Hello there, Right I feel that although not the most exotic of trips that there are a few good pointers I would like to pass on. My son James and I have always read the ride reports for South America with much envy and wished we were there. Well we went there and this was our experience.
We were both of the opinion that we would never pick up two bikes that met our requirements for fuel, water and weight therefore we decided to ship our bikes from UK to Buenos Aires. Having spoken to Excel Shipping here in the UK the price £1158 for two bikes did not seem too bad. I took the bikes down to Tilbury for them to be crated up and dispatched. All went very smoothly. We in the meantime booked flights via British Airways, bare in mind that unless you pay full price it is VERY difficult to change the return date. Just before leaving UK I was informed by the inbound shippers that a 'customs broker' was needed for the Argentinian end. I had tried to establish extra costs as soon as, but this was extremely difficult to confirm before the bikes left UK!
Crates and shipping from UK
Inbound Shippers Navatrans ( what they said BEFORE the bikes got there £341) this figure once we came to pay had risen.
Bonded warehouse Murchison
The information from the bonded warehouse was, the first 7 days are free. What they mean is, we will make sure that if you get there before the 7 days are up the paper work will take so long that the 7 day period is exceeded and we will then charge you for the whole period the bikes are in the warehouse!!!
We spent a whole day at the bonded warehouse with a guy called Lewis who worked for the customs broker, he was very good and we could never have done the paper work ourselves as we are not fluent in Spanish and bureaucracy!!!!
Had the true costs been known we would never have shipped the bikes by sea, in fact it costs nothing to bring a bike into Argentina via a land border.
The bikes that we chose were CCM 644 Duel Sport models with the Suzuki Freewind engine, the same as the DR650. On paper they seemed to fit the our requirements very well plus the fact the engines are said to be bulletproof. They were far from that!
Having found two bikes I spent several months getting them ready. Both bikes had less than 10000 miles showing. Both bikes needed to be stripped and put together properly, spacers made so parts fitted without being forced. Wheel bearings, headrace bearings and swinging arm bearings all replaced. Heavy duty tubes and new Mitas 644 Army tyres fitted. New chains and sprockets and the engines had new filters and oil. I made the pannier frames and we used Rotopax for fuel and water. We used the white ones as they are much cheaper to buy. I got two Airhawk seat pads, which at first I thought were expensive and appeared not to have made much improvement, but they infact proved to be very good and made all day riding no problem. I bought two bicycle panniers off EBAY which proved to be very good and much cheaper than motorcycle ones. James used two Kierga US20's, these are very good pieces of luggage. We both had Kierga rucksacks and Hein Gerick roll bags. By the time all this was fitted the bikes must have weight in at 170Kgs with fuel and water. We both had 22lts. Of fuel and 4lts of water.
Having got the bikes it took 1/2 a day to get them loaded, and off we went. The traffic in Buenos Aires was very civilised as indeed it was throughout South America. TBC.
We headed up towards Rosario and were advised not to ride through at night as the locals throw stones at the bikes. Managed to find a spot to camp on the way.
Not too long before one of the bikes needed work on the side stand, these are a absolute crap design and appear to be made from plasticine. Found a place by the road where they fixed the stand with a bit of welding. Cost £1.50, bargain, they seemed to be very willing just to help.
Got around Rosario no problem, stone throwers still racked out as it was early. Got up as far as Rosario Del Frontera, some 200 miles from the Bolivian boarder.
Uptill now the roads have been very good, very straight and very warm. We had started to go up in altitude and the scenery began to change with the hills and rivers.
Camped by an old railway line, just in time as there was a massive thunder storm rolling around the hills.