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Old 01-02-2008, 04:17 PM   #16
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I started the morning at Forward Air in Aurora, Colorado, picking up the IT document. No problem there. The poor girl at the desk apologized at least five times for being disorganized when she couldn't immediately put her hands on the IT for me. She found it in good order. I headed off to an obscure building near Denver International Airport, home to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Port of Denver. I was ready. I had forms for the EPA, DOT, and customs ready, all filled out and signed, as well as a Power of Attorney to sign documents for my wife, who couldn't come along today.

I seem to have found the most helpful guy in the CBP office. He started out asking for the Bill of Sale and Invoice, the IT document and my drivers license. He disappeared for a few minutes. I was ready with the rest of the documents when he come back. He didn't ask for any. He just grabbed the stamp, stamped my IT, and sent me on my way. No EPA forms, no DOT forms, and no customs duty to pay, either!

Within an hour I was back at the customs warehouse with my clearance. Unlike the port, the warehouse folks were happy to take my money. They brought out the crate. I checked it over, and found it had several small fist-size holes where something had smashed through. I looked inside one of the holes, to figure out which was the front of the bike and which was the back. I asked them to load it back end first onto my trailer, so I could get the bike off the crate bottom easier later. If I thought there were lots of holes in the top and sides, you should have seen the bottom! It was a real mess. The crate last year was a mess too, despite being built from better plywood, but the bike inside was fine last year, so I was hopeful. I noted the damaged crate when I signed for the shipment, and went my merry way.

As it happens, ScrambledBen (you'll find him over on the Rockies forum) wanted the crate, and he lived only a couple miles away, so I headed for his place to dismantle the crate. Geek couldn't join us, but Ben and I made short work of it. The bike looks great. (Pictures to come) It is nearly identical to the one above, only the pinstripes are red instead of white. It is a sidevalve engine, four speed tranny with reverse, electric start and kicker. It came with the usual array of spare parts they know you will need eventually. Since spares are hard to come by in the U.S., Shao Yiqi is in the habit of providing a number of wear items when he ships bikes: brake shoes, a spare of each cable on the bike, extra plugs and wires, spokes, sidecar cover, a complete set of gaskets and seals, and a few items I haven't figured out yet.

We attached the battery cables and tried the key. The headlight came on strong, and the starter spun the engine over. We checked and found the crankcase full of clean oil. I added a few gallons of gas, tickled the carbs, primed the intake, closed the choke, and gave it a kick. Hmmm, maybe another kick. Nothing. I tried spinning it over with the electric starter, and it soon fired up. It idled well, and generally sounded good.

While it warmed up, we freed the wheels from the crate bottom. (They build small rails around each tire to make sure the bike doesn't move around in the crate.) When it was free, I backed it up so the rear wheels were off the crate bottom, and we pulled the bottom out from under the front tire.

After Ben and I got our fill of checking over every little part of the bike, we strapped it down for the ride, and I headed off to class.

I can't wait to get it home on Friday and take it for a spin.

PIctures will be coming as soon as I can get them uploaded, then I'll take you through the (state-specific, so maybe not so useful) process of getting the bike titled and registered in Wyoming.

If any of you guys are around Denver want to check out the bike before I head for Wyoming tomorrow night, I'll be near DU with it during the workday Thursday. Shoot me a PM.
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Old 01-02-2008, 04:23 PM   #17
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Sounds Great. You had a fairly easy day. A little tuning and a long break in and it looks like you are set to go. I hope DMV works as well.

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Old 01-02-2008, 04:31 PM   #18
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I suspect DMV will go just fine. The biggest hang up at DMV last time was relatively minor: When they tried to pick the manufacturer from a drop-down menu in their computer, there was no "Chang Jiang" there to choose! It's been added to their system now, so this time should be easy. (Knock on wood) I've been preparing for this process for a long time. Every time I'm in the DMV, I I joke with the clerk who helped me through it last time. It wasn't difficult, but it sure wasn't routine either. She remembers me!
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:49 PM   #19
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Black with red pinstripes? I like that combo. I've got to come over and check it out!
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:24 PM   #20
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Pictures!!
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:54 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironbrewer
Pictures!!
Jim's wish is my command . . . .

