It seems like there are apps to share and rent everything these days, and finally one is here for motorcycles too. Check out the new peer-to-peer motorcycle renting service RidersShare, and see how they plan to make renting a motorcycles easier than ever before.
Would you ever let someone take off on your bike to ride for a day or two?
For a lot of us, the answer is an immediate “hell no.” We riders get attached to our bikes and have a lot of money and time invested into them, and the last thing we want to do is risk all that so someone can go for a joy ride.
But what if you actually got paid to let someone ride your bike – and you knew they were fully insured the entire time they were on it? Well, there’s one company banking on the idea that there are plenty of riders out there who have bikes they don’t ride often, and would be happy to offset the cost of ownership by renting them out to other riders from time to time.
That company is called RidersShare, and they launched their new service this April. It is a peer-to-peer motorcycle rental service that allows users to rent bikes from each other rather than from motorcycle rental companies, saving renters money, and putting extra cash in motorcycle owners’ pockets while they’re not riding.
It sounds great in theory – but if you’re anything like me, the idea of letting a stranger take off on my bike is sketchy, even if I am supposedly going to earn a few extra bucks doing it. But I do think it could be viable, so I looked into it a little more to see what RidersShare is really all about.
How It Works
RidersShare is basically an online marketplace, where riders who want to bike can register and browse for bikes they want to rent, and owners can list their bikes for rent to make some extra cash. Because it’s a peer-to-peer service, it has to be set up to be beneficial for both sides to use it (the way Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing apps are) or it won’t catch on. I looked into both to see what it would be like for users on each side.
One example of the bikes currently available on Riders Share. The service is currently concentrating its efforts in the Southern California area, near their headquarters, but is seeking to expand nationwide.
For Owners Who Want To Rent Out Their Bikes
The interface for this is pretty simple. You simply register your bike with RidersShare, post some photos and a description, and create your listing. There is an availability calendar so you can block out days you want to ride your own bike, and make it only available when you’re not using it.
When someone wants to rent your bike, it’s not an automatic booking – it’s a request. You have the option to deny a rental at any time if it “doesn’t feel right,” and not responding in 24 answers will automatically deny it too.
RidersShare takes care of the identity verification and payment, and all you have to do is make sure the person who shows up to ride your bike away matches the ID they used to register. Then you hand over the keys, let them ride off, and wait for the return time.
This is where it gets sketchy, I know – but RidersShare says this is your time to “kick back” while the rider enjoys the ride and you make money. They are covered the entire time they are in possession of the bike with third party insurance provided as part of the cost of the rental. If there is an accident, the renter’s deposit will cover small damage, and their insurance will cover the rest (up to $1 million.) When they return, you just make sure the bike is in the same condition as it was when they got it, shake hands, and part ways, then wait for your payment to hit your account – it’s that simple.
For Renters Who Want To Rent Out A Bike
For renters, the main barrier to entry is identity verification – they say they use several different ways to make sure you are who you say you are (including having a verified Facebook account; that’s right, you have to have Facebook to use this service!)
To find a bike, you just browse through listings until you find a bike you want, submit a request, and wait for the seller to approve it. If they do, you make a deposit with a credit card, set an appointment to pick up the bike, and meet them “Craigslist style” to look it over and make sure it’s in good riding condition.
Once you take off, you can enjoy the ride with peace of mind; you’re covered by RidersShare’s roadside assistance and insurance until you return. When you bring the bike back, be punctual – late charges start 15 minutes after your meet-up time!
This service doesn’t just have to be for riders without a bike; in fact, I think some of the best users might be riders who do own their own bikes, but are traveling, or simply looking to experience something different.
Will It Catch On?
What I like about RidersShare’s concept is that there is simply nothing else like it out there yet. In the age of phone apps and Uber, there is a way to share or rent almost anything these days, and it was only a matter of time before something came out to do it with motorcycles too.
Their premise is statistically sound too; according to their website, there are 30 million licensed riders in the States, and only 9 million registered motorcycles, meaning there are a lot of riders without a set of wheels out there. Not to mention the fact that a lot of the people who probably use the app most will be people who DO own their own bikes, and are just travelling, have their bike in the shop, or simply want to try something different from what they have.
The down sides: being a new service, there aren’t a ton of bikes available to rent yet (and by not a ton, I mean very few), and the ones that are available are mainly cruisers. (RidersShare makes it clear that they have a bias towards cruisers for their service, because statistically, they tend to be involved in far less accidents than other types of motorcycles.)
But prices are reasonable; rates average around $75-125 for a single day, which is a little high, but fall to only $40-60 per day when renting out a block of several days or a week. This means you could conceivably rent a bike for the duration of a whole trip for only a few hundred bucks; or, conversely, you could cover your bike’s monthly payment with only one rental per month.
On vacation but still want to ride? How about taking this Honda CRF250L for a ride around Hawaii while on a trip to the island?
If it catches on, I can see myself being a customer of this service or others like it – what do you think?