cruiser motorcycles

Here’s Why Motorcycle Rentals Are More Expensive Than Car Rentals

Here’s Why Motorcycle Rentals Are More Expensive Than Car Rentals

Renting a car is a common practice when it comes to touring, business trips, and commutes. On the other hand, motorcycle rentals are preferred by lone riders who want to take a thrilling trip every once in a while to get away from the monotony of everyday life.

If you are planning to rent a  touring motorcycle this time instead of a car, you will find a large number of motorcycle rental services scattered across the United States, two of the most famous being EagleRider and Hertz Riders. These rentals have stunning fleets of motorbikes, including  Harley Davidson , BMW, Indian, Honda, and other motorcycles. While you have plenty of options, a motorcycle rental can come at an outrageous price. Those who reserve a motorcycle rental for the first time usually find themselves surprised at the large cost gap between car and motorcycle rentals.

A motorcycle rental can cost you three to four times more than an average car rental. To better understand the factors that lead to high motorcycle rental costs and what you can do to reduce the bill, read the information provided below.

1. Why is it so Expensive to Rent a Motorcycle in Comparison to a Car?

While the daily cost of renting a car can range between $25 to $65, the daily cost of a motorcycle rental can range between $75 to $300. By understanding the rental procedures of motorcycle rental services, you can develop a better understanding of which factors result in the high rental bill.

1.1 Lack of Competition

Compared to motorcycle rentals, the car rental market is highly competitive and widespread. Consequently, car rental companies have to offer rentals at a cheaper daily rate to attract a massive influx of customers.

The same principle of inverse proportionality applies to motorcycle rental services, where few customers result in higher rental costs.

1.2 Damage Waiver & Liability Coverage

Compared to cars, a motorcycle is more dangerous and difficult to handle for an average person. It is no surprise that motorcycle crashes result in more severe injuries and property damages compared to car crashes. Not to mention, the risk of fatalities is higher in motorcycle crashes than in car crashes.

In a motorcycle crash, two types of insurance come into play:

  • Damage to motorcycle rental
  • Injury per person

To protect their interests and damage costs, rental services provide damage waivers and liability insurances at different rates. For example, EagleRider offers the VIP damage waiver at a rate of $35 per day and supplemental liability coverage up to $300,000 at a rate of $25 per day.

Some motorcycle rental companies may offer you a combined insurance that covers all forms of damages. Moreover, once you rent a motorcycle, the minimum liability amount of the state you are renting your motorbike out from is also included. Other than these damage insurances, the motorcycle rental businesses may offer extra liability coverage for theft. In case the motorcycle rental is damaged while under your care, the rental services charge heavily for any harm that comes to their inventory.

These waivers and insurances are the main reasons why motorcycle rentals are so expensive. To reduce these expenses, a renter can provide personal insurance that provides coverage for the potential damage or theft of a motorcycle rental.

1.3 Maintenance

A motorcycle rental is expensive because of the frequent maintenance and service trips required to keep the vehicle running and in good condition. Each trip to the mechanic costs the rental company money, something they are not very keen on. To make up for these expenses, the rental services charge high rents to cover the maintenance cost of their vehicles.

1.4 Advance Rental Payment

Certain motorcycle rental services require riders to pay an advance deposit when making a reservation. This deposit reserves a vehicle in the rental service’s inventory and serves as insurance to cover any damages that may occur to your rental. This sum is usually applicable to renters who refuse to purchase any insurance from the rental service. When planning to rent a motorcycle, make sure you have the budget to pay a security deposit that can be up to $5000.

1.5 Motorcycle Mileage-Depreciation Factor

The more distance you travel on your personal motorcycle, the more the value of your motorcycle will decrease. Most rental services allow people to borrow their motorcycles for long tours. The more a motorcycle in their fleet is rented out, the less profitable it will be for the company once the used vehicle is put up for sale.

For this reason, you will find that only a few rental companies provide unlimited mileage motorcycle rentals, while others will restrict you to a limited distance per day. Even with these limits, it is common for riders to ride over the mile limit, resulting in them paying at least $1 for every extra mile they travel.

1.6 Compensating Inactivity of Motorcycle Rentals

The motorcycle rental market has seen a surge in the past decade as more motorcyclists have started participating in motorcycle rallies, like the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally . The trend of riding the latest and luxurious Harley Davidson rentals on the most popular motorcycle roads in America has also contributed to the thriving motorcycle rental market. Additionally, the introduction of exciting motorcycle tours by prestigious motorcycle rental companies like EagleRider, MotoQuest, American Riders, and others has also helped attract more business. However, compared to car rental services, such surges in business are extremely low and sporadic.

As a result, this period of inactivity affects the income of motorcycle rental services and decreases the value of unused motorcycles. Also, the accruing cost of maintaining their inventory becomes a burden on the company's finances. To maximize revenue, motorcycle rental services keep their rates higher than most car rentals.

