India is home to some of the most beautiful and captivating places in the world. But traveling to all of them using public transport like buses, metros, and trains can be quite tiresome and in some remote cases, unreachable. This is precisely why two-wheelers are valued in India. They are a reliable means of transport, YES! But, that is not the only thing they offer.
So what is the most interesting thing about traveling with a two-wheeler?
The flexibility and freedom to take a detour, comfortable sightseeing options, easy parking options, and provide the best seat for travelers who just can’t get enough panoramic views. So, it is always a worthy investment and a good idea to own or hire a bike to get off the beaten track and vroom the roads less traveled.
“Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.”
Renting a two-wheeler in India can be a daunting and difficult task if you don’t know what to look for! The more knowledgeable you are, the less chance you have of dealers ripping you off. This post will guide you in all the things that you need to know about where and how to rent a bike in India, what to look for when renting one, and so much more. For first-timers, we recommend you read the whole blog as it contains extensive information you need to know in each section.
General Trivia: To rent a bike, you should be 18 years of age minimum. For superbikes, the mandate is you have to be above 21 years of age and you need to have a valid driving license.
How To Rent A Bike In India
Table Of Contents
- Where To Rent Two-Wheelers?
- How To Rent A Bike?
- Things To Check Before You Rent
- Documents Needed
- What Additional Accessories Can One Expect From Bike Rentals?
- Basic Rules To Be Followed On The Road
- Returning The Bike
- Modify Or Cancel Booking
- What To Do Incase Of Theft Or If The Vehicle Goes Missing?
- How To Handle If Something Goes Wrong?
- Other Important Things You Should Know
- Which Bikes Are Suitable For High Altitude Himalayan Road Trips?
- Related Posts
Where To Rent Two-Wheelers?
Decide where you want to go. Choose the nearest city which has numerous options to choose from. Google for “bike rentals in <city name>”. If the search results show less than five dealers, then try with any other nearby city. For example, to explore Meghalaya, you can rent bikes from Guwahati; traverse Sikkim, rent bikes from Calcutta; traverse the Himalayas, hire bikes from Delhi; to take a long bike ride along with Ooty, Munnar, Wayanad, Valparai, Adhirapalli, and Palakkad in a single journey, Coimbatore would be the best choice. Reach the city by air or train as this will save you money if you are on a budget.
Most of the popular tourist places in India have good bike rentals, situated at the center of the place. Research before reaching that place. If available you can rent directly from the place rather than leasing it from a nearby city.
Note: Always check for regional restrictions. For example, You cannot rent bikes from outside of Leh i.e. Manali or Delhi for sightseeing in Leh. However, you can use the highway without any restrictions. Regional restrictions don’t hold good for using your vehicles.
How To Rent A Bike?
There are two reliable possible ways to rent bikes, from local vendors or online. Online, it does not mean that the bikes will be delivered to your doorstep at the booked time. You have to book the desired bike online and go to the specified garage to collect it.
We have done both. Booking the bikes online and receiving them from the shop was smooth. We did not face any difficulty. However, we did encounter a few bad experiences while renting from a local shop. We have since avoided opting for this method. We only recommend renting in a local shop if the bikes listed online are all sold out and if you are out of options.
If you plan to visit a tourist hotspot, especially during weekends or festivals, we strongly recommend that you book well in advance. To avoid a scenario where the bikes are sold out sooner than you had anticipated, ensure you pay a reservation fee. It is a small amount of advance payment to reserve your desired vehicle. This fee is greatly beneficial to reserve a bike that you are very particular about.
We also recommend that you be early to pick your bike, as you will have more options to choose from different bikes in the same model. This is to avoid running the risk of being stranded with the first available bike that might be in a poor condition. However, if you do find yourself in such a murky situation, then try renting in nearby shops as safety is of paramount importance.
The following are two popular & reliable bike rental vendors that have branches nationwide.
Get quotations from at least five operators with good customer ratings over a call. Choose the bike that best fits your budget. Bargain based on the condition of the bike. Pay a fraction as advance only if they insist. If you fail to turn up/return the bike, then that amount will be non-refundable.
