Spain. Testing Station mechanics Arrested For Allegedly Altering Documents On Imported Harley-Davidson Motorcycles.

In all European countries, many bikers have been importing their Harley-Davidson motorcycles directly from the United States and not dealing with the official Harley Davidson dealers of their local countries. In Spain, it is alleged that documents of these imported bikes have been altered to make them meet European regulations.

Mechanics and other employees who work for Spanish ITV/MOT testing stations (the equivalent of DOT in the USA) have been arrested and face charges of fraud and falsification of documents. None of those arrested have yet been indicted. Police is stopping and inspecting as many Harley riders as possible, checking their documents (titles, VIN numbers), with many having their driver licenses confiscated and being told that they can’t no more ride their Harleys.

Harley Davidson says that since 2003 all motorcycles made for the European market carry the code 5HD on their VIN numbers, while those bikes with USA specification have the code 1HD. Those riding with the code 1H are specifically targeted by Spanish police. Some legal representatives of these importing companies have even claimed that Harley Davidson España is behind the altering of the technical documents…While the investigation is going on, Spanish bikers organize protest rides… (photo EFE)

21 Responses to “Spain. Testing Station mechanics Arrested For Allegedly Altering Documents On Imported Harley-Davidson Motorcycles.”

  1. 1 alan Oct 2nd, 2011 at 9:44 am

    i think that one other political bullshit why a harley will be legal in the usa and not in europe i’m from europe and i know all about the rules
    what i say to all europeans riders take your license plate of your bike ride with out the plate and send the plate back to the gouvernement is time to do something about freedom

    alan santiago chopper

  2. 2 alan Oct 2nd, 2011 at 9:47 am

    one other political bullshit to make some money i dont know the difference beetwin an harley in the usa and one in europe just because the gouvernement do not make enought money on it

    i think is time to do something about freedom in europe all biker take your license plate of your bike return the plate to the gouvernement and ride free

  3. 3 Gas Man Oct 2nd, 2011 at 11:53 am

    That’s my thing. What is the big deal? What is the major componant difference between a US and Euro spec HD? I’m betting it’s not much more than paperwork, when you get to the nitty gritty.

  4. 4 Petter Oct 2nd, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    There is no major component difference on those bikes. Here in Europe the headlight, tail light, blinkers and mirrors need to be E-marked, as per European standards. Also the exhaust system has to be E-marked and approved. All countries but U.K have their speedometers in kilometers per hour. Thats about it.

    It’s just a load of bullshit, that’s what this is! Even the current legistlation for those stupid E-approvals, like people dont know how to make headlights in USA??? WTF?? I always thought that modern traffic with its vehicles pretty much originate from USA. There’s more people and vehicles in traffic than anywhere else in the world, so american manufacturers should know a thing or two how to make vehicles, let alone headlights and mirrors. But for that same bullshit matter DOT is not accepted in Europe in general, but if you have a vehicle older that 1999 – DOT is magically ok. Also if you’ve lived and worked in U.S and bring your vehicle to europe when you move back, it’s completely ok to have DOT-approved components. So it is and is not… Can you people believe this shit??

    Take my word, one day I’ll move to U.S and leave these communists behind me forever!

  5. 5 sollis Oct 3rd, 2011 at 12:26 am

    When this corrupt shit gonna stop,

  6. 6 john reed Oct 3rd, 2011 at 1:11 am

    You think that
    all europeans riders take your license plate of your bike ride with out the plate and send the plate back to the gouvernement is time to do something about freedom,
    I have a question.
    What happens if you are stopped riding without a license plate in Europe ?I don’t know much about European laws but I thought it was pretty serious

  7. 7 Petter Oct 3rd, 2011 at 3:45 am


    first of all you’ll get a ticket for riding without a plate, but you may as well lose your bike until you proved it has current registration, plate and insurance. After that you also pay for the tow truck and other costs for storing the bike.

