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Motorcycle: Buy or Ship

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Motorcycle: Buy or Ship

Post by TFNG » Sun, 22 Jan 2012 5:21 pm


I'm being sent to SG. My motorcyle is too old to be shipped to SG.

My choice is to:
a) buy a new one (I'm in Japan), pay the shipping costs and the 27% in SG taxes and fees.
b) buy a new bike in SG.

There are no SG dealers' websites with prices for new bikes so the cost comparison between the two options is difficult.

I see there are a couple of riders here and thought one could enlighten me if one option is better than the other.

Thanks in advance ....

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Post by curiousgeorge » Mon, 23 Jan 2012 9:42 am

I imported, see my blog at ... uk-to.html

However, I already owned the bike and part of the reason that it was cheaper was because it was 1yr old already, which made the declared value very cheap (and all the other costs cheaper too).

You make it sound so simple, but in reality it is a fair bit of running around with bits of paper and transporting your bike for inspections etc..

If you buy a bike new in Japan, and import straight away, that sales certificate will be used as valuation for import. You can do the math based on my expenses shown in my blog.

You will need the Certificate of Conformity (COC) as this has the individual emission test results for *your* bike (not type testing). I think its called something different in Japan. WIthout it, you pretty much stuck, although you can get emission testing in Singapore now, what do you do if it fails?! Send the bike back?!

Also bear in mind the hidden costs of importing - main dealers here can charge $5000 just to "register" the imported bike on their systems for servicing, and an additional 25-30% on parts for imported bikes. After all, they didn't make any money on the sale. However, you might also find an independent mechanic to look after your bike...but some of them don't own the necessary computer gizmos to do the read-outs and resets.

BUT, having said depends on what kind of bike you want to buy. What do you want to import? If its something limited or very expensive in Singapore, I would say go for it. If you're looking for a CB400 you would be a fool to import.

If you tell us what you are looking for, maybe the local knowledge can help with prices. Also, check out and you will often find a thread on the bike/manufacturer you are interested in where current prices are discussed.

Also to consider - what is your license valid for? Can ride for up to a year on a bike >200cc if you passed a similar test in your home country. Check out the other threads here for longer discussions on bike licenses.

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Post by TFNG » Mon, 23 Jan 2012 5:28 pm


Thanks for the reply. I have indeed read your blog. It is what made me think of shipping....

I guess I wanted to see if the price difference between buying in SG was in the same ball park for buying in Japan + shipping costs + fees and taxes. While I would really really like to have a fleet (stable??) of exotic motorcycles, I really only need one.

My current Japanese licence is for anything up to 400cc and my current ride is a commuter (06 CB400 VTEC III). My plan for SG is to ride for enjoyment and relaxation. Reading this and other websites, the CB400 or similiar would meet most of my needs. That said, I thought it would be prudent to maybe look at a bike more oriented more to touring / rough road riding ; a bike with different suspension for rides into Malaysia, Thailand, and any other SE Asian country.

Strong Eagle and/or any other riders,
Any good/favorite bike you can suggest for:
1) laid back rike around SG
2) The occasional (2-6 days duration) tour around SE Asia, including runs up to Thailand?

Any and all input greatly appreciated.

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Post by Strong Eagle » Mon, 23 Jan 2012 6:08 pm

CG really provided a comprehensive answer in terms of ship/buy and I would concur... unless you are planning on buying an exotic bike... aka... expensive... purchase here... especially if you are not opposed to used.

There are plenty of independent mechanics with the right equipment and know how... for the standard breeds... don't know about Ducati and such.

You can pretty much take a road bike most places in Malaysia unless you really want off road... and you can do the same with most of Thailand. Anywhere else, you are going to fly and rent anyway. So, I'd select a road bike... and of the 400 cc class, the Honda 4 banger seems like the best all around choice... or another brand equivalent. Better than the 2 cylinder models for power and smoothness.

The best off road variant would be a Baja 250 but if your intent is to ride the tarmac in Malaysia and Thailand, you don't need it. I've ridden several thousand kilometers on a Baja... a 300 km day is excruciating. I'd get a bike for day and road use... and rent if I want to do something off road.

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Post by yycools » Wed, 25 Jan 2012 6:30 pm

I thought CB400 is a really popular bike in Singapore, what not just buy one here?

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