This is a consolidation of information posted on this site and others, as well as my own experiences/opinions. It will be updated as necessary and should you have any comments/questions/suggestions feel free to join the thread. I hope it helps!
1. What to ride?
2. What to wear?
3. Who rides and where?
7. Importing a motorcycle
11. Roadside assistance/towing
12. Renting a motorcycle
13. Bike wash
15. Where to find bikes/gear/accessories/mechanics
16. Links/online stores/extra reading
1. What to ride?
Hong Kong has an average speed limit of 50kph, with the highest being 110kph. Police may fine you if you are above 10kph higher than the limit or as a learner/probationary rider if you go above 70kph (even when the limit is higher). You will encounter a lot of traffic, slopes, blind turns, rough roads and speed cameras. There are few motorways and straights (without cameras) to enjoy high speeds. As a general guideline, a 250cc bike is good for fuel efficiency and general travel and will be the best option for a new learner - the Ninja 250/300 is a popular choice that offers more power than others within safe limits, however you may want something old and unfaired (naked bike-e.g. Honda VTR 250) as you will most likely drop it at some point in your first year or so. A 400 is a balance of fuel efficiency and power - certain bikes such as the Honda Super Four are extremely common and very cheap to maintain. A 600 is the highest you really need to make the most of the roads here, you will rarely find yourself hitting the limit of such a machine and these are generally considered to be the sweet spot. Street or dual sport bikes are quite popular due to their narrower dimensions and higher ability to filter through traffic on tight roads. They also provide a more comfortable riding posture and more relaxed gearing, which is of benefit in city traffic. However, these are general guidelines and I have seen a mini moto cruising down the motorway, and a ZZR 1400 in the twisties, your choice should be a personal one but bear in mind it's illegal to go on motorways on a machine 125cc or lower.
General suggestions for new rider:
Ninja 250/300, VTR 250, Hornet 250 (feels more like a big bike), GN 250 (more sedate), TW 220/225 (stable, good for figure of 8 on slope in licence test.)
Summer has a lot of rainfall, winter has almost none - plan appropriately or click here for highly regarded wet tyres.
Where to see other bikes and find the best roads.
2. What to Wear?
Hong Kong is hot and humid for the majority of the year and winter temperatures usually bottom out at 10C. Winter is also inconsistent, with a week of cold followed by a week of heat. For that reason, mesh is a good option for armour as it allows air to flow freely to the body. Some jackets can be bought with a removable wind liner for winter use, meaning you don't need to buy a separate winter jacket. Waterproofs can also be used as a separate wind liner and it's recommended you keep a set with you during summer because there is a lot of rain in those months. Leather is available (e.g. at Motomart/Dainese) but not recommended until late autumn/winter - usually November to February. It is simply too hot in summer, you are more likely to die of dehydration than a crash.
An under layer is highly recommended, such as Under Armour's Heatgear (hot weather) and Coldgear lines. These are designed to wick sweat from the body and evaporate it as quickly as possible, and greatly increase comfort in extreme temperatures. I especially recommend their underwear and socks, they make riding through Hong Kong's terrain and traffic much more comfortable!
When buying boots and gloves, consider that in winter you will want some with a wind liner (usually goretex) and summer aim for maximum perforation.
3. Who Rides and Where?
You can arrange rides in this thread and at this meetup page.
There is a map of the best motorcycle roads in Hong Kong here. Route Twisk, Bridespool and Shek O are the most popular.
Insurance companies seem to have stopped offering theft insurance for bikes, and any which you do find is highly expensive. Security must be taken seriously due to the chance of your bike being stolen and smuggled abroad before police can react.
Xena disc locks have built in alarms that are set off when the bike or lock is moved. For maximum security, a 14mm lock on the front disc placed in front of the calliper and a 6mm lock (or whatever fits) on the rear placed behind the calliper, should prevent the bike being rolled away and will act as a loud deterrent. The alarms sometimes false fire due to a dirty mirror so clean this with a cotton swab. These locks do not protect against the bike simply being lifted into a van, which does happen.
Almax security chains are the only ones immune to bolt cutters so if you have an anchor available these would be the best bet of securing your bike, providing the anchor is strong enough. Of course there are other methods of getting through chains, but these will offer the strongest defence of those available.
