Picking up bike from BKK airport, need help with reassembly (front wheel etc.)

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by tido, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. tido

    tido Member

    Greetings to all GT-Riders!
    In my first post, I am looking for advice on how to get my bike - a Yamaha TDM 850 - up and running once it comes into Bangkok Airport from Germany. I will be clearing customs at Suvarnabhumi (temporary import / carnet) sometime this week and need help putting the bike together again (lifting up the bike while I install the front wheel, front brakes etc.). Perhaps a member can recommend someone from a motorbike shop with a truck in Bangkok who could pick the bike up with me in its crate and put it together in their shop? Any other suggestions are of course welcome too! By the way, I will be giving away my lovely crate (based on a Yamaha factory crate (originally for a Super Tenere 1200) which was modified into a luxury crate with 4mm plywood walls as in picture attachment below.
    Many thanks!

    Attached files [​IMG]
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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Wow, that is a cool looking crate!

    I live not far from Suvarnabhumi airport and have a trailer we could use to get the crate over to my place where I have all tools and stands necessary to reassemble your bike. I would hope that the customs guys have a forklift and can get the crate onto my trailer. Getting it off the trailer at my place could be challenging...

    Contact me via PM if you'd like to discuss further.

    Happy Trails!

  4. tido

    tido Member

    Wow! This is super generous & helpful. I now love this forum even more! Will PM you shortly.
  5. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Hey, bikers helping bikers- that's what it's all about! :thumbup:

    I just emailed you back and look forward to hearing from you and hopefully meeting you soon!

    Happy Trails!

  6. HIKO

    HIKO Ol'Timer

    Nice to hear that TonyBKK take care of You so my advices are maybe late already, but maybe they can help somebody else.

    I have received many bikes even more dismantled than yours. At the old BKK airport I put together many bikes, using tools that a local moto taxi driver went to buy on my behalf. He also went to buy oil and gasoline and helped me together with 5 other taxi drivers to put the bike together.

    Remember that the Carnet is not valid in Thailand and even if You can receieve a stamp that You have entered Thailand be careful because maybe You can have problems getting an exit stamp. Then if You are missing an exit stamp it will take long time to receive the deposit for the Carnet. Best thing is to make a T2 form, Temporary import paper which will allow You to stay 1 month. This is possible to continue at any custom office for one month each, up to 6 month.

    One time I have got a stamp in my passport where i guarantee 2 million baht for a KTM640,Suzuki DR650, and Dr4oo. I was very proud about the fact that the Thai Government gave me such a gentle credit limit. In 1990 or something I cleared my DR750S at the airport, it took me 8 hours, I had to fill upp 14 copies of a 3 page custom declarations in thai without any copying films available and then I had to pick up the neccessery stamps, totalling to almost 900 pcs!!! It was an experience....

    So good luck at the airport. Maybe You can find some info from my friends Blog http://www.moto1.fi/blogB.htm who cleared a bike at Suvanbhurmi two years ago.

    When I saw the picture of the crate I got nostalgic. Those metal crates I have dismantled a few thousand when I was a MC-dealer. Even if we tried to reuse the crates most of them went to scrap. anyhow more than 100 pcs 6mm and 8 mm coated bolts were left and reused from each crate. The sides were also made of thin metalsheets.

    I worked in 1968-1969 at the Honda importer in Finland as a mechanic. At that time we assembled new bikes in night time to earn som extra money. The bikes came at that time in wood crates. In one crate came 3 Honda Monkey (GORILLA) or 2 Honda CB350 Twin, or one CB 750 per case. To Finland the bikes very often came through Siberia via Vladivostok. Many times the train wagons were lost and found months later and the bikes were already rusty when they arrived. Later the bikes came through Hamburg by ship. Even the Honda Sportcars S600 and S800 came in wooden crates. We liked the wooden crates, the left over wood was very dry and we used it to warm up our Saunas.

    At that time the Japaneese factories had hundreds of motorcycle crate carpenters working at the factories, I, ve seen them working and they were very talented.Slowly the japaneese started to use metalic crates. One reason was that wood became expensive but another reason was that many countries didn't accept shipment in wooden crates due to risk of some ants and animals. That is why the wood nowadays must be pre homologated for transport or the crate has to be smoked at the airport. That is why I was a little surprised that tido had put Plywood on the crate. That could have been enough for the customs to put the the shipment in qurantine. From Us bikes still came in wooden crates, same from factories in Europe but they use stamped pre homologated wood. Some manufacturers use nowadays special paper crates, that are very strong and not so heavy.

    Everything this was a little off topic, but maybe somebody could find it interesting.

