How not to get ripped off on a rental bike

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
How not to get ripped off on a rental bike

We hear lots of horror stories over rental bike disputes with rental shops upon the bikes return.

If you rent a bike always always take some digital photo's of the bikes condition when you take the bike. Make sure you have a photo of every panel, if possible make sure the owner of the rental shop sees you taking the photo's.

On return when you're in a financial dispute with the rental bike owner, remember he has your passport.
 

Constantine Phaulkon

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
But what if it's a fake passport? Ha ha.

I found that Tony's Bikes in Chiang Mai gave me a pretty good deal. It was slightly more expensive than some other places (because Tony's sold me insurance too) but it was worth it and I had no problems.

Next time in CNX I might just buy a bike then resell it later--in the long run it's cheaper than renting.
 

RemoteAsia

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Location
Vientiane, Laos
Bikes
DRZ XR Kolao!
The best way to not get taken for another ride on a rental bike is to use someone that has been around for a while. Passports for security deposit are the norm and "fake" passports are not generally an issue as most agents will insure that is the actual passport you used to enter the country.

A few tips on rental:
- Inspect the bike for damage prior to riding off. Note any large gashes in the plastics or out of the ordinary wear and tear issues
- Look for an insurance sticker. If there is not one, ask the agent.
- When staying overnight somewhere, inquire where to park the bike. Lock it up if you can and be confident on the parking. Is it next to a security guard? Is there a locked gate? Is it inside the reception area of the hotel/guesthouse?
- Be clear on your pick up and return dates/locations. Most rental companies will have you pay in full for the bike before you leave and early returns are not likely to be refunded. This is because the bike is out on rental and not available for others and once out of the rotation, some companies only have a few bikes and idle time isn't in their best interest.
- Inspection ride the bike. Go 2 or 3 km on the bike. It's usually not a problem and you'll get a feel for if the bike is damaged somehow making it unsafe or unfit to ride.
- Keep copies of your rental agreement and passport with you at all times. Read your rental contract closely. Repairs to bikes on the road during your rental time are sometimes not covered if you don't inform the agent there is a problem.
- Get confirmations before you arrive. Make set meeting times to get your ride and look over the forums online for reference to who is who. A small shop in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City might not be as expensive as one of the more used places and often it is a matter of reliability vs. price.
- Use your head while on tour. Riding areas that are way above your ability or posted OFF LIMITS will just lead to problems and possibly the bike being held by police or military. The owner of the bike will need to get involved and this isn't easy at distance.

In general, the forums you can look over have names and references of reputable companies.

Ride safe, ride smart.
 

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Some excellent points Jim, thankyou.

RemoteAsia said:
The best way to not get taken for another ride on a rental bike is to use someone that has been around for a while. Passports for security deposit are the norm and "fake" passports are not generally an issue as most agents will insure that is the actual passport you used to enter the country.

A few tips on rental:
- Inspect the bike for damage prior to riding off. Note any large gashes in the plastics or out of the ordinary wear and tear issues
- Look for an insurance sticker. If there is not one, ask the agent.
- When staying overnight somewhere, inquire where to park the bike. Lock it up if you can and be confident on the parking. Is it next to a security guard? Is there a locked gate? Is it inside the reception area of the hotel/guesthouse?
- Be clear on your pick up and return dates/locations. Most rental companies will have you pay in full for the bike before you leave and early returns are not likely to be refunded. This is because the bike is out on rental and not available for others and once out of the rotation, some companies only have a few bikes and idle time isn't in their best interest.
- Inspection ride the bike. Go 2 or 3 km on the bike. It's usually not a problem and you'll get a feel for if the bike is damaged somehow making it unsafe or unfit to ride.
- Keep copies of your rental agreement and passport with you at all times. Read your rental contract closely. Repairs to bikes on the road during your rental time are sometimes not covered if you don't inform the agent there is a problem.
- Get confirmations before you arrive. Make set meeting times to get your ride and look over the forums online for reference to who is who. A small shop in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City might not be as expensive as one of the more used places and often it is a matter of reliability vs. price.
- Use your head while on tour. Riding areas that are way above your ability or posted OFF LIMITS will just lead to problems and possibly the bike being held by police or military. The owner of the bike will need to get involved and this isn't easy at distance.

In general, the forums you can look over have names and references of reputable companies.

Ride safe, ride smart.
 

Mark Rossi

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2011
decent post, Another point to look for if you have a large choice of motorcycles is to check how many KM's the bikes have done. Most the KLX 250's around Chiang Mai have done well over 30,000km now, the engines are a tired, dont like to start hot and are unreliable. A bike under 20,000km is quiet a difference is reliability.
It is truly in your own best interest to have a motorcycle in good working order, if brake pads, tyres or the clutch seems worn and there is not a alternative bike, offer the company a higher daily rental if they fix the problems a extra 200bht per day may be the decider whether you have a good time or a bad experience.. most of the rental company's are working on minimal profit, they do not do much if any preventative maintenance, so if you are out for a extended period ( more than 5 days) I would guess 1 in 3 bikes has some major fault that could have been resolved before you leave the shop.
 

alexuk

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
I rented a few bikes that I should've had a test ride and good inspection first
Like an xr250 with worn steering bearings,would only go straight ahead with front brake on.The mechanic assured me it was fine,when I told him to check it. You have to use your common sense.
Also 250s with a broken clutch cable, 4loose spokes in the back wheel,no oil in engine{ jules), no front brake(mechanic said no need, you only use the back brake anyway), etc.,
all things that would've been avoided had I checked first.

Was riding with others on hire bikes with 2 broken throttle cables last week,
 

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