|06-08-2014, 08:42 PM||#1|
Joined: Feb 2009
Spain motorcycle rental/tour experience.
Just finished a guided motorcycle tour in Spain and wanted to post up a quick review of what I experienced. This was my first guided motorcycle tour and I was surprised how little information there was available online about BMW rentals in Spain so I figured a good start would be to just layout how things went on my trip. I chose BMW Moto Hire www.bmwmotohire.com and my dealings were with the owners, Mark and Lindsay Comer. I opted for the 7 Day Andalucia Classico tour in May.
Researching for the tour:
-BMW Moto Hire website had the necessary info to answer basic questions although it was not as hi-tech as some of the other sites. Regardless, you can find what you need.
-Communication with Mark and Lindsay via email can be a little slow. Average response time was 2 days and there were a couple of emails with no response. Phone calls were definitely the best method as Mark or Lindsay always answer the phone.
-Directions on flights and train travel options are easily found on the site and accurate.
-You choose from several different bike options, in various sizes. I opted for the water-cooled GS1200.
-Lots of detailed information on the different tours on the site. Info on hotels booked for the trip was out of date. All of the hotels booked were AMAZING but they were not the ones listed in the brochure from 2011. Not a big deal for me, but some on the tour seemed put-off by the inaccuracy.
-€500 down payment. I paid the remainder by bank transfer directly to Mark 30 days before the tour.
-€1500 deposit on the bike rental once you arrive. This one was only a preauthorization and was never actually charged to my card.
Arriving in Spain
-After a couple of short emails with Mark, he provided clear guidance on how I would be getting from the airport in Malaga to the motel in Teba where the tour starts. By “clear”, I mean that he said someone would pick me up at the airport.
-Once at the airport, Mark’s driver was waiting for me at exit of the terminal. No sign with my name or any other method to distinguish himself from the 20 other drivers there collecting arriving passengers….He was just wearing a BMW t-shirt and looking for people arriving with helmets. Not the best method IMO but hey…..it seems to work. He was professional and very nice and I’m pretty sure he spoke at least six languages.
-The driver delivered me to the starting point motel in Teba, called Mark to tell him I had arrived, helped me get check-in and then walked my down to the restaurant to ensure I got a meal.
-Mark and Lindsay came down to the restaurant around 8:00 pm for dinner and explained the plan for the next couple of days. Really, we just drank a lot and ate some great food so make sure you ask the “where & when” questions. This is all old hat to Mark and he sometimes forgets that you may not know where to be and when. Lindsey was on top of that and helped fill-in the gaps.
-Alojamiento Molino Lucero is the motel where you stay the night before the tour and the last day of the tour. It is about 1 km away form the warehouse where you pick the bike. It is a simple but clean motel that has extra security gates to keep the bikes safe once loaded. REALLY safe actually…it takes three different keys to get to your room.
-ARRIVE EARLY if possible….. Having the bike early on Sunday allows you time to ride it a bit to get familiar and then pack it up.
-Learn some basic spanish. Once away from the bigger cities I found most of the locals speak very little english. Even with my crappy spanish, I was able to communicate very well and everyone was very abiding of my attempts to communicate. It’s Spain… learn some spanish.
-The bikes are kept in a large warehouse in Teba. Very impressive setup. Mark collected me at 9:00 am Saturday to get the bike because I opted for two extra days of riding. Saturday and Sunday, I explored on my own. Well worth the extra money.
-My bike was a 2014 BMW GS 1200. Clean. Excellent mechanical condition. Tires > 80% tread life remaining.
-Mark employs a BMW mechanic and it appeared that each bike was cleaned and serviced before each rental. I was on one of the newest bikes but the older bikes appeared to also be very well maintained. Oldest bike in our group was a 2011 GS 1200. Five bikes on the tour and we only had two minor problems in 6 days of riding….ESA light on my bike was intermittent after day 3 and a check engine light on a 2011 GS 1200 on the last day. No break downs…. just warning lights.
