An increasingly popular choice for travelers is the “fly-and-ride” motorcycle vacation. Rather than hauling your bike across the country, or if you’re on an international adventure, consider renting a bike once you arrive at your travel destination.
Motorcycle rentals generally start at about $90 per day (and quickly go up), with discounts for longer rentals. For example, we found a Honda Shadow 750 for $98/day, a Harley Davidson® Dyna® Low Rider® for $149/day, and a BMW K1600 GTL that runs $220/day. Prices also vary slightly by city and time of year.
However, rates are only one thing to consider when choosing a rental company. Before you make your final decision, carefully consider other factors, such as the company’s reputation and safety record, as well as insurance coverage, fees for gear and other add-ons, such as environmental surcharges. Be sure to ask about pick-up and drop-off times, fuel costs, maintenance responsibility, motorcycle substitution, roadside assistance, cancellation policies, and waivers for theft or damage.
In the U.S. and Canada, many motorcycle dealers offer their own rental services – just contact the dealerships located at your destination. Additionally, Eagle Rider and other independent motorcycle rental companies have locations across the country and around the world. Last month, Enterprise Rent-A-Car began a pilot program in Las Vegas, renting Harley Davidsons.
Choosing a bike
While it may be tempting to rent your dream bike during your vacation, we urge you to be practical. Try to objectively assess both your riding and physical abilities when making your decision – don’t get more bike than you can safely handle. You should also consider the type of trip you’ll be taking. Will you be off-roading? Will you need storage? How long will you be on the bike? Will you have a passenger? Keep in mind, a motorcycle that may be perfect for you may not be so comfortable for your partner. Popular models tend to sell out quickly during peak months, so make your reservations well in advance. Just make sure to ask about cancellation policies.
If you already have motorcycle insurance, call your agent to see if a rental is covered under your current plan. Be sure to discuss deductibles and the total amount covered, especially if the bike you’re renting is worth significantly more than the one on your current policy.
When purchasing insurance through a rental agency, ask questions so there are no surprises in the event of an incident. Many rental fees include state minimum liability insurance, which only pays for damage you cause. It does NOT cover damage to or theft of your rental bike. For full coverage, you will need supplemental liability insurance, that requires a major credit card on which the rental company places a deposit. That amount can run up to $2000, so if your card has a $3000 limit, that only leaves you with $1000 to spend. After returning the bike, it may take several days for the deposit to be removed, so it’s a good idea to have other forms of payment available for hotels or other expenses. (Call your credit card company to find out precisely how long the charge will remain on your account.)
Finally, Make sure you bring all necessary documents with you, including your motorcycle license and proof of insurance if you’re going with your own policy. Most rental companies require drivers to be 21 years of age, but passengers only need to be tall enough to reach the foot pegs if they won’t be driving. Educate yourself about state helmet and traffic laws and consider renting a GPS if you’re unfamiliar with the area.