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Introduction, license and import questions!

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I'm Pablo, currently living in California and looking to relocate to Singapore.


I own a 2015 Suzuki VStrom 650 that I'm very fond of and I'll like to take to SG with me :)


I have two areas that I would like to ask for advice/experiences. If I'm in the wrong sub-forum please point me in the right direction.


Driver's license


I know I should be able the ride the 650cc bike for a year with my CA motorcycle license.

After this do you think it would be possible for me to get the proper license to keep riding the bike? I know there are issues with countries/states that do now require practical riding tests, but that's not the case with California.


I'm 28, had my California license for ~2 years and never had an accident. Before my VStrom I had a 300cc Honda.

If needed I can supply evidence such as insurance papers, photos of me on 3000km trips, etc.


Bike importation


- Besides the ~5k usd COE permit, which other fees would I have to pay to import the bike?

- Any change I can sell/transfer the CEO if I move out say in 2 or 3 years?

- Have any of you shipped the bike from the US? Which service did you use?


Thank you in advance for the information, hope to see you guys and go for a ride!


EDIT: Added some pictures!



Edited by pablo.vstrom
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Driver's License


By default, the authorities will ONLY issue a conversion to a Class 2B motorcycle license if you already hold some form of motorcycle license in another country, as long as it permits motorcycles up to 200cc. If you wish to convert your "No Holds Barred" motorcycle license to a full Class 2 Singaporean Motorcycle License that will allow you to continue riding bikes over 400cc, you will need to bring as many supporting documents to show ownership of large cc motorcycles over several years. So get all your insurance papers and clean titles in order and bring them along with your Cali license when applying for a conversion.


Bike Importation


Shipping you vehicle will require you to check with American based companies that offer that service. You can try this company and get a quote from them : link


You will need to pay a Registration Fee, an Additional Registration Fee, and an Excise Duty on your vehicle.


Registration Fee (RF) - S$140

Additional Registration Fee (ARF) - 15% of OMV

Excise Duty - 12% of OMV


The Open Market Value (OMV) is determined by the import authorities, so you'll have to ask them how much your bike is worth (when brand new). So assuming if it was SGD 10000, you would have to pay $140 + $1500 + $1200 = $2840 to import the bike.


Then of course you need to pay the prevailing $6000+ COE quota premium to register the bike for 10 years. Not including the insurance and road tax which you can think about later.


When you leave you will need to deregister your bike with LTA, whereby they will return you the pro-rated amount you paid for the COE, down to how many months are left on it. You will then have to either get the bike scrapped (cheap way), or ship it to wherever you are going (expensive way). If you scrap, it has to be done within the month at one of the scrapyards. If you choose to export it and bring it with you, it must be held at an Export Processing Zone within a month, and exported out of the country entirely within 12 months, this should probably be facilitated by whatever shipping company you contract to do so when the time comes.


Of course if you're not incredibly attached to that particular bike, many expats just choose to sell it for cheap to a local friend since you actually get money back rather than spend even more bringing the bike with you than the value of the bike itself.




You might want to consider selling the VStrom in Cali, or leaving it in the care of someone you trust Stateside, than to bring it, because ultimately it is never worth the price unless the bike is a one of a kind piece, like the recent 2015 RC213V-S or a custom from Paramount Cycles. It makes far more economical sense to buy a bike locally, and sell it off when you leave as it is not only far cheaper, but you are sure it is a bike that has mechanics that can work on it and parts for it (although there are some VStroms in SG so no biggie).


Also, the SingaporeBikes forum doesn't have a lot of expats (i'm not one either) so expat exclusive experiences are hard to find here. You might want to try an actual expat forum like this.

Check out my Website! : www.reizeprimus.tk


Or watch my Youtube channel for more Motovlogs and Motorcycling Content! : www.youtube.com/ReizePrimus

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Thanks so much for the info reize! You'll definitely get a beer when I get there :)


I have some follow up questions:


Driver's license:

I got my first 300cc bike in Feb 2015 and my first 650cc bike in Feb 2016. Assuming I start the conversion paperwork in Feb 2017 I will only have one year on my 650cc and two on the 300cc+ category.


I read on the police site that 1 year is enough, but is that true? It seems they may want people to have more experience.

I have all the registration and insurance paperwork for that time, and I did take a practical exam but there are no records of the exam or the bike I used. Do you know of any US riders in SG I can ask how did they do the paperwork?


Bike importation

I just contacted that shipping provider (and another provider I found online), let's wait and see what they say.


I'm expecting shipping to be at least 2000sgd, so taking the OMV to something like 10k the price to put it there would be:

2000 shipping + 2840 taxes = ~5000 sgd non-refundable + ~6000sgd COE = ~11000sgd.


If I want to ship it back after two years I will get 4800 back but have to pay other 2000 in shipping, so cost for two years would be ~8000 sgd (without counting insurance). If I move it to SG I'll probably sell it there but it's good to know.


In order to make a more informed decision I would have to know what's the street price for other motorcycles. I like my bike but from my trip to Indonesia last year I know 650cc may be a little overkill for south east asia.


reize, would you please PM with some street prices (without COE but with other taxes) from some normal SG motorcycles? I would be interested in maybe a WR400, WR250, KTM Duke 390, etc.


Thanks again. Anyone with more info feel free to comment!

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To add on


Driver's License

The minimum listed is one year's of proven ownership of a large CC motorcycle, however, the decision is ultimately at the discretion of the issuing officer. The more documents you have to back your experience on larger motorcycles, the higher the chance you will get an approved conversion straight up to Class 2. There is no guarantee but AFAIK, I see a lot of fresh expats come to Singapore and are able to start riding Harleys and Striples within a year of their arrival.


TBH, I suspect that the source of your license may also increase or decrease your chances. E.g Japanese, European and Malaysian license holders tend to be viewed more favourably due to their similar tiered licensing structure, whereas LTA officers tend to be skeptical of American ones due to it being a known fact that the issuing bodies have no unified or structured regulations to draw a comparative idea of rider experience.


Bike Prices


This might help other's so I'll leave it here.


KTM Duke 390 - $12k (Brand New, no COE, taxes included)


WR250F/R/X - ~$7-10k (Used, COE and taxes included)


I have not seen anybody riding a WR450 nor seen one when browsing stores so I'm not sure about the prices for that. It's pretty rare anyway since every body either rides a DRZ400SM if they have a class 2A, or skip it and go for a KTM 690 Enduro or EXC 500 straight away.

Check out my Website! : www.reizeprimus.tk


Or watch my Youtube channel for more Motovlogs and Motorcycling Content! : www.youtube.com/ReizePrimus

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