Welcome to the Motorcycle Rental Guide. Here you’ll find all the info you need on Fly and Ride motorcycle trips, how to rent bikes abroad, what you need, expert tips and amazing destinations…
What is a Fly and Ride motorcycle trip and why should I do it?
If you don’t have the time or money for that big round-the-world trip, one way to see the world is fly there, rent a motorbike, have a two-week mini motorcycle adventure and fly home. And this motorcycle rental guide will help you do just that.
This is RTW Patchwork adventure lite. Not having to get the bike ready for shipping, insurance, import paperwork the list goes on. We feel that riding a bike for a couple of weeks round a country without a tent, huge panniers with tyres balanced on top, deadlines, bureaucracy and border crossings is a pretty good idea!
We went on a two-week fly and ride to Morocco back in Sept 2017, travelling through the desert and around the High Atlas Mountains and it cost just under £1,000. If we had ridden to Morocco from the UK, we would have barely reached Marrakesh in seven days, then would have had to turn around and ride straight back to UK, missing out on what we consider to be all the good stuff. Not to mention, it would have cost considerably more on our own bikes riding there, approximately £1,400 as Europe is not cheap.
Your guide to renting a motorcycle abroad
Renting a motorcycle abroad is easier than you might think. Here are the three most important things. First thing’s first… you need to check there is cheap bike rental in the country of your choice via a Google search before anything else. Then find a cheap flight by looking at a season, rather than a specific week or month, you have a better chance of finding a bargain price flight this way.
Next up, get decent travel insurance (what you need to know about UK travel insurance) that covers off road motorcycling as your main form of travel. The motorcycle rental company will include basic motor insurance with the bike. However, if you damage the bike, you are liable and they may not return all of your deposit, often £400. We have repaired the bikes ourselves with new mirrors and indicators so as not to incur any charges.
Finally, all you need to take is your passport, travel insurance and a UK driving licence. An International Driver’s Licence (IDP) can be handy, but it’s not common to be asked for it. And that’s it! Now it’s on to choosing the right bike rental company…
Choosing the right motorcycle rental company
You are often limited to who you can choose to hire bikes from. We open up some dialogue with the vendor to try and ascertain how professional they are. You can check reviews, but you can still get cases of bald tyres and damaged suspension on arrival.
We inspect the bikes prior to setting off normally the day before we want to leave so they have time to change any things we are not happy with. We always ask what will happen in the event of breakdowns. Normally the vendor will cover costs of fixing the bike or bring you a new bike on a truck, but that may take a day to arrange.
Sometimes breakdowns or mishaps are part of the adventure. To date we have not encountered serious damage, but this day may come.
How to choose the right rental motorcycle
We always try and rent small cheap bikes, as light is right in our opinion, but it all comes down to cost and availability. We have rented a 125cc moped for £7 day and up to a 400cc Royal Enfield for about £30 per day. But a Honda CRF 250L is our steed of choice for dirt roads. You don’t need to travel much quicker than local traffic on the tarmac as this leads to accidents so a small cc bike is adequate.
We always make a video of the bikes when we collect them, and take a few photos noting any previous damage. Check chain & sprockets, wheel bearings and tyre wear as a precaution though they will nearly always be semi worn road type tyres. Make sure you are given paperwork for the bike by the vendor.
What to take with you on a Fly and Ride trip
Riding luggage: We take our own 50 or 60 litre roll top waterproof bags as you don’t need to carry much for 10 days if you’re not camping and also carry our own luggage (Rok) straps. (How to pack for a motorcycle adventure guide)
Travel luggage: We carry all our kit in big 90L holdalls and put the 50 litre waterproof holdall inside. We fit everything in there including helmet, riding suit, medicine, tools, spare tubes, compressor, spare phone and electricals and that goes on the plane. (Check out How to choose your adventure riding gear).
Clothing: We only carry one or two changes of clothes and swim wear
Tools: Basic tools should be supplied. Make sure you have a means of repairing punctures on the road and anything else you think you might need (ultimate travel tool kit).
Electricals: Take a phone mount, USB cable to battery, power bank, etc. We always take a powered phone holder to attach to the handlebars and use our phones to navigate.
Extras: First aid kit and a sense of humour.
The 3 BEST Fly and Ride motorcycle destinations
To give you a taste of pricing, time, bikes and the type of roads you’ll be facing, we’ve jotted down our expenses for three of our absolute favourite Fly and Ride destinations. Which one takes your fancy?
