July 11, 2011

Buying an SR in Thailand

In this blog I will share my experience about finding and buying an SR in Thailand.

There was a time when I was bike-less and when all I could think of was the SR...I even had dreams about it! I was very confused about my options...Green book (registration book), no book, what kind of book, how about the police etc....
Before doing the decisive step though, I've spend a lot of time researching online and talking to people "in the know". Finally, I got my SR last February, with a decent book from Bangkok and I'm in love with it.

So, to the book(s)...

If you ride a bike without book the police will stop you sooner or later and then it's up to them what they do with you and your bike. You might get lucky once or twice, but don't count on it. Farang=money. Anyway, some places are stricter than others. Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Chonburi seem to be the strictest.

Next option is to get it registered, but how? 
Firstly, a fully legal book is basically impossible. You would need all the documents stating you paid for the import duty (300% of the bike's value) and other various taxes, plus get an emission test done (around 30K), which is impossible to pass for an old bike with carb (unless you can grease the right hands of course) andandand...bottom line:forget it.
Don't despair just yet. You have a another option

You need to find a recycled book. That means a book from an older bike that states it's a Yamaha, 400cc and has 1 cyclinder. You can find such books for 25.000 to 35.000. There are quite a few around, especially from Pratchinburi. That's the easiest book to get due to "special deals" going on at that office. The downside here is that the police is investigating them and you might get into trouble.
The best thing would be to find a book from Bkk, but they're pretty rare....or other provinces, also not too common.

So, buying a bike which has the green book already or taking the bike to a shop and letting them sort it out for you are your best options I think. Just make sure to check the book before (Yamaha, cc's, cylinder, province...) as books can come in various levels of "genuinity". They will do their magic on the frame. The engine number on your bike can stay, but it has to be noted in the book that the bike changed the engine to the new engine. I hope that's clear enough...

Around 60.000 Baht seems to be a fair price for a non-registered, well maintained bike . With a book, if you can find one, add about 25~30.000Baht more. 

Once this nightmare is over and you have your book and plates, you'll be fine. The risk of being stopped will be much smaller. If police stop you, they will usually check the frame number only, if ever. Be aware though that they know all about this bike and stories with the books and a few 100 Baht can do miracles and save a lot of headaches if you feel the necessity arises. Although it's much better to have a book than not, if they do decide to do a thorough check, they'll find out anyway. Not good but very rare from what I've heard. It depends upon which police stops you: the local police will gladly close an eye if you smile and stay polite. Don't even think about getting angry, that's the worst you can do! The Highway police on the other hand is much stricter on unplated bikes. They can and will impound the bike and if you offer them some tea money, they will charge you with bribery, too. And then you're in big trouble.

If one day you decide to sell the bike, you cannot bring it to the DMV offices to do the transfer yourself. You have to find someone who is versed in dealing with recycled books and who will do it for you ( for a couple 1000 Bahts).

These are my experiences so far and I reported all I know to the best of my knowledge. I hope this can help any potential SR lovers find the bike of their dreams.



Anonymous said...

Very useful info, thanks for posting. How about an update? Any bad experiences 2+ years on?

Omega Racer said...

No bad experiences so far. I've never been stopped and checked, but then I avoid big cities like Bangkok, Chonburi and Pattaya.