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We are in the planning stages of a ride in Germany. Tentative dates are summer, 2014. The plan is to ship our bikes ahead of us, and then fly over and pick them up at the dock.

We'll spend 2-3 weeks touring, and then ship them back and fly home. I may, or may not, see if I can sell mine there at the end of the trip. It will depend if I can really get huge money for it in Europe, or if that's urban legend. It would save me the return shipping cost, and puts me in a 2015 when I get home.

One guy that is going with us was born in Germany, and is fluent in the language. Another is retired military, and was stationed there for several years, so we are not flying completely blind.

I would like to hear from folks that have ridden in Europe, Germany specifically.
What pitfalls should we be planning for?
How should we insure the bikes, and what about health insurance should one of us get hurt?
Drivers license issues?
Registration issues?
Other issues we haven't thought of???

Thanks!
 

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If you have aftermarket exhaust you need to make sure it will be legal in Germany. Also if you have a custom, not having amber turn signals in the rear may also be an issue. I was covered with the military when I was there so I can offer no help on the insurance issue.
 

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The wife and I where there last summer with my brother and sisters + spouses.We loved Germany so much so we would live there! The folks we met were very nice and the country is CLEAN and the German drivers are civilized! It killed my wife and I to be cooped up in a van! We spent most 90% of the time in the southern part "Bulvaria" it was super cool! We want to go back someday to ride, you know they rent HD over there but it might be cheeper to ship yours over I don't know.I never thought about shipping the bike over... humm whats it going to cost? One day we were getting gas and there was 3 HD's I went over and talked to them they were contractors and told me the riding was great! I was sick the rest of the day...lol! Ya'll will have a blast!
 

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Thanks for the input, guys. I have my stock take-off mufflers, so I may put them back on for the trip. That's a fantastic link, Kabanshee. Saved for future reference!

It would definitely be cheaper to rent bikes there, but one of the unique things we want to do is ride Our bikes in Germany, with the Nevada plates on them. That alone will have to be a conversation starter...

Yes, it's going to be expensive, that's one reason it's so far in the future. Gives us all time to save up for the trip. We are really looking forward to it, it's going to be a once in a lifetime experience, to be sure!
 

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Thanks for the input, guys. I have my stock take-off mufflers, so I may put them back on for the trip. That's a fantastic link, Kabanshee. Saved for future reference!

It would definitely be cheaper to rent bikes there, but one of the unique things we want to do is ride Our bikes in Germany, with the Nevada plates on them. That alone will have to be a conversation starter...

Yes, it's going to be expensive, that's one reason it's so far in the future. Gives us all time to save up for the trip. We are really looking forward to it, it's going to be a once in a lifetime experience, to be sure!
Yes it will!
In 2011 I was lucky enough to land a temp job in New Zealand and I had my wife come over for a month we rented an HD and rode the south Island it was for sure a life long memory! Ya'll will have so much fun!
 

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Bavaria is cool as can be when you are there. My last visit was about 10 years ago. Bikes are quiet by american standards so if you intend to ride make sure your bike is dead quiet.
I really enjoyed the food, especially something they locally call roesti, a variation on what we might think of as refried grated potatoes like hash browns are. They seem to make whole meals around roesti and they are great taste treats. Never ever ask for a steak in europe, a steak is something that you always want to avoid in any european establishment. European farmers simply do not feed their cattle grain the way we do in North America, so their steaks are terrible at best. I was there with a group of other people on a work assignment and one of the guys figured that he wanted a steak, based on his experiences in the US. The rest of us enjoyed the local cuisine and that guy never failed to be disappointed, even on an expense account. BTW roesti is pronounced reushty for those aware of typical english pronunciations of letter combinations. It will make your experience better if you can at least come close to the local pronunciation. Sorry but that is as close as I can come using standard english pronunciations, I have no good equivalent spelling for what my mouth forms when I pronounce roesti. Flavor is quite another matter, my bet is that most people will find it very good and will never regret asking for it in Bavaria.
 

