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BANGKOK 20 April 2019 15:54
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daeng12

Mountain Trail Bikes

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I live in northern Thailand and would like to get a mountain trail bike (since I sometimes go up to remote hilltribe villages), which I've seen sold in both Chiangrai and Chiangmai. These bikes are imported from Japan, and I've heard from several different store owners that the cost of buying a bike with a license (ทะเบียนรถ) is 50,000 baht more than a bike without the license! - apparently the cost of the import tax. So I could, for example, get a used 250 cc Honda Degree mountain trail bike for 50,000 baht without the license, or for 100,000 baht with a license. Something in me rebels against paying that much money just for a tax, so I'm trying to find out how much of a risk it would be to get a bike like this without a license (I could get insurance and the accompanying P.R.B. sticker, but I couldn't get the sticker that comes when you pay the annual tax on a vehicle, not could I get a Thai driver's license (which I currently don't have anyway). I've gotten varied advice from Thai friends. Some say it's too risky - that if the police find out that you don't have a license for a vehicle, they can impound it and you may not get it back. Others say that police understand that there usually aren't licenses for these types of motorcycles, and won't make a big deal about it, especially for a farang. Does anyone out there own an imported bike without a license? If so, have you encountered any problems with the authorities, or do you know anyone who has?

Thanks for any responses that come.

Sincerely,

Daeng

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I live in northern Thailand and would like to get a mountain trail bike (since I sometimes go up to remote hilltribe villages), which I've seen sold in both Chiangrai and Chiangmai.  These bikes are imported from Japan, and I've heard from several different store owners that the cost of buying a bike with a license (ทะเบียนรถ) is 50,000 baht! - apparently the cost of the import tax.  So I could, for example, get a used 250 cc Honda Degree mountain trail bike for 50,000 baht without the license, or for 100,000 baht with a license.  Something in me rebels against paying that much money just for a tax, so I'm trying to find out how much of a risk it would be to get a bike like this without a license (I could get insurance and the accompanying P.R.B. sticker, but I couldn't get the sticker that comes when you pay the annual tax on a vehicle, not could I get a Thai driver's license (which I currently don't have anyway).  I've gotten varied advice from Thai friends.  Some say it's too risky - that if the police find out that you don't have a license for a vehicle, they can impound it and you may not get it back.  Others say that police understand that there usually aren't licenses for these types of motorcycles, and won't make a big deal about it, especially for a farang.  Does anyone out there own an imported bike without a license?  If so, have you encountered any problems with the authorities, or do you know anyone who has?

Thanks for any responses that come.

Sincerely,

Daeng

I recently sold my unregisterable 750cc bike to the owner of a popular (infamous?) restaurant in town..... :D:D

My bike was bought used in Japan, shipped here as parts, reassembled in Bkk, bought by me (20,000), restored by me (20,000).

I did have a plate from a thrashed, but legal, bike to put on for show. Of course, nothing would ever stand muster.

Can't get it registered...

Insurance impossible....

Taken by police possible....

But, never a problem, otherwise. I took it across the Malaysian border many times, too.

I've heard rumors of being able to register these bikes (10-50,000), but I never was able to make it happen, nor have I ever heard of someone else making such a bike legal....The guys at the motor vehicle joint in Chiang Mai seem serious about engine and frame numbers matching up. I had another (legal) bike that when I wanted to register it in my name, the previous owners baat prachachon (ID card) had expired had a few months earlier, and I couldn't find the old owner to get a new copy of his ID...Kinda senseless thinking to make an issue of such things sometimes, but that's life here...

In Chiang Mai, I had to sell my 2 bikes for 20,000 less, due to the registration issues. I tried to follow the corruption road, but every lead led to nothing, making me think maybe this is just folklore....I'd love to here from someone who was able to make such an import legal.

The odds are, nothing will ever happen to you or your bike...But, it could, and I'd say under the present situation, police attitudes and behaviour could maybe change....but maybe likely not.....TiT, don't ya' know :o

Maybe David Unkovich or German Joe (chiang moi soi 2) would know for sure. They are the most clued-in biker guys I know.

davidfl@gt-rider.com

Joe is a bike mechanic and all-around amazing metal fabricator. He is also an honest man. 251-186

By the way, here's a 'before' photo of my bike from Japan

motorcycle1.jpg

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I bought an unlicensed Steed 400 from a guy that was leavin thailand and had owned it for a couple of years,,he did have the import duty tax papers,so the bike was legal,I rode it for a year and then sold it ,still unlicensed,was stopped a few times for no helmet and such,but never a question about no license.

I had asked a dealer at a big bike shop in CM if a license was necessary,and he said only if I wanted to spend the 50,000,other than that, NO.

So I would say,go for it.

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Typically with these kinds of things:

It's completely no problem, right up until until it becomes a problem.

Many things in Thailand are (or seem) very lax, so you're lulled into a sense that it's no problem; hey everybody else does it and they don't have problems! But then there's a new law change or enforcement change and you're up shit's creek without, erm, a bike.

Cheers,

Chanchao

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