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Old 08-03-2011, 03:02 AM   #1
kiwipeet OP
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** The Official NZ FAQ Thread** Bike hire, trip planning, NZ info etc look here first

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to the "Official NZ FAQ thread".

In this thread you will find answers to commonly asked questions such as:
  1. Where to rent bikes in NZ.
  2. Importing Bikes into NZ either temporarily and permanently.
  3. Rego, Wof, insurance and licenses
  4. The Ride. How to find your way around NZ
  5. Riding in NZ - Tips & General Info
  6. Route Recommendations - North Island
  7. Route Recommendations - South Island
  8. Immigration
  9. Flying vandals?
  10. Freighting bikes to/from NZ
  11. What kind of weather to expect and what to wear

and.. some other cool stuff... that someone else will do... Like:
  1. Great places to stay,
  2. Great places to eat.
  3. Our favorite rides.
  4. Ride ideas for a few days, weeks or a month.
If you would like to contribute to the FAQ and maintain a topic please add a post, if you're not a contributor please hold fire until we get the first dozen posts up and running thanks.

If you have a specific question that you'd like to ask, feel free to PM any of the contributors in the FAQ thread. Great questions are just as welcome as frequently asked ones.

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Old 08-03-2011, 03:02 AM   #2
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Renting motorbikes in NZ.

There are several companies that rent motorcycles in NZ.

To find them you could Google: "NZ motorbike rentals", or search the yellow pages for motorcycle rentals.

A couple of better known companies that rent bikes are:

http://www.aucklandmotorbikehire.com/

http://www.nzbike.com/

http://www.gotournz.com/

http://www.citymotorcyclerentals.com/

http://www.motorcyclesnewzealand.co.nz

http://www.nzmotorcyclerentals.com/

South Pacific Motorcycle Rentals

http://www.garners.co.nz/

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Old 08-03-2011, 03:03 AM   #3
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Importing bikes to NZ

Start here: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/importing/index.html

There are a number of steps to follow when importing a vehicle.

There is a difference between importing temporarily vs permanently.

For a temporary import you can get a Carnet. You pay a bond (roughly the equivalent to the value of GST which is 15%) and can keep the bike in the country for up to 1 year. If you sell the bike or do not remove it from the country, you forfeit the bond.

If you import a bike permanently, GST is charged on the purchase price of the bike + the cost of freight + the price of insurance on your freight.

If you have owned the bike for 12 months or more before importing it, you can avoid the GST. If you've owned it for less than 12 months the GST amount is pro-rated.

If you have paid for the importation, there is no obligation or restriction on you to stop you from selling it.

In both cases the bike must meet the roadworthy standards in NZ.

Ok, so what does all this cost?

Be warned there are lots of little fees and costs along the way bringing a bike in. In addition to the freight price, You may also have to pay
  • Port handling fees
  • MAF clearance and inspection
  • Cleaning fees
  • Customs or duties (Taxes)
This does not include the process of getting the bike on the road. This may include:
  • Brake certification
  • Repair inspection
  • Registration of a new vehicle
  • Road tax and a
  • Warrant of Fitness.
  • Insurance
For a permanent import you will need to register the bike. To do this you will need the brakes inspected and certified. If it has been accident damaged it will need to be inspected by a certified inspector to ensure that the repairs are up to standard.

For a short term visit (less than a month) it is typically cheaper to rent a bike.

edit: There's a good thread discussing the costs and expenses you could expect and wether it's worth doing here: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=702718

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Old 08-03-2011, 04:45 AM   #4
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Rego, Wof and insurance and licenses
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:45 PM   #5
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The Ride. How to find your way around NZ

The Ride. How to find your way around NZ, Maps & Resources


Everybody wanting to ride a motorcycle in NZ should get a copy of the New Zealand Motorcycle Atlas – 100 Top Rides, by Peter Mitchell, published by Hema Maps. It is a convenient size, has some good general info for the traveler, all of the popular biking roads highlighted & described including adventure routes & an ok set of maps covering all of NZ. If you have a week or 3 to tour NZ you can not really go wrong just linking up as many of the routes in this book as you can. This is available at most bookshops in NZ.


However if you want to explore the roads less traveled or any adventure routes (including those in the atlas above) you will need better maps as the atlas does not have road names, only highway numbers. For back road exploring I use the NZ Automobile Association 1:300000 (North Is) / 1:350000 (South Is) sheet maps as they have most road names listed. There are about 15 covering the different regions. These are a handy size, are cheap, or free if you are a member of an allied motoring organization anywhere & are available at any NZ AA office – found in most larger towns. The AA also have a book version of these maps & other map books with a similar level of detail are available at bookshops.

