US to Europe: Rent, ship and store, ship and ship back, buy and store?
I live in DC, I'm planning a European motorcycle trip and I'm at the very early stages of researching the cost of various options. I was hoping that I could get some advice from others who've done the same. I plan on touring Europe for 3-4 weeks this year with the expectation of returning for more fun every 2-3 years. I'm very flexible on dates and destinations. I don't think I have any particular preference between riding my own motorcycle or a rental (my own would be perhaps more gratifying and comfortable while a rental might be more fun and new). Here are the options I've seen:
1) Rent a motorcycle in Europe. This is probably the option with the least hassle. Prices for touring/enduro bikes seem to be $500-$1000 per week.
2) Ship my motorcycle from the US East coast to Europe and store it there under US registration indefinitely. This option didn't seem obvious to me but I've seen it mentioned. The one thing that I don't understand is how US registration could be maintained (or re-acquired) without periodic in person inspections for safety and emissions and the like. Wouldn't that mean that the motorcycle would have to be shipped back to the States every two years or so, depending on state regulations?
3) Round-trip shipping from the US East cost to Europe. I think I've got the rough picture that one-way shipping these days is about $1200. I guess this means that two way is roughly $2500 but I do have requests for quotes in to a few shipping companies. Does this sound about right?
4) Buy a used motorcycle in Europe, have European family/friend keep registration/inspection, and store it there. I suppose registration could lapse and it could be re-registered as needed as long as it's stored off the street and depending on the frequency of use and costs differences.
I have a few questions:
1) First of all, considering my criteria, are there any other options to consider? For example, has anyone explored buying the cheapest addressable property they can find in the EU, just so that they can register a bike there? How well does bike swapping work?
2) How much does it cost to maintain motorcycle registration in Europe, let's say the UK? I've heard of VATs and MOTs, etc but I'm not sure what it all means or how much it costs per year.
3) Does anyone have any advice/guidance/suggestions about any one of the options? Good, cheap places to rent? Good, cheap places to buy? Good cheap places to ship?
4) Which option do you think (or know to be) the least costly?
Thanks for any help! This forum is great!