Boring Disclaimer: The following information on logistics may be helpful for people who want to do a similar trip however stop reading now if you are easily bored.
BMW R1200 GS
Standard specification although the standard air filter was swapped out for a K&N filter to improve performance at altitude.
The road tires were changed for gravel/tarmac hybrid Heidenau K60s in Punta Arenas, Chile for ripio on the Carretera Austral. Alejandro Lago (+56 9 9640 1233), who beautifully maintains all of the BMW bikes used by Moto Aventura, did a great job. Highly recommended.
The rear tyre was changed again in Guayaquil, and again in Baranquilla (Anarchy II)
We used the following BMW dealers:
– Cardasco Motorhaus, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Contact: Larg
– Berlin Motors, Salta, Argentina. Contact: Adrian (super helpful guy!)
– Ecuavia, Guayaquil, Ecuador. Contact: Pablo
– AutoGermana, Bogota, Colombia. Contact: Yilmer
– Bavaria Motors, Guatemala City, Guatemala. Contact: Jose
Also, massive thanks to dad and Matt and the guys at Cannon Motorcycles!
Outbound – London to Buenos Aires air freight using James Cargo. Contact: Giles
We paid Sandra from Dakar Motors to help us get retrieve the bike from customs in Argentina. Despite turning up 1.5 hours late due to excess rum consumption the night before Sandra got the bike cleared in one morning.
Garmin Zumo 660 using Smelly Biker maps of South America. These worked well with the occasional hole in the mapping. We used Open Street Maps for Central America which were excellent. Thanks to Brian for the tip!
With the exception of Brasil it is possible to enter all South American countries as long as you have the temporary import permit document for the bike. You get this from customs at point of entry and surrender it when you leave. Do not lose this piece of paper!
For two people we have Vario panniers and top box, and rucsac. The best bit of kit we have are the shipping straps that we kept from the transit. We’ve strapped on anything from a tent to bottles of wine.
The only insurance available is third party. This is a requirement in many countries in South America although you can buy Merco Sur insurance which covers Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Brasil and Bolivia. We purchased this through Dakar Motors when we arrived in Buenos Aires.
We also had to purchase insurance in Colombia, Nicaragua and Belize.
Fortunately, these have been few and far between. However, a list below of what did go wrong –
– Fuel pump controller failed in Honduras. (Not a place you want to break down!)
– Fractured front wheel rim after hitting a crater/pot hole in Colombia
– Fractured oil seal on the final drive in Peru
– Air in the break system resulting in loss of brake servos and ABS in Argentina
– The rear hugger sheared off in the south of Chile when doing some spirited off road driving
So far we’ve only driven two legs where we needed to carry additional fuel. The quality of the fuel varies significantly but no problems running it on the bike… so far!
Happy to share any more information.