A great ride starts with good planning and ends back at the barn with cleaning the bugs off. I had a great rental experience with Riders Share. It is a reputable nationwide, person-to-person bike rental facilitation company handling the details of logistics, payments, insurance, and motorcycle endorsement confirmation.
You may want to fly to Denver and ride the Rocky Mountain National Park, or motorhome to Lake Tahoe and desire the motorcycling experience. You can integrate a motorcycle rental into your next getaway. Peer-to-peer motorcycle rental is here, easy, and reasonably priced.
I needed an adventure-style motorcycle to test out some new gear, and decided to rent a KTM 950 Adventure from an owner who listed his bike with Riders Share. From start to finish, I had an excellent experience.
There are over 2500 motorcycles listed in the US, and 26 rentals listed as available in the Portland, Oregon area, of which six are in the ADV genre. I chose a motorcycle and owner most closely aligned with the route I was planning on riding. The Riders Share website guides you through the rental process the same way the large car rental companies do it.
You start by picking a city and dates of your rental. Next, you are shown photos and a descriptive list of the available motorcycles. If you have any questions specific to the motorcycle—“Does it have a RAM mount?” or “Does it have a power outlet?”—you can message the owner.
I asked the owner those two questions and got back an affirmative on both. I wanted to use my satellite-connected GPS, and I never ride without a dashcam.
Heated gear was optional for this ride. As it turned out, the KTM had a 15-amp battery direct circuit with an SAE connector that I have adapters for. Always ask! Don’t assume anything. It makes for a better experience.
Once you select a motorcycle to rent, you create an account. You must identify yourself by providing your mobile number, address info, and sending a photo of your driver’s license with your motorcycle endorsement. They check your endorsement; you cannot rent from Riders Share without a motorcycle endorsement. Besides your passenger, no one is allowed on the motorcycle except you.
As you continue through the process, you decide how high a deductible you are willing to pay should something happen to the motorcycle. The lower the deductible, the higher the daily cost to you. I went for the whole coverage list, lowest deductible, roadside assistance, and tire coverage—the works. These extras doubled the daily cost of the rental.
Check with your own motorcycle insurance carrier. Some already cover you, or protect you on a rental as though it was your own. If you are a member of AMA, towing is included in your membership with autopay renewal.
Finally, you see a complete list of the charges, including Riders Share’s low daily Service Fee. Next is credit card payment and an email advising to wait for confirmation; the motorcycle owner still has to approve the rental. Here is the email I received moments after completing my rental request:
We’ve received your trip request for *******’s KTM 950 ADVENTURE SILVER/ORANGE from November 5th 2020 @ 9:30am to November 6th, 2020 @ 9:30 am.
I received the trip approval email just three minutes later. Obviously, my owner was watching his smartphone. Others may be a bit slower. Remember, this is a private party, not a 24/7/365 business, so be patient. Sometimes I don’t take my phone in the shower, but I will check it when I get out.
With the approval email, you also get the owner’s address and phone number. He called me before I could call him. We had a friendly rider-to-rider conversation about my experience on tall seat-height motorcycles—do I want the bags on or off, do I want the taller comfortable seat or the lower uncomfortable seat, and other pertinent issues.
I confirmed my request regarding the power supply and the RAM mount. We talked about his power outlet being an SAE connection. It’s a good thing I asked, as I didn’t have an SAE splitter, so he let me borrow his. If you happen to need gear, many owners are willing to rent you their gear for a nominal fee. We agreed on a pickup time that worked for our schedules.
Riders Share sends several emails leading up to your rental, and an email to use for Checking In when you actually pick up the motorcycle.
Riders Share has a review checklist that everyone should follow. You won’t embarrass yourself or the owner by checking tire pressure, oil level, condition of the tires, eyeballing the brake pads and rotors, and looking closely for any existing scratches or damage anywhere on the bike. Take photos if you find anything you don’t want to be liable for. You are responsible for bringing the bike back in the condition it was in when you took control of it. If the hand and engine guards have kissed the rocks, document it. If there is a gas nozzle scratch on the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide tank, document it.
Before you leave, reach an agreement with the owner about who is responsible for cleaning the motorcycle upon return—especially important if you’re renting an ADV bike or riding in inclement weather, and I was doing both. Ask questions about the operation of the electronics, mileage, quirks, or anything else either of you can think of. It is better to learn from the owner that you should get gas every 165 miles rather than rely on the reserve light, which doesn’t always come on.
I showed up a few minutes early, and the owner had the KTM 950 Adventure on the driveway ready to go. I love talking about motorcycles, gear, and destinations, so I probably bent his ear a little longer than I should have. We agreed on a return time. The owner left me alone to mount my farkles—dashcam, phone, and satellite GPS on a RAM mount tree—and not pressure me into leaving before I was ready.
I headed out in the rain for the next several hours, en route to a forest road riding area. Yes, some of us purposely ride in the rain. I don’t make it a habit, but I was testing waterproof gear, and there is a difference between jumping in a puddle and riding for hours on the freeway in the pouring rain. I can’t always wait for the weather to match the gear, but this time the weather cooperated—if you call rain cooperation. I really do try to make my reviews as rider realistic as I can, with the notable exception of crash testing!
I had enough fun for one rainy and cold day and headed back homeward. Returning the rental is the reverse of picking it up. Use the email Check Out link sent to you by Riders Share to document the mileage, fuel (always return it full), and advise the owner of any damage or lack thereof. Take photos and hand the owner the key—another successful Riders Share rental is complete. I wrote a review for them to post. I felt the whole experience was five-star.
If you are flying or driving to most anywhere in the US and want to do some local riding, Riders Share will probably have a good selection of owner/renters willing to share their baby with you. Riders Share’s website is full of information on renting a motorcycle or making your ride available for others to rent. Renting a motorcycle has become so easy and convenient that it is now part of my regular vacation planning.
5/4/2021 Update: Riders Share now offers a Riders Pass subscription service for frequent renters that provides a 35 percent discount on rentals. It runs $24 a month for 12 months, or $264 annually when paid in advance. A motorcycle delivery credit of $50 and free trip cancellation is included in the Riders Pass subscription. You must be over 25 years old and have a FICO score of 700 or higher to join Riders Pass.