How to Rent a Motorcycle in Canada

Heading to Canada? Here’s what you need to know about renting a motorcycle for an epic adventure in British Columbia, West Canada.

Canada motorcycle rental

Why you’ll love it

Riding a motorcycle in Canada is incredible. British Columbia is serene, unspoilt and brimming with wildlife, jaw-dropping views and some of the most intensely beautiful nature in the world. Slinging a leg over a saddle and heading into the Canadian Rockies will be one of the most memorable rides of your life and needs to be right at the top of your to-do list.

My girlfriend and I rented a BMW R1200GS five years ago for a two-week ride through British Columbia. Since then we’ve ridden in over 54 countries and Canada’s still our favourite. So, we pulled together this guide to help you get out there, rent a bike and become mesmerised, because we know you’ll love it too.

riding a motorbike in canadian rockies

Where to rent your bike from

We used CycleBC to rent a BMW R1200GS. They’re a reputable company in Vancouver, have been operating since 1993 and had very good reviews. They supplied us with a clean and working bike with luggage. We were impressed with their services and would recommend them based on our experience.

Website: vancouver.cyclebc.ca
Email infovancouver@cyclebc.ca
Address: 73 East 6th Avenue, Unit 10, Vancouver, BC V5T 1J3
Phone: 604-709-5663

CycleBC offer motorcycle rentals if you fancy going it alone, and they also offer Tours if you want the stress taken out of your trip. Everything will be handled for you on a tour from route to hotels to food. 

Alternatively, check out our Recommended Rental and Tour Companies Finder below for more companies.

Motorcycle Rental and Tour Companies
Planning a Fly and Ride bike adventure? Here’s our recommended motorcycle rental and tour companies from around the world. Check out the page, click a country and see what’s on offer!
Read More
Canada motorcycle bridge

Motorcycle rental prices

CycleBC has a huge range of motorcycles including adventure bikes, sports tourers and cruisers. Way too many to list here.

Check out CycleBC to have a look at their bike rental page for what’s on offer and the price range per bike.

Beauty of BC Canada

What the manager says

Mike Gat, Manager at CycleBC says: “Canada’s best feature is the vast amount of nothingness. All of England is 130,000 km2 while British Columbia alone is 944,000 km2 with the population of 4.6 million, that’s less than half of the population of London. British Columbia offers a true sense of adventure that’s getting harder and harder to find these days, couple that with our renowned Canadian hospitality and that’s what makes Canada the perfect riding destination.”

When to go

August guarantees warm, dry weather but there’s less traffic in September and you can wear full kit without getting too hot. Outside of June to September, the Icefields Parkway may be closed due to snow and ice.

Bears in Canada

What you need

Luggage systems, helmets and gloves are included for riders and pillions, so just pack a jacket, a toothbrush, sun cream and a camera. Of course, taking your own kit is always a good idea as you know it works, fits and is comfortable. 

READ MORE: How to Choose Your Adventure Riding Gear
READ MORE: Motorcycle Clothing, Equipment and Luggage Reviews
READ MORE: The Motorcycle Luggage Guide

You will also need your driver’s licence, passport, an International Driver’s Permit is always a good idea and travel insurance. The rental bike will come with its own vehicler insurance.

General travel costs

  • Petrol prices fluctuate slightly. Expect to pay around £0.83 per litre
  • Return flights to Vancouver cost around £400 on average. Check Skyscanner for up-to-date information and flight bookings.
  • B&Bs are popular and cost around £45 a night for a really good one.
  • Food and drink costs are similar to UK prices
Canadian vehicle ferry in Rockies

Our recommended route

We took on the Wild West Canada Route and recommend it.

It took us 14 days and around 1,600 miles. We rode two-up and took our time. It’s a comfortable 9-day trip with one rest day in the middle if you haven’t got the full two weeks. But you will most likely want at least one extra day either side for picking up and dropping off the bike etc.   

What makes this route special is that it takes on BC and Alberta, along the Gold Rush Trail, to hot springs, waterfalls, Banff, Lake Louise, the boiling hot desert region of Kamloops, the highest mountain in the Rockies and the epic Icefields Parkway route with its overhanging glaciers – the Icefields are the one thing you cannot miss in BC. 

Here’s a map of our Wild West Route and a day-by-day breakdown.

