Thursday 9 May 2013

Beatrush Parts Order

Overnight parts from Japan 
Ok, so maybe not overnight but hopefully they will arrive soon.  I've ordered the Beatrush front upper strut brace together with the matching brake cylinder brace.  The Beatrush brand is owned by Laile, a Japanese company based in Yokohama city who have been involved in various forms of motorsport for over 30 years.  Laile designs and manufactures parts for a variety of Japanese cars and their parts have a reputation for quality with a reasonable price tag.  You can read more about the company's history here: Laile's History

A couple of years back I'd ordered their radiator cooling panel for my NB roadster.  This is a part designed to block off holes above the radiator; directing airflow through rather than around to improve cooling efficiency.  It also looks awesome!  I remember being impressed by the quality and finish of the part.  It had a very stylish brushed gold finish to it with some really nice engraving, and of course fitment was perfect.  As far as I know the radiator cooling panels are still available if you wanted to go ahead and order one.  Here's a picture of their radiator panel on my old red NB and a shot of the engraving I mentioned:
So what have I actually ordered?  Well two parts and they'll probably come with stickers to tell everyone how far away your car parts come from.  Below is a shot of the strut brace.  You can see it comes in 5 pieces (3 for the bar itself, and the 2 brackets).  The brackets are steel and painted gold with the tube being an oval cross-section hollow polished alloy for strength and weight reduction.  Google Translate describes the strut brace like this:
"Is not enough in an open roadster Publisher Consequences strength becomes insufficient shows a slight in the genuine tower bar. Rush beat front strut tower bar is sufficiently increased the strength and stiffness of the bulkhead and around the strut upper part and joint lightweight · D cross-section aluminium oval shaft" 
The second piece is the brace for the brake cylinder.  This attaches to the same point as the strut bar on the driver's side and has a bolt that braces the cylinder to stop it flexing when you step on the brakes.  This helps to improve brake efficiency.  It is made from steel and finished in matching gold paint, the bracing end of the bolt is made of duracon.  Google Translates the description as:
"Use the steel material with excellent stiffness, and improve the feeling of the pedal touch. I suppress the unnecessary movement of the brake cylinder, tells the brake pad to direct the pedal force" 
Now there are plenty of 3rd party companies that carry Beatrush products, but wherever possible I like to go direct and have some contact with the manufacturer.  Sometimes it can work out cheaper and I don't like involving someone in my business when there is no benefit for me.  Laile's website doesn't have an online shop, instead they sell through the Rakuten global marketplace site.  Rakuten is huge and works in a similar way to Amazon except it is Japanese and not American.  Fortunately they have an English version so it's not too difficult to work out how it works.  Here's a shot of Laile's English store on the Rakuten site:
It's simply a case of registering an account and having your credit card handy.  For some reason the prices on Rakuten are actually less than Laile's own price list.  The strut brace is listed as 22,000 Yen on Laile's site yet I was charged 20,500 Yen.  Maybe they have a sale on, or maybe I just asked nicely?  As for shipping, you won't know exactly how much that will be until your order is accepted.  Everything is supposed to have a set weight and there are postage charts on Rakuten so you can estimate what EMS (Japanese Airmail) shipping will be.  You'll also get an email from Laile with details, it will look like this:
Once you have your tracking number you can follow the progress of your package on the Japan Mail website.  Simply copy and paste in the 13 digit international tracking number, and hit "Tracking Start" as shown below:
Here is my tracking info from just after I got the email.  I always track straight away so I know the number is real, not that I don't trust people 1000s of miles away to go to the post office, I just like to be aware of any problems early on!  My tracking number was real and produced the result:
So now it's a waiting game.  EMS shipping is usually very quick, it's the UK Customs checks that tend to delay you getting your parcel.  Anything coming in from outside the EU valued at over £15 will be subject to 20% VAT + a handling fee of about £13 regardless of value (so maybe don't import something with a value of £15.01, it won't be worth it!).  Depending on the value you may also be charged Customs Duty at the rate for the type of product you ordered, in this case car parts.  But if this charge is less than £9 it is supposed to be waived.  So let's see what happens, I'll keep a look out in the mail and update when the parts arrive...