-Get keys. Inspect bike. Deposit. Passport copy. Sign….out the door and riding in 15 mins tops.
-Helmets - Mark has them to loan…bring your own.
-GPS. Available upon request. Be VERY CLEAR with Mark about this if you want one…they are in high demand Standard BMW/Garmin Nuvi mount….you could bring your own if you have the right maps. I also requested a tank bag and paper map… glad I did.
-There were five people in the group, plus the tour guide. Not sure if that’s normal for this tour or not but more people would have been complicated.
-You need to carry all of your stuff in the bike so pack accordingly. Bikes have standard BMW cases or Zaga cases. Your travel luggage can be left with Mark and Lindsay during the tour.
-Mark contracts with a couple of local tour guides. Our guide was a Spaniard named David and he was very professional, spoke several languages, and was knowledgeable about the area. You could tell he was a lifelong rider, proved to have solid skills and was an experienced guide. He rode a well-equipped Honda Africa Twin.
-Riding was amazing…. I didn’t want to stop.
-Tour guide paid for breakfast, fuel, coffee and snacks, dinner, hotels, and parking. We hit some really great little cafe’s and restaurants along the way. Time between stops varied based on the area but we never rode more than 2 hours without a break.
-Riding was amazing.
-The tour guide did a good job assessing the group and kept the pace high when he realized that we all liked a spirited pace.
-It’s OK to venture off on your own if you choose. Just ensure you have the hotel’s address to meet the group in the evening.
-Riding was amazing.
-Riding started around 0930 each day…unless you were hungover (Seville is a college town & there is always a party). We got to the hotels around 1700 each day and would meet for diner around 2000.
-Weather was perfect in mid May. 70 deg F and only one cloudy day.
Two days in Granada is a good idea. Lots to do and see and great mountain riding is just outside the city. Can get a little chilly in the mountains so have an extra layer.
-Most of the riding was narrow back-country roads. Narrow and twisty and scenic, with lots of blind corners. We passed through countless small villages.
If I had to do this over again, I would definitely rent from Mark and Lindsey but I would plan my own route and hotel stays. It was a great time and the riding was amazing but I learned that I’m just not a “tour” kind of guy. Years of traveling alone have shaped my travel style such that I don’t really enjoy having a tour guide spoon feeding me the experience. However, I speak passable spanish and have lots of experience traveling in Spain and Europe so I’m fine on my own. After asking around I found that the others in the group were happy to have Dave helping them enjoy the experience….so I guess it was just me. There is lots of riding to be done between Malaga, Granada and Ronda and the mountains around Andalucia. Next time, I will skip the flatter area between Cadiz and Seveilla and just stay in the mountains where there are plenty of twisty roads, amazing views, and cool villages.
BMW Moto Hire is a small, family operated business in the classic sense. They literally run it out of their house in Teba. Mark and Lindsay put together a great tour, rent safe bikes from the heart of a motorcycle paradise and are genuinely enjoyable people. Lindsay is definitely the glue holding things together with the tour planning so ensure she gets your important info. Prepare yourself for the change in pace and be flexible. Things rarely start on time, people are never in a hurry and sometimes there really is no plan for the finer details. Just be flexible and the big stuff will take care of itself.
If someone else has an experience to share about renting motorcycles in Spain, please feel free to post up
dhillr screwed with this post 06-08-2014 at 08:53 PM
|06-08-2014, 09:41 PM||#2|
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Lower CA Desert
Thanks for the info
I plan on renting a bike in Spain next spring
2004 BMW GSA
2013 Suzuki Wee-Strom
|06-09-2014, 06:05 PM||#3|
Joined: Feb 2009
With some of the other companies, I found rentals from Madrid to be a a couple hundred Euro cheaper than renting from Malaga... Plus, if flying from the US, the flight was about $200 cheaper if you stop in Madrid.
dhillr screwed with this post 06-09-2014 at 06:11 PM
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