The guys at the customs warehouse use two forklifts to get the crate onto my flatbed. It's inspiring to watch guys work who are clearly good at what they do.



I arrive at ScambledBen's house to start the uncrating, and he's ready with a wrecking bar!



The crate is half gone, and the motocycle starts peeking out from under the foam sheets



All gone but the crate's bottom now. The bike is wrapped in foam to protect the paint.



The bike is unwrapped now, and whatever caused those holes in the crate apparently caused no damage to the bike. Those bundles still wrapped in foam are the second saddlebag, the pillion seat (which bolts to the luggage rack) and the miscellaneous spare parts.



Time to add some gas and see if it will start:



Better connect the battery cables. The battery lives in a dedicated box in the sidecar trunk. Ben is tickled by the pint size battery. My Austin America has a similar half-size battery. Shao hid the keys in the trunk.



I tickle the carbs to make sure the fuel level is right, then fire up the bike. I really like the exhaust note on these bikes. It's throaty, but nice and quiet. Dig the reverse brake and clutch levers:



No pushrods on this engine. It's a sidevalve (flathead) engine, similar to the 1938 BMW design.



The speedo on this bike is a bit friendlier than our other Chang: it has markings in both KPH and MPH.



This bike has Shao Yiqi's patented saddlebags: leather with a steel frame inside. They are destined for our older Chang, since it will get used without the sidecar more often. This bike has a brake on the sidecar, which is lacking on our other bike. The added brake cable would probably only add five minutes to the process of removing the sidecar (which only takes 15 minutes, if you have a friend to help.) It felt funny when I sat on the bike, as if the tank was wider than I expected. When I got home tonight, I measured. Sure enough, this tank is about two inches wider than the one on our other bike.



Old iron and alloy puts a smile on my face every time!



We tied the bike down well for the trip to Wyoming. I arrived home late tonight, and got the bike tucked away in the garage for the night. I'll get some more pics over the weekend. Anything in particular anyone wants to see or know?

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Old 01-04-2008, 06:57 AM   #22
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great looking bike!i'm glad you have figured out the import/registration process for the cj's.i have one coming from a different factory(re-builder)and i'm anxious to compare notes.all of the paperwork is being handled by the dealer that i am working with-greg at scooter bobs in w. va.mine is an afrika corps tan,military.i hope to have it soon.again,congrats on your cj's.
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:09 AM   #23
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How about some action photos .
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:43 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by princess jamaica
great looking bike!i'm glad you have figured out the import/registration process for the cj's.i have one coming from a different factory(re-builder)and i'm anxious to compare notes.all of the paperwork is being handled by the dealer that i am working with-greg at scooter bobs in w. va.mine is an afrika corps tan,military.i hope to have it soon.again,congrats on your cj's.
It would sure be tempting to just pay the price for a bike already here, or at least have an agent handle the legwork and paperwork. It can be time consuming, even if things generally go right.

Living in the middle-of-nowhere, Wyoming, I've never seen another Chang Jiang. I suspect ours are the only two in the state. It would be interesting to see another up close. It's been fun going over this one and picking out all the differences. They ahd a very long production run in China, so there are very few parts that weren't made in several different styles through the years. I get the sense the rebuilders use whatever parts are still good when they dismantle the bikes, so there are lots of possible variations.