Peru is hands down our favourite. The altitude and rugged terrain is hard going, not to mention the water crossings. It was slightly more expensive than our usual £1,000 pound limit because we cut down travel by flying to Cusco, and there was no way we were missing the fabled Inca City of Machu Picchu!
📆 17 Days
✈️ £680 flights return to Cusco (via Bogota) from London
🏍️ £300 per bike. Honda CRF 250L (10 days 50% up front) (£200 deposit)
🛒 £20 per day per person expenses
📄 Free Visa on Arrival for UK nationals
💸 Total £1,500 including an expensive visit to Machu Picchu (entrance, guide, train and buses for £170)
Total distance and road type: 1009 miles covered in 9 days riding with 1 day off. 30% off-road, 20% poor tarmac, 50% main roads.
Nepal was an amazing experience riding up into the snowcapped Annapurna Himalayan mountains on Royal Enfield Himalayans. The main roads were dangerous due to crazy drivers, and the off-road sections challenging due to landslides. People were friendly and mostly spoke English. It was cheaper in the countryside but more expensive the higher you climbed in the mountains as well as the big cities.
📆 15 Days
✈️ £421 flights return to Kathmandu (via Dubai) from London
🏍️ £270 per bike. 400cc Royal Enfield Himalayan (10 days)
🛒 £20 per day per person expenses
📄 Visa £35 for 15 days & Annapurna trekking permit £35
💸 Total £1000
Total distance and road type: 574 miles covered in 9 days of riding with 1 day off. 50% off-road, 20% poor tarmac, 30% main roads.
We love Morocco as it is the closest place to the UK that you can have a real adventure. It’s like stepping back in time with people riding donkeys and the often basic lifestyle. Once you pass through Marrakesh and cross the Atlas Mountains, you drop down into the heat of the Sahara Desert. It’s like a real Dakar adventure playing in the sand dunes along the Algerian border. The people are friendly and helpful – despite their pushy stereotype and all the children run to high-five you as you ride past.
📆 15 Days
✈️ £240 flights return to Marrakech from London
🏍️ £340 per bike. XR 250’S (10 days 25% up front ) (£260 deposit)
🛒 £25 per day expenses
📄 Free Visa on Arrival for brits
💸 Total – £1000
Total distance and road type: 1342 miles covered in 9 days riding with 1 day off. 40% off-road, 40% poor tarmac, 20% main roads.
Motorcycle Rental and Tour Companies
5 Top Tips for Fly and Ride motorcycle trips
- Buy SIM cards at the airport and get the shop to install them so you know they work.
- Never book accommodation in advance just use booking.com (barter though) etc. as you go along as you don’t know where you’ll end up each night.
- Never have a set route. Speak to people and the bike vendor on arrival, read blogs and mark up a map with places of interest. A route will organically unfold.
- Use Wikiloc or Viewranger to find off road routes other have done, just download the .gpx files and follow them at your leisure.
- Make use of public holidays or enforced time off like at Easter or Christmas to extend trips.
Find out more about Ferdinand and Fern’s Grand Idea…
The Grand idea is BIG adventures on small budgets. We would love to travel the world non-stop for years, but can’t get the time off and don’t have the money saved. So, we use our two weeks annual leave twice a year to fly round the globe, hire motorbikes and explore the world one country at a time. Each trip costs approximately £1,000 with the next adventure never far away. This is the joy of the fly and ride.
This is the Grand Idea formula! It’s no secret, but it was surprising how many people didn’t realise it could be done so cheaply, without a tour guide, hassle and too much pre-planning.
We are happy to give advice about fly rides and other aspects of adventure travel we have learnt over the years, just drop us a line on one of the socials, watch us exploring the world one place at a time on You Tube or leave a comment below if you liked our motorcycle rental guide.
Ferdie Pick. I only passed my motorcycle test in spring 2013 after a chance meeting with a guy in the Western Sahara. I took part in the Dakar challenge with my little brother and a school friend. We donated a car to a hospital in Gambia, but the catch was you had to drive it there 4,500 miles through Europe and across the Sahara to West Africa. This three-week trip changed my life forever.
Fern Hume. I experimented with bike camping trips around the UK and into Europe. I was inspired by Lois Pryce, jacked in my job and rode in the direction of New Zealand via Central Asia alone in 2012. Iran and Pakistan proved incredibly interesting and friendly – especially being a woman on a bike. I returned to the UK after a few years and met Ferdie who happened to live just down the road!
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We hope you found this Motorcycle Rental Guide helpful. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, we’re happy to help!