Getting Rocinante on the road
Buying a motorcycle
in Spain can be tedious business. Especially when you try to buy the bike
on tourist license plates, you come from a country far away and you are
in the process of learning the language. Here's my little tale of my first
encounter with Spanish laws and business.
The gorgeous Triumph Tiger
I decided to buy the Triumph Tiger when I saw it in an ad on the internet.
After looking for what type of bike to buy for a few weeks, I fell in
love with the Tiger at first sight. It's a three cylinder, 900ccm all-road
bike with long suspension and probably the best looks on any bike today!
I had never seen one alive but soon found the Triumph
Tiger Homepage of Erik Astrup and read the opinions of several owners
there. Soon I was convinced this would be the perfect bike for me and
for the terrain of Andalucia. The Tiger is a big beast with lots of ground
clearance, lots of power and the height that suits me, me being almost
two meters tall. It also has a certain offroad style, allthough it's more
of an all-roader. The long suspension makes it a perfect toy on rough
and bad spanish backroads.
On our way south through Spain I got more and more eager to see one and
get the bike ordered. Our first stop was the Triumph dealer in Barcelona.
I knew that I could not just by the bike there and then. First we had
to find us a place to live, after all we were travelling with a car filled
to the roof with personal belongings, including a big stereo system(another
story). But I wanted to see the bike alive, so we digged up the address
and off we went, or off I went pulling Bente along. I could not understand
why Sagrada Familia was more interesting than this.
We entered the shop, and there it was, a brand new Tiger just waiting
for me to try it. It was just as big as I had expected and just as stylish.
I knew there and then that I had picked the right one. I mounted the bike
and confirmed my decision. I did not get a ride on it, though, as the
dealer had no trial license plates to put on the bike.
Next stop was the dealer in Alicante. I had spoken with them on the telephone
a few weeks before and gotten a price. We got there on a Saturday afternoon,
and to my great disappointment they were closed, not to open until Monday.
We left Alicante on Sunday, so my next possibillity would be Malaga.
What happened next was that we got ourselfs to Nerja, liked it, and hired
an appartment. It was now Tuesday and we had moved in allready, two days
after leaving Alicante. I proclaimed that Wednesday was a fine day to
go to Malaga, no-no why should we arrange the furniture or write the contracts
or say hallo to our new neighbours. All this can be done later, I'm going.
Bente understood me at last and on Wednesday at ten o'clock I was in the
shop, very eager to get service. Now that we had a place to live I wanted
to buy the monster as soon as possible.
"It's just a matter of days"
The dealer from Antonio Luis Motor welcomed me and we sat down with a cup
of coffie. I told him I was interrested in buying a Triumph Tiger and asked
for a price. The initial price was 1.440.000pts, which was the official
spanish price. But they only had a 1997 in Madrid and I wanted a 1998 model.
The reason I was opposed to accepting a 1997 was that the shop couldn't
give me a discount on it. Within an hour we had agreed on everything and
I placed the order.
Sort of the feeling I had when trying to get the bike on the road,
The price would be even lower. Since I was norwegian and not a EU member
I could by the bike on tourist license plates and save 240.000pts in taxes.
It was fabulous, the price was now at about 40% of the Norwegian price.
The dealer told me that all they needed from me was my passport. The bike
would arrive in 7-8 days and the license plates 3-4 days later. The passport
was not a problem for me. I have a extra seaman's passport and could leave
one for as long as they needed it. They were going to need it for much
longer than I first believed.
Eight days later he called me and told me the bike had arrived. I was
frantic, just got into the car and drove straight to Malaga. And there
it was, shining in the British Racing Green color that Bente decided for,
and just glooming of style and beauty. Bente was with me this time and
we tried to mount the bike together for the first time. She said she had
an exellent riding position, which made me even happier. I started the
bike and enjoyed the sound from the three cylinder, 900 cubic centimeter
engine. The dealer told me to hold back for three days and then the license
plates would be ready; "Just a matter of days now".
I hoped he was right. This was in the middle of January and I was leaving
Spain for work the 28th in the same month. I was going to be away for
four weeks and was desperately hoping for a week or two on the bike before
The dealer called me after two days and told me that it would at least
take 10 days because I was asking for tourist plates. I asked why tourist
registration took longer, but he did not know. I was in a very foul mood
for a couple of hours and tried the best I could to adjust to the new
"Er, we need your signature"
A few days later he called me again and told me they had some papers I had
to sign. I asked if this was slowing the process down even further. He said
it probably would, and I asked why he didn't tell me this before. He couldn't
answer this, but I jumped in the car and drove the sixty kilometers to Malaga
again. In the shop the dealer presented me with six or seven different papers
that needed my signature. This was for the Trafico(traffic authorities),
the police, insurrance company, and some copies and some I don't remember.