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Drivers License may be an issue. In 2008, I was allowed to take the German written test in English. I was told that if I waited until I got there to take test, it would be in German. I am not sure about a International DL, how or if it is possible in Germany. US Soldiers "CURRENTLY" stationed there would be an excellent source of info. A few simple phone calls to Graffenwher or Hohenfels there in Bavaria should get you set you in right direction.
 

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Drivers License will be no issue. I went to travel agent and they had the paper work it took 15 min. to get an international DL.
 

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Travel in Germany

I've been to Germany more times than I can count for business trips. These are just a few tips from my travel.
- Bring (bright) rain gear, just in case.
- Stay out the big city traffic, such as Frankfurt, since it will craaaawwwwl during rush hour.
- Speaking German isn't a must, if you are polite. If there are young people around, they take English in school and can help.
- The roads are great compared to the US, but watch the slick spots, cobble stones and tight street widths.
- There are great places to see and it is by far one of the best places to travel outside of the US.
- If you are riding at a slower speed, stay to the right or a BMW will be up your ass.
- Watch out for trucks which decide to pass other vehicles at a very slow pace in the fast lane.
- Try to hook up with the local Harley Dealers or clubs for events or road/construction recommendations.
- Watch night driving for deer, boar, rabbits and drunk Germans.
- The best thing to bring back to the States is wine...

Have fun and take pictures. It's very clean as mentioned previously and you will have a blast.
Be safe,
MichDefender
 

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I just saw this thread. I'm stationed here in Germany (Heidelberg). I'm at work now, but will write more later -- wanted to subscribe to thread now though. So far, all advice is right on point. Oh, and it is urban legend about selling your bike here for tons of $$. It will cost quite a bit for a German to convert to TUV standards, and likely not worth it for them...particularly with how popular HD is here and the number of dealerships. Americans can buy one new through Military Sales, or used from fellow service member for typical used bike prices. If you're a HOG member, bring your card as there are a number of lodging places that will discount (check out HOG Europe website too).
Again, I'll write more later when I get a chance.

Mike
 

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Hi There,
when time gets nearer make sure to post here. If it fits we can certainly line up and take some cruises together. I am in the West, Duesseldorf area.

As long as you stay on your AZ license plate, there is nothing to worry about your exhaust and other stuff, well, though you might certainly avoid rumbling thru neighborhoods at midnight at full throttle just for politeness :)
Definitely no issue at all with drivers license, unless you permanently move over here or extend + 6 months or so (unless with the military).
For the rest, like others said, loads of HD dealers and HOG Chapters around but also Biker's points all over. So meeting other fellows will certainly be the easiest thing and gettimng around with English shall be no issue at all. Avoid the big cities and the Autobahn around it during rush hours, that won't be any fun. During daytime that should be OK if you want to see a few of them.
Selling the bike could be an option, depending how abitious you are for pricing. Roadies are reallly not that common here, they pick up slowly (especially the custom) but still very very under-represented. And as said before - conversion to German standards might turn the pricing unattractive. but again, it would all depend and a try does not harm, but you should consider and prepare return shipping anyway. In the best case, you just dont use it.

There are loads of areas to discover with all of them having their different driving charme, depends on how much time you can spend and how many miles you would like to stay in the saddle. Yes, Rain-Gear is a must, but you can also pick that up at reasonable prices over here.
You can start up North, all flat, cruise the costal side, sneak into Denmark, ride down follow the Elbe River towards South. In the middle of Germany you would have some medium sized mountain area, all green, some very nice cruising places, lakes, etc. and then you can certainly go further south to Bavaria and hop over the borders to Austria and Switzerland. If you like the mountainside and going up to +3000 metres with miles and miles of "Dragon's Tail" like roads - then the Alps are a MUST!
If you dont like to spend 800 kms on dull Autobahn from North to South, you can use the roll-on train overnight eg. from Hamburg to Munich.

Just let me now if you are interested in anything specific and I am more than happy to assist. Cheers from Germany
Jens
 
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