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Setting up Bike Rental in Mumbai- Advice please!

Discussion in 'Asia' started by dan.sequeira, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. dan.sequeira

    dan.sequeira n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    Mumbai
    Hello Everyone,
    I'm a recent graduate from Mumbai and a huge Enfield fan. I love the their old school charm and think they are the nicest bikes to tour India on . I've been keen on investing in a few Enfields and starting a rental service here in Mumbai. I am looking for advice and suggestions about what people would look for in a rental service, and what are the problems that people have encountered(or are likely to take place) and how they could have( or can be) avoided or solved.

    The main thing I've been confused about is whether people would prefer Enfields with the newer UCE engines, or whether the Old Cast Iron or Lean Burn ones are still in demand.

    The UCE bikes being new, would be more reliable but since they are more expensive, rental costs would be higher too. Is there anyone who's toured on the new engines and had any major issues?

    The Cast Iron and Lean Burn Engines need a little more maintenence, but I think can be reliable(apart from a few niggles) for long tours if they are well kept . Personally, I love the Old Engines, even with the troubles they might give. But I enjoy spending time at my mechanic, which I dont think all people on a trip with limited time would be keen on doing.

    Are there any other things that people look for along with the bike rental ? For example, Maps, Sleeping Bags, Tents, Riding Jackets, etc.

    Looking forward to your advice!
    Daniel.
    #1
  2. mikenepal

    mikenepal Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    Kathmandu
    As you know there are pros and cons with old and new I run tours in Nepal and one thing to be aware of is many riders will never have been on a bike where the gears are on the other side and upside down

    For safety therefore a new bike is better the engines are slightly more powerful and the brakes much better. You will have to find out about your customers experience and preference. I like oldschool personaly

    As for the other gear like tents etc dont waste your time the gusthouses are more comfortable, safer, have parking,showers restaurants etc and cheap
    #2
  3. arn

    arn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Traffic jam capital of the world, Mumbai
    I think you should tour a bit first.

    On Enfields, especially.:evil

    Besides, a few long trips to Bangalore and back, or Udaipur and back at something short of triple digit speeds will quickly provide you with an exhaustive list of all that WILL GO wrong when your clients thrash their (actually, your) bikes. You'll also make some discoveries regarding parts availability.

    Enjoy!

    PS: If doing it on the C5, be sure to have rail fare for you and your bike in your pocket before you set out. :evil The rest are usually repairable to the point where they can limp home.
    #3
  4. dan.sequeira

    dan.sequeira n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Mumbai
    Thanks Mike and Arn for the Replies.

    I'm also looking for information about facilities and add-ons that travellers long for when renting bikes or even when travelling on their own bikes? Little or large things that would make things easier for them.

    @mike
    Have you used the AVL engines on your tours? If yes, how do they fare? They're left shift, have decent power and the bikes would have disc brakes. Would it be a good option apart from the new UCE engines? PS: your trips in Nepal look great!


    @Arn

    I have toured a little bit on a Standard Enfield. Luckily enough, had no engine problems along the way. But then again I dont ride fast since the front drum brake is pretty useless. Hopefully will be able to make time to tour a bit more soon and find out some more problems.

    I don't have any first hand experience of the UCE engine though. What are the bad reports you've come across? Are the problems confined to the 500 EFI? or does the 350 UCE (carburetor) engine too give trouble?

    What are the other bikes you would suggest?
    #4
  5. arn

    arn Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    If you don't push Enfields, they will last much longer. People who rent bikes, though, tend to flog them when they feel like.

    The UCE has the issue of crank/main bearing failures (AFAIK, this is a 500 issue) when pushed and parts are very very difficult to get. Further, the regular Enfield mechs, used as they are to points and stuff that can be fixed with a hammer are not comfortable working on an EFI engine. They are relatively more reliable, though, esp when used as a city bike (no stress).

    Other bikes? For some reason, a lot of non Indian "bikers" feel their India tour is not complete without doing it on enfields. Given a choice of a CBR250R and an old (as opposed to new/low mileage) Enfield guaranteed to give trouble, they have no difficulty in choosing the latter, so what else you keep is a bit of a moot point. Talking logic has no effect whatsoever, and you are going to be the person they expect help from when they seize a piston or bend a valve in the boonies.
    #5
  6. dan.sequeira

    dan.sequeira n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    Mumbai
    @ arn

    Thanks for the reply. I have the same concern about the UCE enfields- The lack of knowledge among otherwise 'Enfield specialists' about the UCE engines, and the non availibility of spare parts.

    I was thinking of initially using bikes with the 350 UCE engines and a carburetor.

    What are your views on the AVL engines? I've come across mixed reports- some where the engine has had no problems for over 7 years, and others which needed a overhaul just after a couple of years. I guess, as you said, it depends on how they are ridden.

    @ Everyone

    I'm having trouble finding information about the legalities and paperwork involved in renting out a motorcycle. Can anyone . esp those who have rented out bikes in India in the past, please provide details of what paperwork the bike rental company provided them and whether the bikes had the regular 'black on white' number plates ?. In Goa, there are bikes with the Yellow on Black Number plates. which are specially for rental, but I've not seen this anywhere else.

    Would an agreement/covering letter be enough? Or would I need to get a special type of registration for the bikes?

    Daniel
    #6
  7. arn

    arn Been here awhile

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    Dan, why don't you work WITH somebody for some time to learn the ropes? Just a thought. There are so any operators who could do with a reliable extra hand, and you learn on the job.
    #7
  8. dan.sequeira

    dan.sequeira n00b

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    Location:
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    @ arn

    Yeah , thats a good idea. I spend my free time working with an Enfield mechanic so I can become decently sound at maintaining them. ( you know how important that is especially with Enfields). I would love to work with a bike tour operator as well. Any suggestions of which ones to contact? So far I only know of Indiabikes in Mumbai.
    #8
  9. arn

    arn Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Andy's actively looking for competent people. Believe he'll be back in town after a few days.

    Yes, having a knowledge of the engine would be a plus any which way, even if you are not part of the tour group as you'd be able to make out if some mech is trying to fleece you. They tend to go easy on the BS as soon as they realize you have technical knowledge.
    #9