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Ultimate Guide to Renting a Motorcycle

It might feel we, as a motorcycle rental company in Malaga, might be a little biased when writing an article like that. However, we have been renting motorcycles before in various parts of the world. And as we strive to ensure our guests have an excellent experience when travelling around Andalucia on one of our bikes, we have aimed to put ourselves in the guests shoes. So how does one approach planning a motorcycle holiday, choosing the bike to rent and making sure to avoid any issues?..

Where to go - study the weather patterns and be prepared!

Most of the places in the world you’d consider going for a motorcycle holiday will have some sort of the “best” time of the year to go. In some places that could be just a month or two - in others it could be almost a whole year!

It’s important to study the typical weather in your planned destination and also note that “motorcycling hot season” doesn’t necessarily correlate with the traditional “tourist hot season”. The perfect example of this is Andalucia! The area is the busiest with tourists in summer months from June to September. However, as we discussed in another article, the best time to come to Malaga for a motorcycle holiday is actually from mid-September to mid-November! The weather will be milder, the sun won’t be as strong and places won’t be as busy! The rest of the year can be great for riding too - after all, where can one ride a moto in comfortable temperatures during a Christmas break? However, one would need to plan the route more carefully and avoid higher and colder areas.

However, the weather patterns are just that - patterns! Every year the weather is slightly different and it’s not uncommon to get an abnormal heat wave or a period of rainy weather. So it makes sense to pack some extra clothing for those eventualities and don’t be shy to reach out to where you intend to rent the bike a few days before departure to check for the latest weather forecasts!

Choose the right bike for the route and the conditions

Giving tips on what motorcycle to rent is a bit like giving advice on which pizza to order - everyone is different! However, there are some things to consider.

While it might be tempting to rent the biggest and most powerful bike out there its worth noting that the best motorcycle roads tend to be twisty and not so fast - and, in places, narrow. In some places navigating the cities or smaller villages can be challenging on a big, heavy bike - the streets are narrow and traffic is busy. It is certainly the case in Spain. Bigger bikes also tend to be more difficult to park and manoeuvre and consume more fuel ultimately increasing the costs.

There is a reason why we primarily have medium-sized touring bikes in our fleet as we feel those are the sweet spot for a motorcycle tour. But even the bikes we have have a slightly different character - the Suzuki V-Strom is more of a comfortable tourer and the Yamaha Tracer has more of a sporty feeling to it. Horses for courses! 

Compare the end prices and be clear on what’s included in your rental

Booking a rental motorcycle is best done in advance - that way one has the best possible selection! If left to the last minute you’d be at the mercy of whether the rental company will have the bike you want available at the time you need it. 

However, the booking process might at times feel like booking a flight ticket - with so many options and variables available. In our opinion, key things to watch out for are:

  • Daily rate (obviously!)
  • Mileage included and how much extra kms will cost
  • Insurance excess/security deposit
  • What equipment is included? Top case and panniers? Locks?
  • When can the bike be picked up/returned and is there any extra charge for out of hours returns?
  • Can the motorcycle be delivered to you and is there an extra charge for that?
  • What are the cancellation conditions and penalties?

When one begins to consider the above points there really isn’t the one “best for everyone” rental company. Someone might be making a shorter trip (so they don’t need a high mileage allowance), but need to rent a gear. Others might be making a longer tour, but bring their own gear, etc… Choose the company based on your circumstances.

Get in touch with them even with some simple question/clarification

Especially for longer bookings it’s always a good idea to get in touch with the company via email or WhatsApp to clarify the availability or any questions. Even though most will maintain an up to date availability on the website it won’t harm to ask to make sure the bike is really available.

Most importantly doing so will allow you to gauge if you’re comfortable with the agency communication. Do they speak a language that you can speak? Do they reply to your messages as fast as you’d like them to? A responsive, easy to communicate with agency will help you with planning the trip, answer any doubts and make it a more interactive experience. This will be particularly important if anything goes wrong at any point.

Even if you’ve made the booking already and have an idea where you’d like to go, it won’t harm to reach out to the agency and ask for some extra tips. They are almost certain to know their area quite well and might be able to point out some routes to take or avoid.

Make sure you have the right gear

Everyone’s preferences differ in terms of what motorcycle gear they’re comfortable wearing. Some will always wear full gear while others are comfortable riding in shorts and a t-shirt.

No matter what your preference is it's important to make sure you either bring the gear you need on the trip or be certain you can rent it together with the bike. Some places will offer a full set of riding gear to rent, while others won’t. For example, at Andalus Moto we only provide helmets and gloves, as well as a limited selection of jackets. We strongly believe that for a trip of more than a day or two you’d be much more comfortable and safe in your own gear - so we encourage you to bring your own!

