import a vehicle in to Australia the specific vehicle needs an import permit and this must be arranged before the vehicle is shipped, as any vehicle arriving in port will be rejected by customs without an import permit. Basically you give the vehicle details and chassis number to the authorities and they issue a permit for the vehicle.

The RAWS process however is very opaque to an outsider, in simple terms the motorcycle needs to comply with the rules in place at the time of its manufacture (in my case 1992), with a caveat it can alternatively comply with the current rules if they are different to the original specification rules (more below).

Because neither the Furano nor any YB4, YB6 or YB8 models were imported to Australia when they were new there is no real history locally, but there are privately imported YB4, YB6 and YB8 models using the Australian roads and we also got the Yamaha FZR1000, so I knew the basic bike should be able to be adapted to the Australian Design Rules (ADR) conditions. Further, I reasoned that as this particular bike had already been issued with a VIN number in the USA it would ease the paperwork when locally attempting to certify it for road use (I really don’t know whether this was important or not). My last real trepidation was the RAWS workshops list individual modes agains each manufacturer and the YB8 was not listed by anyone, however my chosen workshop reassured me that this was not a problem.

After getting a quote for delivery to Australia from the Bonhams shipping agent I was ready to bid at the auction…

I was the successful bidder and following payment, the shipping agent collected the bike and after about a week, my RAWS agent provided an import permit against the VIN number. So far it was running smoothly, shipping was delayed until the previous owner provided the statutory declaration of ownership and the USA authorities decided to randomly select the sea container with my bike for an illegal goods inspection (at my expense too - not impressed).

While in transit I attempted to gain more info from the RAWS company, as it was unclear as to whether I would be collecting the bike from customs, whether I could take it home. After some stilted and difficult exchanges by email, I came to the conclusion they were only interested in the bike when it was ready to be inspected and certified for road use, until then it was my problem.

Finally in June I got a message from the local shipping agent saying the bike had arrived, please pay the customs clearance and the 10% GST (VAT in some parts of the world), luckily motorcycles are exempt from import duty (so that did not apply) and I also had to sign a declaration stating that the bike contained no asbestos. This latter item is important because brakes and clutches did contain asbestos up until around the 1970’s or 1980’s, so if you are shipping an older machine or are unsure, have the brake pads and clutch removed before shipping, it will save a lot of frustration during customs clearance.

After the ship arrived, I get a call from customs telling me that they can’t verify the bike because they can’t find the VIN number. Here we go… in anticipation of such an eventuality, I had specifically asked the shipping agents in the USA to sight the VIN number on the bike before shipping and they had confirmed that they had. As we know the VIN number is normally stamped onto the headstock, however on my SB6, the local importer stamped the number onto the underside of the frame rail.

After more discussions with customs, we agreed that I’d go to customs and locate the VIN number for them. The following day, armed with a bright torch and tools to remove the bodywork, I arrived at customs was presented with a rather dusty yet beautiful Bimota Furano. The customs guys pointed out that they had found the chassis number on the headstock but not the VIN number.

A 17 digit VIN number is a unique universal vehicle identification number that originated in the USA and because of the size of the USA market it has now been adopted world wide. However in 1992, VIN numbers were not mandatory in Europe and Bimota still used their own chassis identification system, so when the bike was sent to the USA it was issued with a VIN number by the USA authorities.

After an hour of searching and stripping body work I concluded that there was no VIN number on the chassis, this was frustrating. So I went into the paperwork that came with the bike, fortunately I had the original delivery paperwork when the bike was sold new that listed the chassis number and the engine number which matched the bike in front of me. I also had original USA registration certificates that listed the vin number and the engine number and I had a copy of a paper that connected the chassis number to the VIN number via a small ID plate attached to the frame issued by a USA authority. So while the bike wasn’t stamped with the VIN number I did have original paperwork linking the chassis number and engine number to the VIN number.

With this evidence, I approached the customs officer and he accepted that the bike was the one on the import permit (I think it also helped that he really liked motorcycles in general and he knew what a Bimota was). Customs cleared the bike that afternoon and the following day I returned with the trailer and collected the Furano; home at last.

Now it was onto RAWS and here I got no real help or assistance on the process, as indicated above, the RAWS scheme is only about undertaking an inspection of the bike and doing the necessary paperwork. I believe some workshops will undertake vehicle modifications for an additional fee. I was only offered inspection and paperwork services which suited me fine, except that I’m not an expert on ADR compliance for 1992 model vehicles however I do have a sound basis in the automotive trade as I used to be a mechanic before I graduated from University as an Engineer.

The import guide indicated that all vehicles needed to comply with the ADR requirements and have new tyres fitted, in crude terms I knew this meant a speedometer that read in km/h and headlights for driving on the left side of the road. More vague was by 1992 noise tests were beginning to feature and there are also some more arcane rules about separation of indicators, heights of lights, location of the rear mudflap and more.

Checking the bike over it was largely stock, however a few items did stand out, the brake and clutch master cylinders had been replaced with AP Racing units and the brake light switch had been eliminated in the process and the headlights had no parking light bulbs. Mechanically the EXUP valve was seized and the throttle tube was broken.

After a complete service (new fluids all round and a new battery), replaced throttle tube and overhauled of the EXUP valve with some difficulty, I eventually got the Furano to start (that is the subject of another thread).

