A web search will reveal that an altogether incredible number of people promise 'world-wide' motorcycle rentals but actually rent bikes only in one or two countries. Often, too, they fail to distinguish between proper motorcycle rental (where you rent the bike and go where you like, as you would with a hire car) and motorcycle rental as part of an organized tour, where everything is structured and organized.
When you can find motorcycle rental, it's not cheap. The daily rate for a bike big enough for serious touring -- 500cc or bigger -- is typically anything from US $65 (60 euros, GBP 40) to US $200 or so (190 euros, GBP 125), depending on where you are, duration of rental, the size of the bike, its power, whether there is any luggage or not (some charge extra) and where it is to be used: some restrict travel to the country in which it is hired, some provide automatic coverage for all countries, some for a limited range of countries, and for continental use, one British company (for example) imposes a daily surcharge of GBP 5, 7 euros, US $7.50.
On the question of duration of rental, some companies charge a daily rate that does not decline; some have a two-day minimum; some give one day 'free' for every four or seven or whatever days paid for; and some charge as little as the equivalent of four days' hire for a full week's rental.
There may also be restrictions on use, such as stipulating that the bike is to be ridden on tarmac or asphalt roads (particularly important in Greece); there are normally age restrictions, with a surcharge for riders under 25 or even 30; mileage may be limited, with a surcharge payable on any distance greater than (for example) an average of 200 km per day; there are almost invariably deposits against damage; excesses may be payable on damage; and insurance options such as 'collision damage waiver' may be offered.
Insurance is particularly important if you hire in the UK and plan on taking the bike onto the continent, as British insurers are notoriously unwilling to extend full insurance even to neighbouring EU countries, let alone further afield such as Poland or the Czech Republic. Reputable hirers should sort all this out for you, but even they may exclude (for example) Bulgaria or Romania.
It is worth checking all these points carefully, and doing some serious comparison shopping, before committing yourself. Even so, rental can be a lot cheaper than shipping your own bike over, to say nothing of arranging local insurance and the possibility of unexpected delays. Most honest rental companies reckon that the break-even period in purely financial terms is about three weeks, though they argue (not unreasonably) that the added peace of mind and freedom from hassle is worth a lot more.
The links provided in the various country by country sections are no more, and no less, than reciprocal links with motorcycle hire companies in the areas that we cover. We cross-refer people to them; they cross-refer people to us. In neither case does either party make any assertions or guarantees about the quality of the other, unless specific comments are made in writing. We have also listed some companies specializing in the air-freight or sea-freight of motorcycles, under the same terms and conditions.
Companies relevant to specific countries are mentioned in the (paid) country-by-country sections, once again under the same terms and conditions.
This information has been verified as far as possible but should not be taken as definitive. You alone are responsible for your safety on a motorcycle (or elsewhere) and should always ride and behave accordingly. Click here for the Official Health Warning.
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© 2003 Roger W. Hicks