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Choosing a Motorcycle Rental for Your Trip? Read This Guide First!

Choosing a Motorcycle Rental for Your Trip? Read This Guide First!

If you are planning to rent a motorcycle for a trip, then choosing the best motorcycle rental is essential to an excellent vacation.

Most motorcycle enthusiasts prefer rentals because they can ride the latest motorcycles of popular brands, such as Harley Davidson, BMW, Honda, etc. In addition, renting gives you the chance to ride other vehicles, such as a dirt bike, a sports bike, a Can-Am rental, or an ATV.

In this article, you will learn how to determine which motorcycle category best fits your riding skills and the purpose of your trip so you can choose the best motorcycle rental possible.

1. Familiarize Yourself with Different Types of Motorcycle Rentals

Familiarize Yourself with Different Types of Motorcycle Rentals
Photo Credit: @lasvegassun

Motorcycle riding has remained a favorite outdoor activity of adventure lovers for years, resulting in an increased demand for on-road and off-road motorcycle rentals.

Motorcycle rental companies offer some of the best rentals around. But to choose the right rental, you must familiarize yourself with the different motorcycle options.

1.1 Renting Cruisers

Renting Cruisers
Photo Credit: @badasshelmetstore

Most cruisers are well-rounded when it comes to on-road riding. Smaller and lightweight than full-dressed tourers, cruisers perform equally well on short and long trips. You can rent a cruiser to explore the city streets, enjoy the nightlife, and commute. Due to their optimum stability, adequate braking, comfortable ergonomics, and manageable power output, cruisers are a safe option for all riders. But for maximum safety, beginners should rent a cruiser that weighs up to 300 lbs or less than 150 kg.

Furthermore, some rental services customize their cruisers by installing saddlebags to provide storage space for customers. A few examples of cruisers you can rent include the following: the Harley Davidson Dyna series, Honda Rebel 1100, Honda Shadow, Kawasaki Vulcan 900, Yamaha V-Star 1100 Silverado, andHarley Davidson Softail lineup.

1.2 Renting Touring Motorcycles

Renting Touring Motorcycles
Photo Credit: @motorbikewriter

Touring motorcycles are built for interstate and cross-country travel. Touring motorcycle rentals have powerful engines, spacious motorcycle luggage, easy-to-steer handlebars, well-cushioned seats, high-tech controls, and comfortable pillions.

If you are riding with a passenger or are unable to find a cruiser rental with adequate storage capacity, then rent a tourer.

However, a tourer is not recommended for beginners since a motorcycle's weight and 1000 cc engine may be too much to handle for those with little riding experience.

Better suited for experienced riders, it is better to rent the Harley Davidson Street Glide, Harley Road King, Indian Roadmaster, Honda GoldWing, or BMW K 2600 Grand America.

1.3 Renting Street Motorcycles

Renting Street Motorcycles
Photo Credit: @redbull

Street motorcycles are the most nimble, maneuverable, and lightweight two-wheelers. Though not comfortable on long hauls, they are ideal for relaxing short rides. Moreover, a street motorcycle is a perfect rental for novice riders who have just received their motorcycle license. By renting different street motorcycles, beginners can hone their riding skills, find out which motorcycle they would like to buy as their first ride, and even move up to more powerful, heavier motorcycles.

Experienced riders can enjoy a weekend getaway or a short motorcycle camping trip with a street motorcycle rental.

Examples of the best street motorcycle rentals are the HondaCB300R, Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 Iron, Harley Davidson 883 Iron, Harley Street 750, and Yamaha MT-09 Standard.

1.4 Renting Sport Motorcycles

Renting Sport Motorcycles
Photo Credit: @rgbbikes

Daredevils who love to speed down twisties or rev the engine on race tracks should opt for sports motorcycles. Designed for race tracks and city streets, sports motorcycles perform well on highways. Riders who prefer touring on sports motorcycles enjoy aggressive riding style, extra power, and impressive acceleration. However, all these benefits come at the cost of comfort.

Exciting sports motorcycle rentals include the Ducati Panigale V2, Suzuki GSXR-1000R, Honda FireBlade, BMW S1000RR, and Kawasaki Ninja H2.

