Tips and Suggestions for Renting a Motorcycle
A Custom Harley Motorcycle.
Embarking on a motorcycle ride along Route 66 is an adventure in itself. For most American and Canadian motorcyclists it is not too complicated, they can simply get on their bikes and ride.
But for those Americans who don't own a motorcycle or for the international visitors longing to ride along U.S. 66, it means that they must rent a motorbike.
Below we offer some tips on renting a motorcycle and understanding the options and choices that have to be made during the motorcycle rental process.
What do Motorbike rentals include??
First let's get down to basics: What do motorbike rentals include?
Rental agencies offer different models of Honda, BMW or Harley-Davidson motorcycles, most of them are passenger friendly. In general, the rental services include the following (you should however check the details with each rental company):
- A daily rental fee with unlimited mileage
- Additional insurance and waiver coverage
- Complimentary Helmets for rider and passenger (but if you can bring your own which should be DOT certified; it would be better for both fitment and comfort).
- Cable lock and security locking system
- A 24 ⁄ 7 Emergency contact phone number
- Storage for your luggage
- Shuttle service to and from the rental location.
Reserve in advance and insure the availability of your choice motorcycle make and model.
Costs and Discounts
These conditions may vary from one motorcycle rental company to another:
Riding with your friends is a unique experience, and motorcycle rental companies offer Group discounts for groups of typically 3 or more bikes rented together.
- Some companies allow you to reserve your motorbike and pay upon pick-up, while others require full payment at the time of booking.
- Rents are calculated with unlimited mileage, on 24 hour increments. Rentals of 7 or more days may have a lower daily fee. Group rates are also offered.
- Upgrades and additional insurance or extras can be added later and paid at the pick-up locations.
- A Refundable security deposit at the time of rental is also necessary (think +$1,000). It is reimbursed to you when your return the motorcycle on time and free of damage.
- Verify the Deposit and Cancellation policies of the motorcycle rental companies. You may not get a full refund if you cancel with less than a 30 day notice.
- Also check the "no-show" policy, if you arrive late you may not find your bike as it may be rented to other takers.
Return customers, members of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) or of AAA, as well as Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) are offered discounts by some rental companies (between 5 and 15%).
As with cars, One-Way rentals are possible but extra charges do apply.
Late return of motorcycles with or without prior notice may incur in extra charges. You should notify your rental company if you will be arriving late.
Insurance is fundamental, do not ride without it.
Check with your insurance company to see if they cover your motorcycle rental. It is infrequent for automobile insurance policies to cover rented motorcycles. Credit cards that do cover car rental insurance do not cover motorcycle rentals. Maybe your motorcycle insurance covers rented ones. Do your homework or buy the extra insurance provided by rental companies.
You can purchase Supplemental Liability insurance in addition to the Basic coverage offered by the rental companies. It covers the renter, passenger and offers third party liability coverage.
Some theft and damage insurance or waiver options may cover some or part of Roadside Assistance Service. Check with the rental company.
The limited liability waivers offer coverage if theft or damage takes place; in those cases the renter pays only up to a given limit per occurrence of theft or damage to the motorcycle. For instance $1,000 or $ 2,000.
Roadside Assistance and Tire Puncture
Check what type of coverage is offered. A dead battery because you left the lights on or a flat tire are a real headache, towing or mechanical breakdown can ruin your trip.
International visitors should consider taking Travel Insurance for personal medical, personal property and trip interruption coverage.
Damages caused by negligence or illegal use of the motorcycle (i.e. driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol) void waivers and may render insurance coverage invalid.
Motorcycle Rental Requirements
To be able to rent a motorcycle you must have a valid motorcycle license from your state or country of origin, and you must be over 25 years of age.
There is no age limit for passengers, however the passenger must be able to reach the passenger foot pegs or floorboards of the bike. For passengers under 18, a Parent or Guardian must sign a liability waiver.
A major credit card is needed, and it will have to be able to cover the security deposit.
You should be able to handle the motorcycle that you rent: large or heavyweight and powerful motorcycles are not for beginners. A minimum of 2 years riding motorcycles over 1,000 cc is necessary. Ask before renting.
Restrictions to travel may apply (i.e. crossing international borders), check with the reservations agent.
After hour drop off may not be possible. Check and make sure.
Help I don't know this Motorcycle
For those riding completely new or different motorcycles, there is usually an orientation course on braking, engine starting and cutoff, operation of the motorcycle and more.
You should check if there is a cost for an additional driver, maybe you and your passenger want to switch places on the road.
You receive your motorcycle with a full tank of fuel and must return it with a full tank, otherwise refueling charges may apply.
Some rental companies have stores so that you can buy extra gear, check what is available and the prices before you start your trip, it may be convenient to buy some items upon arrival.
Motorcycle clothing may or may not be available for rental or purchase, size availability may be limited. It is better to check in advance. Bring your sweatshirts, T-shirts, bandannas, gloves...
GPS systems are usually available for motorcycles (If you bring your own electronic devices or GPS you may have to request permission to install them).
Lockable saddlebags or storage are usually available (Do not leave valuables or items stored in your motorcycle overnight or when you are away from it for extended periods of time).
Rain suits may not be available for rental. Helmets with communication devices may not be available either. Check with the rental company.
Some companies will let you ship them your riding gear and can also ship it back to you (at a charge). They may also offer storage for the souvenirs you buy on the road.
Luggage shipping service for One-Way Rentals may also be available.
Safety always comes first, so you and your passenger must wear a certified helmet at all times while riding your motorcycle.
If your motorbike has mechanical problems or if you get a flat tire, park in a safe spot, away from the road and call for help.
Motorcycle Rental Agencies
These are the leading U.S. motorbike Rental Agencies:
- Eagle Rider www.eaglerider.com
- Street Eagle www.streeteagle.com
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Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.