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Importing a bicycle?


Speeding Up
Jun 6, 2007
I'm considering buying a bicycle overseas and having it shipped to me here in Tokyo. Has anyone had experience doing this? I'm specifically wondering about the duty fees -- how much to expect to pay.

An aside: does anyone know of a Tokyo area bike shop that stocks Kestrels?

David aka TrufflesEater
bikes import

I have bought a few bikes back personally.
I have always said they used even if there not....no duty.
I have once bought a used bicycle on eBay and had it shipped to Japan from the US, I also self-imported a new bike from Europe. I didn't have to pay any duty fees in either instance. The customs officer in Narita did not even bother to take a look at the huge box I was carrying, just wished me lots of fun with the bicycle.

As for Kestrel: my bicycle catalogue lists the following company in Osaka as importer

=> http://www.athletecompany.co.jp/

Perhaps they do have info on which Tokyo-based shops stock them.
Bike Import

Hi David

I bought a new bike from a UK dealer this years.

I had to pay import duty to UPS courier service when it was delivered. The fee was not too much. I think it was about 3,500 yen on a bike worth about 150,000 yen. The courier service fee for UPS to deliver from the UK was about 25,000 yen and took 3 days. But I didn't have to pay the hefty 17.5% consumption tax as it was leaving the EU.

I think the major part is finding a bike shop which is used to exporting overseas. Many bike shops in the UK hadn't exported bikes overseas before and didn't know how to get the process rolling. When they attempted and weighed and measured the bike they came back with a remarkably high delivery charge of about 60,000 yen. Also, if you don't buy a bike from your country of residence or where your bank account is, they are also worried about an attempted fraud with the payment and will be reluctant to accept the order.

Just look out for the shops who have experience in international orders and it will be fine. But, I think, the best thing is to buy in Japan if you can. That's not so easy for the tall riders or if you want a brand which is not too well known here.
The base guys

David I would suggest you send a pm to Shay, one of our esteemed Peloton Leaders who works at Yokota base. Shay and Ken and the others are very helpful and can get you anything you want fromt the states at a hell of a discount and no questions asked or tax required.

Tell him what you want and see if he can help you.


I got my current bike (actually frame only) on e-bay.
US$400, plus $200 for shipping - it was professionally wrapped & I had no problems.
About 6 days for delivery.

As for "Kestrel" bikes... "Classic Bike Shop", on Chuo-dori, between Akihabara & Okachimachi stations sells Kestrels. I thought about buying one from there, but they didn't have my size (I'm 181cm tall).
They seem like fairly solid (and light) bikes, so you shouldn't have any problems - and they do look really cool!
Good luck!
rode a kestrel about 12 years ago. there was a batch that had some cosmetic problems about 10 years ago. nice bikes but the rest of the carbon world has caught up by now. I got my frame shipped to a friend who works on base. no hassles. But if I was buying a complete bike I would buy locally to get servicing, unless you are able to do all the servicing yourself.cheap one on yahoo auctions now http://page18.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/w9231667
flying with a bike...

... i guess it depends on the airline, but if you fly into japan with a bicycle, how much extra do you pay in charges? i sometimes see guys checking in with surfboards. so i assume you pay extra for that. also for a bike right? what do you pay usually? is it reasonably hassle-free? does the warranty still apply? the reason i am considering purchasing overseas is because many shops in tokyo simply do not import XL and XXL frames for cyclists who are a little tallish.
On the plane...

As far as I know, it's not the size that matters, but the actual overall "weight" of the combined luggage.
If the total of everything (including the bike) weighs less than 20kg, you shouldn't have to pay any extra fees.
But depending on the airline, I've heard nightmare stories of them charging exorbitant rates - $20 per kilo - ie. only being 5kg over the weight limit could cost an extra $100. Maybe more.
I hope this helps.
Depends on the airline

Ones I know (International):

Air France - 80 Euros each way
Continental - 80 Dollars each way
British Airways - Free! up to 23 kg. But you're only allowed one other bag, up to 23 kg.

None of the European airlines will take a bag over 32 kg (manual handling regs prevent this).

Check the website of the airline you plan to fly with. The info is usually in the 'baggage' section.
I agree on checking with airlines

I've not been charged on international flights with United, Air New Zealand, or ANA. I fly a ton and these guys are Star Alliance - so they may be comping me, but its worth a check.

Just a note: Virgin charge 10gbp per kilo that 20 us dollars or 240 yen over your allowed limit of 22kg. doesn't leave much room for clothes if you're coming over for an extended stay.
As the other guys have suggested - check it out on line before commiting to a flight, and watch for import duty! I got stung when I brought my bike over by frieght - declare it as used personal property and you should be ok.

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