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Right, let me outline this a little and see who can chip in with advice for me  39

I spied a new bike that I REALLY liked the look of, after a bit of searching I found out all the details and looked for stockists, unsurprisingly for a bike I'd never heard of, there were only US and Canadian dealers, so in my infinite wisdom I went straight to source and contacted the manufacturer. This is where it gets a bit complicated.

So after a dialogue of emails back and forth, I've figured out they have NONE of their bikes anywhere outside of the US and Canada, BUT they are looking to expand into the UK and Europe, So to be cheeky and maybe grab myself a discount, I offered, if upon purchase of a bike, if they contacted retailers/dealers who might wish to have a look at and potentially stock their bike/brand, then I'd happily within reason travel with my bike to show interested parties.

So having received an email not that long ago and getting prices and spec's, I really cant refuse the chance of getting 25% off Industry Pro Deal they are offering me.

My problem now comes regarding shipping, I've entered the weight and dimensions into various websites who could ship it for me, but getting at best around the £500-600 mark for shipping, although even with that amount of shipping, I'm still grabbing a bargain price, But after looking at flights (return) to the US, I can do it cheaper myself, flight from Aberdeen - London - America comes in at £400 odd return.

The help I'm asking for are just a few tips/suggestions about this all

1. If I ship it via a courier, I'm guessing there is a good chance of getting stung with import duty, because its a high value item, I would want it declared for shipping insurance.

2. If I travel to the US personally to collect my bike, say with an empty bike box (hiring or buying something like this http://bikeboxalan.co.uk/) Then packing it up and flying home with it, would I be able to avoid import duty?

3. The way I see it, flying over and collecting it, I could gain a lot more knowledge if in the future they ever wanted me to show the bike to any potential clients and OF COURSE, my first port of call when getting back in the UK, would be to Road.cc HQ to let you have a look/ride and review the bike, giving you the jump and exclusive scoop on this new bike.

So any helpful tips and ideas would be gratefully received because I'm stuck as to what to do, Dave if your reading this, its regarding the bike I sent you a PM about.

40 comments

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seabass89 [212 posts] 4 years ago
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1) When you get things via post, or container (takes weeks, but you can transport quite a lot) you will always have to pay duty, or VAT on products above a certain value. Probably 20£ or something.

2) If you go to the us and collect it yourself you can avoid duty by pretending it was your bike "all along" and you brought it to the US for a sportive, or something like that.

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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Yeah thats just what i was thinking of doing

The vat and duty come into effect when something bought outside of the EU costs more than £15, if its a Gift its £40 and for certain things this extends right up to £135, but the bike is going to cost alot more than that

The vat and duty comes to well over £1000 if i declare it as a bike, but it will be shipped un-built, so i can declare it as parts, there for getting a reduced rate, but still going to be closer to the £1000

Where as if i fly, i can do it for less than half and just say i took it with me to go do a few days cycling in America, BUT then would i need to provide proof of purchase in this country? Easy enough if i made up a receipt i suppose. I just refuse to pay the government ANOTHER tax on something with it keeping me fit and health and out of the NHS hospital's  19

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pepita1 [175 posts] 4 years ago
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U probably shouldn't b airing these ideas out loud.

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SPAM Naval [139 posts] 4 years ago
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the suspense is killing me...what bike are you looking to 'smuggle' over??  39

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 4 years ago
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Not sure about bikes but certainly camera gear such as lenses will have a CE sticker on somewhere which confirms that the product complies with EU quality standards etc.

Now, that isn't proof that you purchased the item in the EU, but it's going to help your case if you're going through customs when returning with a bike that you flew out with.

That doesn't apply obviously if you're going out, buying a bike and coming back. There's definitely a risk involved, and if you do get stopped, you will face questions of why you didn't declare it, and of course unless you're paying cash, your bank/credit card records will confirm it. If you have the receipt about your person, you're in trouble and could end up seriously out of pocket and lose the bike.

Best practice if you're travelling anywhere outside the EU with something valuable, be that a bike, camera gear, whatever, is to complete a customs declaration on the way out, so that when you come back into the country you can prove that you didn't buy the goods abroad.

My advice would be that you either come clean and pay the charges, or assuming no money's changed hands yet, look elsewhere for a bike - you can't exactly hide a bike in a suitcase and for that reason alone it could well attract the attention of customs officers when you come back into the country.

If you're still determined to do it, have a look at this thread:

http://www.pinkbike.com/forum/listcomments/?threadid=114530

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AWPeleton [3321 posts] 4 years ago
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Get in touch with a company called Saddleback. They ship bikes from America to this country and then transport them by courier to your address / shop.

I bought my Felt bike through them and it was dispatched from California. They MIGHT be able to help with your predicament.

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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Thank you for that link Simon, many ideas in there i had thought of, I was going to get some miles on it before coming back, my own little tour of cali  1 and was also going to post myself the receipt as to not carry it on my person. I was also going to pay it in cash over there to avoid it on a bank record.

