From US to Europe- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    From US to Europe

    I'm currently planning to get an american brand bike (maybe Yeti/Turner) to ride in Europe where I live. I go to US sometimes every year and in addition to the currency factor, the offer is wide and better in price. I wonder if any of you have had some issues on buying and then travel back to Europe with her. Red tape shipping out US or shipping in EU? delays? Customs? Airlines?

    My final destination is Spain, however sometimes I go first to other european countries (mainly France, UK and Germany) Do somebody know if there are different conditions depending on the entrance EU country where you land?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    Noo Zeelander
    Reputation: Pedalhed's Avatar
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    I purchased a bike in the US at the end of 2006 and took it back to NZ, The key to not paying any customs or duties is to have used it enough in the US so that it doesn't look brand new which means unfortunately you will have to ride it a few times, Then wash it but leave enough sign of use on it to make it look second hand ... The thing is they have no idea whether you took a bike over there or not and as long as you don't declare it as a new item on your return trip you will be fine. ( I have mates in England who buy new bikes every 2 years from the States, When they go there, and they have never had to pay any duties etc ever) I myself have done it twice to NZ and have never even raised an eyebrow.
    The other thing to do is send all your receipts and manuals etc home via post separately, It pays not to have all that stuff with you in case they check for it.

    If you use a proper bike Bag / Case you can usually get away without paying extra ...
    Depending on how much other baggage you have with you ... I was allowed two items of luggage each up to 32kgs ..So I packed all my gear in one bag and then counted the bike bag as my other piece of luggage, I knew that my bike did not weigh 32 KG so I stuffed clothes and shoes into the bike bag this also helped protect the bike...
    Move along please ..... Nothing to see here !!


    http://www.nelsonmountainbikeclub.org.nz/

  3. #3
    "Its All Good"
    Reputation: Whafe's Avatar
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    Like Pedalhed, when I was living in NZ, I bought a number of my bikes back from the USA, never had an issue.... I live in Spain at present and have never had an issue at all. This bringing brand new bikes. Also a frame. I have never been asked...

    But the bastids in Spain when work shipped my bike to Spain from NZ, the Spanish made work pay duty and it was indeed secong hand..... Belgium is real difficult to bring in stuff though...

    Should be well sweet. I would use your trip to do some riding. Hook up with some peeps from MTBR

    Good luck
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  4. #4
    Five is right out
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    One of the Yeti dealers recommended on these boards ships the bike to you in a Thule hardcase, which you get to keep. If you can arrange a US shipping destination for pickup, that saves you the hassle on how to bring it back to your home country (just take it on the plane as checked baggage).

    If you've ridden the bike enough to get dirt and mud all over it, you won't have customs problems. Though if you're really paranoid, just send the receipt back home via airmail so you don't have it on you.

    My concern would really be warranty. How that is handled would depend on the manufacturer, so it'd be worth checking with them.

  5. #5
    Noo Zeelander
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    Quote Originally Posted by womble
    My concern would really be warranty. How that is handled would depend on the manufacturer, so it'd be worth checking with them.
    The Importer for Yeti told me today that he has to warranty all Yeti Bikes even if they are not bought in NZ through him ...

    Great customer service from Yeti ...
    Move along please ..... Nothing to see here !!


    http://www.nelsonmountainbikeclub.org.nz/

  6. #6
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
    Reputation: crisillo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalhed
    The Importer for Yeti told me today that he has to warranty all Yeti Bikes even if they are not bought in NZ through him ...

    Great customer service from Yeti ...

    yeah..that is the case with Yeti...

    That's how I warrantied my frame here in Germany through Intercycle, eventhough I bought it from full cycles in Oregon (and had it shipped to Germany by a friend that lives in the US)....

    BTW, Full Cycles was the one that offered the Thule case with the complete bikes.. don't know if they still do though..

  7. #7
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    Hi,
    You will have to pay the import tax and the value added tax (Mehrwertsteuer) if you bring it back. As every country in the EU has its own value added tax (19% in germany) the complete tax will vary. Some people suggested to use the bike and you would not have to pay tax. This is not completely right. In the meantime the tax offices have learned this trick. If you came from spain and go back to spain they will ask you for a declaration that shows that you have owned the bike before travelling to the states. If you bought the bike cheap you better have the bill with you, or they will tax you according to the EU recomended sales price (outch!!!). Its a bit of a poker game. Sometimes luck and no tax, but most of the times tax. You should be preparred to pay around 25% of your price as import tax.
    Good luck!
    CW

  8. #8
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    Should be easy

    I've flown into France with both used and new bikes at least 10 times in the last 4 years and not once have the customs people shown any concern. The most I get from them is "what's in the box?" and I say "a bike" and that's that. Once, they asked if it was new, and I said it was 2 years old, and they waived me right through.

    Keep in mind that I have come through with two bike boxes at a time, once with two full bikes plus and additional wheelset. They don't seem to care if I am heavily loaded. What is probably more suspicious is wearing a business suit, carrying a nice suitcase, and having an out-of-place brand-new bike box. If you are dressed as a dirt bag and looking the part, they are more likely to presume you are travelling with a bike all the time, and not just importing.

    As others have posted, having the bike in an aftermarket bike case is more likely to make the customs people think you were just travelling with your bike. If you use a cardboard bike box, it helps if it looks all dirty, worn and beat-up (as if you've been travelling with it for weeks/months).

    I also agree with the poster that mailing back any manuals and receipts -- or having a colleague carry them -- is a good way to avoid a worst-case scenario if they search your things. You can even go a step further, and easily create your own post-dated receipt to "prove" the bike is 2 years old.

    I think its 90+% likely that you will walk right out of baggage claim with no problems regardless of how you approach this, but if you want to be 100% safe, just make sure the bike appearance makes it plausibly a year old (bring some used tires with you to mount on it before returning, mix up some mud and get it dirty, better yet just ride it in the states for a week) and have a fake receipt that is more than a year old.

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