For the next level of detail if you are getting seriously adventurous you go to the 1:50000 topo maps from Land Information NZ (the government survey office): http://www.linz.govt.nz/topography/index.aspx The new Topo50 series has recently been released.
Paper copies are on sale at most bookshops & Department of Conservation offices & several digital versions covering the whole country at various scales are also available, eg. MapToaster or Memory Map or see the WAMS link below for a good online version. For topo maps on Android devices try the Outdoor Atlas app plus it's NZ add on or the Memory Map mobile version


Be aware that as with any maps, the presence of a road on paper does not mean that a) it actually exists in reality or b) you are allowed to ride on it. An excellent resource for finding out what is a public road or not is the Walking Access Mapping System or WAMS which shows public roads, public land boundaries, access easements & walking tracks overlaid on quick loading, searchable & easily navigable maps down to 1:50 000 & aerial photo detail.


GPS Maps: For free searchable, routable street maps for Garmin GPS units check out the NZ Open GPS Project: http://nzopengps.org/ As these are updated constantly by users they are probably more accurate than anything you can buy. There is also good info on the Open GPS site about topo maps for your GPS if you need more detail.


More adventure route resources:

A keen local adventurer has put together an excellent website with a database of great South Island gravel & offroad routes at: http://www.remotemoto.com/ This is a really good resource with lots of info, maps, pics & GPS tracks in a very easy to use format. There is a big variety of tracks on the list from easy to gnarly. It's well worth the effort to sign up. As well as the routes Remotemoto also has lots of other cool stuff like gear reviews & articles on many aspects of adv bikes & riding.

Another local website with a bunch of routes & info for the adv rider is: http://www.adventureridingnz.co.nz/ This site also has North Island routes.



4WD North Island – 80 Off Road Adventures by Andy Cockroft
4WD North Island – 91 Back Country Adventures by Andy Cockroft
4WD South Island - Vol 1, 107 Off Road Adventures by Mark Wilson & Ken Sibly
4WD South Island - Vol 2, 93 New Off Road Adventures by Mark Wilson & Ken Sibly
4WD South: Exploring South Canterbury, Otago and Southland by Mark Wilson
All published by Shoal Bay Press

The 4WD guidebooks provide a wealth of ideas for the intrepid adventurer. These books have a big variety of tracks listed, described & rated for difficulty, from easy gravel roads through to serious extreme enduro country. There is some crossover with the adv routes recommended in the MC Atlas & some of the info is getting a bit out of date. However these books are still well worth it, particularly for those with plenty of time to take in all the little side trips listed that you would probably not find otherwise, or those looking for more challenging riding.

The Lonely Planet Cycling New Zealand Guide was recently recommended to me by some experienced moto-travelers as a great resource for finding interesting roads & nice campsites.

The Department of Conservation: Many of the interesting tracks in NZ cross public land administered by DoC. DoC have a website http://www.doc.govt.nz/ & many information centres around NZ but the amount of information available about off road routes can vary greatly, some regions expend more ink telling you where you can’t go than anything else, others like the Waitaki district have an excellent guide to their 4x4 tracks.

…& finally there is this forum. We like helping out visitors so if you have any questions please start a new thread & fire away, but please help us out. If you’ve got 1 week in NZ don’t just ask us what the must see/do things are – you haven’t even got time to scratch the surface in a week, we need to narrow it down – tell us the kind of stuff you enjoy doing & seeing, what sort of riding you want to do, what kind of places you like to stay etc.

Cheers
Clint
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The wilderness, the desert - why are they not crowded
.................................................. .....with pilgrims?

clintnz screwed with this post 08-04-2014 at 02:47 PM
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:50 PM   #6
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Riding in NZ - Tips & General Info

Riding in NZ

This NZTA Guide gives a summary of the differences you may face riding in NZ. (Although you may want to ignore the part about avoiding gravel roads where possible!) We ride on the left, we have lots of small roads etc. For some more detail also check out the official Motorcycle Road Code

Here are a few other random tips & bits of info to assist the rider new to NZ:

The open road speed limit is 100 kilometers per hour, or about 60mph. On the nations main highways & major roads this is policed to an irrationally strict level, especially on the open straight bits & passing lanes where a little over the limit is no danger to anyone. All of Highway One is a prime hunting ground for the revenue collectors. Watch out for the white, yellow & blue highway patrol cars & for speed camera vans parked on the side of the road. Also beware of late model Ford Falcons & Holden Commodores with no towbar & too many aerials – classic signs of the mufti cop.

