Originally Posted by Adv Grifter
That's a lot of money to invest for the 6 week trip. And you still have to get them home! Renting ain't cheap either ... but there are some cheaper options.
Chile has several good rental outfits renting F650 BMW's, Transalps and I think even XR250's or XR400's (or something like that).
Ah, yes, renting vs, shipping your own bike, that is a good question. I would say that for a 6-week event it may be a break-even or you would be slightly ahead by shipping your own bike. There is really only one viable rental/tour agency in Chile - Motoaventura. Their main office is located in Osorno, but they now also have an office in Santiago. Their bikes are $150/day on average, plus insurance, plus a hefty deposit up front. The advantage of renting is that the owner would try to provide you with repairs, bike replacement or send a mechanic with parts to your location, if reasonably reachable. Another advantage is that they prepare the border crossing papers for you and many of the bikes are already registered at the Argentine and Chilean borders. I have both toured and rented from Motoaventura. Their (BMW) bikes are good, but they have become quite costly over the years.
Another viable option is to rent a motorcycle in Cuzco or Arequipa, Peru. Their rentals are about half the cost that I mentioned above, but you need to add a couple of weeks, at least, to make to trip to TDF from southern Peru.
But there are other issues besides pure cost. On a rented bike you always have to be very careful about tip-overs, scratches, broken (or rattled off) mirrors (at $100 a pop), and all of these little things come out of the deductible, while the insurance basically takes over in case of theft (which never happens), a total loss or major damage.
In addition, there is also something to be said for riding you own bike, being on your own seat and having your own familiar luggage (I put up with some panniers on a rented bike one time that must have transported dead fish, and the smell permeated my clothes for the entire trip). Also, you know how to repair and maintain your own bike better than a rented bike.
If I were going to make a 6-week trip, I would definitely ship it. Anything less than a month might be a different matter. But better yet, when shipping your bike to South America, leave it there for three years or so and make multiple trips to see more of that most magnificent continent. I have made about 10 motorcycle trips in the Andes, from top to bottom and left to right, and if I go another 10 times I will still not see all of it.