Here's the list differences I've found so far:

different lower fork legs (new ones are chrome)
wider fuel tank, and non-locking cap
new head castings are much rougher
Knee pad in the new sidecar
sidecar rubber floor is bolted down in the new one, loose in old one
both the forward and reverse shifters are different, and kind of hard to find!
hand shifter is longer on the new bike.
Dipstick is so long you can barely get it out, as it hits the botom of the tank
Same coffee can taillight, but the old one is chrome, this one is painted
Speedo face has mph markings
MUCH brighter headlight on the new bike!
new bike has electrical components mounted in a "tool box" near the rear axle, while the old bike has them hidden under the seat.
pinstripes are in slightly different locations on the fenders.
new driveshaft is chrome plated, and a different style as well
new sidecar has a brake! bonus!
the frame has an unused bracket near the driveshaft that is not on the old bike. (maybe for a bike-mounted battery?)
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:07 AM   #25
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Congrats on the new ride! Very nice looking.
So do you have a total out the door cost with all the import fees, customs, etc?
What is the performance envelope like? Comfortable cruise speed, etc?
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:55 AM   #26
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Cowboy

Great looking bike. Congrats on it!!


I have been followint the thread. Correct me if I am wrong, the bike is $1500.00 from China and according to his website another $1500.00 to ship it here with all the customs paper work done on it.

So I could have the bike here at my work for 3k total?
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:34 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptRick
Congrats on the new ride! Very nice looking.
So do you have a total out the door cost with all the import fees, customs, etc?
What is the performance envelope like? Comfortable cruise speed, etc?
Hmmm . . . I'll admit I'm not certain of the total cost, since I didn't write the check. I know it's common for exporters to tweak the values on the documents to help their customers pay lower imort duties. Since my father-in-law paid for the bike, all I know is what I've read on the invoice. Assuming it is accurate, here's the total (for a bike that was purchased four years ago in China, not over the internet):

Bike + restoration +shipping: $2100
miscellaneous "Expediter" fees: $172
Customs warehouse fees: $60

Total: $2332 (can you spell "bargain"?)

As for performance, well, one Chang Jiang website says it very well: If you're asking how fast the bike can go, you're probably not suited to this type of bike. These bikes were designed as military transport, to move troops and materials over bad roads, through fields, and generally to get through places cars and trucks can't go. They are good at what they were designed for, but modern high speed was never part of the design.

They keep up with traffic ok around town and on most backroads. I would absolutely never, ever, take one on any freeway. The top speed (for the 22 or 24 HP sidevalve engine) is probably about 65-70 mph, but they can't keep that up for long. They are happiest cruising down the highway at around 55-60. If you order a pushrod version, they are apparently happier at slightly higher speeds, but still have only 34 HP.

In short, they are fabulous bikes for crusing around town and through the forest and backroads. They are not entirely at home on modern American highways, and they are completely out of place on any Interstate highway.

In my mind, they are much like an old VW bus: quirky, endearing, and capable of causing a shift in your whole outlook on the pace of modern life. I suspect your heartrate actually slows down and you become more relaxed when you spend much time driving one. It wasn't just the pot that made hippies so mellow, the gutless hippie buses played a role too. They make you more aware of what's happening around you in traffic, because you are aware that you are something of a rolling traffic hazard. You become more couteous as a result, often pulling onto the shoulder so people with high blood pressure can get past you easier. It feels perfectly safe to pull over onto the shoulder when you are only driving 55 MPH.

Cowboy screwed with this post 01-08-2008 at 12:45 PM
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:58 PM   #28
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When can I ride it?
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Old 01-04-2008, 02:30 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowboy

If any of you guys are around Denver want to check out the bike before I head for Wyoming tomorrow night, I'll be near DU with it during the workday Thursday. Shoot me a PM.
Darn, Ted, I wished I had seen this thread yesterday. I would have loved to have checked out your new ride while it was still local.

Congratulations on a(nother) sweet looking hack. Looking forward to seeing it regularly in the Ride Reports section...
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Old 01-04-2008, 02:46 PM   #30
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Hey Hakatan!

Now that Geek is riding a Beemer too, maybe we should all plan a ride to the BMWMOA gathering in Wyoming this summer. I'm planning to take one of the Changs (and hope the real BMW riders won't run me out of town for riding a replica!).
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