Cover your bike at all times - even covered car parks or garages are not entirely safe, keep it inconspicuous so as not to attract attention. Also I use a basic retractable cable to tie the cover to the wheels so it won’t fly away.
Locking your helmet is also suggested, I’ve made good use of Helmetlok and the separate extension cable to lock 2 helmets/a jacket through sleeve to the bike.
I highly recommend Kriega for waterproof tailpacks + their R25 backpack, which puts the weight on your chest rather than shoulders, and you can add the ‘kube pocket’ to the strap, which is very handy for toll money/cards etc.
Also highly recommend SW Motech tank bags, which attach to a custom tank ring, raising them up off the tank itself and preventing the bag from scratching your paint. Very easy to pop on and off when you need to fill up, and come with a rain cover/shoulder strap. A little pricey and need to import, but I use mine daily for work and when carrying a pillion/out for the day.
Best method of carrying some random item or an extra helmet on the back: Bungee Buddy, which also works really well with the loops you install for Kriega tailpacks, meaning you don’t have to attach it to something that might scratch.
Both standard and premium unleaded are of high quality at 98 RON (I believe this is 93 by the US rating). Premium has more additives and is recommended to minimise corrosion of the tank. The following calculator will show the best deals for petrol at any time:
Fuel Price Calculator
7. Importing a Motorcycle
Guidelines for Importation and Registration
If importing a single vehicle, or one which is over 20 years old (considered 'classic') you can benefit from 'personal import' exemption from emissions and noise tests. This leaves equipment/road worthiness test + first registration tax (import tax). Motorcycle first registration tax is 35%, including shipping costs. You are allowed 25% annual depreciation (on a declining balance basis) on the purchase price for each year you've owned/operated the vehicle abroad.
The emissions criteria have been tightened as HK adopted the euro 5 standards. This may rule out bikes between 5-19 years old, depending on their emission systems.
Residence permit also affects registration - you must have more than 6 months remaining or you will need to wait until renewal.
Think carefully about the process before starting - it may be worthwhile to buy a second hand bike within Hong Kong, or an import through a dealer. Side charges can also be significant--and you will have little leverage or ability to avoid getting ripped-off, unless you've done it before and know who to use.
The full importation process (courtesy of AceofSpades):
Just change out vespa with the name/make of your motorcycle/scooter.
Here are the steps I took to import my Enfield:
- Found someone to ship the bike (freight forwarder/LCL companies)
- Get the Original Registration Doc and a Purchase invoice
- Once you get your Reg Doc, you need to go on the EPD website and download the "Exemption from Noise and Pollution" form along with the NECGA Form. This part is really important, since without the Exemption you won't pass the Govt Vehicle Test, especially since your scooter is a 2 stroke. You need to fill up the two forms, take photo copies of your ID card and Reg Docs to the Revenue Tower to submit it (make sure the Engine and Chassis no on the Reg Doc matches your vespa!)
- Wait around 4-5 working days till your Exemption letter comes through (Provided all the info was correct)
- Inspect the Vespa once it arrives, make sure it can pass the Govt. Test (No Oil Leaks, mirrors, no loose wires, breaks are fully working; they will test the vespa by stopping it on a slope facing up and down, no smoke coming out of the exhaust, bike starts easily and all electrics work.)
- After you're happy everything is working and are confident it will pass the test, you need to fill up the TD (Transport Department) form "TD22", then book a test appointment on one of the centres mentioned on the TD website (make sure you take the TD22 with you during the test.)
- After it passes the test, you need to declare it to the Customs and Excise Department, this is where you need your Reg Doc, Shipping Invoice and actual Bill of sale of the vespa. Now the C&ED will add up the Shipping, handling and purchase price of the vespa and convert it to HKD and tax 35% of the total value. This part can be done online at their website (But you need the TD22 and the Pass from the Govt. Test).
- The C&ED will take some time to review the Docs, then they will ask you to come in to submit the originals and after that they will take another few days to draw up the Taxable Value (They will call you once it's done and you can print it off from their website.)