If i was to complete a custom's form on the way into America for a bike, but not actually be carrying a bike, just an empty case, that might cause me more hassle than its worth? I would fully declare that i was carrying a bike on the way back though.

Stumps, Saddleback are all fine and good if your importing a bike brand they stock, this manufacturer do not have any stockists outside of the US and mainly have small scale retailers at the moment, this is why i've managed to get a deal with them in exchange for showing the bike to any interested parties they may have over here, so want to avoid getting a retailer involved in my import, that way i will also avoid getting a huge mark up added onto my purchase.

I looks like a trip to America is on the cards  4

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arrieredupeleton [576 posts] 4 years ago
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Why let your bike enjoy the trip and not you? I'd go in person if I were you. Three things though: Don't make up a receipt and don't claim you're taking a bike out and its only an empty bike box. Apart from being illegal, they'll scan the bike box at the airport. Finally, consider taking a bike out with you. I assume you'll be taking other gear to ride out there anyway.

Out of interest, there must be a time limit until an item bought overseas and is used overseas, becomes exempt from taxes. Surely people who 'travel' for 12 months don't pay import duties and VAT on clothes and other goods? Your riding it in Cali may make it easier to claim its not new - just well looked after. You really need to take advice from experts on this matter. Good luck.

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Squiggle [403 posts] 4 years ago
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That's true, I think the time limit is 6 months so if you can wait that long and you have a mate in the US then send them the money to buy it then go collect it once the time limit expires. My girlfriend and her pal looked into this when she was looking to buy a sculling boat in Canada. I might be getting my timeline mixed up but if it's not 6 months then it'll be less.

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The _Kaner [770 posts] 4 years ago
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Go to the dump find an old bike, box it up....take it to the states as 'your touring bike'...(if you know the frame number of the new bike..stick that on the 'outward bound declaration' as proof that you took a bike out)...ride the new bike and leave any dust/dirt residue on it- bin the old banger....(take loads of photographs of wherever you go ..try to include the new bike in them....and friendly US cyclists) ...say you had a wonderful time with your US 'buddies'....box it all up...come home - try to get past customs with the 'old used UK bought bike'...tell them what a great little holiday you had....hopefully scam them into thinking it is an old bike (not likely)...get found out ...have the bike confiscated and still have to pay fines etc....be out of pocket and have a criminal record...(if not 'do' time sharing a cell with big Bubba)...lose your job/family/house etc...

Or you could buy a bike in the UK- paying all the tax-middleman add ons/profits etc...and help the UK cycle industry stay afloat in this time of financial crises...

I know which one I'd do......  16 @i'm leaving on a jet plane@

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arrieredupeleton [576 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm not a betting man, but I think he'll take a chance on big Bubba  43

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monty dog [457 posts] 4 years ago
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There's a high probability that the bike is made in the Far East so why the need to go for all the effort? When you factor in duty and vat, it's just not worth the hassle IME.
My experience is that HM Customs are pretty strict on goods from the US but stuff from China (probably due to higher volumes) often comes straight through. I recently received a consignment of 3 custom titanium frames from China and paid zero vat and duty

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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monty dog wrote:

There's a high probability that the bike is made in the Far East so why the need to go for all the effort? When you factor in duty and vat, it's just not worth the hassle IME.
My experience is that HM Customs are pretty strict on goods from the US but stuff from China (probably due to higher volumes) often comes straight through. I recently received a consignment of 3 custom titanium frames from China and paid zero vat and duty

Considering you don't even know the make, how can you say "There's a high probability that the bike is made in the Far East"

I guess you didn't read my starting post, the manufacturer is where I'm going to collect the bike from, in the US, nothing to do with the far east. Basically i'd be collecting it straight from the factory.

Vat and Duty is the same, no matter where things come from outside of the EU, its to do with the value of the items and what they are, not where they come from  35

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The _Kaner [770 posts] 4 years ago
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Can't you say that it's a 'prototype' or'sample' and that you are interested in it's marketability in the UK???
There's something in the HM customs website regarding this...

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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The _Kaner wrote:

Can't you say that it's a 'prototype' or'sample' and that you are interested in it's marketability in the UK???
There's something in the HM customs website regarding this...

Thats actually quite a good idea, IF the brand wasn't on sale in America already and the bike will have logo's on it.

Would work a treat for a plain carbon frame or something like that though  4

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The _Kaner [770 posts] 4 years ago
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But there's no UK importer/vendor...so that's why it's a 'sample'...???

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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Hmmm its something to look into i suppose.

I always wondered if sponsored riders, who are given a bike by a company had to pay import duty at all, but then i looked at the rules on gift's and thought they may still have to pay, don't know how that works either

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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Forget everything above, I've just been on the phone to my mum, her mate in the RAF has just been awarded an OBE for something or other, so he's got to fly back to collect it and He's based not far from where I would be going to collect.

