MO Tested: Spot Gen3 Rental Review

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

Mitigate the high annual cost by renting a Spot Gen3 when you need it

Way back in 2015, we tested the Spot Gen3 satellite tracking device on our Ultimate Sport-Touring Adventure, and we came away impressed with its ease of use. Although we never had to initiate any of the emergency functions, we were happy to know that if things did go sideways, we’d have a way to summon help to our location – even if we were out of cell phone range. So, as I hatched my plan to ride the 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour from Austin, TX home to Los Angeles, CA, my ever tolerant (and long-suffering) wife asked if there would be any way to track me when I was in the remote areas of my trip in case something went wrong. I told her I had just the thing.

MO Tested: SPOT Gen3

In our previous test of the Spot Gen3, the only real negative we could find in the device was its that its annual pricing was a little steep, making it less desirable for people who aren’t regular adventurers. Well, in the time that has passed since our initial review, the smart folks at Spot have started renting their devices. The pricing starts at $75 which covers a 1–3 day rental. Each additional day is $15. Spot guarantees that your device will arrive at least two days before your scheduled departure which should give you plenty of time to set up your online account and messages/recipients. When you successfully complete your trip, all you have to do is place the Spot back in the box it arrived in, seal it closed, and attach the pre-printed return shipping label. If you fail to return the Spot in seven days, you will be charged the $150 replacement cost of the device.

What could be easier than filling out a form?

Renting the Spot was dead simple. I followed the rental link from the Spot website. From there, I set up an account and went through the process of reserving the dates and providing the contact and payment information necessary. It’s as straightforward as ordering anything online is. Within minutes, I’d reserved a Spot Gen3 for four days ($75 for three days, plus $15 additional day). Shipping was an additional $15. So, for $105, I had a Spot ready for use on the days I planned to travel. Easy-peasy.

True to the company’s word, the Spot showed up two days before my departure. Once I picked up the Gold Wing, I discovered that the Spot didn’t like being mounted inside a bag, so I slipped it in my jacket’s breast pocket and forgot about it until it was time to shut it off for the night.

Previous trips are saved to your Spot account and can be found by searching for travel dates. The boot print marks where I triggered the start of each day’s ride.

Overall, I’d say that the price for what the Spot Gen3 rental was worth the peace of mind that it offered my wife. If you take more than one trip a year in which you’d like to use the Spot, then it might be worth purchasing. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Spot rentals are a very successful sales tool.

Evans Brasfield
Evans Brasfield

Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.

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2 of 6 comments
  • Jason Jason on Feb 15, 2018

    More than 1/3rd the price of a year for only 3 days? Ridiculous!

    Spot has also bumped up the price of their Trace service by 50% this year.

  • Barry_Allen Barry_Allen on Feb 18, 2018

    "…the Spot didn’t like being mounted inside a bag, so I slipped it in my jacket’s breast pocket…"

    Proper use of the Spot is to carry it on your person. In the worst case scenario, you and the bike become separated in a crash. If the Spot is mounted on the bike not only can you not press the SOS button, but when they finally do come looking at the last reported location, they're looking for the bike and not for you.