Motorcycles in Beijing help info

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Motorcycles in Beijing help info

Postby inbeijing » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:16 am

1) Do I need a motorcycle driving license?

Absolutely. You need a Chinese motorcycle driving license for any gas powered two or three wheeled motorcycle, of any size. In the past, there was a lack of enforcement. But that is the past. The past's lack of enforcement was especially noteworthy for the <50cc group and a MYTH started that you did not need a motorcycle driving license for those small bikes. That is not true.

About a year ago, the Chinese Traffic Code was changed, and it is now a serious offence to drive without a Chinese driving license of the proper category. There is now an automatic 15 day detention if you are caught driving without the proper license. And, yes, it does happen.

There is another thread about getting your license. Get it. More than anything else, get it.

2) What type of motorcycle license do I need?

There are three categories of motorcycle driving licenses:

"F" - rare for someone to get this, but it does exist. It is for the <50cc bikes, with a maximum speed of 50 km/h.

"E" - the most common motorcycle license. This allows you to drive any two-wheeled gas-powered motorcycle, of any displacement. Therefore, an "E" includes the "F" class (<50cc), but it is also valid for large displacement bikes like Harleys. But an "E" class is not valid for sidecars (see below)

"D" - common. This allows you to also drive a three-wheeled motorcycle (i.e., the sidecar type). The "D" type includes the "E" and "F" categories. A "D" license, therefore, allows you to drive any two-wheeled or three-wheeled, gas powered motorcycle.

*** A car driving license ("C") is NOT valid for any motorcycle ***

3) Do I need a motorcycle license for an e-bike or an e-scooter?

No, not at the present. There has been a lot of discussion about this because many e-scooters are quite powerful.

4) Where can I buy a motorcycle?

Through expat ads, including this website, but be very careful. Do your research. It is common for ads to appear for bikes that are way too expensive. For example, there is currently an ad for a bike priced at about 2,500 rmb that can easily be purchased for 1,000 rmb elsewhere. These types of ads are usually posted by people with only 1 post.

Through Chinese online ads (e.g., It is a good source to check prices. Entirely in Chinese.

From a dealer. It is definitely worthwhile to find one of the larger motorcycle dealers and visit it. The large dealers are usually just outside the 5th ring road. The dealers are high volume, with almost no room for negotiation (a unique feature of buying a bike in China) but you might get a deal on parts & accessories. I've never experienced the laowei price, although there is a "dealer" in Beijing that focuses on the expat market. That "dealer" simply buys the bike through a Chinese dealer, adds a few thousand rmb, and gives it to you. Just go to the Chinese dealer yourself.

5) How much is a legal bike?

If you buy a brand new bike, you will have lots of charges added to the price. First, there is a purchase tax of 8.9%. Then there is the plate price of approximately 1,800 for a "B" plate, or 25,000 for an "A" plate (these prices change often). Then there is basic insurance of a few hundred rmb, a road tax fee of a few hundred rmb, an agent fee of a few hundred rmb (see below), and probably a couple of other things I forget.

6) What does an "agent" do?

Trust me - you want an agent. The agent deals with all of the paperwork to get your bike properly registered, plated and insured. I have bought many new bikes in Beijing, and I once tagged along with the agent to see exactly what he did. Money well spent, as if I tried to navigate myself through the endless bureaucracy I would probably still be trying to get my bike registered.

When you buy a bike from a dealer, the dealer will make all the arrangements for you to have the agent do the paperwork.

Agents are licensed and registered by the Beijing city government, they know what they are doing, they are fast and efficient, and they usually get preferential treatment in the endless line-ups at the Vehicle Registration counters.

There are actually only a few motorcycle agents in Beijing, and it seems that all the dealers use the same couple of guys. The big bike dealers (e.g., Harley, BMW and Ducatti) add several thousand rmb to the plate price as pure profit. All those dealers do is telephone the agent, pay the 2n,nnn rmb for an "A" plate, and charge you 3n,nnn. Disgusting.

7) What is the difference between an "A" plate and a "B" plate?

This is complicated, but it is basically where the bikes are permitted to travel. "A" plated bikes can go anywhere (a few exceptions). "B" plated bikes are restricted to staying outside the 4th Ring Road.

The rule is that you MUST have an "A" plate if your residency registration is inside the 4th ring road, or one of the five major districts (sorry, I forget which ones they are, but Chaoyang is definitely one of them). Therefore, if your residency is in Chaoyang District, but outside the 4th ring road, you still need an "A" plate. Forget about the logic, it is simply the rule.