Another option is to reach the shop directly and choose your desired bike. If you are a foreigner, they will charge you 2x or even 5x times higher. However, some dealers are legit.
General Trivia: The number plate of rental vehicles or the vehicles used for commercial purposes will be painted yellow in the background with black bold letters while the vehicles used by individuals for their purpose are painted white.
Things To Check Before You Rent
- Try not to rent a newly purchased two-wheeler. It will highlight even the slightest scratch or dent.
- Don’t rent end-of-life scooters, the chances of breaking down are high. Rent bikes with low kilometers – 30,000 – 50,000 as they are relatively easy to manage and more reliable.
- Check if the bike has not been in any major accidents before you take it. Sometimes such information is not completely disclosed and this can put you in a tight spot later on.
- Check the mechanical parts including engine oil, spark plugs, battery, any sounds, oil leakages, air filter, chain, sprocket, and carburetor. Ask for a replacement if needed.
- Make sure all the essential parts are working thoroughly – clutch, rear fender, lights, brakes, horn, mirrors, tires, etc. This includes your helmet which comes free of cost along with the vehicle. Try wearing it and ensure it fits your size. (Wearing a helmet while driving is mandatory in India).
- Make a note of any damage or broken parts, so that you are not surprised charged later.
- Check if there is sufficient fuel in the vehicle to reach the nearest petrol bunk. Most of the time rental vehicles have barely any fuel left in them. Always make sure to check this at the rental place itself.
- Take pictures or record a video, noting all the scratches.
- Take a small test ride. Check the mileage of the bike so you will get an idea of how much petrol you require for the trip.
- Note down the distance before you start and end the trip, as few rentals charge based on kilometers.
You are required to have the below documents and provide them as proof before renting a vehicle. You might be asked to upload the same if you book online.
- An original photo ID card. Do not give your passport as ID proof. If they insist on your passport as proof, then use it as an indication to move on to other dealers.
- A copy of your driving license (for Indians) or an international driving license along with an international driving permit (for foreigners).
Collect the below documents from the dealer before you leave as these might be asked on the road. Check if all the documents are valid, and ensure that none are close to the expiration date.
- Permit document for inter-state travel. Most rental bikes have All India Permit. However, it is safe to have them handy to avoid any hassles at the border, or when asked to show up by the Police.
- A valid RC (Registration Certificate)
- PUC (Pollution Under Control) certificate
- Vehicle insurance (check for the expiry date).
What Additional Accessories Can One Expect From Bike Rentals?
- If you are sharing your bike with someone, ask for another helmet for the pillion rider. You will not be charged for it.
- Most dealers provide additional equipment for long rides on a rental basis, especially in certain places like North India, and the Himalayas. These include gloves, jackets, tents, sleeping bags, camping equipment, bungee ropes, and most importantly luggage support, also known as Ladakh carrier.
The price is dependent on the model of the bike, distance, and the number of days you want to rent. The price is comparatively less when you rent for a month or two. A refundable security deposit has to be paid during booking, depending on the location and the type of bike. Get a written script or a receipt for the amount that you pay. For bookings done online, the security deposit will be credited to your account or wallet after returning the bike.
The best way to check the price at your desired place is to check online or get quotations from local shops over a call. Compare carefully and choose one that fits your budget.
Basic Rules To Be Followed On The Road
- Always drive left.
- Never drive intoxicated. While riding a motorbike you have to be sober and always aware of your surroundings.
- Never use mobile phones while driving. The roads need your constant attention.
- Make sure to use indicators when you take a turn. The traffic rules are not strictly followed in the country unless there is a traffic signal or police. However, to ensure your safety and the safety of others, ensure that you don’t overlook the smallest rule.
- Carry your original driver’s license and other documents handy.
- Wear helmets while riding, not only to adhere to the rules but also to ensure your safety.
