Why Is Motorcycle Rental so Expensive? (6 Simple Reasons)


If you are in the process of browsing for a motorcycle that you can rent, you will stumble upon a few different companies, all of which will offer a variety of motorcycles.

However, one of the first things that people notice is that renting a motorcycle can be very expensive. Renting a motorcycle will often be two to five times the cost of renting a car. This begs the question.

Why is motorcycle rental so expensive? Renting a motorcycle is expensive because of several reasons like insurance and liability, and motorcycle maintenance and servicing. Other factors that make motorcycle rentals so expensive are the smaller niche, motorcycle depreciation, crash incidence and severity, and motorcycle acquisition and resell costs.

There are a lot of caveats and fine-print details that you need to be aware of when renting a motorcycle.

Below I go into more detail about everything you need to know about motorcycle rentals, where the high costs come from, and what you can do to keep your expenses low.

A parked Harley Davidson motorcycle.

What makes renting a motorcycle so expensive?

We can clearly see the big gap here.

Renting a motorcycle is significantly more expensive than renting a car. While renting a motorcycle can vary between $80 to $350 per day, renting a car will usually cost between $30 to $60 per day.

If we take a more in-depth look at how the whole process of renting a motorcycle goes, what we will find is that there are many different aspects of renting a motorcycle. Each one will add to the total cost of renting a motorcycle.

Insurance and liability

Insurance and the liability are, normally, the main reasons why renting a motorcycle is so expensive.

There is a simple reason for that, like how motorcycles are usually ridden, the odds of getting involved in a crash, and the possible consequences.

It is no surprise that motorcycle accidents usually result in a lot more serious injuries, and there is an increased risk of a fatal outcome for the rider and the passenger. (See article: If you ride a motorcycle, will you eventually crash?)

Motorcycles are also not exactly cheap. So the insurance needs to cover all of these costs.

There are two main types of insurance that we need to keep in mind here, (1) the damage done to the motorcycle and (2) the damage done to other people and property.

The different rental companies can handle this differently. Some companies may combine both types of insurance together, while others will offer them separately or charge you for liability, including the damage.

Usually, on renting a motorcycle, the minimum liability coverage by your state or country should be included. Frequently companies will offer additional liability insurance.

Let’s not forget that theft insurance should also be included.

In certain cases, motorcycle riders will already have insurance of their own, which can also cover a rented motorcycle. If your insurance happens to cover rented motorcycles, then this may save you a good chunk of money.

That being said, motorcycles are more easily damaged even if you don’t get into a serious accident.

It is also safe to say that many people will not treat the rented motorcycle the way they will treat their own ride. And seeing how motorcycles can get damaged a lot more seriously than a car even if they haven’t been in an accident leads to a lot higher risk, which drives the cost of motorcycle rentals up.

This is why there can be a notable difference in the insurance cost of a privately owned motorcycle and a rental motorcycle.

Maintenance and service

Another thing that makes motorcycle rentals expensive is a simple fact that motorcycle maintenance and service can get very costly very fast.

A lot of people would assume that owning a motorcycle is cheaper than owning a car. However, this is not always true. Depending on a number of different factors running a motorcycle can end up being very expensive.

For example, the service intervals on motorcycles are shorter. A good example is motorcycle tires. They have to be changed more often and are as expensive if not more than car tires. (See article: How much does it cost to change tires on a motorcycle?)

Mileage

The problem is that mileage is what wears out and depreciates motorcycles the most. So during your rental period, the more miles you travel, the less the profit for the rental company will have.

Some companies may offer unlimited mileage; however, not all do, and some will give you a daily limit. This does not mean you cannot surpass the daily limit; only that will have to pay for the extra miles.

This little detail is of utmost importance because you may not have to worry too much for a short trip, but if you plan a longer trip, this can put a lot to the bottom line. 

You can expect to pay between $0.50 to $1 per mile.

Downtime

Let’s consider the downtime relative to the income that the motorcycle rental company has.

One of the problems is that motorcycles are usually rented on the weekends and not much during the weekdays. Motorcycle rentals are also probably less common than car rentals. And all of this leads to a big portion of the fleet being unused while at the same time continuing to depreciate in value.

Rental deposits

As if renting a motorcycle was not expensive already, there is another hefty sum of money that you may have to pay, which is the rental deposit.

The deposit is used as a guarantee that you will be able to cover at least some of the expenses if something unexpected were to happen.

Some companies may require a cash deposit for damage between $100 and $5,000, which are used to cover any potential losses.

Additional costs

Some motorcycle rental companies may have you pay more for certain services. Those are additional expenses for the company and will increase the total cost of renting a motorcycle.

This is why, you may have to pay extra for:

  • Reserving a specific type and model of a motorcycle: By paying a small fee, you are guaranteed to receive the motorcycle of your choosing.
  • Tire protection: If you happen to get a flat tire, the repair and labor costs will be covered within a certain amount. 
  • Motorcycle gear that you may want to wear.
  • Roadside recovery.

In addition to those, you may also be subject to additional fees and charges depending on the rental company you are using. Make sure you read your rental contract carefully and understand it.

  • Drop-off and return fees: You may have to pay an additional fee if you return the motorcycle to a place different than the one you rented it.
  • Environmental fees.
  • Dynamic pricing: This means that the cost of renting a motorcycle can be dynamic or change according to the current supply and demand.
  • Services fees

There may also be a minimum rental period. Some companies can have a minimum rental period of two days, which means you cannot rent the motorcycle for one day leading to double the cost and expenses.

Rental offices may not work 24/7, which means that you may not be able to return your motorcycle during the weekends, for example, which may cause you to rent the motorcycle for longer or pay additional fees.

How much does it cost to rent a motorcycle?

Renting a motorcycle can cost between $80 to $350 per day. The actual cost of renting a motorcycle will vary greatly depending on the motorcycle’s type and model, the motorcycle rental company, and more.

  • The bigger, heavier, and more powerful motorcycle will usually be the most expensive to rent. Cruisers, tourers, and even some roadsters will often cost between $140 and $350 per day.
  • Some of the middles of the line motorcycle will cost between $140 and $250 per day.
  • And mopeds will cost between $50 and $130 per day.

Those, of course, are some good ballpark numbers. However, they can, and most likely will, vary a lot depending on where you live, what kind of a motorcycle you want to rent, and the motorcycle rental company.

For example, some motorcycle rental companies do offer referral programs. By referring a friend who is a first-time renter, you can get a small discount that can reduce your cost of renting a motorcycle by $10 to $25.

In addition to that, some companies can offer discounts for renting a motorcycle for a longer period of time. In certain cases, you can see a reduction in the daily rental price of as much as 25%, which can amount to a discount of anywhere between $7 to $65 per day.

Some companies may offer small discounts for renting more than one motorcycle, too.

Lastly, a full rental day may not always mean a full 24 hours. Some companies may consider a full rental day 6 or 12 hours, so make sure you read the contract.

Mike

Hello, two-wheel enthusiasts! My name is Mike, and I am the person behind motorcyclebrave.com. I am ready to go for a ride at any time of the day (or night). There is something about motorcycles that nothing else compares to. Here I share everything that I learn about motorcycles.

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