So you’re planning your first fly and ride for 2021? That’s awesome news – but it’s important to pick a bike that you’ll truly enjoy. As a freelance motorcycle tour guide, I’ve seen what rookie mistakes riders make when choosing their rental bikes, so here is a quick cheat sheet on how to avoid them:
Ride What You Know
Depending on your destination, it may be tempting to try a motorcycle you don’t know and test out something different. That’s a great idea if you’ll be riding in your own country, or if you’ll be riding tarmac-only; however, if you’re going somewhere a little more exotic, say South America or Asia, pick a bike that you already know. Dealing with tricky traffic conditions abroad, mountain twisties, generously potholed roads, or off-road trails is already stressful; by picking a bike that you’ve not ridden before, you’re adding to that stress. Choose something you know you can handle, so you can fully enjoy the trip!
Over and over again, I’ve seen riders choosing rental bikes that are too big and too heavy for them. Unless you are an expert level rider, pick a motorcycle that’s just right for your height, weight, and riding ability. It’s extremely frustrating not to be able to keep up with your group or being intimidated by your rental motorcycle while on a fly and ride adventure, so choose something light, medium-sized or small, and have a ball.
If you’re renting a motorcycle for a rally race or an off-road training event, keep it simple. If it’s a rally race, just stay with a traditional rally bike, the KTM450: your mechanics will know it inside and out, and finding parts, if need be, will be easy as the majority of the riders will be on the same motorcycle. If it’s a training event, choose something simple and sturdy, like the Yamaha WR250: if you’re training, you’ll probably be dropping the bike, so pick something that can take the abuse if you want to avoid costly damage fees.
Whether you’re renting a motorcycle for a fly and ride, a guided tour, or a rally, just keep it simple, go light, and ride something that you are comfortable with – otherwise, the holiday will turn into one big nightmare of trying to wrestle with your bike.