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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

Midwesterner here (Chicago) moving to the LA: Azusa area for work in the next 3 months or so. I'm excited to get away from the winters and a big change in scenery/lifestyle.

Have a couple of questions for you guys that I was hoping you could help me with:

- Good bike shops in the Azusa Eastern LA area that work on Honda/Yamaha (both are still under warranty, so good dealers would be welcome info)

- Unique Cali bike laws that I should know about (other than splitting and helmets)

- I bought my bike in IL, would I need to do anything special for emissions?

- My drivers license expires next August, what is the renewal/transferring process? Do I need to redo the motorcycle test?

- My fiancee and I will be new to the area (late 30s so we're pretty down-tempo, like hiking and chill nights) with no real family/friends in LA (although I imagine we will have Chicago visitors December-March). What are some bike groups that are laid back and welcoming for a couple of Midwestern transplants?

- I asked this in the 2018 forum, but I'll ask it here as well. If any of you had to haul your bikes across the country, what company did you use? I heard good things about Haulbikes, and Motorcycle shippers.


Of course, any other protips for a Midwesterner coming to Cali would be welcome.

Thanks!

-Eric
 

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Good luck on your move. Get ready for the high cost of everything! I got out of CA after 15 years. I was only there because of work. Getting out was the best thing I ever did!

On a serious note, So Cal has a lot of great things to see and do and roads to ride after you get out of the valley. Enjoy your time there.

Lane splitting and required helmet are the only major ones that I can think of off the top of my head. You don't have to lane split. You just sit in traffic! It takes a little getting used to, but will save you a ton of time and it is safer than sitting in traffic with everyone looking at their phones and not the traffic in front of them!

Nothing special for emissions to get it registered. No smog checks on bikes. You will need your title and take the bike in to DMV when you go. They will need to see the VIN and look at the emissions sticker. DMV will need to do this with all your vehicles. Make an appointment!! This will save you a ton of time. Most DMV offices have long lines. If you are a member of AAA, they can not do out of state transfers, you have to go to DMV. Be ready for sticker shock on your registrations!! My 2012 wing was over $225 a year. 1988 wing was over $100.00 My 2015 F250 pickup was over $500.00!

For your DL, you will need to take the written test for vehicle and motorcycle. You do not have to take the driving test. So, get the books from DMV and study up! Again, make an appointment when you take your test!! You can make appointments on the CA DMV web site.

I used Federal Motorcycle shipping when I bought my 2012 wing. Had it shipped from PA to CA. If you are a member of the AMA, you get a discount. You can also save some money by dropping the bike off and picking it up at one of their shipping depots. You should have one in the Chicago area, and there is one in LA. I lived 2 hours from the LA one, so I just paid the extra money and had it shipped to my door.

Cant help on the bike shops or groups to ride with. I lived out in the high desert above Palm Springs.

Good Luck and have a safe trip out!!
 

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I don't know if you have or plan on towing a trailer behind your GW but below is my rant on their stupid law that restricts your speed limit to 55 mph.



Re: Trailers and Speed Limits
You have brought up a subject that just infuriates me. :evil: Yes, I have been stopped by the CHP and given quite a lecture for failure to stay in the slow lane while towing my Kwik Kamp trailer. I left Fresno CA. with trailer in tow and rode back to AR. to visit a friend. Towed that trailer approximately 4500 mi. and upon entering Bakersfield CA on the return trip I was stopped by a CHP motorcycle officer. I know what the CA law is while towing a trailer but I refuse to comply with it and I told the officer why. It is a very dangerous law for a motorcycle. You are boxed in behind all the tractor trailers and can't see a damm thing in front of you. If you try and leave enough room in front of you then you have another big rig climbing up your a$$ and eventually he will pass and then cut right back in front of you. Also the slow lane or truck lane as it is called is full of chuck holes and ruts due to the heavy truck usage and full of debris such as truck tires that have come apart (tire gators), and other debris that has fallen off trucks. I explained to the officer that I have ridden over 350,000 accident free miles and being forced to stay in that right lane is an "accident waiting to happen". Being that he was a motor officer he fully understood what I was talking about and never did refute my arguement. His final words were.....if a CHP officer in a patrol car stops you he will more than likely give you a ticket. I thanked him and told him that I would take my chances. In my opinion it is a dumb and dangerous law. Friends of mine who also tow in CA have been stopped for the same violation and some have been ticketed. Sorry for the long rant.
For those of you that aren't familiar with this law you are also restricted to a 55 mph speed limit. :cop2:
With all that being said I think a lot depends on the following: Anything can happen on any given day. You may tow for years without adhering to this law and get away with it and then one day....Bham!
 