    And I continue off topic. The crate tido uses is for/sea transport. If you want to send by air you normally have to take into account that one cubic metre is (was) 155 kg. Tidos crate is approx 2 cubic metre and the shipment approx 250 kg. Therefore you have to pay for 310 kg because of the volume. In order to diminish the size of the crate, take away the rear suspensions bolt (easy to put back) and the rear end falls down. Together with taking off (or supress) the front fork you, loosen the meeter makes more than half cubic metre. Then take away the oil, tools, battery everything that you can get at the exit port, every kilo counts. Nowadays you are allowed to send the bike with battery, oli and even gasoline but the bike musta be approved when packed by an IATA certified agent. He check for example that the battery cable is loose and secured by a tape into the frame. Sending bikes by air is a little of "special sience" if you want to do it in a cheap way.

    I can tell you some other stories that I remember about the item. In the early 1990 we wanted to send our DR750 and KLR 650 from Darwin Australia to Timor. This was the year the Indonesia/Timor problems errupted so the safety check at the Darwin airport was tight. We had booked the bikes on the flight the day before, the plane was a Fokker and the freight door was 90x90 cm and we were told that we don't have to make a crate but no parts can be bigger than the 90x90 cm. So there we stood in the heat at Darwin airport, dismantling the bikes in max 90x90 pieces. Then every part was weighed and the personel was very "favourable" towards us.

    Then we had the battery issue, The batteries were style 12N12 open type. We knew that in Timor we cannot find batteries so we thought that we take them as hand luggage. We packed them very well in several plastic bags so there was no danger. What we didn't know was the xtra security due to thew Timor situation. We checked in att one terminal, were transported to another terminal with tens of army security. We had to walk through several metal detectors, on the walls were plenty of huge brochures telling us that any kind of batteries are not allowed not even dry batteries. So there we stood in the security, two guys with 1.5 kg lead together with 0.4 l battery liquid, airport security personel, the Aussi army, The Aussi Police some special agents. But they let us go on the plane with our cargo. My respect for airline security got a blow....

    In Timor we got our bike pieces and with the little help of som hundred Timoreese we got the bikes working.

    Story number 2 is actually not a airfreight story but anyhow. I was travelling alone from Thailand to Australia and in Singapore I wanted to go to Indonesia. The shortest way was to Battam Island, only a 30 minutes ride by a hydro boat but theyid that they cannot accept the bike. When complined telling tht I see that the locals carries tremendous cargos on the boat, they said that Ok if you can carry the bike on they will accept it.

    So I went to buy a tool set and 10 big bags, and in 8 hours the bike was packed in bags. I remember it was quite hot at at Fingers Pier (?) but I got to Batam Island, the local Customer Office invited me to stay at his house were we put the bike together and he even showed me most of the whorehouses on Batam Island. My Journey then continued Island Hopping to Bali where I put the bike on a plane to Brisbane, only using two woodstocks where the wheels where pressed together by big bolts and the front and rear suspenssion compressed by stripes. Garuda airline accepted the cargo and the Brisbane customs accepted the Carnet in the middle of the night.

    Then the last air cargo story. Some english readers maybe remember The Bike Super Bike Team run by Howard Lees. They were quite succesfull in endrance, Bol Dor, Daytona etc. They were 100% privatee, financed by Howard. The riders were among others Howard, Matt Oxley and finn/swede Vesa Kultalahti. They were very sucessful and they got semi factory bikes. Howard got married to a friend of mine who was M.D. in one of my companies. They got two boys together but unfortunally Howard died in a small acrobate plane accident 15 years. My friend still owns the bikes, a Factory Bol Dor Honda, a RC30 Honda an OM1 Yamaha racer among others. The bikes are partly in England partly in Finland. The Team still aranges memory races every year.

    Anyhow the Bike team was a low budget team. They didn't have any big money. Then there was the Suzuka Endurance in Japan and the Team wanted to go there. Howard got a cheap freight for the bike (I think it was the RC30) by lying the weight. Therefore he couldn't put any spareparts or any tools in the consigment. Any how Howard had many "mechanics" and friends travelling on their own expenses to the race and everybody was equipped with spareparts and tool bags. At that time the airlines didn't check the hand luggage very well and anything you could carry on was accepted. So there they stood in the check in 10 guys with two hand baggages, each weighing 40-50 kilo tools and spare parts everybody smiling like this is not so heavy...

    They made it to the race and they were 20th.

    If You are interested in the Howard Lees fantastic racing story on a 100% amateur basis pls go to http://www.howardleesracing.co.uk/index.htm. Howard was a very nice guy but he couldn't live up to Finnish drinking standards.

    Sorry for this long and off topic answer.

  7. tido

    tido Member

    Hi Hiko!
    Thank you very much for this informative and captivating post! I hope I'll have a smoother time with BKK Airport customs than you had in the 1990s. Many thanks also for the useful link to your friend's article. Will write about my experience, once I have it. Will be driving down to Cambodia as soon as I can.
  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Wow Hiko!