Tourists. Yes, in many areas you won’t be the only one looking at the scenery instead of the road. Trouble is the others might have forgotten where they are supposed to be going & which side of the road they are supposed to drive on. It is not unusual to come around a corner in some scenic areas & find a campervan stopped in the middle of the road. Watch out for random maneuvers near intersections & scenic lay bys.

Keep left! Especially on the unmarked & gravel back roads. Most of our scenic back roads serve as access to forests & farms so while there may be almost no traffic it is prudent to imagine a full size, fully loaded, truck & trailer coming around every blind corner.

Animals. Rural NZ roads are often a veritable zoo of free range cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, goats, turkeys & the odd deer to name just a few. Sheep in particular can be rather suicidal; keep an eye out for things lurking in the verges, slow right down if animals are present & give them plenty of space. If a farmer is droving stock down the road give them as much space as possible, if they are going in the opposite direction & space is limited it is usually best to move as far to one side as possible, stop, & turn off the bike until they have passed.

Cook Strait Ferry: There are two ferry companies crossing between the North & South Islands; Bluebridge http://www.bluebridge.co.nz & Interislander www.interislander.co.nzThe crossing takes 3-4 hours. The strait itself can be a very rough stretch of water so lash your bike down well with the rope supplied or take some good tie down straps if you can’t do knots.

Route Recommendations follow. Before doing anything labeled ‘Gnarly’ ask for local advice, or start a thread on here to get some info. The gnarly routes will need some combination of a light bike, knobbly tyres, dry weather, navigational ability & riding skillz.

Cheers
Clint
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The wilderness, the desert - why are they not crowded
.................................................. .....with pilgrims?

clintnz screwed with this post 05-06-2013 at 09:12 PM
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:55 PM   #7
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Route Recommendations - North Island

These are currently just a few off the top of my head, others will have far more knowledge of some areas, so if you want to revise & expand on an area's rides, please post up in this thread & I will paste in your contribution.

Northland. There is some great riding North of Auckland, especially if you enjoy the blacktop as much as the dirt. Simply hugging the coast up one side & back down the other yields a pretty good ride. The section through the huge Kauri trees of the Waipoua Forest is not to be missed. At the top you can ride 90 mile beach – actually closer to 90 km & usually fairly easy going for any bike.

Coromandel. Simple. Ride the lot. Hwy 25 which loops around the peninsula is a superb road ride, then you have the gravel, the 309 road & Tapu – Coroglen road crossing over the ranges & the roads up either side to the tip will also put a grin on your face. If you like beaches the eastern side of the Coromandel is for you.

East Coast. If continuing on from Coromandel with time to spare it is a good idea to divert down to Rotorua via the Pyes Pa Rd, then continue east around the lakes on Hwy 30. Gas up at Opotiki before heading out on Hwy 35 around East Cape, this is one of the islands finest road rides, 300+ km of scenic twisty goodness. Beware of wandering farm animals & rugged tarmac. From Gisborne you can return north via Hwy 2 & the Waioeka Gorge, another great road ride, adventurous riders should turn off part way at Matawai for the steep, narrow, rugged gravel of the old Motu Road.
Otherwise take the inland route through to Wairoa. From there the intrepid rider can & should head back west via 100km of gravel & Lake Waikaremoana in the native forest of the Urewera National Park. Alternately staying on Hwy 2 down the coast will treat you to more twisty fun on the way to Napier.


West Coast. The edge of the island south of Auckland is the place for those who want to get off the beaten track. Sticking to the coast as much as possible down to the surf town of Raglan, on to the fishing villages of Kawhia then Marokopa gives a scenic & varied route with plenty of interesting gravel roads & isolated beaches. From Awakino the coast road is all blacktop but still a great ride down to New Plymouth & around Mt Taranaki to Wanganui. The web of inland gravel roads down through this area are also worthy of exploration, particularly the likes of the Moki & Kiwi roads with their tunnels.

Central NI. From the volcanoes at the Island’s centre the best options, depending on direction, are:
East, head over the Napier Taihape Rd – almost all blacktop now but a fine ride with little traffic over the hills to Hawke’s Bay.
North-West, take Kakaho Rd from the western shore of Lake Taupo through the majestic Pureora Forest.
West. Tackle the gnarly 42 Traverse if you dare, then go to Tauramanui & on down the curvy delights of Highway 43 to Whangamomona & it’s legendary pub. The Old Whangamomona Rd is a gnarly option starting out the back of the pub. At National Park Village Fishers Track is another neat mildly gnarly route.
South. The scenery & history of the Whanganui River Road make it the first choice but the twisty tar of Highway 4 & the gravel of the Whangaehu & Turakina Valleys are all good rides too.