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Q.) Unique Cali bike laws that I should know about (other than splitting and helmets)

A.) Towing Trailers is an issue. Also when you cross the state line there will be an agricultural station. Don't bring any fruits, plants or vegetables with you. They will require that you throw them out if you do.


Q.) I bought my bike in IL, would I need to do anything special for emissions?

A.) Yes, you'll need to bring: the bike, the title, current Illinois registration and proof of insurance to a DMV Station that checks out-of-state vehicles. Not all DMV offices do this and those that do often have specific hours for doing it. Know where your Emission Label is (Inside of Trunk Lid, see pictures attached), as well as where the Engine and Frame Numbers are. See the pictures and pages (*.pdf files) from the Service Manual that are also attached. The DMV person has to certify that the emissions label says that the vehicle meets California Emissions rules and that all the numbers match the title. If the vehicle is old enough and/or has sufficient milage the emissions issue may not affect you. Here is a link to the form DMV uses to "verify" an out of state vehicle. It can give you an idea of what the "inspector" is looking for. I brought the printed pages from the service manual with me and that sped things up considerably during the rather clueless DMV fellows inspection of and for the VIN and Engine Numbers. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/forms/reg/reg31 In any case, it's not insurmountable, just a fairly significant use of your time.


Q.) My drivers license expires next August, what is the renewal/transferring process? Do I need to redo the motorcycle test?

A.) No driving test. If you already have a Motorcycle endorsement on your license from Illinois. However, you will need to take both the Car and the Motorcycle written tests. Do read the Study Guide before you take the tests. Pay particular attention to the "number of feet before" type of details.


Q.) My fiancee and I will be new to the area (late 30s so we're pretty down-tempo, like hiking and chill nights) with no real family/friends in LA (although I imagine we will have Chicago visitors December-March). What are some bike groups that are laid back and welcoming for a couple of Midwestern transplants?

A.) If you like hiking and you'll be in the Azusa area . . . take CA-39 into the mountains that are around you. That'll be just a start.
 

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I don't have recent info for you about the Cali rules - other than the pathetic TRAILER law - since I left quite awhile ago. But, if you stay out of the massive traffic chaos of ****-A and the Bay Area you will find the awesome backroads that is year-round motorcycle HEAVEN.

Otherwise, learn to lane split. I can do it but I hate it. I'm out there quite a bit and I'm not going to sit still for hours attempting to get through there. Thankfully, it's allowed.

Well, you're coming from Chicago so you can probably handle the chaos just fine...:wink2:
 

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Wife and I are in San Dimas, I’m Working out here for another 15 months and other then the cost of living and the smog I haven’t had any issues riding my bike, you can split lanes if you dare. I refuse too do it, if I was you....I’d see about getting an extension on your license at you home state.
 

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Great advice from previous posters. I'd add a few opinions regarding traffic: 1. Try to arrange your commute so you're going against traffic. I commuted from Westwood (UCLA area) to Chino/Corona for six years. With traffic 2-3+ hours. Against traffic 1-1.5 hours. I haven't seen recent numbers but when we lived there (2006-12) 75,000 people a day commuted into and out of the Santa Monica area. 2. Timing is everything. Avoid the masses/rush hours whenever you can. On some stretches of freeway it's always rush hour, but even then there are times when things move along at a good pace. Going early or late can pay big dividends. 3. Many or even most motorcyclists lane split, but I never liked it. Two family members do it all the time but they are 30 years younger and ride sport bikes. 4. I much prefer LA weekday traffic vs weekends and holidays. The commuter crowd know where they're going, where the exits are, etc., and tend to be locked into their routines. The weekend brings more tourists and out of towners who make the quick cuts towards exits, or brake hard waiting for a gap.

