You know what they say: If it flies, floats, or fluctuates, you’re better off renting. Is that true of motorcycles too? Not long ago motorcycles needed lots of love and personal attention just to keep running, in the same way a toddler or puppy needed constant guidance and assistance with personal hygiene. New bikes, though, seem sprung from the womb fully formed and ready to be emancipated. They need fresh oil now and then and other normal wear items. But for the most part, you just hit the button and go.
That twist-and-go nature might make some boomers sad, but it really shouldn’t as there will always be plenty of used motorcycles to go around, with carburetors and other arcane internals slouching toward entropy. It’s that need to care for a machine, just like a child, that creates the emotional bond so many people feel for their motorcycles. With the diminishing of that need for maintenance, does the emotional bonding go away? Does the motorcycle become just another sporting good, like a bag of golf clubs or a pair of skis?
When the topic of renting one’s motorcycle out has come up before on MO, it’s really struck a nerve with a reasonably sized vocal subset who view someone else riding their bike the same way they would an outsider having, ahem, sexual relations with their partner. Some of them may be just kidding. Others, throughout history, have seen that same kind of sharing as a money-making proposition. We’re not here to judge.
Sexual mores have changed quite a bit along with the same technology that makes ride-sharing possible. These revolutions seem to happen faster in California, where many of us are unmoored from our roots. Note, for example, the Riders Share website. As we sit here on a Tuesday afternoon in the middle of Orange County, CA, – laptop in lap – it appears we can have a date with 95 motorcycles in the general vicinity.
First you have to decide what kind of ride you’re craving that day, because there’s just about every conceivable kind of motorcycle on here.
Run up Angeles Crest? Shoot Rigoberto a message in La Puente to see about riding his 2018 Panigale V4 for $190 a day (10% discount for multi-day rentals). You’ll ride it hard. Rigoberto will put it up wet. And pay for that desmo service when the time comes.
Wait a minute! Scratch the part about older bikes being ready for retirement. Wanna relive your youth, or learn what it was like, because you weren’t yet born in 1991?
Vaughn B. up the street in Long Beach has a few classic GSX-Rs, which appear to be in immaculate condition, reportedly serviced within the last 3-4 months and with 90% fresh tires! Man we loved those things. Just look at it. This is quintessential Southern California, ancestral home of the American squid.
Riders Share doesn’t discriminate, though. Wanna go for a trail ride with your pals, but don’t wanna buy a dirtbike, because you only trail ride once a year?
Richard R in Santa Ana, and his 690 Enduro to the rescue. Maybe ask him to swap on the knobbies before your scheduled pickup, or look to one of the other dirtbikes on the site, including an EXC500.
If you’re interested in something a bit more leisurely, perhaps in a bagger, there are tons of them up for a ride including lots of late-model Harleys, a Victory, and a bunch of metric cruisers.
What about a nice trip to Vancouver, Washington, where it’s nice and cool? Haven’t been there in a while. Of the 26 bikes for rent there this weekend, mmmmm, I think I want this one.
If you think all the bikes on Riders Share must be unloved beaters, you couldn’t be more wrong. Almost all of them look well-loved, and the company does its best to ensure all its renters are safe, responsible riders.
Here’s the description of this Portland, Oregon, 1982 Honda CB900F Super Sport, by its owner Ryan M.: My family has owned this particular example since 1985, when it had only 2,200 miles on it. In 2012 it had a thorough restoration that included replacement of nearly every rubber part, new brakes, new starter solenoid, gas tank cleaning, and a tune by HRC Master Mechanic Chris VanderVoort (multiple AMA Superbike champion mechanic). Starts like butter. Shifts like butter. Rides like butter.
Also in the Vancouver/Portland area, a couple of vintage KTM Adventures, a smattering of BMW GS and an RT, and a Yamaha Royal Star if you want to cruise in style.
What if we want to get back to our ancestral roots and roll from barbecue joint to barbecue pit? The pickings are somewhat slim, but so are the curvy roads. You get what you need. Half of the eight bikes on offer in KC are Harleys, but what would be better for cruising around the wide-open spaces and the prairie than Jeremy S.’s 2013 Electra Glide.
Eighteen trips have been booked on Jeremy’s bike, and have resulted in 18 5-star reviews.
If the Ultra’s not your style, also for rent are a Sportster, a Fat Bob, a Ducati Monster, a Hayabusa, a Can-Am Spyder, and a Kymco Xciting 50.
By now you’re probably getting the picture. Maybe you’d like to ride around Alaska, but you don’t have time to ride all the way across Canada to get there. Well, James S. will be happy to rent you his 2016 Honda Africa Twin, with DCT, for $150 a day, and your best buddy might as well go along and ride his ’17 R1200 GS Adventure for $150 more. From Daniel P.’s $75-per diem V-Strom 650 in Honolulu to Carl Z.’s new 2019 Triumph Speed Twin in Boca Raton, Riders Share’s got over 2500 bikes signed up so far, and ready to roll from fruited plain to purple mountains majesty (44 in the Denver area) and everywhere in between.
To rent, all you have to do is: Be 21 or older. Validate your phone number and email address. Check out with a credit card. Be in possession of a valid motorcycle license or equivalent. Allow Riders Share to possibly run a background check.
RS says it looks at 100 different data points to vet riders, that its system is improving over time, and that the vast majority of riders that meet the above requirements are allowed to rent. Insurance is the responsibility of the renter, though a damage waiver can also be bought. You know who you are.
Welcome to the sharing economy. It’s not all good, but when it comes to getting a chance to ride a motorcycle you’ve been lusting after, either from home or as part of a little vacation away, or just ride any cool motorcycle instead of a rental Buick, the downsides are hard to see. Just be careful you don’t fall in love.
MO readers receive a $25 credit to RS when they sign up via this link: https://www.riders-share.com/welcome/motorcycle
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