Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hiring a motorcycle in Scotland

I know what you are thinking! ‘Arggh! What is that shaft drive Bavarian beast doing on here?’ Let me explain before you DDoS attack. I’m on holiday travelling around bonnie wee Scotland and I’ve decided to take the opportunity to hire a Ducati bike and check it out on two wheels. Problem is, I couldn’t find a Ducati, so what bike should I chose?
With that in mind I’ve sat down to pen my thoughts about how I found the bike hire situation in the UK, specifically in Scotland. There are a number of companies that I have interacted with over the last few weeks and several of them I have visited and looked at the bikes on hire, even sat on a few. They include:
I have spent a fair amount of time researching this little project, savoring every minute of indecision and eleventh hour backflips, to finally end up with a 2012 plate BMW R1200GS through They have referred me onto BMW Motorrad Edinburgh so it turns out I am actually hiring a current model demo bike with al the trimmings and very few miles. This means I’ve paid the price and I could be spending a lot less, but then that isn’t what I’m here for. It should also shut up a few mates back home, you know who you are. As I sit here and write this very blog, a quick ‘Ducati Hire London’ Google search has turned up a micro site called leading me onto Superbike Rental site and an absolute ripper of a deal on a Ducati Multistrada 1200. But they are London-based so for me it would be a full days ride home on the day of pickup, five days in between for touring, then a full days motorway ride back from Glasgow to Essex.

I’d also have to fly down to London or take the train and same goes on return so it would still be an expensive trip just getting there and back. But next time, this will definitely be my number one recommendation guys – Superbike Rental for all kinds of Ducati hire if you are visiting the UK. Just factor in the extra travel to Essex, London and back if you are up North. I have decided not to talk price specific on this blog because with German and Italian bikes vs Japanese it’s apples and oranges in terms of dollar amounts (you could save hundreds on what I am doing by hiring a naked Kwakka ER6N but I don’t want to ride one of those, ever), but I will say that you generally need to put aside between £500-650 to rent, in my mind, a decent bike, for between 5 – 7 days. Which is close enough to $1000.00 AUD at the time of writing so you’ll want to be prepared for that mentally and emotionally not just financially.

I think it’s worth it personally and I can’t wait to get on board with my Contour HD cam and show you all what I’m talking about. In my research I used this great tool – Cycle Ergo - to assess ergonomics on motorcycles that you may or may not have ridden before. You pop in your waist size, height and make any adjustments then add bikes to see how you fit, what Knee Angle, and Lean Angle you are going to be sitting at. Importantly for me it also shows Seat Height. Here’s me on my Hyper;

 So I wanted to be positioned about the same, knowing I am ultimately happier sitting like this on any bike. Here is me on the Multistrada 1200,

 And finally the BMW.

 Funny enough, I look pretty much just like that stick figure! All the bikes are pretty similar except that the Bavarian has a slightly higher seat and a more extended leg position so I’m generally going to be more comfortable, less fatigued, warmer and generally pretty damn happy fanging around Scotland on it for five days! Stay tuned for ride reports and, fingers crossed, some good videos.
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