Why might your bike be imported?
Bikes tend to be imported because they were never officially brought into the country by the manufacturer. If you would like to import a bike from another country yourself it can be costly and time-confusing, and most imports in the UK are slightly older bikes.
Why might insurers struggle to cover imported bikes?
It's generally pretty easy to get imported bike insurance, but some companies may struggle to offer you an accurate quote. Insurance companies may struggle if they've never encountered a particular model before, or if some of the bike's history is missing. Before you insure your imported bike you'll need to make sure it's registered in the UK.
What is a parallel import?
A parallel import is a bike that has been imported from the EU and already meets minimum standards for the UK. Often parallel imports will be available in the UK market, but there may be slight differences between the two bikes.
What is a Q plate?
A Q plate is a registration number that is issued by the DVLA when the identity or age of the bike is in doubt, which can often be the case for imported motorcycles. Insuring an imported motorcycle on a Q plate can be challenging, because it makes the bike harder to classify for the insurer.
How to spot an imported bike?
When bikes used analogue speedometers the easiest way to tell a bike was imported was by looking at the speedo. If it read in kmh then it was most likely imported. Owners could simply put mph stickers over the top, or replace the speedo. The majority of bikes today have digital speedos, and there's usually a function which can change the read out from kmh to mph quite easily.
If a bike is imported the headlight beam may point to the right instead of the left, which could blind drivers in the UK. You'll need to fit some headlight reflectors or replace it with the correct headlight.
Some countries require their bikes to be restricted to a certain power output, such as France, which has a power limit of 100bhp. If you buy an imported superbike and think it feels sluggish this could be why.
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