1.7 Miscellaneous Charges

Some motorcycle rental services add other charges to your bill. These charges are a way of ensuring extra profits for each rental, often increasing your bill considerably. Being aware of these charges may help you negotiate the price or choose a motorcycle for rent more cautiously.

Reserving a Popular Rental

Booking a model from a popular brand will lead to a higher charge. Usually, the “best” rentals have limited availability, so to make sure that you get the first to pick on a popular bike of your choosing, you may be required to pay a few extra dollars. This extra cash is non-refundable, but guarantees that you get your chosen ride. Otherwise, the rental services may rent out your booking to a higher bidder and offer you a different vehicle or a different date.

Flat Tire Repair

Once you get the motorcycle keys, you are responsible for any flat tires. Even if you have only ridden a few kilometers from the rental service, the cost of repair will result in a higher bill.

Motorcycle Rental Helmet & Safety Gear

Depending on the rental service, you may be charged for the motorcycle helmets and safety gear the company provides you.

Breakdown Cover & Roadside Assistance

Suffering from a mechanical breakdown even at ¼ miles from the rental service will cost you. The rental service will come to your rescue to fix the bike by the roadside or tow it to the nearest garage, but you would have to pay for the service.

Different Pick-Up & Drop-Off Locations

EagleRider Harley Rentals initiated a rental facility that allows renters to choose a pick-up and drop-off location. Gradually, other motorcycle rentals have adopted the idea and extended this service to their clients in exchange for a small fee. If you plan to return your motorcycle rental at a different location than the one you borrowed it from, then make sure you check the charges involved.

Rental Contract & Other Paperwork

In case your motorcycle rental is damaged, rental businesses have to process different legal formalities. Going through this paperwork results in you being charged a hefty fee. While signing your contract, make sure you fully understand all the conditions and costs you are agreeing to.

Environmental Charges

Rental businesses charge environmental fees to their customers for the disposing of motorcycle parts, tires, and other harmful fluids and waste products. Environmental charges help motorcycle rentals recoup the damage costs and disposal of their wasted motorcycles.

Cancellation Fee

If you cancel your reservation, you may have to pay an additional fee or lose a significant percentage of your security deposit.

Seasonal Charges

Motorcycle rentals are more expensive at certain times of the year than others. For example, you may find that the motorcycle you were renting in the last week of July cost $100 per day. The same motorcycle would cost $120 per day during a famous motorcycle event. Similarly, many tours are arranged in summer or spring and the motorcycle rental businesses capitalize on vacation seasons and events.

Disadvantage of Short Rental Periods

Many rental services offer more affordable rates for renting a motorcycle at least more than three days. In addition to this, they have a minimum rental period and if you insist on renting a motorcycle for a shorter time, then the company may charge you double for the rental.

Inability to Return During Work Hours

Not all motorcycle rentals offer 24/7 service. For example, a motorcycle rental may close at 8:00 p.m on a Saturday. If you reach the office after the closing time, i.e. 8:30 p.m, then you would be stuck with the bike for another day and would be liable to pay for the extra day.

Misunderstanding the Full Day Rental

A full day rental means being able to ride for 24 hours, right? Well, not always. Some motorcycle rental services state a 6-hour or 12-hour ride is a full-day rental.

1.8 Motorcycle Accident Litigation

Although lawsuits for motorcycle crashes are not directly linked to the motorcycle rental services, they will indirectly increase the cost of your motorcycle rental if another party decides to take legal action against you.

Compared to Europe, the United States has a high accident litigation rate for recovery of motorcycle damage and injuries suffered. The cost awarded by the court to the litigant for property damage and injuries can range somewhere between a few thousand dollars to $1,000,000, which can be taxing on your finances.

Since victims of a motorcycle crash have the right to initiate legal proceedings against the party responsible for the accident, you need to know how to mitigate the financial damage of facing a lawsuit and establishing a prima facie defense that you weren’t solely responsible for the damage. Having a plan B ready to pay the cost of damages may be a sensible move.

1.9 What Happens if a Foreigner Crashes a Rental Motorcycle in the USA?

If you are a non-American citizen and you crash a rental motorcycle, then three scenarios may arise.

1. Crashing an Insured Motorcycle Rental

Motorcycle rentals in America are not insured, but you can purchase a liability coverage, theft, and damage waiver from the rental service before borrowing your motorcycle. Moreover, you can also check with your insurance company whether they cover rented motorcycles or not. If there are no fatalities, and the other party didn’t suffer any major injuries, then your insurance will cover the damages involved.

2. No Insurance

Renters who lack any form of insurance will have to pay the full retail price for damages to the rental service and would also have to provide compensation to the other party outside of court.

3. Lawsuit

In case of severe injuries or death, the victim or relatives of the victim might refuse to accept the compensation offered and prefer the legal route instead. For foreigners, some jurisdictions and legal complexities may come into play, but that doesn’t mean you cannot be sued for a crash in America as a non-citizen.