It’s also important to consider how much luggage you’re bringing with you and if you can store extra at the company’s office when you’re on your trip! Some companies, like us, will supply the bikes with a full set of luggage cases. Others will not provide any luggage cases or bags at all! Nothing is wrong with either of those approaches as long as you know what to expect. Together with my partner (who was going as a pillion) we once rented a bike for a few days and it came with no bags and no options to put those on. After 2 days of having to carry a backpack on her back all day long she began to hate the trip, me and anything that has less than 4 wheels!

Motorcycle pickup and drop-off arrangements

As the beginning of your trip approaches make sure you know where and how you’ll get your rental motorcycle - and how to get there! Some companies will only permit pick up during certain hours (at times as little as 2 hours per day!). Others will deliver you a bike under certain conditions - for example, we deliver/collect the bikes within Malaga City for rentals of 3 days or longer.

This again is the part where communicating with the agency is key. They’d actually be glad you’ve reached out to them so they know you’re coming and when to have the bike ready. As a common courtesy, if you happen to be late for any reason, it’s good to also let them know. There might be conflicting booking or your booking might be the last of the day and the person is only waiting for you.

Documents to bring

When picking up the rental motorcycle it's important that you bring the correct documentation with you and it’s also important that you receive the correct documentation for the motorcycle.

Every company will have certain requirements in terms of what documents they’ll need from you. Most will require you to bring the original passport/ID card and original driving licence. And most will require you to have a certain number of years of riding experience on your licence. Those conditions and requirements should be easily available and it’s important to check them before you arrive. Some of the requirements are more flexible than others - for example, we can make some exemptions but those are agreed individually and preferably ahead of time. Some companies will not make any exceptions at all. Not checking this will result in a ruined trip for you and a lost customer for the company, so this is a loss-loss situation.

Some companies will require non-EU riders to have an international driving permit while others won’t. This is also important to clarify with the company ahead of the time to avoid disappointment.

Finally, almost every company will require a credit/debit card in your name for the preauthorization of the security deposit. Some will only accept credit cards and almost none will accept cash.

Insurance, contract and motorcycle documentation

At least in Europe, third party liability insurance should always be included with the rental. For further insurance, the most common scenario is that what is called a “collision damage waiver” is included that limits your liability as a renter for damage to the vehicle to the amount of excess/security deposit. What this means is in case of any damage to the bike you won’t need to pay more than your security deposit, provided you’ve adhered to the terms of the rental contract.

And this is where reading the rental contract becomes very important. When picking up the bike it’s understandable to be excited to get on the road as soon as possible and its a natural tendency to just skip over the rental contract. But please read it! Some use of the bike might be prohibited and the Collision Damage Waiver often excludes some types of damage - for example, riding off-road, tyre punctures or having a motorcycle stolen when parked outside at night. To avoid surprises it’s important to understand what is included and what isn’t and how is the cost of the damage calculated. Is there any standard or minimum rate for any scratches? A good, honest agency will have no trouble talking you through it before the rental begins.

To avoid the rush of reading the full contract when picking up the bike you can just ask the agency to send you the terms and conditions in advance - sometimes it’s even available from their website!

When picking up the motorcycle you should get appropriate documentation to be able to ride legally in that country and wherever else you might want to ride. In Spain, for example, we provide certified copies of the bike’s papers and that is enough in case of a police checkpoint.

Importantly, you should also get information on whom and how to contact in case you have any issues with the bike or need any assistance!

Checking the rental motorcycle

When picking up the motorcycle be sure to go around noting any pre-existing damage that the bike has to avoid any misunderstanding when returning the bike. Take a few pictures particularly if you can spot any damage. It’s a perfectly normal process and the staff of the agency won’t be offended by you taking pictures unless they have something to hide.

Most owners will know their bikes quite well but may still be unaware of some recent marks or scratches - that may lead to a genuine misunderstanding later on. As such, it's really important to document and take a picture of all damage.

The owner should also give you a brief explanation how to operate all the controls of the bike and some bikes might have their specifics. If you’re not sure how anything works it’s better to ask than to try and figure it out later. Do you need to remove the cases and do you know how to do it safely? Are you familiar with how the disc lock works? It’s perfectly fine and absolutely no shame in saying no. A reasonable owner will be more than happy to explain!

Most will plan for people to ride on average 200-300 kms per day or so and that’s the “maintenance reserve” many owners will plan for. If you’re planning to ride substantially more the bike might require some maintenance (e.g. a new tyre) during your trip. Be sure to mention that to the owner and make some arrangements at how it’s to be done ahead of time.

