Heading to Canada? Here’s what you need to know about renting a motorcycle for an epic adventure in British Columbia, West Canada.
Renting a Motorcycle in Canada
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 60 countries and Canada’s still our favourite. So, we pulled this guide together to help you get out there, rent a bike and become mesmerised, because we know you’ll love it too.
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 an immaculate bike with luggage. We were impressed with their services and would recommend them based on our experience.
Address: 73 East 6th Avenue, Unit 10, Vancouver, BC V5T 1J3
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.
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’s Rental Page to have a look at their list of makes and models to see what’s on offer and the price range per bike.
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.
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. For more info on riding gear and what to pack, check out our motorcycle travel gear guides section.
READ MORE: How to Choose Your Adventure Riding Gear
READ MORE: Motorcycle Travel Gear Guides
You will also need your driver’s licence, passport, an International Driver’s Permit is always a good idea and personal travel insurance. The rental bike will come with its own vehicle 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
There’s plenty of guest houses, B&Bs, motels and hotels throughout British Columbia and they’re relatively easy to find too.
We recommend using Booking.com as it makes life easier. In high season you will want to book ahead.
Take a look at this interactive map to get an idea of the hotel prices on your route.
Chances are, if you’re on a short tour and renting a bike in Canada then you’re not planning on camping very much. If you’re planning on camping, then take a look at the bcparks.ca website for more info on where and how to camp.
You’ll find more info on camping in our Guides section too, including tips, tricks and camping gear guides.
READ MORE: Motorcycle Camping Guides
Motorcycling the Canadian Rockies
Our recommended route
We took on the Wild West Canada Route and loved 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.
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.
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.
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Planning a motorcycle ride in Canada? Let us know in the comments below!
6 thoughts on “How to Rent a Motorcycle in Canada”
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
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 😀
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.
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,
My husband & I are heading your way July 2023 (40th wedding anniversary). We both have Australian car & bike licences. Any help in seeing the best of Canada on a motorcycle or car would help us. You can’t beat local knowledge.
Thanks for your comment and a huge congratulations on your 40th wedding anniversary! That’s incredible!
We are a couple of travellers from the UK on a round the world bike trip and we write guides on the places we visit to help other bike travellers. So, unfortunately we’re not Canadian locals and only have info on the places we’ve visited. So in this guide we list the route we took through BC Canada, which we thoroughly recommend!
If you’d like to read our experiences about riding there, check out this article: https://www.madornomad.com/motorcycling-the-canadian-rockies/
This route is incredible and takes in some of the very best of western Canada, you’ll find the route map on this page too.
Hope this all helps 🙂