A pressure activated switch solved the issue of the front brakes not operating the taillight and luckily the bike was fitted with “neutral headlights” (meaning they weren’t intended for use on either the left or right side of the road. Some investigations revealed that front position lights aren’t required by ADR. Finally in 1992, ADR required motorcycle headlights to be permanently on, however the rule was repealed later so today you can legally switch off your headlights, so I left the headlight switch on the bike. Oh and I nearly forgot I also got out my dies and stamped the VIN number onto the headstock.

Attempting to elicit feedback or preparation advice from my RAWS agent was near impossible, so at this point with the new tyres fitted I was of the opinion it was ready for inspection and I trailered the bike the 1 hour trip to the RAWS workshop. Speaking to the inspector, he indicted that he would be checking the numbers on the lights and indicator lenses agains the standards accepted in Australia, there was mention of a noise test too. The RAWS guys were also very pleased that I could provide and original sales brochure, a magazine test and a parts manual to demonstrate the bike was basically stock and was used on the road in other countries.

About a month after leaving the bike at the workshop, they confirmed it has passed the inspection and the paperwork had been submitted to the authorities, another month later I get a call saying the government has issued the compliance plate and the bike is ready to register.

The RAWS workshop offered to register the bike or supply it with a “Blue Slip”, having twice been required to attend the motor registry inspection unit after obtaining a “Blue Slip” I elected to let the RAWS company go through with this. The RAWS company returned my bike registered in their name so all I needed to do was transfer it to my name and all was do time for a ride (for discussion in another thread).

End result I potentially have the only Furano currnetly running on the Australian roads.

What did it cost
In addition to the purchase price (approximately)
- Transport from Las Vegas to Sydney $1,000USD
- Customs inspection in USA $300USD
- Customs clearance fee in Sydney $800AUD
- GST - 10% of purchase price including fees
- Import Duty - $0AUD (Motorcycles are Exempt)
- RAWS fee for import permit and compliance plate $2,800AUD
- Pair of Tyres $500AUD
- Parts and Materials for modifications for Compliance $200
- Labour for Compliance Modifications 10 hours (of my time)

Other Costs
- Materials for full Service (Oil, Filters, Brake Fluid, Coolant etc)
- New Battery

What did I learn and get right or wrong:
- I don’t believe the Import Permit information is linked to the RAWS application data (so numbers can change - use the original chassis number)
- Choose a relatively stock motorcycle that is able to be road registered overseas (I got that right)
- All lenses on lights need to have CE numbers, ensure no aftermarket stuff is fitted that is illegal (I got that right)
- I had good prior owner and vehicle history with the bike it was helpful (I was lucky)
- Even though the bike was from a country that drives on the other side of the road it was compliant (I was lucky, but was prepared to do modifications)
- Will I do it again, quite probably.

Andrew…
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Bud977



Joined: 03 Mar 2013
Posts: 367
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations on your purchase. Great details there Andrew. Thanks for sharing.

I found the same deal with the RAWS workshops. They are pretty vague as to the requirements for rego. The ones that are listed as having approval for specific Bimota models don't seem to know much about them.

My '89 YB8 ended up getting import approval as a race bike only. But will I be able to get historic rego after it is 30 years old??

I haven't been game enough to do a later model import as it seems to be up to the RAWS guys as to what will happen and there is no certainty.

Pre-89 is easy. (You indicated pre-87 but it is pre-89). I'm currently bringing in a Honda NS400R. The import approval was no problem. Join a vintage club and get historic rego. Easy peasy.
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Gammaboy



Joined: 25 Feb 2016
Posts: 44
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happily, they're changing the rules at the end of next year - Will make life easier, and you won't have to pay a RAWS workshop $3,000 for the privilege of parking your bike in their shed for 2 months while they do *fuckall* with it.

https://infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/mv_standards_act/files/Info_Sheet_5_Concessional_Imports_updated.pdf
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rpo83



Joined: 28 Oct 2008
Posts: 312
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats on getting through the saga..

I have thought numerous times of importing a bike, but the process always made me shy away....

I hope you get many years of enjoyment from your new Bimota...

Oh, and yes..... We NEED PICS... Smile
_________________
Cheers

Steve

1988 YB5
1995 SB6
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vort28



Joined: 22 Mar 2010
Posts: 1894
Location: Northwest , UK

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be honest the process it not that much different in the UK.
Very vague info and a lot of paperwork , OH and we get reamed for import from none EU countries.
However the major difference is it is a hell of a lot cheaper for our MSVA and the inspection is about 90 minutes. We have to have E numbers on lights etc and correct pointing light , plus all the other road approval/worthy stuff. They issue the approval paperwork there and then, while you wait
Registration can be a real game, but that is the best way to treat it, as a game !!!! Streaking down the corridor of the DVLA with your skirt over your head ,hugging and kissing the first person you find is optional after you finally score and get a reg number Laughing
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Andrew034



Joined: 02 Apr 2017
Posts: 17
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Gammaboy"]and you won't have to pay a RAWS workshop $3,000 for the privilege of parking your bike in their shed for 2 months/quote]
I hope so, it was quite rough I thought, I did read your link and the term RAWS is still present though.
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Gammaboy



Joined: 25 Feb 2016
Posts: 44
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew034 wrote:
Gammaboy wrote:
and you won't have to pay a RAWS workshop $3,000 for the privilege of parking your bike in their shed for 2 months

I hope so, it was quite rough I thought, I did read your link and the term RAWS is still present though.


Yeah, RAWS/SEVS will still apply for the stuff that's newer than the rolling 25 years.
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