2. How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Motorcycle in the USA?

Renting an average motorcycle can cost $60 to $80 per day. On the other hand, the latest Harley Davidson, BMW, Honda or Indian motorcycle s may cost you $100 to $350 per day. But this is a rough estimation as the actual cost of motorcycle rental varies based on the motorcycle’s model year and category. A moped, scooter, or an entry-level street motorcycle would be cheaper than a midsize cruiser or a sports motorcycle. Similarly, a comfortable cruiser would be cheaper than a heavy, powerful, and fully-loaded bagger motorcycle.

Based on the rents available on Rider Share, different motorcycle categories can be rented at the following price ranges:

Motorcycle Category Average Per Day Rent Range
Heavy-weight, Powerful Tourers $190 to $350
Latest & Popular Cruisers & Tourers $140 to $300
Average Cruisers $130 to $250
Moped Scooters $40 to $150

The daily price of a motorcycle rental is also influenced by the following factors:

  1. Motorcycle brand
  2. Time of the year you are renting
  3. State in which you are renting
  4. Your reason for why you are renting
  5. Motorcycle rental company

2.1 Discounts and Referrals

It is common for motorcycle rentals to offer discount schemes every now and then for their motorcycles. The discount may not make a huge difference on the bill, but many riders gladly accept them.

Your preferred motorcycle rental may offer referral schemes. You can direct a friend looking to rent for the first time to the rental service you most frequent and offer a 2% to 5% discount on your next rental.

Next time you plan to rent, ask your friends if they would be interested in touring with you. Some motorcycle rentals offer a discount of upto 10% for renting four motorcycles at once. Furthermore, rental businesses may also offer a deduction up to 25% for your daily rent if you borrow a motorcycle for more than five or seven days.

3. Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Rentals in the Different American States

3.1 Should You Rent a Car or Motorcycle When Visiting San Diego?

The beautiful weather, gleaming shores, and lively streets of San Diego are great for both motorcycle and car rentals. Sightseeing in San Diego is a memorable experience whether you are riding a two-wheeler or driving a car. Be aware that it is a crowded city and you may get stuck in traffic when riding a car, while on a motorcycle you can maneuver around it. On the other hand, a car rental is much cheaper than a motorcycle rental. Therefore, in San Diego, affordability determines whether you should rent a car or a motorcycle to enjoy the scenery and attractions of this radiant city.

3.2 Should You Rent a Car or Motorcycle When Visiting Dallas?

Dallas, Texas is a large city and you cannot rely on public transport to fully explore it. Plus, fares for Uber rides will drain your budget. The better option is to rent a vehicle so that you can tour the city at your own pace. In Dallas, renting a car and motorcycle is equally easy, but the city is not a motorcycle-friendly area. In 2020, more than 7,000 motorcycle crashes were reported in Texas; 2,000 motorcyclists involved in these accidents suffered severe injuries and 500 riders died. When in Dallas, we recommend you rent a car as it is safer and less expensive.

3.3 Should You Rent a Car or Motorcycle When Visiting Atlanta?

There are exciting motorcycle rides around Atlanta, Georgia but it is dangerous to ride a motorcycle in the city. For inexperienced riders and first-time renters, borrowing a car in Atlanta is easier, cheaper, and far safer compared to a motorcycle rental.

3.4 Should You Rent a Car or Motorcycle When Visiting Boston?

Boston, Massachusetts is a small city with narrow streets and a closely-knit community, so you won’t need to rent a car in Boston. Most of the sightseeing can be done on foot. To make your itinerary more fun, you can rent a moped, scooter, or a lightweight street motorcycle in Boston.

3.5 Should You Rent a Car or Motorcycle When Visiting San Jose?

San Jose, California is a beautiful city where it is recommended you rent a motorcycle instead of a car to get around. The city is motorcycle-friendly and boasts some of the country's most scenic motorcycle rides and vistas. The mesmerizing Santa Cruz mountains and the mighty Pacific Ocean look otherworldly when looking from a motorcycle.

3.6 Should You Rent a Car or Motorcycle When Visiting Tampa?

Motorcyclists can get a motorcycle rental to explore the scenic roads outside Tampa, Florida. But to explore the city, tourists prefer to rent a car. It is said that Tampa is the No.1 city for bicycles. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for motorcycles. It is best if you rent a car when vacationing in Tampa.

4. Takeaway

Motorcycle rentals have been growing in demand throughout the United States, but due to how high the costs are to borrow a motorcycle, many motorcycle enthusiasts compromise and rent a car instead. Compared to car rentals, motorcycle rental services see fewer customers, which results in higher rates. The additional maintenance and liability costs do not help matters.

To reduce the cost of your motorcycle rental, check with your insurance company to get liability coverage for motorcycle rentals, compare the rates of different rental services for the best deal, and ride safely to avoid paying heavy compensations or facing lawsuits.

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