Dealers have set up a "system" where they can register your new bike in a company's name that is located in a "B" zone. This is commonly done.

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Re: Motorcycles in Beijing help info

Postby inbeijing » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:17 am

What is the difference between a Blue plate and a Yellow plate?

Blue plates are for <50cc bikes. Yellow plates are for 50cc and above.

Each of the blue and yellow plates come in "A" and "B". Therefore, a blue plated "B" bike must be < 50cc, and stay outside the 4th Ring Road.

Blue "A" plates are currently running around 8,500 rmb.

9) What documents do I need?

First, your motorcycle driving license.

Second, when riding you also need to carry something called the "blue book". This is a wallet-sized folder that has the bikes picture in it, as well as the registration information (e.g., VIN, Engine number, address, etc). You will probably need to show this blue book to purchase gas at a gas station.

Third, when riding you should also carry the wallet-sized insurance card.

Fourth, when riding you should also carry the Peony card, just in case you are stopped and given a fine (this is complicated, and I will try to explain later).

Fifth, you should have a larger "green book" which is a listing of the vehicle's ownership history.

Sixth, you should have the original fapiao (needed for transfer of registration).

Seventh, you now need a document that certifies the bike meet the new C-3 emission standards.

And several other documents are necessary. See what I mean? An agent takes care of all of this for you.

An agent will also ensure that you aren't scammed by fake documents.

10) What visa do I need?

Any type of visa is ok, but for a motorcycle driving license, the visa must be >90 days (continuous ... i.e., each stay must be at least 90 days).

To register a bike in your name, you need a visa that is great than 6 months in duration.

Your associated residency registration must be of the same duration.

11) What are the black plates?

Previously, foreign-owned vehicles were given black plates with white numbers. This was stopped a few years ago.

All bikes now get blue or yellow plates, including foreign-owned ones. However, to keep the "easily identify a foreign vehicle" system in place, foreign-owned bikes now start with the number 47. Hence, all 47nnn plates on bikes are foreign-owned.

There are still some black-plated bikes around. If, however, you buy one of those bikes and register it in your name, you will get a new yellow plate with the 47nnn number when the transfer is done.

If you see a foreigner riding a bike with a number that is not 47nnn, it just means that the registration is done in a Chinese person (or company) name. This is very common.
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Re: Motorcycles in Beijing help info

Postby inbeijing » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:17 am

12) Do I need a motorcycle driving license to register a bike in my name?

No, you do not. This is handy if you want to put the bike in some Chinese person's name. You have a motorcycle driving license, but your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife does not.

The registered owner does not need a motorcycle driving license, only the person operating the bike.

13) Where can I ride?

If you have an "A" plate, you can ride anywhere EXCEPT:

a) On the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th Ring Roads, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can ride on the side roads, next to the ring roads, though.

b) Chang An, between the East 3rd Ring Road and the West 3rd Ring Road, from the hours of 0700 to 2000, 7 days/week. After 2000 hrs, and before 0700, it is ok.

c) anywhere else it says motorcycles are prohibited (I can't remember any place in particular).

If you have a "B" plate, you cannot ride inside the 4th ring road, or on the 4th or 5th ring road.

14) Can I use the bicycle lanes?

No, and you could be fined. But this is a weird rule. A few times, I have had policemen tell me to get over into the bike lanes, out of traffic. But, I know several people who have been fined for riding in a bike lane.

15) Can I park on the sidewalk?

Yes. One of the great advantages of motorcycling is parking is never an issue. You are expected to park out of traffic. And it is almost always free.

16) Do I need a helmet?

Well, you are a fool to ride without one, but yes, it is the law. A helmet is required. But, as you've probably noticed, what constitutes a "helmet" seems open to wide interpretation.

In my experience, as well as many people I ride with, it seems that the police tend to ignore riders who are properly outfitted.

Zip around on an R9 with no helmet, no plates, on the ring road, and you are asking for trouble ... and creating trouble for the rest of us.

17) What about Hebei plates, or plates from other provinces?

These are treated the same as "B" plates (stay outside the 4th ring road). Most are fake.

18) What about fake plates?

Again, this is why you should use an agent. You obviously can't transfer a fake plate. And you don't give the seller any money until the agent can do a successful transfer.

19) Why are plates so expensive?