So after the phone call, my mum called over there, Sorted, he can take it over and for some reason they avoid custom's altogether on RAF flights?  4 4

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big mick [183 posts] 4 years ago
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70% of all bikes are made in the far east and the best carbon manufacture is in Japan.just buy a 2011 sale bike already.At the end of the day as Lance said its not about the bike.

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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big mick wrote:

70% of all bikes are made in the far east and the best carbon manufacture is in Japan.just buy a 2011 sale bike already.At the end of the day as Lance said its not about the bike.

As much as i'd love to get something from the UK, nothing compares to this

Fully Carbon (apart from the wheels, as i wasn't paying stupid money to have them), Fully Dura Ace (carbon levers) and Disc brakes

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 4 years ago
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big mick wrote:

70% of all bikes are made in the far east and the best carbon manufacture is in Japan.just buy a 2011 sale bike already.At the end of the day as Lance said its not about the bike.

A). I'll have you know that Britain is set to become world leaders in composite technology very soon, billions are being spent

B). Have you actually read Lance's book

C). I'm not trying to be rude, but it CLEARLY is all about the bike, as set out in velominati rule number #4

http://www.velominati.com/blog/the-rules/

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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The UK has a great history with carbon fibre lately, although it many not be in bikes, its certainly in F1, just look at the best car of the last few years, the Red Bull, based in Milton Keynes

The aircrafts that are built here are starting be use more and more of it.

The general cars that are being built with carbon in them aswell in the UK and the US

One last thing to add.........twatwaffle  19

Yeah it is about the bike, without a bike, i'm not a cyclist  26

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big mick [183 posts] 4 years ago
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You missing the point. Lance would pass any of us on a chopper.Like i say its not about the bike its the man pushing on the pedals thrust me.

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big mick [183 posts] 4 years ago
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Also f1 cars made in england yes but the same people are not making bycycles.If they were the cost would be £100000 per frame.Tipical ripp off Britian.

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andylul [410 posts] 4 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

Forget everything above, I've just been on the phone to my mum, her mate in the RAF has just been awarded an OBE for something or other, so he's got to fly back to collect it and He's based not far from where I would be going to collect.

So after the phone call, my mum called over there, Sorted, he can take it over and for some reason they avoid custom's altogether on RAF flights?  4 4

Didn't Frank Lucas do something like that?  4

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 4 years ago
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big mick wrote:

You missing the point. Lance would pass any of us on a chopper.Like i say its not about the bike its the man pushing on the pedals thrust me.

Oh dear. Someone *had* to bring up Lance's chopper...  13

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 4 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

for some reason they avoid custom's altogether on RAF flights?

Did you pack the bag yourself, sir? And are you carrying any explosives... oh.

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step-hent [722 posts] 4 years ago
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big mick wrote:

You missing the point. Lance would pass any of us on a chopper.Like i say its not about the bike its the man pushing on the pedals....

Well, he's missing the point if he just wants to go fast. Or maybe not, since Lance wouldn't have won the TdF on a chopper - the bike does make some difference. An awesome bike won't make a nag into a racehorse, but it will make a nag slightly faster than a less awesome bike.

The thing is, it isn't always about going faster - it's about having more fun and (forgive my capitalist society ideals) about owning something lovely and taking pride in it. A lovely ride quality makes riding more fun. And you can debate the rights or wrongs of wanting to own something special, but it gives some people pleasure to own something interesting and unusual. So for those purposes, it's ALL about the bike.

big mick wrote:

...thrust me.

Getting visions of Rick Mayall in Blackadder. Nice.

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step-hent [722 posts] 4 years ago
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btw, GKam, is it one of these?

http://volagi.com/bikes

Interested to hear your thoughts on the ride - they certainly look like an interesting bunch.

Also interested to know if they really are manufactured in the US - that sort of manufacturing is expensive there compared with the Far East, but the bikes don't seem unreasonably priced. Doesn't seem to say on the site where they are manufactured, but you mentioned you were going to the factory?

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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andylul wrote:

Didn't Frank Lucas do something like that?  4

Maybe its my age, but i had to google him  4

step-hent wrote:

btw, GKam, is it one of these?

http://volagi.com/bikes

Interested to hear your thoughts on the ride - they certainly look like an interesting bunch.

Also interested to know if they really are manufactured in the US - that sort of manufacturing is expensive there compared with the Far East, but the bikes don't seem unreasonably priced. Doesn't seem to say on the site where they are manufactured, but you mentioned you were going to the factory?

Yeah its a Volagi, I'll let you know what i think when i get my hands on it

After alot of emails and when i was going to be over, i was offered a tour of the warehouse/factory, i think the frames are made in-house but not 100% i'm just going on what i've been told and as there is nothing to say otherwise

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