I looked at the guy and asked if this was it, could I go back convinced
that everything was going smooth from now on. The answer was, again "oh
yes, just a matter of days now". I left, not so convinced this time.
"Ups, Trafico need a number"
Some more days went by and I got more and more frustrated of all the thousands
upon thousands of bikes I saw on the road every day. I'm shure they all
knew that I was waiting for my new bike and followed me around.
I called the dealer from time to time to check if anything was happening.
This was a good advise someone gave me in Spain. The dealers does not
care much for people who don't bother them. So if you choose not to call,
you risk that things stay undone from their side. I finally got message
that something was happening. Trafico had called and asked for my NIE-number.
I said "What number was that" allthough someone had tipped me of this
as well. This is a seperate tourist identification number that you must
apply for from the police. It takes about a week to get it and I had fortunately
learned about it a few days earlier and applied in case they asked for
it. Anyway I had to ask the dealer again why I wasn't informed about this
in the first place. He told me that he didn't know, and he was probably
honest. Trafico was the bad guy this time, but I had no one to yell at
in that department and I had to critize someone, so the poor dealer got
the shit from me again. The dealer said, reassuringly, that nothing more
should happen and "just give it a few more days"...
"The insurance company want more money"
The date for my departure was getting closer and closer and for the first
time I really started to fear that I had to wait till I came back from work
before getting a ride on Rocinante.
I had ordered the insurance through the dealer and also asked if it was
possible to transfer my norwegian bonus. To my great suprise it was. Fifty
percent bonus was transferred via fax to the company and they calculated
the price I had to pay. The initial price was about 120.000pts per year
and it got down to about 80.000pts when the bonus was included. I paid
this in advance, according to the rules in Spain. The company won't issue
a proof of insurance paper until you have paid a year in advance. The
paper is offcourse needed by Trafico to issue the registration documents.
So I had paid the price of 80.000pts and went through the roof when the
dealer called me and said the company wanted me to paid the difference,
ie 40.000pts, before issuing the paper. I asked, with a not so pleasant
voice, why the hell they wanted more. The answer was that the insurance
company wanted the full price beforehand and then pay me back the difference
later. They had made a mistake and could not issue the little piece of
paper I needed so desperately. By this time I was steaming inside my head
and asked the dealer to call them back and make them issue the damned
paper, since it was their own bloody mistake. But no, they could not do
that and I had to go to the bank and pay them again. It was not enough
to pay the money and fax/call from the bank to confirm the transaction,
the money had to be in their account first. In Spain things are a little
No chances left
I had now lost the battle against time and had one single oppurtunity left,
trial license plates. Back home in Norway they would have had license plates
in stock at the dealer's. I could have mounted them on the bike and ridden
it for weeks while waiting for the registration. In Spain it doesn't exist,
or is extremely time consuming to get from Trafico. Trial plates would have
take three-four weeks to get. No possibilities left.
So I made one final visit to Rocinante, the future name for the Tiger,
and left Spain. I brought pictures and brochures with me and called the
shop every week to be a pain in the ass.
Two weeks after I left the license plates arrived, five weeks after I
bought the bike. Bente was in the shop and checked for me that everything
was going smooth and the moment of my return came at last.
The two of us, Rocinante and three months holiday
After four very long weeks in the North Sea, the day of my return finally
arrived. The next day we took the bus to Malaga to pick up Rocinante.
Helmets and garments were allready with the bike, thanks to Bente. A very
long bustrip and taxitrip later we stood in the shop, the bike ready,
the dealer happy, me happier, and we started it up.
We slowly drove out of Malaga and took off the highway as soon as possible.
With the limit on rev's during the first 1600km, the bike had nothing
to do on the highway. But I was driving my new bike which I had decided
to buy three months earlier, and I was wearing a smile that only my ears
stopped from going all the way around my head.
The rest of the day we cruised the inside of Axarquia, up to Rio Gordo
and Periana, took lots of photos of the bike, of the bike and me, of Bente
and the bike and then some more of the bike.
We had three months of holiday ahead of us. No jobs, no stress, just
us, Rocinante and a country to explore.
La vida podria sido peor!