The Beijing government does not issue any new motorcycle plates. Therefore, you must purchase an existing plate.

It is a secondary market, where prices are the result of supply/demand.

It is complicated to get a plate, but essentially what happens is:

- buy new bike
- agent "finds" old bike with legal plate and scraps bike
- scrapping the bike permits the plate to be transferred to a new bike
- bureaucracy starts in putting the plate on your new bike

20) Can I just buy any new bike, call an agent and get a plate?

No, no, no! There is a list of approved motorcycles for the city. Essentially, this list has only bikes that meet safety requirements and emissions requirements on it. It costs the manufacturer a lot of money to get its bikes on "the list", so not all bikes are on it.

If you are buying a used, legal, plated bike, there is no problem. If you are buying a new bike, be sure to ask if this bike can be plated. Many can not be.

21) What is the 11 year rule?

This is a strange, but important, rule.

A bike has a lifespan of 11 years, according to the Beijing government. Thereafter, the bike MUST be scrapped.

The plate can be transferred after the bike is scrapped, and put on another new bike for another 11 years.

22) What about motorcycle inspections?

When you buy a new bike, you do not need to have it inspected for the first 2 years. Thereafter, it requires an annual inspection.

Any bike that does not have its current inspection is illegal, and there can be penalties that add up to a sizable amount of money.
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Re: Motorcycles in Beijing help info

Postby inbeijing » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:17 am

23) What if I have an accident?

If your bike is illegal, in any way, or not insured and/or inspected, you are in for a headache.

If you also do not have a driving license, you are toast.

Illegal bikes automatically mean you are 100% at fault. And since you are a foreigner, you are rich, and you are going to be paying a LOT of money. Even if you scratch a taxi, you will need to open up your bank account ... widely! If you brush some pedestrian, that person will win an academy award for drama.

If you are legal, then you just deal with the accident in the same manner as any other accident ... Chinese style.

24) Yeah, but I see unplated bikes all the time! I will never be caught.

Several years ago, this was the case. Around the Olympics, things started to tighten up. Now, it is very risky.

Enforcement is getting tighter and tighter, each and every year. Every couple of weeks I hear a story about some foreigner getting into trouble for not having a driving license, or riding an illegal bike.

Things have definitely changed. But hey, if that's how you roll, there isn't anything anyone can say to change you from being a complete ass. You're giving fuel to the authorities to potentially ban bikes all together, as has happened in several Chinese cities.
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Re: Motorcycles in Beijing help info

Postby inbeijing » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:18 am

Recently, someone asked me what the difference is between 3-wheeled sidecar plates and regular 2-wheeled motorcycle plates.

They are entirely different plates for entirely different vehicles. You cannot put a sidecar plate on a 2-wheeled bike, and vice versa.

There are surprisingly few legal sidecar plates out there, but there are plenty of fake ones, and ones that have expired. Most of the CJ750s that you see running around have expired A plates. Most were issued in 1997, and expired in 2008.

There are some, however, that were issued in 2004 and 2005, and valid for 11 years (expire in 2015 or 2016). There are also a few that have been recently issued (2010 and 2011). Very few.

Because there are so few legal sidecar plates (tiny market), there isn't really a market price. In October 2011, sidecar plates were virtually worthless because they could not be placed on any other bike. Then Jialing received approval for its JH600B sidecar to be A-plated in Beijing, thereby creating a market. But the number of JH600B sidecars that are sold is still a very, very small number. The "value" of a legal A-plate for a sidecar these days seems to be a few thousand rmb ... but, again, it is such a tiny market that it is impossible to say. And to move the legal plate from a CJ750 to a new JH600B, you have to scrap the CJ750.

Conversely, A plates for a 2-wheeled bike are running about 25,000 rmb. This is a function of the majority of people wanting 2-wheeled bikes rather than 3-wheeled bikes. Remember, on a 3-wheeled bike you are stuck in traffic because of the bike's width.

Like all legal motorcycles, sidecars need to be insured and inspected (annually). The inspection is rather straightforward, but some people don't bother. That is a problem when it comes time to transfer the vehicle, as there are penalities for not getting an inspection, and those penalties can add up. There is also some rule that if a bike is not inspected for N years (I think it is three, but not sure), the plate becomes void. Using an agent will ensure you get the legal plate properly registered in your name.
Be happy no matter what....


Re: Motorcycles in Beijing help info

Postby ahmed » Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:29 am

Really find what i want. Appreciated...

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