Before you sign anything and lay your credit card down, check out the moto you wish to rent. Rentals are notorious for being ridden hard and put away wet. This means damaged in use and not repaired properly. The last thing you want is a breakdown or accident while using the borrowed equipment. This can be very evident if you know what to look for, even if you have no mechanical experience and have never been on a moto. Check out my suggestions to help aid in getting a good and safe scooter.
Motos, how not to rent a piece of crap!
Check for visible damages, cracks in the plastic, ripped seats, broken mirrors, hand grips and levers. This will tell you if it’s been damaged and if it has been repaired properly or just slapped back together to function. Duct tape, glue, and wire are dead giveaways of poor repairs.
Check for leaks. Many motos have covered engines, If you can see the engine you can see how leaky it is, thus giving you an idea of how well it’s maintained. If you can’t see the engine then run your hand under the bottom of the machine to see if there is grease and oil leaking from the seams.
Check the tires for wear and improper inflation, Worn out tires can be slippery in wet conditions not to mention a tire blow out can cause severe injury. Checking the tires can give you an idea of how long the machine has been in use and how often it is maintained. For example, I check the tire pressure on my motorcycle every time I ride it. If your rental tires are low, they may have a leak or even worse they haven’t been maintained and checked. I also grab the wheels and try to move them side to side against the axle. If they wobble there is a problem with the rim or they are not torqued on properly.
Check that all lights and electrical accessories function properly. Brake lights, running lights, and signals must work! As well as high beams if equipped and low beams, check the horn and any other gizmos and gadgets they come with. They should all work at the same time without draining the battery. Also, check the starting system. First when every electrical thing is off, then with them all on. This will give you a rough idea of how much amperage (life) is left on the battery depending on how quickly it turns over.
Brakes brakes brakes. Probably the most important thing on this list. Know where they are and how to use them. Grabbing the front brake only in an emergency is catastrophic, familiarize yourself with the location of the brakes and equally apply both the front and back at the same time for optimal stopping distances. Test the brakes by sitting on the scooter and seeing if you can forcefully move the wheels with the brakes on. Unfortunately, this will only give you a hint of failing brakes until you are on the road fully loaded up. Brake fade and worn out brakes become very apparent after riding a few kms. If for any reason they make grinding noises or fail to stop you properly then return the moto ASAP.
Throttle and levers. Make sure the throttle and levers move freely and return to their proper location. Having your accelerator or your brakes stick while driving is a recipe for disaster.
Check the gas tank and dipstick. This is relatively simple, if you don’t have a fuel gauge look in the gas tank to see it is topped up. This usually happens when you are going over the bike for damages. It’s also handy to know where the gas goes later on! Check the oil to make sure there is enough. If the oil is milky or has excessive sludge and debris then it surely hasn’t been maintained. This could cost you an expensive repair bill if the machine dies while you are using it.
Lastly, give the moto a good look over. Anything that looks hokie probably is! Not only repairs that were done properly but repairs that don’t look properly done should be questioned for your own safety. Not all mechanics have the necessary training to fix your equipment properly!
This is a good start for anyone wishing to rent that has no moto or repair experience. I always film everything I rent with the rental guy present. This is a quick fix for damage disputes. I also always get a phone number to call if I have problems or issues while I’m using the rental. This has saved me several times when renting questionable equipment.
Always wear a proper fitting brain bucket, even a low impact fall or bump on the noggin can cause extensive damage to your brain. Rental helmets can be banged up pretty bad sometimes so inspecting them before use is mandatory. Even small dents and scratches can compromise the integrity of the helmet. Find the newest best fitting one you can for your own safety!
Hopefully, these simple tips help you have a safe and enjoyable time on your moto. If anyone has anything to add please let me know in the comments section below. Also, check out my Scooters and safety post for more useful moto information. In the notorious words of many bikers around the world; Live to Ride, Ride to Live.