- Get Insurance for the scooter (3rd party minimum), make sure you take your TD 22 & Reg Doc with you so the insurance companies can fill up the cover note with the Chassis no and Engine no. (Bike will be insured on that, since it does not yet have a HK Reg Plate.)
- After getting Insurance, take the forms (TD22, Tax value, Proof of insurance, Reg Docs) to the Transport dept, Pay the Tax and Road tax. Wait one working day for them to process it, after that go back to the TD, get your proof of road tax paid and your new Reg No. Get someone to make you a licence plate with the reg no.
- Go out and ride around Hong kong!
I believe Simon or Motion Motorcycle can also help with the import process if you need assistance. You may also have luck with other mechanics from the list below.
Have a licence in another country:
To drive in HK, you either need to be a tourist (and use your home country licence) or a HK resident (and use your HK licence). Most licences are directly transferable to a Hong Kong licence, simply requiring that you go to the Transport Department with the appropriate form completed and pay a fee, here is the criteria for applicable countries:
Hold an overseas driving licence issued by one of the countries or places as listed in Appendix C;
The overseas driving licence must be:
(a) valid or has not expired for more than 3 years; and
(b) must be obtained through passing of driving test held in the issuing country or place;
The driving entitlement(s) applied for must be equivalent to the class(es) which are authorized to drive by the issuing country or place; and
Satisfy any one of the requirements listed below:
(a) have resided in the overseas country or place of issue for a period of not less than 6 months during which the licence was issued; or
(b) have held the licence for 5 years or more immediately prior to the application; or
(c) hold a passport or equivalent travel document of the country or place in which the licence was issued.
PLEASE NOTE: The full process from course registration to full licence will take at least 1.5 YEARS. 6 months minimum until you are able to take the final test, then 1 full year as a probationary rider. It may be much faster to complete the process in another country and then have your full international licence transferred to a local one. For those who wish to learn in Hong Kong, the following schools offer instruction in English:
Or if you simply want some motorcycle experience (i.e. before renting a moped in Thailand), try X camp or MX club for some motocross action.
The process for Hong Kong School of Motoring:
- Transfer any international driving licence (car) to HK licence (do this at Transport Department.)
- Book course and schedule written test, mandatory lessons + basic practical test. If you already have a driving licence, you will be exempt from the written test.
- Take written test.
- 3 days of lessons at 4 hours each. These are on specific days of the week during normal working hours so allow for time off work.
- Basic competency test. It is relatively simple but no mistakes are allowed and in case of failure a retake may take months to reschedule.
- Apply and receive learner licence (average 1 week from pass date). You may now buy and ride a bike on public roads with L plates (which you can simply print out on A4 and laminate) but under certain restrictions (see section 'Conditions Imposed with Issue of Learner's Driving Licence'). Request a copy of your test pass form as this can be used to obtain bike insurance before you actually have a physical licence. If you need learner insurance most companies do not offer it now but Sabrina may be able to help. Schedule further lessons + final test.
- 1 day of further lessons at 4 hours. This session will introduce the test routes and the figure of 8 on a slope.
- Extra lessons of self practice (amount depends on the package you originally bought). You can practice on the private or public roads that are designated for the test.
- Final test, which can be taken after roughly 6 months from your initial registration for the course, assuming you have completed all other aspects and attended all lessons (the two lectures are not compulsory but do inform them if you plan not to attend).
- Apply and receive probation licence (average 1 week from pass date). You are now free to travel anywhere in Hong Kong at any time but for one year you may not carry a pillion passenger or ride above 70kph, nor use the outside lane of motorways. Doing any of these may result in licence revocation, putting you back at square one. Generally, you are allowed one minor offence (which will then extend your probation period by a further 6 months), the second one will result in licence revocation. This is for 1 YEAR so be cautious!
- One year later, convert to a full licence. You may now ride with pillion and at the full speed limit.
Test tips: In the final test you will do a circuit of the private roads, followed by the figure of 8 on a slope, followed by a (small) circuit of public roads. Do not put your right foot down at any point, and do not use the clutch whilst manoeuvring the figure of 8 (except on your first ascent of the slope). The slope makes this section quite tricky so it is a good idea to dedicate a high amount of self-practice to this manoeuvre. Bear in mind that failing a test means you are required to take extra lessons (at your own cost) and reschedule several months later.