Azusa and the other foothill communities have some real advantages compared to other LA burbs. The 210 flows pretty well compared to the other freeways, and gives you faster access to the foothill and mountain cycling roads. The air is usually better too. Of course, the PCH is one of the all-time greats, and an early start will have you through Malibu with little traffic as you go north. Coming back at end of day, on the other hand......

I hope you enjoy your time in California. Our family's roots are in the upper Midwest but we love this state. The diversity of industry, culture, natural resources, language, weather (snow ski in the morning, beach in the afternoon), geography (breakfast in the desert, dinner on the coast) and all the rest continue to amaze us. It's not everyone's cup of tea but drink it up while you're here.

Lee
 

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I can't remember the specifics concerning the out of state registration and smog sticker. Look up the particular rules before going to the DMV. If the bike has more than 7,500 miles on the odometer you can have less stringent smog/sticker and equipment. I bought an out of state bike one time and almost got screwed on that requirement. You don't want to get your bike black balled by the DMV.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the tips (not sure why I wasn't getting alerts that there were replies) !
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My 2012 wing was over $225 a year. 1988 wing was over $100.00 My 2015 F250 pickup was over $500.00!
You gotta be kidding me. Here in Chicago, IL it is 45$ for the city wheel tax and $45 or so for the state wheel tax. $90... $225??? Looks like I'll be selling one of my bikes.
 

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Yes, DMV fees are high and many other things cost more too. All of that money goes to pay for the Awesome weather we have here in California year round. Today is supposed to be Sunny Again and approx 78 degrees. Not bad, I think that I may Surf this morning then go for a little ride in the local mountains. You guys have fun, whatever you decide you want to do. I have a friend who moved here from Chicago 5 years ago. He has plenty of gripes about the State of Illinois and said he will never return unless it is to visit family.
 

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Yes, DMV fees are high and many other things cost more too. All of that money goes to pay for the Awesome weather we have here in California year round. Today is supposed to be Sunny Again and approx 78 degrees. Not bad, I think that I may Surf this morning then go for a little ride in the local mountains. You guys have fun, whatever you decide you want to do. I have a friend who moved here from Chicago 5 years ago. He has plenty of gripes about the State of Illinois and said he will never return unless it is to visit family.
Re-reading my post, I was being a bit dramatic. I'll pay for my habit (I won't sell my XSR900, it is too much fun), sticker shock just kind of caught me off-guard. On the plus side, I just re-registered the GW here in IL, so I have another 12 months of IL costs.
 

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On the plus side, I just re-registered the GW here in IL, so I have another 12 months of IL costs.
If you do that, you just need to make sure you do not put the date you moved to CA on your registration paperwork. CA has a law that you have 14 days to register you vehicle after you bring it in state. I bought my truck in AZ and could not get into DMV until 16 days after I purchased it. I had to write a justification (first day I could get an appointment) to why I went over the 14 day limit or pay a DMV fine. The employee said my justification was fine and did not charge me the fine.

Just date your form within the two week period of when you go in to register the bike and you will be fine.

The 7500 mile thing is not for smog, it is for tax purpose. They don't want you buying a new(er) bike, register and title it in another state at a lower tax rate and then bringing it in to CA.

Forgot about the trailer law. I can see it in the high traffic big city areas. But on the open highway, it is stupid. I just kept it at 65 in the open areas and never had any problems in my 15 years of towing in CA. Even had CHP pass me on the 10 and did not blink an eye. Pulled my camper, utility trailer, and motorcycle trailer all the time. Just stay in the right lane(s) as much as you can and you do not raise any red flags. Travel in the left lanes, and you are asking to get pulled over. At least that is my experience. They are not enforcing it much anymore. Mabey for the new guys that just want to pull people over. I see tractor trailers traveling at 65 all the time when I was on the 10 and 15 freeways.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The 7500 mile thing is not for smog, it is for tax purpose. They don't want you buying a new(er) bike, register and title it in another state at a lower tax rate and then bringing it in to CA.
Well crap. My 2017 XSR with 3500mi and my 2018 GW with about the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well crap. My 2017 XSR with 3500mi and my 2018 GW with about the same.
Looked at the CA calculator and it is roughly $200/bike for the registration. Luckily I've owned both >1 year so I don't get hammered with the additional tax.