South East. Linking together all the coastal backroads down the East Coast from Napier makes for a good ride. The all tarmac run down through Porangahau, Wimbledon & Pongaroa is fantastic, be sure to stop in at some of the character filled pubs along the way. The many gravel diversions out to the coast are also good.

South. The road out to Cape Palliser is very interesting & worth the return trip from Lake Ferry. The section of Highway 2 over the Rimutaka hill is good twisty tarmac fun. Heading over to the other side of the island the tarmac but very narrow & twisty Akatarawa Rd provides a cool alternate route into Wellington between Waikanae & the Hutt Valley

Cheers
Clint
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The wilderness, the desert - why are they not crowded
.................................................. .....with pilgrims?

clintnz screwed with this post 03-26-2012 at 01:27 PM
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:00 PM   #8
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Route Recommendations - South Island

Route Recommendations South Island. As with the north, post up a revised paragraph for your area if you can expand on the below info.

Many routes in the south are affected by snow in winter, usually only briefly in the case of main roads, but some of the adventure routes will be shut for the winter.

Nelson Marlborough. It’s all good really.

Road riders will enjoy the twisty Queen Charlotte Drive from Picton to Havelock, the Takaka Hill over to Golden Bay, the Buller Gorge out to the West Coast & even Highway One down the Kaikoura Coast is pretty good.
On the dirt side, around the Marlborough sounds there is the road east out of Picton to Port Underwood & Rarangi, & the fine views of the road to French Pass. From Golden Bay the dead end road out around Whanganui Inlet on the West Coast is a good one for those who like to get off the beaten path. For the keen gravel rider heading south-west take the gnarly Porika Track from the Howard Valley to Lake Rotoroa, then the cruisy Braeburn Track to Murchison, then the Maruia Saddle Road out to Highway 65.
The gravel junkie can also head south via either the easy Molesworth, from the Awatere Valley, or the rougher Rainbow from near St Arnaud, both ending up at Hanmer Springs. Both these tracks are seasonally closed & a fee may apply so check first with the Hanmer Springs info centre.

West Coast.

The road ride down Highway 6 is rated as one of the best in the world for good reason. The dead end side trip up to Karamea on Highway 67 is also well worth doing. If you like it gnarly turn off at New Creek in the Buller Gorge & head out to Denniston on the pylon road. There is also a maze of gnarly old gold mining tracks to explore in the Reefton area.
At the southern end of the coast it is a nice side trip out to the end of the line at the Cascade River. The Haast Pass over into Otago is another great road ride.

Canterbury.

Both the Lewis Pass & Arthurs pass are good scenic road rides. The detour off Highway 73 to Lake Coleridge & the Rakaia Gorge is a nice gravel diversion. Banks Peninsula is not to be missed with a network of twisty & scenic tar & gravel roads. Lees Valley in the hills behind Rangiora is a great ride but there is a potentially gnarly river crossing to be negotiated. Traveling south from Christchurch, avoid Highway One, follow the signs for the Inland Scenic Route.

Mackenzie Country etc

All of Highway 8 down into Otago is a nice road ride. Take the short side trip up to the Mt John observatory at Tekapo for a twisty hillclimb & great views.

For some gravel, from Burkes Pass on Highway 8 head over the Mackenzie Pass then either down the Hakataramea Valley Road (the ‘Haka Track’) or down to Black Forest Station on the edge of Lake Benmore where for a small fee you can ride the very scenic pylon track down to the Benmore Dam. Once in the Waitaki Valley the dirt traveler can continue south via Danseys Pass to Naseby, or from Omarama over the mildly gnarly Omarama Saddle Track to St Bathans.

Otago – Fiordland

Lots of great road riding in this area, standouts are the Crown Range from Wanaka to Queenstown, Glenorchy to Kinloch on the Lake Wakatipu shore & the spectacular Milford Sound Road. Out on the East Coast the Otago Peninsula is a neat twisty side trip.

