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Have You Imported a 25+ Year Old Motorcycle? 1989 Honda NSR250 SP Terra Racing

Dan 16


This post is in our archives. Links in this post have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.

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1989 Honda NSR250 MC18 Terra Racing for sale

Ian has posted these a couple of times, and like the ones for sale before, this one is also in the U.K. But they’re an unusual spot and this one is in very nice condition. Most states have more relaxed rules regarding importation for classics and this one falls right into that category if you have a spare £5,699.00 (or about $9500 USD) burning a hole in your pocket. If you’ve imported a 25+ year old bike as a classic, please leave a comment and tell us about the process.


1989 Honda NSR250 SP for sale on eBay


  1. Neil Neil

    Last month I brought in a Japanese market 1985 Honda two stroke street bike from Canada. At the US border I had to complete the EPA “Declaration Form” and used “Code E” under “EPA exempted vehicles.” That is for unmodified vehicles at least 21 years old. They are “…either exempted or excluded from EPA emission requirements…” I had to pay a duty of 2.456% of the purchase price and show a bill of sale and the former owner’s Canadian registration. Registration in my home state is not done yet. Because the Japanese market bike has an 11 digit VIN, not a 17 digit one, I’m researching the registration process carefully..

  2. Dan Dan

    Thanks for your feedback Neil. Keep us posted on how it goes with local registration.


  3. k3 k3

    Canada is bit different than Uk for importation. I do it a lot and anyone interested in importing a bike is free to ask me questions.

  4. jimbo jimbo

    I have bought bikes from canada and japan, both over 25 years old, both 11 digit, used the foreign title work to register them here in the US, did not have pay any import fees at customs on either. If less than 25 years old, take them apart in boxes and call declare them parts.

  5. Oh, I should add: importing was easy, registering in California is the hard part. 😉

  6. Mark Mark

    Best write up on registering a bike in CA that I’ve seen. If you are going to DMV/CHP, make sure you know where the engine number is. I didn’t and spent 40 mins looking like an idiot in front of CHP.

  7. SmokinJoe90 SmokinJoe90

    For those who don’t know this but it is possible to fit on the 89 only! mc18’s the gull arm and rear wheel setup / brake from an mc21 it bolts on but you need all the whole setup cept for maybe linkage n shock. I have seen a few bikes with the swap looks good and you ditch the funky 18 inch rear for a more common 17 inch.

  8. Adam Adam

    I have an ’89 R5K with stock swingarm and a 17″ MC21 wheel.

  9. twosmokey4U twosmokey4U

    You can’t register two strokes in cali anymore atleast not with a street title…unless there is a record of it with a title already….good luck

  10. @twosmokey4U: Not completely true. The age of the two stroke makes a difference. A 1955 two stroke from Italy is no problem. I also had no problem with a 1976 Kawasaki two stoke triple from New Jersey. I think if it would have been legal on the date manufacture it’s no problem.

  11. martin/dallaslavowner martin/dallaslavowner

    looking at the pics, I would say bike definately needs some new brake fluid 😉


    I’ve brought over a few bikes from Japan into Canada and USA for my collection and registered.
    Key is documentation no matter which country.

    There are lots of good companies that will take care of the shipping/ customs and paperwork checklist for you and this definitely makes it much easier. If you go about the importation on your own, there is always the risk that you are missing or forgot some paperwork/ document or another detail was not in order….is it worth the hassle? Worst case is that bikes are allowed into the country and they are destroyed by customs possibly at your cost, or you may have to re re route the bikes if still in transit to a non US country / Island like the bahamas.

    If things go well, everything works out well, but details and documentation are key!


  13. Ozzie Ozzie

    Jason, What a nice set of bikes you have. I just started getting back in to motorcycling after being away for a very very long time. I, too, am a Honda fan with nine currently in the stable. I have found a couple Japanese sites that do an auction and complete all the shipping docs for you. I am still reading the NHTSA webpage and trying to crack that issue. I agree that all your documentation must be in order, so very important. I wish Honda would import some of their other bikes into North America. I am not a cruiser kinda guy and really wish more of the sport bikes would have made it to shore. Thanks for link.

  14. zuk_skywalker zuk_skywalker

    I am in the military currently stationed in Japan. A friend of mine gave me a 89 NSR for free. The bike runs well for its age, the fairings needs some cosmetics. My hectic schedule over here does not allow me enough time to give it the TLC it needs. The military will ship the bike for free for me when i return to states in July. I was thinking of just bringing it back to sell, do you guys think its a huge market for old 2 strokes or should i sell it before i leave.

  15. Hellmutt Hellmutt

    Hey zuk_skyalker I’m in Japan too, take the bike back it’s worth it. I can let you know what forms you need for TMO. Super easy.

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