Returning The Bike
Always ensure to return the bike on time. Be prepared to pay additional fares in case of delays. If you have rented the bike for a day, check the timings, particularly verify if they state 24 hours, and don’t end up paying extra by keeping it overnight. If you have rented the vehicle in local shops, you should drop off the bike at the same station or garage that you picked it from. Some online websites have the luxury to accept dropping off at other branches.
When returning, if the owner claims that you damaged the bike, show them the video you took before renting. They will not settle the deposit or give you the original ID proof until everything has been resolved.
Modify Or Cancel Booking
The modification or the cancellation policy is totally up to the dealer’s discretion. It differs from one dealer to another. Most of the dealers will not refund the advance if you cancel at the last minute. If you suspect a change of plans, go through their policy or ask before booking.
What To Do Incase Of Theft Or If The Vehicle Goes Missing?
You should immediately notify the dealer if the vehicle has been misplaced, or theft has taken place. Most dealers might ask for a replacement vehicle or will ask you to pay the market price of the vehicle. Another option is to file an FIR(First Information Report) complaint at a nearby police station so they can claim the insurance amount. The decision depends on the dealer. So make sure you fully comprehend the terms and conditions before renting.
How To Handle If Something Goes Wrong?
The dealer might overcharge you for any new scratches or damages found while returning. You can find a mechanic nearby and get the job done at a much lower price. Don’t indulge in arguments that will not make the situation any better.
If someone else damaged your bike in an accident, take clear pictures of those parts or the entire bike if needed and send them to the dealer on WhatsApp. Collect the amount (as advised by the owner) from the person responsible for the accident. This way, you don’t have to pay from your pocket when you return the vehicle.
If a foreigner happens to get into a scrape or accident, you will always be deemed as the faulty party. It may not be fair or logical, but this cannot be argued. If the accident has caused significant damage or injury, ensure you involve the police to sort things out. The amount you pay depends on the injury or damage you have caused.
Other Important Things You Should Know
- Get a visiting card or the dealer’s phone number, to contact and inform if something goes wrong with the bike.
- Confirm the terms and conditions from the bike dealer about the pickup and replacement in case of a breakdown. Some shops offer pick-up services and replace them with new ones. It is always highly recommended to confirm upfront.
- Don’t leave the helmet on the bike, even in a paid parking lot. Regardless of you safely securing it, the chances are high that it will be stolen. We advise this from our personal experience. When we returned from seeing a sunrise by the beach, we found that it had been stolen, even after locking it.
- To deter people from overspeeding, some dealers have pre-set speed limits, depending on the CC. Check with the dealers if you are not sure.
- Avoid overfilling and ensure more gasoline is present than when you rented. Petrol or gas stations are available almost everywhere unless you roam in very far remote places.
- Check weather conditions in the place of travel and prep your trip accordingly.
- It is prudent to take some spare parts or mechanical tools that would help if you have a breakdown in the middle of nowhere.
Which Bikes Are Suitable For High Altitude Himalayan Road Trips?
At high altitudes, the air is thin leading to problems in the engine and other parts. Bikes with high torque or high CC can only resist the temperature and the terrain. Although people ride 150 CC or 100 CC bikes, it comes with difficulties and discomfort. Royal Enfield Himalayan and Interceptor (650 CC) are one of the best options. The advantage of using Royal Enfield bikes is that they have service centers up in the mountains.
Imagine an unfortunate breakdown or any failure, the only option is to go to a nearby town like Himachal or Manali to get it repaired. And guess what, your whole trip is ruined.
Motorcycles can get you on a journey that you can never forget. Availability of resources shouldn’t be a hindrance for those who truly enjoy, and appreciate travel. Rental bikes come to the rescue if you don’t own one. Traveling the country on a two-wheeler provides you with a different perspective, and affords you the luxury of solitary contemplation, which is more often absent in other types of travel. Always ensure safety on the road, and ride like a true outlaw!!
Hope this guide helps you with the information that you need for renting motorcycles in India. Share it with your biker friend and make their day! For more content on transportation, or anything related to travel check out the other posts and stick with us for more deets on how to enjoy travel to the fullest!!