The Three Year Journey Of A Triumph Bonneville


This week we introduce our client Nick Allan, who is finally able to ride his Triumph Bonneville after an administrative nightmare that has taken three years to resolve.

“I first got in touch with Richard at French Connections HCB in 2022 over this motorbike that I’d bought. It was a Triumph Bonneville. I bought it when I was visiting the UK in 2019 and a Polish couple drove it over to France for me in the back of their van. That was obviously before Brexit, so there was no problem with that.”

Nick couldn’t have foreseen the frustration that lay ahead.

“I wasn’t too hung up about getting it registered in France because you could get insurance quite easily and you could drive around on British plates quite easily too. Then Brexit happened and everything changed. The UK insurance company said, ‘OK we’ll insure you for a little bit longer, but you’re going to have to get this bike registered and insured in France.'”

That was the start of an uphill battle that would last for more than three years.

“I started the registration process. I really didn’t think it was going to be difficult because I’d been living in France for years and had pretty good French, but I spent about a year trying to get the bike registered and I was getting nowhere, absolutely nowhere. I was tearing my hair out; I just needed some help…”

It was at that point that Nick started searching for an expert.

“I googled and I found Richard Hammond at French Connections HCB. I got in touch with them and they said, yep, we’ve done this before. It turned out that Richard is really into cars; he knows all about them and has his own collection. He said, Oh yes, I’ve got a Triumph Bonneville as well.”

Reassured, Nick was happy to hand over the admin to the experts.

“Usually in France you upload the documentation and generally it happens relatively easily, but in my case the British conformity certificate kept on being rejected by ANTS (Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés). I sent Richard all the documents, including a British conformity certificate from Triumph, thinking ‘this is easy!’, but Richard came back to me and said no, I had to have a French conformity certificate. That was the bit that was missing.”

The French conformity certificate needed to come from Triumph and that required a physical inspection of the bike – which led to another problem for Nick.

“By then the bike wasn’t insured so although there was a Triumph dealership not too far away in Avignon, I couldn’t ride the bike there with no insurance. I rented a van from SuperU, wheeled the bike into the back, strapped it down and tootled off. Triumph gave the bike the once over while I sat there for a couple of hours drinking coffee in Avignon – but then things really slowed down.”

With no news from Triumph, and still no French conformity certificate, Nick was grateful to have expert support.

“French Connections were brilliant. They were in constant touch with Triumph in Avignon and it just took weeks and weeks and weeks but they didn’t give up. I was ringing Triumph and getting palmed off, but French Connections just held their feet to the fire and kept chasing them until finally, in April 2022, they got the French conformity certificate we needed to resubmit to ANTS.”

At that point, Nick breathed a sigh of relief – but his joy was short-lived.

“At first I was delighted. I thought, we’re there now, absolutely there, but still we heard nothing. Then in September 2022, ANTS rejected the French conformity certificate.”

It was a plot twist that nobody could have foreseen.

“They said it wasn’t correct because the bike was originally fabricated in Thailand so it wasn’t properly British and wasn’t properly French. I was really fed up, so I rang Richard who said, ‘We will contest their refusal.” I never knew that you could contest. I had always thought that once they refused, that was it. In true French fashion there was nobody at ANTS you could ring up and talk to or explain. But Richard went back to them and contested it. For me, that was the missing bit of information, that you could actually go back and contest these things.”

That decision proved to be the turning point.

“Once Richard told me we could contest and took it over from there, it took another three or four months but I finally got the provisional carte grise in February 2023. Once I had that, I could get my little French number plate, I could get French insurance, and then finally I could ride the bike. It felt fantastic!”

With everything successfully resolved and the bike legally registered and insured, Nick is making up for lost time.

“I just love pootling around the Luberon where we live, going to little cafes on my old English motorbike. At one stage I thought I was going to have to put it in the garage and forget about it, maybe use it one day if we ever ended up back in the UK. If it wasn’t for Richard, that would have been the result. Nobody else other than French Connections HCB had a solution and knew how to work the system.”

Nick appreciates the service he received from the whole team.

” What I liked about them was they were very, very communicative. My emails didn’t just disappear into a black hole, they always responded – and we were in touch often and over a long period. Every month or so I would send a little message saying, ‘Any news?’ and they would chase again. Even though it was frustrating and slow, I got the feeling that a grown-up had gripped the problem and was doing their utmost to resolve it.”

Here at French Connections HCB, we’ve dealt with hundreds of new and vintage vehicle registrations from all over the world and successfully navigated even the most complicated administrative situations.

For expert help with any aspect of moving to France, we invite you to book an initial 30 minute video consultation with Richard to discuss your situation. The consultation costs 90 euros but that amount is fully deductible from the first service you book with us.

In the meantime, if you live in the Luberon, be sure to keep an eye out for Nick and his fully French-registered Triumph Bonneville!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sign up to our free newsletter for regular admin tips, advice and updates.

Copyright © 2023 French Connections HCB | Pôle entreprise Labordeneuve – 32300 Idrac-Respaillès – SAS with a capital of 10 000€ | SIRET N° 88970854100020 |  Privacy Policy

Scroll to Top
A Place in the Sun Live

Manchester Central 1st - 3rd March

See us on stand FR30 - Click below to get tickets or book a live consultation with our Moving to France specialist Richard Hammond!