Motorcycle Monday: Would You Rent A Stranger’s Motorcycle?

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Or would you lend yours out to a stranger?

The idea of borrowing a stranger’s motorcycle or lending out your beloved bike to a perfect stranger might sound ludicrous at first blush, but people are doing just that today. Instead of using a traditional motorcycle rental company, riders are turning to the peer sharing services which have been popping up recently. Of course, these types of services have caught on with a certain group of car owners, but I want to explore how they work with the unique characteristics of motorcycles.

Learn how Harley-Davidson impacted the Korean War here.


One of the first things I worry about with such a service is liability. First, there’s liability if someone were to damage a motorcycle. Then there’s the issue of liability if there’s a serious crash, especially if that resulted in hospitalization or death. Different services provide different liability coverages. For example, Twisted Road says it provides damage and liability insurance up to $1 million for all rentals. Riders Share, which says it’s the “largest motorcycle sharing community” provides up to $300,000 in protection for bike owners. The service does still recommend you carry your own coverage, which is probably wise.

In addition, Twisted Road has riders go through a verification process which is designed to ensure users behave as safely as possible. As for owners, they must ensure their motorcycles are well-maintained, with services applying different standards.

Many motorcycle owners let their bikes sit for long periods of time. Maybe they’re busy or they don’t like riding at certain times of the year, or whatever else might be a reason. By listing the motorcycle on a sharing service they can make money off the machine as it sits. However, anyone who lists their bike must understand more miles will be racked up on it, wearable items like tires and brake pads will be worn down faster, etc. so there still are overhead costs.

Twisted Road tried to generate more interest in its platform by broadcasting far and wide about a 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special becoming available to rent through the service. Located in Huntington Beach, California, the Harley is a motorcycle many would like to try out and see what it’s really like. Sure, you could take one out for a test ride at a dealership, but being able to really ride one for a few days will help you get a true feel for the motorcycle. That’s the advantage of these peer-to-peer motorcycle rental services. You can really test out something before you buy, all without any restrictions, other than the local laws.

Another great perk of these services is you can rent some older motorcycles, at least through some platforms. While there are some boutique rental agencies in tourist destinations which offer such a service, in most areas you can only rent something newer, or at least that was the case before the ride sharing companies rode into town. Now you can find different, interesting vintage rides all over the place. Just be aware, Riders Share doesn’t allow any motorcycles made before 2000 on its platform, with other services specifying their own cut-offs. However, it is worth noting Riders Share added off-road bikes in June of 2021, so things could change at some point.

Just how many motorcycles are available in any given area depends on the service you’re using and the days you want to reserve your ride. That’s the thing with these peer-to-peer platforms is some parts of the country might have a high participation ratio and others could be incredibly thin.

What also varies from one service to another is the perks. For example, Riders Share offers free motorcycle deliveries and cancellations, but only if you sign up for the Ride Pass subscription (which is $24 a month). With how quickly this new industry is evolving, I would recommend shopping around and comparing the differences in the services before settling on one, if you decide peer-to-peer motorcycle sharing is right for you.

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