Also since I was living in IL when I bought the bikes I don't need to meet Cali smog stuff (the 49 state thing)
 

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Millennials say Cali, it is really CA. Calif. or California.

I'm sure glad when I got out of there a few years ago. Way to many of them.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Lots of good advice. Looks like I will need to get started at the DMV soon.
 

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Also since I was living in IL when I bought the bikes I don't need to meet Cali smog stuff (the 49 state thing)
Don't get confused with the pollution testing (smog) for passenger cars and trucks to the emission sticker regulations on bikes. For a car smog, your car get's hooked up to a machine and it reads the vehicle sensors and what is coming out of the tail pipe. You have to have this done every two years. Pollution control equipment can be removed from cars and trucks, so that is why you need it done every two years. Also, there are way more cars on the road than bikes.

CA does not require your bike's to be smog tested. It was certified before the manufacture could sell it in CA. There are a few current US bikes that are not sold in CA because they do no meet this. As posted, DMV just wants to see that your bike meets CA pollution regulations the year they were manufactured. Your wing is. I would think your XSR is, but find the sticker and check it. Like the picture of the sticker a few posts ago, it will tell you it meets CA pollution standards.
 

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Don't get confused with the pollution testing (smog) for passenger cars and trucks to the emission sticker regulations on bikes. For a car smog, your car get's hooked up to a machine and it reads the vehicle sensors and what is coming out of the tail pipe. You have to have this done every two years. Pollution control equipment can be removed from cars and trucks, so that is why you need it done every two years. Also, there are way more cars on the road than bikes.

CA does not require your bike's to be smog tested. It was certified before the manufacture could sell it in CA. There are a few current US bikes that are not sold in CA because they do no meet this. As posted, DMV just wants to see that your bike meets CA pollution regulations the year they were manufactured. Your wing is. I would think your XSR is, but find the sticker and check it. Like the picture of the sticker a few posts ago, it will tell you it meets CA pollution standards.

And if you have a Diesel pickup truck, you have to take it in for smog check. Ha, ha, I took mine in and the guy said to drive it in so went out and started it up and the guy walks out and hands me the same paper I gave him that he had stamped pass on it and said " you passed". I looked at him and he laughed and said, " The state wants to make sure you have a diesel engine in it and did not put a gas engine in it to get around smog standards". Your kidding? "Nope we get guys trying to bribe us with some pretty good amount of money to pass it and walk away".



And the reason I still ride a 2004 Goldwing is when we left my wife took control of the money, and came up to Idaho to find us a new home while I went to AZ for the Winter and now I know first hand what the Bill Anderson song Po' Folk means. :crying: But she drives a pretty good Camry now.



.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Don't get confused with the pollution testing (smog) for passenger cars and trucks to the emission sticker regulations on bikes. For a car smog, your car get's hooked up to a machine and it reads the vehicle sensors and what is coming out of the tail pipe. You have to have this done every two years. Pollution control equipment can be removed from cars and trucks, so that is why you need it done every two years. Also, there are way more cars on the road than bikes.

CA does not require your bike's to be smog tested. It was certified before the manufacture could sell it in CA. There are a few current US bikes that are not sold in CA because they do no meet this. As posted, DMV just wants to see that your bike meets CA pollution regulations the year they were manufactured. Your wing is. I would think your XSR is, but find the sticker and check it. Like the picture of the sticker a few posts ago, it will tell you it meets CA pollution standards.

I just remember the whole "49 states AND California" and some bikes (maybe older ones) have specific CA model numbers to designate that they are for CA.

IL has the "air team" and the techs plug into the OBD port, and then off you go (as long as you are not throwing codes). living in the valley, I can understand it is a bigger deal.
 
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