1.5 Renting Trikes

If you don’t enjoy two-wheelers, then rent a three-wheel motorcycle or a trike instead. Comfortable and safe, trikes have good stability and balance, making them easy to ride for even novice riders.

Trike rentals that are best suited for motorcycle adventures are the Can-Am Ryker, Polaris Slingshot, and Harley Tri-Glide..

1.6 Renting Adventure/Dirt Bikes

Renting Adventure/Dirt Bikes
Photo Credit: @dirtrider

To experience an off-road adventure, renting a dirt bike is the way to go. Dirt bikes are not street-legal, so you would also have to rent a trailer to transport them to the destination. It is best to first decide on your vacation spot, then find an on-site dirt bike rental. You can rent the following dirt bikes: the Honda CRF250F, Kawasaki KLX140, and Beta 200 RR.

1.7 Renting Dual Sport Motorcycles

Renting Dual Sport Motorcycles
Photo Credit: @webbikeworld

For those who want to do on- and off-roading, the dual sport motorcycles are the best choice. Besides being street-legal, dual sport motorcycles are built to handle tough terrain. They have low seat heights, lightweight frames, and predictable engine power, making dual sport motorcycles suitable for novice and experienced riders.

The best dual sport rentals include the Yamaha WR250R, Kawasaki KLX250S, Honda CRF250L, and BMW R1250GS.

1.8 Renting ATV/UTVs

When it comes to off-roading, an ATV rental is best suited to the task. With several ATV trails throughout the United States, you can easily find plenty of on-site ATV rental services. Brave the mountains, explore the forests and travel the sand dunes with an ATV rental.

Types of Motorcycle Rentals
Motorcycle Category Rental Options
Cruisers Harley Davidson Softail Heritage Classic
Harley Davidson Fat Boy 114 
Harley Davidson Dyna Switchback
Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide
Honda Rebel 1100
Yamaha Bolt
Indian Scout Sixty 
Touring Motorcycles Honda GoldWing Rental
Harley Davidson Road King
Harley Davidson Electra Glide
Harley Davidson Street Glide
Indian Roadmaster
BMW K 1600 Grand America
Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager
Street Motorcycles Harley Davidson 1200 Iron Sportster
Harley Davidson 883 Iron
Harley Street 750
Yamaha MT-09 Standard
Adventure/Dirt Bikes KTM 250 SX-F
Honda CRF450R
Husqvarna TC250
Suzuki RM-Z450
Yamaha YZ-125
Kawasaki KLX 300
Dual Sport Yamaha XT250
Honda CRF450L
Husqvarna FE 350
Suzuli DR-Z400S
BMW R 1250 GS
Trikes Can-Am Ryker
Piaggio MP3 500
Harley Davidson CVO Tri-Glide
Can-Am Spyder F3-T
ATV Yamaha Raptor 700R
HondaTRX 250X
Can-Am Outlander 450
Kawasaki Brute Force
Polaris Scrambler XP1000 S
Sport Motorcycles Ducati V2 Panigale
Yamaha YZF-R1
Kawasaki Ninja H2
Honda Fireblade

Other than motorcycle rentals, rental companies also offer the following services for riders:

  • Guided tours
  • Support vehicles
  • Training classes for sport bikes, touring bikes, off-roading, and trikes
  • Trailers to haul street legal and off-road motorcycles
  • Itinerary planning
  • GPS tracking
  • Road assistance
  • Safety gear

2. Consider Your Riding Skill Level

Renting the biggest, most powerful, most expensive, or most stunning motorcycle rental will not necessarily make your trip enjoyable.

If you are a beginner, it is not recommended you rent a heavy and powerful Harley Road Glide or a similar bike that would be hard to handle.

Hitting the highways right after passing your DMV license test is also not a good idea. Start with renting a beginner-friendly motorcycle such as a Harley Sportster and go on urban rides. Trikes are beginner-friendly so anyone with motorcycle riding experience can rent one.

On the other hand, intermediate riders can rent street motorcycles and mid-sized cruisers modified for touring, lightweight tourers, dirt bikes, and dual sport motorcycles.

Since most off-road ATV destinations and rental services offer ATV riding training, novice and expert riders can rent an ATV, UTV, or trike.

The key to enjoying a motorcycle trip is riding a motorcycle you are comfortable with.