Dirt/Gravel: The Thomson Gorge Road is a neat crossing from Omakau in the Maniototo over to Bendigo towards Wanaka. Good side trips out of Queenstown include the Skippers Canyon, & the skifield roads all provide some fun & views. The gnarly splash up the Arrow River to Macetown is big fun in summer. The most adventurous way south out of Queenstown is to load your bike on the TSS Earnslaw & steam across the lake to Walter Peak Station, leave the tourists behind & ride off on the remote gravel roads towards Te Anau with a side trip up to the Mavora Lakes. Another iconic route is the Nevis Road from Bannockburn to Garston, many stream crossings make it fun in summer but caution is required after rain. The Old Dunstan Trail from Moa Creek near Alexandra south-east to Clarks Junction is a great dirt road. Crossing the Dunstan is the Onslow Road from Patearoa to Roxburgh, another isolated, scenic dirt road through the wide open tussock country.


Southland

Highway 92 around the Catlins is a good road ride on a spectacular coast. Make a pilgrimmage to Oreti Beach where Burt Munro created the worlds fastest Indian. Need more input from the locals on rides in this area.

Cheers
Clint
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:21 AM   #9
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Immigrating to NZ

placeholder.... more to come!
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:11 AM   #10
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Laugh Kea damage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovin' it Strom
The wife and I are heading down there in March 2012 and the place we're renting from "NZBike.com" was saying Kea damage isn't covered. How much damage can a Kea do? What do they tear up and what are some easy ways to prevent it?

Just tips on things us kooks from the USA wonder about since the most damage our birds do to bikes is poo on them.

Thanks for the info your putting out there.
Great question!

Kea's are the worlds only alpine parrot. They're large, getting up around 50cm in size. They're beautiful, incredibly intelligent and always curious. However they're probably best known for being mischievous, tenacious little vandals. Think of them as a self propelled can opener with an attitude.

They love a challenge and love getting their beaks and claws into anything chewy. They commonly pull the rubber blades off car windscreen wipers, and even try pulling out the rubber seals that hold windscreens in place.

You think i'm kidding? Check out this video:



Although they might have been helped a bit in the above video, the next one is genuine (but i can't embed it): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMLpPoOeays. For more examples hop on youtube and search for "Kea".

Keep in mind though they are rare and you will only find them in a few locations. There's more information about them including a handy map of where you're likely to find them on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kea

In areas where they have become accustomed to people they've become extremely bold. You're not supposed to feed them, but people invariably have... and so they're on the lookout for food... if they can't find anything to eat then they'll find something to chew instead to amuse themselves.

Q: What do they tear up?
A: Anything they can get their beak into (And there are very few things they can't get their beak into), and they like chewy things. If you left a crash helmet locked to your bike, expect the rubber trim to be missing when you get back or the lining to be ripped. For the bike itself, the seat cover is probably the most susceptible.

Q: What are some easy ways to prevent it?"
A: A shotgun would probably work pretty well, but since they're protected, the Department of Conservation wouldn't be very amused. What are you allowed to do? You can shoo them away if you're standing near your gear.

If you're going to leave a bike unattended. If possible, cover or lock away anything loose. Personally I'd try and carry any expensive gear with me. Putting a bike-cover on wouldn't be a silly idea if you were carrying one.

They hang about in small flocks ( a mob or gang would be a better description) of up to a dozen, and can probably do as much damage to your car/bike/leather jacket/helmet/luggage as a dozen 4 year olds experimenting with scissors and screwdrivers.

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Old 09-01-2011, 10:18 AM   #11
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So, while there are some excellent links and tips here, I don;t see any recommended shipping companies. I'm looking at shipping a couple of bikes down there along with tools and stuff, and am having some trouble finding a shipping or freight company that will give me an honest quote.

Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:27 PM   #12
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Motorcycle Shipping to/from NZ

Quote:
Originally Posted by hilslamer View Post
So, while there are some excellent links and tips here, I don;t see any recommended shipping companies. I'm looking at shipping a couple of bikes down there along with tools and stuff, and am having some trouble finding a shipping or freight company that will give me an honest quote.

Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!
I have used Go Logistics to ship bikes to Oz & back & found them the most helpful & comprehensible of all the shipping companies I contacted for a quote. They also have experience shipping bikes elsewhere in the world.

Get Routed offer a specialist motorcycle shipping service, no crate required, but on a set schedule & only to certain destinations.

I will expand on this post some more when I have time, if anyone has any good info to add please fire me a PM.

Cheers
Clint
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:51 PM   #13
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Not all who have used Get Routed have been happy with the experiance, I for one will never, ever use them again.
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:43 PM   #14
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Where/how does one park the bike typically in NZ? I know some parts of the world want you in a car space, others anywhere out of the way, or anywhere but a full car space...
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Old 11-13-2011, 06:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovin' it Strom View Post
Where/how does one park the bike typically in NZ?
Full car space, but there are also bike-only places you may use. No footpath parking.
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