Motorcycling the Canadian Rockies

Read up on our adventure through British Columbia!
STORIES

Day by day route

Day 1: Vancouver to Whistler 100 miles
Stanley Park, Lion’s Gate Bridge, Highway 99, Sea to Sky Highway to the world-famous ski resort town of Whistler

Day 2: Whistler to Kelowna 260 miles
Pemberton, into the mountains, Coast Range Mountains, cowboy country past cattle ranches to Kelowna.

Day 3: Kelowna to Ainsworth Hot Springs 230 miles
The route changes from hills to mountains. You’ll ride through the Kootenay Mountain region, famous for ski resorts, breweries and the hot springs of Ainsworth.

Day 4: Ainsworth Hot Springs to Revelstoke 135 miles
Brilliant roads that flit between tarmac and little ferry crossings over turquoise blue lakes. There are plenty of hidden gems and off-piste routes here, so take a little extra time to dig them out.

Day 5: Revelstoke to Banff 205 miles
Storied Kicking Horse Pass, narrow valleys and plenty of switchbacks.

Day 6: Rest Day in Banff

Day 7: Banff to Mount Robson 235 miles
This one’s special. Today is the Icefields Parkway and one of the best roads in the world. Mount Robson is the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies are the riding around that area is very cool. You’ll probably see the most wildlife of your trip on this stretch too.

Day 8: Mount Robson to Kamloops 230 miles
Follow the Thompson River and the Canadian National Railway Line. Kamloops is the wild west part of BC. It was 42C when we arrived. It’s an arid desert region.

Day 9: Kamloops to Vancouver 280 miles
Follow the 1800’s Gold Rush Trail through Fraser River Canyon from Cache Creek to Hope and stop off at Hell’s Gate Canyon, jump onto the Trans Canada Highway before arriving back in Vancouver.

motorcycle tour in Canda
You can take on this route with a rental bike or as part of a tour.

Read more on Motorcycle Travel in Canada

Thanks for checking out this Canada Motorcycle Trip Report. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycling in Canada that we recommend you read next. 

Liked that? Try these next…

Planning a motorcycle ride in Canada? Let us know in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “How to Rent a Motorcycle in Canada”

  1. As an expat living in Kimberley, BC, I read this with interest… that’s a heck of a loop and, as you are probably aware, merely scratches the surface of this place.
    If you ever find yourselves over this way again, give us a shout, I’ll happily be a guide/voice and give you a heads up (we live on the ski hill here in Kimberley and it’s a magical place for sure)
    As is often said, keep the rubber side down
    Have a great one
    Steve

    Reply
    • Hey Steve, thanks for your comment! We would have loved to of stayed longer and explored more, but only had two weeks because we had a friend’s wedding in Vancouver to get to!
      That’s very, very kind of you, thank you!!! We are currently in Southeast Asia and working our way to Australia and New Zealand, from there we’re hoping to ship up to Alaska and then back down to Canada where we want to spend quite a long time – so, we’d love to take you up on that offer if it’s still there in about a year’s time haha. We’ll stay in touch, thank you Steve and see you in Kimberley 😀

      Reply
  2. HI, I am coming to BC next year probably in September to visit my son and daughter in law, i am 65 and will want to hire a motorbike for at least two weeks , as will my son who is 44, i have held a clean full UK car driving licence since 1972 and had bikes when i was younger, will i have to have a full motorbike licence to hire, or will my UK car driving license be ok. i shall also be hiring a small car. please advise. thankyou.

    Reply
    • Hi Ian, thanks for your comment.
      In pretty much every single country in the world you have to have a valid licence to operate the vehicle you want to rent.
      You can get away with it in some countries, like for example Vietnam where some sketchier companies will rent you a motorbike without seeing your licence. But even then, if you’re caught without a valid licence then you’re going to get fined.

      So for Canada, you will most certainly need a valid motorcycle licence from your issuing country. But I should add – that is my personal experience and belief. To be doubly sure, get in touch with a rental/ tour company in Canada and ask them.

      Also, and just as importantly, if you don’t have a valid motorcycle licence then your travel insurance is invalid. If you crash and break a leg then you’re not covered. All UK travel insurance policies stipulate that you must be fully licensed to ride the vehicle you’re renting. I would not risk that if I were you. Here’s a good guide that’s worth a read: The UK Motorcycle Travel Insurance Guide
      With your valid car licence, renting a car will be no problem though.
      I hope this helps, and I hope you enjoy BC! Such an awesome place.
      Cheers and all the best,

      Reply

Leave a comment