Finally, as you set off for your journey take the first few minutes and hours of riding really easy. For all of us riding an unfamiliar bike is exciting, but challenging! It’s natural to have a longer reaction time while you’re still getting used to a new bike. And the most important goal for your trip is to have a safe and exciting trip! So don’t rush, particularly in the beginning - there is no need! 

During the trip

If you need any assistance or something happens during the trip you should have a contact phone of the agency. In case of an accident call them straight away and follow the advice, same goes for any technical issue with the bike.

It can happen that the bike is damaged, we have all dropped bikes, scratched bikes etc. It might even be damaged when it’s parked and you’re away. In case anything like that happens it’s usually the best if you contact the owner straight away and send them some pictures. Again there is no shame in that and they won’t be angry - they’d actually appreciate it! Having some notice will allow them to search for the spare parts that need to be replaced and order those and that’ll make sure their further bookings don't fall apart. Not only is it a courtesy to other renters, but most of the contracts will require the renter to compensate for any “loss of use”. It’s usually not worth it to try to hide the damage as most will know their bikes quite well and will know where to look. It’s even worse to try and fix the damage yourself as some “fixing” will then need an expensive “unfixing”!

Knowing of the damage in advance will also let them have an estimate ahead of your return in most situations so the remainder of your deposit will be unblocked there and then.

Most importantly - have fun during the trip! And if you happen to ride at some amazing place and take a great photo with the bike - send it to the owner - they’ll be happy to see it!

Returning the bike

When returning the rental motorcycle, same as with the pickup, it’s important that you have clear arrangements with the owner how and when the handover will take place. And if you happen to be late, please let them know as there might be reservations shortly after yours. It’s also important to clarify with how much fuel you should bring the bike back - the customary is the same amount of fuel that you took it with. Some agencies won’t mind you bringing it back with less and will only charge for missing petrol, while others will slap on a hefty “refuelling” charge.

Be sure to walk around the bike and check for damage together with the owner to avoid any disputes later. Most will then unblock your security deposit from your card right there and then. However, depending on your bank and the type of card used it may take a few days for the funds to get back into your account or card.

Be sure to take all your belongings from the bike and also to give back all the equipment and bike documents that you’ve rented. 

If you’ve been to some really amazing places or roads also tell the owner about those and they’ll tell others. For example, there are so many amazing roads around Andalucia that I can’t ride them all myself. Hence, many great route suggestions come directly from my previous guests!

And last, but not least, be sure to leave the company a review on Google Maps or a similar platform - no matter what your experience was! Reviews are a fantastic tool to reward great customer service provided by some companies and to point areas for development. Most importantly, it’s very helpful for fellow travellers to choose the best motorcycle rental place for their trips and is overall contributing to build a healthy ecosystem. So don’t skip on it, it’s very important for other travellers and for companies alike!

Our Motorcycles for Rent in malaga

From
€64

An excellent All Rounder Touring Motorcycle! Comfortable and relaxed posture, easy and controlled cornering make it fun to ride for short and long trips! Equipped with ample luggage capacity!

From
€68

An exciting Sport Touring Motorcycle! Comfortable for long distance trips and lively for some twisty roads fun! Touring screen, heated grips and ample luggage capacity and power for traveling with a pillion.

Early Bird Special Offer
Book 30+ days in advance
Get 10% off total price
Instant discount for rentals of 3 days or longer with a start date 30 days or more from today.

Suggested Itineraries

The Gems of Andalucia: An Ultimate 8 days Motorcycle Itinerary

Duration: 9 days/8 nights (7 riding days)

Start/End points: Malaga/Malaga

Average riding time per day: 4 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Twisty roads, but with mostly good road conditions. 99% on roads (can be occasional gravel stretches due to roadworks or access roads to accommodation).

The Coast, The Desert and the Mountains: 7-9 days motorbike itinerary

Duration: 7-9 days, depending on visits to Granada and Cartagena

Start/End points: Malaga/Malaga

Average riding time per day: 4-5 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Twisty roads, but with mostly good road conditions. 99% on roads (can be occasional gravel stretches due to roadworks).

Magical Ronda: Motorcycle Day Trip from Malaga

Duration: 1 day trip from Malaga

Start/End points: Malaga/Malaga

Average riding time per day: 4 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Twisty roads, but with mostly good road conditions. 99% on roads (can be occasional gravel stretches due to roadworks).

Gibraltar Sidetrip

The information about Gibraltar trip is coming soon... Stay tuned!
Andalus Moto Team
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