    It aint that serious to ride without a plate, but on the other hand it will not bring us any good even if we did so. We can protest as much as we want, but fighting against multinational companies, lobbyists and European Union legistlators will take much more than riding without a plate. If we could only find a way to stop paying, because money is all they are after

  8. 8 Dom from Bordeaux Oct 3rd, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Dear all,
    You shall know that the MoCo is enforcing the customers to do absolutly what they decide what is good for themselves !
    From August 4, 2011 HARLEY-DAVIDSON forbade all their US dealers any sales outside the USA.
    And now it’s the bikes time to stay in their first registration country.
    H-D does more protectionism than any dictatorship!!!
    In the modern time of free circulation of goods and people, who’s wrong?
    We all await the clever lawyers to find out a loophole.
    Have a great day!

  9. 9 alan Oct 3rd, 2011 at 7:31 am

    to john

    if all biker to that they can not put all of them in jail and if the cops stop you in europe you dont stop you run away they do not the right to shoot you like here

    and i think is time to figth about freedom in this world
    everyday the laws makers make some new laws about our freedoom about our money and everyday our life is worse

    i’m glad to be 53 years old and not 20 because i enjoy my freedom in teh 70s and 80s


  10. 10 Vince Oct 3rd, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Alan, The French Citizens had a solution for government and heads of state back in the late 1700s. It seemed to reform government much faster than removing ones liscense plate. But perhaps times change.

  11. 11 bigalyts Oct 3rd, 2011 at 8:42 am

    This is a ISSUE that I happen to have a bunch of experience with. I deal with exporting and importing, Boats. Although there are the obvious difference, there is a very similar Issue. That is Money, Fee’s, Duty, Licensing and Dealer’s rights. There is (5 HD) issue we have to deal with and it is ( CE ) this is what determines the legality of being able to import into a Foreign Country. There is a Chapter that I can write about Importing and exporting. There are very good arguments that are made on both sides. The main Issue was and will always be about M-O-N-E-Y and not SAFETY. This is the Bullshit excuse. There are a way around the problem that the Riders in Spain have. The answer to that Scenario will remain with me!

  12. 12 Red Dog Oct 3rd, 2011 at 9:33 am

    So much BULLSHIT. And those who say it’s all about the money are absolutely right. I hope the Europeans find a way to get through this. I have met people from many European countries over the years at Daytona Bike Week and Sturgis, etc. Most times I have ended up swapping t-shirts that we were actually wearing at the time. If you think this might have taken place in a bar you are absolutely correct.

  13. 13 Pepe Oct 3rd, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I’m from Spain and yes, it’s a bullshit!!!

    Some samples:

    To change the handlebar,you need a project from an engineer, a certification from a certified shop and pass the inspection -> 600.. 1500 Euros

    To change your Wheels to 18″ is like the certification of a new bike model, you need a certification from a high technology laboratory, and pass the inspection: 2000…3000 Euros

    And so on…

    You cannot change anything, your bike must remain as new or you will be sanctioned and your bike retained.

    The price of a new HD bike is TWICE the price in the US, and the price of parts is three times!!

    Yes, lots of shit…

  14. 14 CafeSportyTC Oct 3rd, 2011 at 10:13 am

    comming soon to an eco-socialist country near you………..

  15. 15 Rinke Oct 3rd, 2011 at 10:38 am

    In order to sell bikes thru a dealer network in Europe H-D has to spend a lot of money. Not only the extra they need to spend on the European Type Approval or on shipping, duties and fees. Also they need to spend, together with their dealers and local representatives , a lot of money on marketing and promotion. Next to the variety of cultures, Europe has a lot of official languages and also each country has it’s own media channels (television, newspapers , magazines, internet etc.).
    Next to that the motorcycle culture in Europe differs compared to the one in the US. The MoCo is encountering a tough competition in Europe and a much lower market share.
    It seems obvious that H-D would like to protect their investments and dealers and they found a way in doing this by using the 5HD digits as a part of the VIN sequence stated in their information document for the EU type approval. Asuming done so (I didn’t checked it) this makes every HD not using the 5HD part in the VIN not in conformity with the EU type approval (even if all other components are the same).
    I am confident that H-D’s price point in Europe is not artificial high but they just need to protect their dealers and representatives in some way.
    From a consumer’s point of view it is very hard to accept that you need to pay much more for almost the same product. Unfortunately that the way it is.