3. Check the Comfort of Your Motorcycle Rental

When looking through the available motorcycle rentals, always check how comfortable each motorcycle rental is. Always rent a comfortable cruiser or a tourer for a long-distance trip. Other than a plush seat, these motorcycle rentals have wind protection, sissy bars, a backrest for passenger comfort, storage capacity to carry luggage for two, and good fuel mileage.

If a tourer rental is outside of your budget, then rent a cruiser from a rental service that allows you to add travel-friendly amenities like a windshield, backrest, and sissy bar that improve comfort and protection. You can ask your local rental dealership if motorcycle parts can be provided.

Novice riders should visit the rental service at the time of reservation so they have more time to try out different motorcycles. Depending on the motorcycle, the ergonomics may be suited exclusively for shorter or taller riders. It is possible to request a motorcycle with a custom riding position. Forward, upright, standard, or sports riding positions offer varying degrees of comfort. Cruisers and tourers have a more laid-back riding position due to their low center of gravity. Sports motorcycles have a forward riding position that offers wind resistance but puts extra strain on the muscles. Standard motorcycles have an upright riding position that is most comfortable on shorter trips.

4. How Much Storage Would You Need?

Not all motorcycle rental services offer vehicles fitted with saddlebags, tank bags, trunks, and panniers.

If you are riding close to home, you typically do not require motorcycle luggage. A naked motorcycle rental would best suit your needs.

For short-distance weekend trips, long-distance trips, and camping trips, you would need a motorcycle rental with adequate storage.

Guided tours come with support vehicles which makes carrying luggage not an issue.

Touring motorcycles like the Roadmaster and Harley Road Glide have large saddlebags that can carry two helmets and still have storage space remaining.

Custom cruiser rentals may have hard panniers installed by the rental service that offers extra storage capacity.

Small cruisers, sports bikes, and street motorcycles do not come with luggage. You can either buy luggage yourself and ask the rental service if you are allowed to fasten tail bags, handlebar bags, sissy bar bags, etc

5. Duration of Your Motorcycle Trip

Another thing you should consider before reserving your ride is how long your trip will be. Are you going to start at the rental location or near the route where you’ll ride your motorcycle? Will you make a round trip on your motorcycle rental? Are you participating in a motorcycle rally or event?

If you are renting a motorcycle to explore the city, then it is best to ride a motorcycle with a 600 cc engine. Lightweight cruisers will help you avoid traffic and reach notable locations quickly.

However, if you are planning to go on a week-long trip or ride across interstates, then take a large sports motorcycle.

If your destination has paved and gravel roads, then opt for a dual sport or touring motorcycle.

If you are participating in a motorcycle rally or event, it is recommended you go to a rental location near the event and rent any street-legal motorcycle.

6. Will You Be Riding On-Road, Off-Road, or Both?

Are you planning a relaxing ride on scenic highways? Do you plan to ride on the tarmacked byways that lead to a camping site in the forest? Do you want to travel on off-road trails? Based on the type of trip you plan to go on, will determine the motorcycle rental best suited to the task.

A standard motorcycle, cruiser, tourer, sport bike, and dual sport motorcycle can be ridden on highways and off-road trails depending on their specifications.

For off-roading, you need to rent a dirt bike or an ATV. Both these motorcycles are designed to travel on all types of terrain.

7. Picking the Right Motorcycle Rental Service

To fully enjoy your motorcycle trip, you would need to work with a trustworthy motorcycle rental service. Make sure that the rental service offers roadside assistance and a well-maintained fleet.

Try to avoid rental services that offer motorcycles at absurdly low prices. Cheaper rental services may have poorly maintained motorcycles in need of repair. A broken hard clutch, worn-out tires with reduced traction, a faulty fuel gauge, worn brakes, damaged steering, a stiff throttle, and chain slips are common yet dangerous mechanical defects that can result in accidents. Some rental companies offering motorcycles at cheap rates capitalize on accidents to force you to pay for the damages.

It is best to spend a bit more on quality rentals borrowed from reputable rental services.

8. Takeaway

Hopefully this guide has made it easier to choose the best motorcycle rental for trips. If you are still having difficulty deciding, ask for specific motorcycle recommendations from experienced riders in your circle or a rental service agent.

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