We purchased the bike privately from an owner in a place called Steeple Bumpstead (Essex), a rather curious name!
The prices of bikes in the UK can be readily found on the internet, but but be aware that many have already been sold, some even 12 months earlier, with the advertisements just not taken off the web! I resorted to a print version of Motorcycle Trader and just two days after arriving in the UK, found a seven year old Honda Deauville with only 12,000 miles on the clock.
Advice on what to look out for regarding statutory requirements and dubious ownership can be found at https://www.gov.uk/checks-whe n-buying-a-used-car. It is best to get a bike that is already registered and has an MOT (Ministry of Transport roadworthy certificate). The bike must have an MOT before it can be ridden. Some bikes might have a SORN (Statutory off Road Notice) which means it is currently not taxed for riding and thus may require an MOT before it can be registered for riding.
If you ask the UK DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) about the process of purchasing a vehicle as a foreigner you will get a complicated response referring to various forms that might need to be filled out. But really all you need to register a vehicle is a UK address that you can use. We opted to register the bike in someone else’s name and address, even though they didn’t have a motorcycle license. The transfer itself is simple, just a matter of visiting a local DVLA office with the registration/transfer papers signed by the previous owner. If you purchase a bike with MOT and a tax long enough for your journey you are 3/4 of the way there. If you purchase a bike without MOT and tax it becomes very difficult.
The key thing to be able to sort out is Insurance! In the UK a vehicle cannot be registered (taxed) without insurance. The only problem is it is impossible for foreigners to get insurance in the UK, so while you can purchase a bike you will be unable to get the statutory insurance and therefore ride it!! It’s crazy but true! So you need to get someone else to tax and insure the bike, then your good to go in the UK. Before you can ride in Europe you must have public liability insurance. The only places I could find that provides this service are Stefan Knopf (http://www.knopftours.com/Web-Site/Hello.html) in Germany and Motorcycle Express (www.motorcycleexpress.com) in the USA. Both are able to provide Greencard insurance to ride throughout the EU, excepting for the country in which the bike you are riding is registered. If you would like to know any more about setting this up send me a message via the Meet Murray page.
What to pack? As little as possible is the answer. The less weight the less trouble you will have. It’ll be easier to park, use less fuel, be less likely to break, and be easier to pick up when it falls over if it is lighter. It’ll also be easier to carry your luggage up all those stairs, and easier to find what you actually need. We were on the road for 3 months and had one small pannier each for personal gear. Aside from the Draggin jeans, long sleeved T-shirt and MotoDry touring jacket I would be wearing, and wet weather overtrousers, I took