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Old 07-05-2013, 10:43 PM   #1
ThePass OP
Joined: Jun 2013
Oddometer: 13
Renting a Moto in Europe

My mother, father, brother and I are going on a Mediterranean cruise in August. I'm extremely excited, this will be my first time anywhere in Europe.

The epiphany recently struck me that there's no way I'm going all the way to Europe and not riding a motorcycle at some point while there. So, just tonight I pitched the idea to them, and they are on-board with taking motos to see some of the sights!

We're only in each location for a day, and my mom especially has a lot of things she wants to do/see at most of them, so touring Europe on a motorcycle is out, at least for this trip ;) My Dad and I would like to some day tour much more over there on rentals - maybe in a couple years - so this can serve well as a way to get our feet wet and explore the ins and outs of renting in another country, while not being too extreme for the two non-riders with us.

Here's what we'd like to do:
Rent two bikes for one day in one of the places our ship stops. Ideally BMW's. My dad and I both have years of riding experience, my brother and Mom both have experience riding pillion.

I'd love to know anything you guys have to offer in terms of advice about renting as well as riding in another country, what to look out for, what to be sure to do, etc.

I didn't research too much prior to making sure they would even be up for the idea, but what I know so far that my Dad and I as riders need is:
  • Age over 25 (check)
  • Motorcycle endorsed licenses (check)
  • International Drivers Licenses (as far as I can tell, easy to get from AAA, no test necessary, only $15)
  • Passports (check)
  • A couple years/a few thousand miles of experience riding (check) <-- but how is this confirmed, do we need any sort of documentation to prove our experience level?

For those who have rented in European countries, have you found that you needed anything not listed above? Have you had any issues?

Thanks for any and all experience you guys can give me. I don't know which country/city we will do this in yet - we need to determine which locations have motos available for rent (one location I know for sure has them is Barcelona), and which of those have points of interest beyond the normal foot/bicycle travel range.

'08 CBR 1000RR & '03 CB R 600RR
Shopping for an adventure bike!
I'd rather be riding my motorcycle thinking about god, than sitting in church thinking about my motorcycle.

ThePass screwed with this post 07-06-2013 at 12:41 AM
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:31 PM   #2
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Joined: May 2008
Location: The Last Frontier
Oddometer: 137
I rented a BMW in Italy (Milan) for a week a few years back and can offer a couple of tips.

1. The list of items you have should be sufficient. We were not asked to verify prior riding experience.

2. August is prime holiday time in Europe, far more so than in the US. Many places will be closed and few of the bike rental outfits will have bikes available on such short notice, especially for one day rentals. However, call around to reserve a bike before your trip and you might be ok.

3. Motorcycle rental places are not like Herz. Most are small businesses that are run with more or less professionalism, depending on the outfit. Do some research on the quality of the bikes at the vendors you are looking at. Our BMW had been used hard, but it was well maintained and gave us no problems. The guy running the shop was very helpful, but he also had a very different sense of punctuality from what you would find in a typical US run business.

4. Motorcycles and scooters are considered primary transportation in Europe. You will see lots of them. Filtering is expected.

5. Traffic laws are considered suggestions by many of the locals in the Mediterranean countries.

We had a great time while in Italy and found the people very accommodating and approachable.

Have a great trip.

-2013 Multistrada 1200 S Granturismo
-2003 R1150RT - gone but not forgotten
-1987 Honda XL600R - gone
To paraphrase Antoine de St-Exupery
I ride because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:48 PM   #3
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Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Montreal, Canada
Oddometer: 1,495
Let us know about your experience and how much you ended up spending.
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:05 PM   #4
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2004
Oddometer: 661
OneTraveller wrote some excellent tips...

One thing to note is that prices and availability of bikes can vary greatly across Europe. And so does quality of riding. Figure out which locations will suit you best for the type of riding you want to do.

Also, watch out for the mileage limits/overcharges.

If you're bringing your own GPS, make sure you have the maps for the country. It's so nice to have a GPS and always know how to get back to where you need to be.

I would also recommend communicators so you can talk while riding. They are particularly nice on trips like this. If you get separated, you can tell the other person to stop or slow down. If you see something cool you can tell him that you're pulling over. Etc.

As for road rules, just ride smoothly and predictably and don't try to push it. Observe and pay attention and you'll be fine.
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