Restricted roads for learners (L plates)
Where not to park
Where to park
Motorcycle spaces in garages/car parks cost between $300-$1000. Sometimes spaces in housing estate car parks are bought and rented by landlords, try asking in nearby estate agents to see if any are available.
Single yellow line = you can stop for pick up drop off.
Double yellow line = don't stop, and if you leave a bike there it may be towed.
Motorcycle parking and shop map
Other than designated motorcycle parking spaces, you can only park freely on roads with no streetlights and no other markings to indicate otherwise. However, you may get away with parking your motorcycle in the general vicinity of designated areas, or in unattended alleyways/lanes but you may receive a ticket at any point in these places. Be aware that space is at a premium, and delivery bikes/cheap scooters are often rammed in between others so they fit within legal parking limits. Therefore, your bike will likely be scratched or damaged at some point if you regularly use free parking, and is at a much higher risk of theft.
Insurance is relatively cheap but will be third-party only. See security section for details. Most dealers will arrange insurance when you buy a bike, otherwise Sabrina has good feedback from many members.
11. Roadside Assistance/Towing
Sunny Tam (6570 0009) can tow your bike to any destination if you break down.
Hong Kong Automobile Association
12. Renting a Motorcycle
Motion Motorcycle appears to be renting out bikes.
13. Bike Wash
Some mechanics, e.g. Man Wai, will do a wash for around $250, ask your local shop if they offer that service.
Not for bikes yet Send them an email to show your interest:
15. Where to Find Bikes/Gear/Accessories & Mechanics
iBike Map - Zoom in for all free parking+shops/mechanics in any area
28car - the most commonly used second-hand site. In Chinese but you can use google translate.
iBike - Lots of stores host their webpage here, has pricing information on most bikes. Web design nightmare though!
Motomart - probably the best shop for gear/accessories in Hong Kong
Angry Lane - Custom motorcycles and apparel in Aberdeen
Man Wai Motorcycle Center
Ace Motorbikes (Kowloon City)
Simon's Motorcycle Workshop (Sai Kung)
BMW Concessionaires (HK) Ltd (Kowloon)
Grand International Trading Co Ltd (Mongkok)
Hard Body Shop (Mongkok, Tai Kok Tsui)
Hung Hing Motorcycles (Kowloon City)
Lee Lik Motorcycle Hong (Sham Shui Po)
Lee Lik Motor Co (Tai Kok Tsui)
Oscar Motors (Tai Kok Tsui)
Sanwa Motorcycle Company (Kowloon City)
New Century Motorcycles (Kwai Chung)
Titanic Moto Centre Ltd (North Point)
Tom Lee Motorcycle Service Centre (San Po Kong)
Vetex (Tai Kok Tsui)
Matsuda Motorcycle (Aberdeen)
Dainese (Quarry Bay)
Original list (including addresses/phone numbers) by forum user Master
16. Links/Online Stores/Extra Reading
Information (Hong Kong):
Revzilla - great site for reviews/info about gear but quite a high minimum amount for international orders.
Twisted Throttle - Lots of gear/SW Motech tank bags
Good site for smaller accessories e.g. bungee buddy, helmet lok etc.
Motorcycle Gear | Buy Motorcycle Helmets, Jackets, Parts, Tires & more
Monster Parts: Ducati Monster Parts and Accessories
Indysuperbikes - Buy Bike Accessories and Motorcycle Parts Online
Moto Liberty // #1 gear Store In Texas
If you find that any of these have since stopped shipping to Hong Kong, please let me know.
Instructional. Some of this stuff could save, or enrich, your life:
Twist of the wrist II
Motorcycle Tips & Techniques
Save Your Hide Guide
The Straight Story on Kevlar
The Motorbike Suspension Bible
Rake and Trail Explained
Motorcycle Suspension Tuning
Motorcycle Suspension Guide
Ninja 250 Guide
Motorcycle Riding Techniques
Motorcycle Parts Installation & Repair
Buying a used bike
Repairing your bike
Gearing Modification + Results
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