    Those are some great stories! Have to say that the process at Suvarnabhumi airport is pretty smooth and painless compared to some of your adventures!

    Tim called me once he was finished with the customs clearance and I gave him my full name and the number plates for my car and trailer so that they could issue badges for me and my car and trailer. GF decided to tag along at the last minute and the guards at the gate were "Mai pen rai" about her not having those documents and they really just glanced at my documents and they let us all in without any drama.

    The warehouse itself is typical of SwampyBoom airport- too small, overcrowded and terrible access down a dead end road that packed with trucks big and small, all trying to jockey for position to pick up their consignments from the warehouse... Ah well, TiT I guess... [​IMG]

    I really couldn't get out and take pics as I has to stay with the car and keep my place in line. I think Tim may have snapped some pics and hope he'll share them with us.

    The forklift driver who got the crate onto my trailer was amazing! That crate was a lot longer than I expected and designed to be picked up on the long side. I was starting to think there would be no way for the forklift to unload the crate onto my trailer but the ingenious forklift guy managed, with the help of a small well placed brick, to pick it up lengthwise and place it perfectly! :clap:

    So, fast forward to my place- took the crate apart while still on the trailer and then man-handled the TDM into my shop with the help of some friendly Thai guys. (Fook that's a solid heavy bike!) :wtf:


    Note that someone cable tied the brake lever? Good thing Tim had new brake pads in the calipers- had a piston popped out that would have been a royal PITA and delay to have the calipers rebuilt...

    Getting that front wheel back on was harder than expected, but we persevered and eventually got the TDM sorted! She started right up when Tim hit the starter button. :thumbup:

    Ready to Roll!

    Real pleasure to meet you Tim! I really do hope to come visit you in Cambodia soon!

    Happy Trails!

  9. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    That's our Tony !!! Always smiling and helpful 55555 !!! I hope Tim has an interesting & adventurous trip ahead. And another epic story & good read from Hiko ! Cheers, Franz
  10. tido

    tido Member

    After the smooth cruise through customs (yes, there was some legwork involved but all doable from 8-12+time for pickup), [Note to self: next time, go right to floor 6 of the Operators Building in the Free Zone and get your badge issued - and avoid waking up the guard in the Quatar Airways Cargo office while insisting that they flew your bike via Doha when your bike is actually being flown via Dubai with Emirates - oops - same same but different!]...
    .... I couldn't believe my luck getting all this amazing help from Tony. We set the bike up in no time and then Tony on his escorted me on my bike to the hotel. About 500m in front of the hotel the TDM stalled and I was unable to start it again. I knew my battery was quite weak - it had not been used for at least a season and wasn't keeping its charge well so that was probably the cause of failure. So I had to push the bike for the last bit - how embarrassing. At least a gathering of motodop drivers found it quite amusing. Next morning was well planned. Tony had briefed me on where to get compulsory 3rd party insurance (at the Land Transportation Office- in the middle of nowhere but luckily close to the hotel I was staying at) and gave me the contact details for red baron, one of Bangkok's main big bike shops. So I get a cab to take me to the LTO. All well until I get to the 'one stop shop' counter. There will be no 'one stop' for me! I don't speak the language, nor do they speak mine. Problem. Try gesticulating "Temporary compulsory third party liability insurance for foreign registered bike"! Anyway, they sent me to the 4th floor. Queue! Dam! My turn: they first ask me for photocopies of all my documents. Nice try! I already had copies of everything. Then they show me the requirements for foreigners to obtain a drivers license. No! Insurance is what I need! Anyway, they send me to the 3rd floor. Everybody is friendly but a part from mutual helpless smiles there was not much communication. Finally someone speaks a little bit of English. Insurance requires a Thai registration book, they assure me. Thanks to a GT rider entry I knew this was not the case so I persist ... to no avail. Then enters a game changer - an elderly Thai lady customer who spoke English ... well enough. After 10 minutes of mediating everyone agrees: it is possible: go to the insurance window on the first floor. Hello!? That's where I started my quest! The helpful English speaking lady even drafts instructions in Thai for me to present to the teller downstairs. I go down, show the handwritten note same story - 'go to the fourth floor'. Just as I was about to concede defeat the English speaking Thai lady from earlier turns up again. Yes! She manages to convince them. In the end I get 3 month insurance for less than 300 bht! Task 1 - check! Time taken: 45 minutes. Acceptable - except the taxi meter was ticking.