    BTW this situation is also experienced by other industries so not exclusively for H-D or the motorcycle industry.

  16. 16 bigalyts Oct 3rd, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Everybody that is “Of Sober Mind” knows it is all all about the Coin. These Engineering Marvels that you are talking about is actually Moligation in several European Countries. Cyril is and has some Knowledge of this process. This is a very expensive and time consuming process. This moligation has even dumped its ways in some Islands and Countries that are under French Law.

  17. 17 Rider2 Oct 3rd, 2011 at 10:43 am

    None of this is new… people who have been exporting and importing HD and other vehicles (pickups, antique cars etc…) know the difficulties to get a legal license plate and pass an inspection in their country. HD has some really heavy new policies starting with imposing strict(er) rules to US HD Dealers on parts (see another post on this blog) and bikes. It’s all to protect territories they say.

    Alan is correct about switching plates and all that. However it is and has been dangerous for years.
    There is no doubt that HD Corporate is behind this. They have the power to enforce this. It’s also a way for the European governments (all of them) to get more money for inspection, TUV this, approved list of accessories that. That has been going on for years. Once in a while, they bust a bunch of people for bending the rules.

    Spain has always been a MAJOR hub of transit for bikes from the US. There are definitively a lot of activities in this country when it comes to “make the bikes legal”.

  18. 18 Petter Oct 3rd, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    It is all about money and greed and even more about greed. However it does not serve anyone for the better. What is H-D Spain thinking? That everyone would go and buy a brand new bike from a stealership? Or pick any of the three hugely overpriced second hand bikes they have for sale? Would never happen. They would sell some more bikes yes, but what would happen with other sales departments? Vast majority of the bikers here will spend thousands to get dressed like every other Harley riding amigo, order spares from the stealership and bring their bikes for service to get over charged, but they dont mind as the service was done by certified technician…

    If the local dealer cant meet the demand for used bikes, private imports is the only solution and after all will serve everyone. It equals more sales for the factory in U.S, because a large number of used bikes get sold for export, making money and room for the new bikes. It also brings money for some poor guy in Indiana, who has to support his family and pay his mortage, only able to do so when he sold his bike to some european in Ebay. It equals more money to exporters, shipping companies, ship lines and all other parties involved when transporting a vehicle to another country. As what should matter a lot on this side, here in Spain, importing bikes equals more money to the goverment in terms of customs fees, value added taxes, registering fees and other govermental fees in question. It also equals more jobs in many ways, importers, truck drivers, govermental agencies, bike shops etc etc. It plain simple does good for the poor economy we all are experiencing.

    Yes I know, motorcycle markets aren’t even peanuts in the global economy, but if something makes it better, even a little, why destroy it?? Instead of killing something, it should be approved and encouraged. I think H-D in general is heading towards communism with its new policies, trying to limit the freedom of sales with their U.S dealers. Real American companies dont limit the freedom of making more dollars for the parties involved! Fuck the factory!

  19. 19 Gary Bang Oct 4th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    To All: A few things to think of. California is a very strange state regarding registering Cycles and Autos.

    Anything coming into California with less that 7,500 miles on it and the owner is a resident of California and you bought the cycle in another state. “Good luck” in trying to get a title. California calls this a Grey-Market Vehicle.

    Remember the Cycle was made by the same Company and came down the same line and the only difference is a Vapor Recovery Cannister that any one could very easly attach to the Cycle.

    It Does not have the proper sticker on the frame and you can not get title untill the Cycle has 7,500 miles.

    If you lived in another state and you can prove that you have lived in that state for over 2-years and you moved to California they will wave everything and you may title the Cycle.

    Right or Wrong this is the law in California and as I am better informed this speakes for the rest of the World.

    Gary Bang

  20. 20 Troy Oct 6th, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    “European market carry the code 5HD on their VIN numbers, while those bikes with USA specification have the code 1HD”

    Is there a digit specifying Made in the USA?
    Is there a digit specifying Made in Brazil?
    Is there a digit specifying Made in the India?

  21. 21 Donnie Oct 6th, 2011 at 1:43 pm


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Cyril Huze