    Back in the cab (driver patiently waiting - actually taking a nap as I arrive). Another 20 km to red baron. I was hoping they would send someone over with a new battery to install it (because I know installing a battery in a TDM is a biatch!). No way. red baron is a members club - only servicing bikes bought there. (Tony had warned me that this could be their reaction when they're busy). I explained my predicament and after a while they must have taken pity. They lent me an old charged battery with jump leads. I returned by cab and drove my bike over to their workshop. There was no time for a complete overhaul but they did change the battery, replace the o-ring on my leaking fuel tap (ouch! could it have been leaking in the plane?), adjust carbs etc. In the meantime, I had a work appointment in BKK-centre and got a taste of Friday afternoon traffic there. I in a taxi made it just in time before the bike shop closed. Bought a few spare parts for the road, payed the bike and off to hotel. All running well. So much going on and I hadn't even started my trip! More later.
  11. tido

    tido Member

    So I left the next day around 8 AM. Bike running smoothly! As I head South East towards Chon Buri I start getting a headache that gradually becomes stronger. Weird. I hadn't partied the night before so I didn't see a reason. I readjusted my sunglasses and noticed that this had an effect on my headache! So I took them off and minutes later all was ok. What had happened is that the branches of my sunglasses (which I had never worn while riding) were being pressed against my temples by the helmet, presumably reducing the blood flow around that area - go figure! Problem: i didn't have any spare glasses and riding without was extremely uncomfortable as I recently had eye surgery. Luckily I found a gas station that sold a reasonable pair...
    5 hours later I arrive at the border. Gave my temporary import papers and passport to the customs / immigration office so they could record the export of my bike (I had a 140,000 baht guarantee on my head!). Then got back on the bike, followed an SUV through the border. Officers waiving friendly to the driver. The strange thing was that I was now driving through a Casino. As I got out of there I expected some checkpoint where I would have to produce my papers but nothing. So I continued on to the Koh Kong bridge (1200 riels) and settled in the City Hotel - very decent option $15-20 per night. Don't miss Cafe Laurent adjacent to the hotel which has wonderful river views and excellent food. As I reflected about my border crossing it became clear to me that I had a problem. I had entered Cambodia illegally. At the same time, I did not feel like returning to face the hassle with Cambodian border guards, plus being not speaking Khmer with a foreign registered bike, did not bode well either. Perhaps I could sort it out with tourist police in Phnom Penh? The following morning I was split - should I stay or should I go ... I would have flipped a coin but didn't have one. So I started driving direction Phnom Penh. Sitting on my bike I suddenly saw how closely this situation resembled Grand Theft Auto Liberty City (try entering Liberty City ...). By entering Cambodia illegally I already had a few 'wanted stars' on my name. That was not a good start for my Cambodia leg, especially as I plan to be here for quite a while. So I plucked all my courage and rode back to the border to explain what had happened and get them to stamp my passport. After 10 minutes or so they called me and said it would cost $20. (BTW, I already had a business visa); I looked through all my pockets where I had previously prepared a total of $10 for the eventuality, pretending I did't have more. After they told me there was an ATM just next door I conceded defeat. So 20 minutes and dollars later, I had my stamp - backdated too! No questions asked about the bike.
  12. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Ha ha!!! Funny- you don't strike me as the criminal type ;-)
    Glad you got it all worked out without any hassles.
    Happy Trails!
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Tony well done on helping & sorting out Tido.
  14. Franconian

    Franconian Active Member

    Oh no, I saw this thread too late. I am shipping out of Bangkok airport beginning of May and need to find a crate.

    Can someone recommend a crate builder? Or pick one up at a bike shop?
    Those metal crates would be perfect. No fumigation necessary and lighter than wood.

    Also looking for a shipping agency, as Thai Cargo does not deal directly with the customers.

  15. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    I've got Tim's crate :)
  16. Franconian

    Franconian Active Member

    Lol, can I have it please ;-)
  17. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Case of Heineken and it's yours! [​IMG]
  18. Franconian

    Franconian Active Member

    Thank you Tony! Can you hold on to it for 1 month? I definitely take it.

    Can you tell me the size please? Estimated weight?

  19. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Hi Frank, It's an oversized shipping container meant for a 1200cc bike. Sorry I have no idea what the weight is. I'll go measure it later and let you know the dimensions. Cheers, Tony
  20. Franconian

    Franconian Active Member

    Thanks, so it will most likely be charged by volume weight anyway. No rush with the measure.

  21. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Please help me, my physics learning is so far buried under the weight of trying to understand Thailand and its language, that I have forgotten the meaning of "volume weight", please explain this for me.
  22. mbox999

    mbox999 Ol'Timer

  23. tido

    tido Member

    Greetings from Phnom Penh!
    Glad to see my crate is being 'recycled' - excuse the pun... it is based on an original Yamaha factory crate used to ship the 1200 Super Tenere. I don't know the weight but for air freight I was charged on the basis of (l*w*h)/6000.
    Good luck!

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