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Friday, December 19, 2014

WickedRide Harley Davidson bike rental in Bangalore!

Bangalore should be crowned “Self-drive rental capital of India” given the fierce battle between Zoomcar and Carzonrent (Myles) in recent times. Between these two companies and not to mention many other smaller firms, there’re 1000s of cars of different types available for Self drive rental in India’s IT Capital. There’re more options at cheaper rates to rent cars from in Bengaluru than any other city, including Delhi and Goa. 
The new attraction to the vehicle enthusiasts is the self- drive bike rentals. High end motorbikes such as Harley Davidsons, Triumph and Royal Enfield can be rented now in Bengaluru for daily rates. Bikes on rental is very common in Goa, it is available in Delhi/Himalayan regions for those who ride through the Himalayas in tourist seasons, but bike rentals weren’t that known in other cities of India. (Related: Read DevilonWheel's post on bike rental rates in Himalayas for this season)

A company called “WickedRide” is offering several Harley Davidsons and Royal Enfields. I heard about Wicked Ride through a friend (Vinod Kini, thanks for the heads up) and enthusiastically checked their website. Though rentals were on a higher side (compared to cars of similar purchase price), since there’s no competition or alternative one can’t really complain about the rental rates.

Bike
Daily Rental
(INR)
Purchase Price of the Bike (approx.)
Car model with similar purchase price
Self-drive daily rental for that car (Carzonrent)
Harley Davidson Street 750
4000
5.5 lakhs
Ford Figo
INR 1500
Harley Davidson Super low
5000
7 lakhs
Swift Dzire
INR 1800
Harley Davidson Iron 883
7000
8.5 lakhs
VW Vento
INR 2100
Triump Bonneville
6000
8 lakhs
I20
INR 1700
RE Dessert Storm
1900
1.9 lakhs
-

RE Continental GT
2200
2.2 lakhs
-

RE Thunderbird 500
1900
2 lakhs
-






These are some of the cheapest Harley Davidson bikes available in India. There're bigger and more expensive ones on sale but not available yet on rental. (I am told wickedride doesn't have any plans to add them either in near future) There is a 250 kms per day usage limit beyond which one has to pay 10% of rental amount for every 50 kms (Not applicable to RE. Also fuel expense is on the renter.Bike will be given full tank and to be returned full tank)

Of course, cars have higher demand and better utilization, so car rental companies will be able to charge less and still make money. Bike rental business hasn’t really taken off in India like in say Thailand, so the rentals are still high and options are few.

Another possible reason for high rental is their maintenance bill. I am told a wash of Harley Davidson costs Rs 600, oil change, Rs 4500, basic service about 5k and so on.

Note that some bikes which were single seater by original design (Such as Continental GT) have been modified to have 2 seats.
I would never buy a Harley, as I don’t find it practical and economical for everyday usage and I don’t have the cult following mindset to spend so much on the bike. But why not rent it and ride around for some time to find out what it is worth?

Nevertheless, I booked a Harley Davidson Street 750 for 2 days, with following objectives:
·         I am not well built macho person. Can ordinary folks also ride a Harley with equal comfort?
·         What is unique about this bike that it is popular worldwide with cult following?
·         Is it practical for everyday city usage or it is good only as a touring bike?
·         And finally, kitna deti hein? Is mileage is better than cars or worse?

When I booked the bike (which I could do over phone), I was told that this is a white board registered bike and rental is not covered by insurance. Any damage I should fund from my pocket. (That is, in the worst case scenario of bike getting  wrecked, I might loose my life time savings to buy them a new bike, even simple damages/repairs can cost as much as a new hero splendor- 'whatever is quoted by the dealer' is the amount to be paid)

In other words, this particular bike rental is not legal to circumvent which I had to sign some documents which effectively 'Transfer' the bike to me temporarily.... It doesn’t have yellow on black number plates as the bikes in Goa have or other self-drive rental cars have. Govt of India has a stupid rule that one should have 50 vehicles to start self drive business- don’t know what is the rationale for it. Not practical rule.

I was asked to make payment through payumoneyPayumoney has a safeguard in place such that it collects money from us but will release it to vendor only after service is delivered. This way customers have some protection in case service is not delivered or not delivered up to the mark. But I was asked to release the money immediately to confirm booking, which meant I had to forgo any opportunity to raise a grievance. (From service provider’s perspective, they don’t want  a situation where someone books but doesn’t turn up to collect the bike and then doesn’t release payment also, causing them loss of business). A solution to this catch 22 situation could be to release say 50% before and pay the  balance later.

On the specified date & time I went to WickedRide’s office in Jayanagar 9th block, Bengaluru. I had to give my original passport and a signed blank cheque leaf as security. (They don’t block amount on credit card like carzonrent). Paperwork was smooth.

They give a helmet free with the bike, but jacket and gloves, goPro camera (Hero 4) etc can be rented for an additional expense (Rs 1000 and Rs 500 respectively per day)

I caught up with my friends and set out to ride. More about the bike & Harley Davidson experience will be narrated in next post.

In summary, it is good to know that high end bikes are now available for rent, so that everyone can experience them without having to buy the same. This can also help promote biking culture.
However, on the downside, you should be prepared for a worst case scenario wherein if the bike is completely damaged, you will have to buy them a new bike in your own money. No insurance will come to your rescue, as these bikes are not legally rented to you.

Also I wanted to rent Continental GT for a day- I was told it is out on long rental.. Today morning I saw it at their office. I was told it is available and I asked them to let me have it tomorrow, instead of me renting steet 750 for 2 days. I was told that should be fine, but later I get a call that bike is has a booking from tomorrow till Sunday night. (Update: Even on Sunday morning it was still there, but I am told a booking got cancelled)I get a feeling that I am being denied Continental GT as its rental are cheaper than Street 750. But I don't have proof, so will give them benefit of doubt. [Update: Vivek from WickedRide has responded that they did have some bookings for GT hence they couldn't entertain my request. I accept that explanation and take back my complaint]

13 comments :

Rani said...

nice post

Mohan said...

Thanks for the details Srinidhi. I liked the comparison of cars and bikes together. I am not a big fan of bikes, but would be happy to share this info with fellow friends if anyone is looking for such options.

R Niranjan Das said...

This is exciting. Have been pondering over getting a bike on rental from Wickedride. Look forward to your post on the ride. Thanks for this useful post.

satish said...

Very interesting piece of info. Well written as always.

Srikanth Eswaran said...

Hey you have not answered the queries you took the bike for, can you update your post?

The wild said...

not legal -this is not good -i definitely don't agree to this business model,this is where all the problem starts.

eg: you rent a bike to some guy who doesnt know how to control such heavy beasts -no insurance ,what happens if that guy hits somebody and injures that person ? its not all abt technology catching up ,circumventing rules is not good,its dangerous.

Blank cheque ? - i am surprised you gave them a blank cheque.Checks and balances are there in every system to protect both parties.when you break all of them ,thats where the system breaks down.Sorry to sound cynical but its the reality

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@ Rani and Mohan.

@Niranjan: Yes, they are coming up in a few days

@Satish: Thanks

@Srikanth: THat will be covered in next post.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@The wild
I am told Karnataka (and many states) do not have any provision in law to allow bike rental business. I am told Wicked ride is trying to refine the process and make it legal

On the example you mentioned, wicked ride will probably claim that they sold the bike to you but you've not paid yet, making you fully responsible for any incidental expense. I am told by an unidentified reader of mine that insurance is still valid and WickedRide is probably saying the opposite just to ensure people ride safely.

Yes to blank cheque. Lot of things are done on mutual trust- since they trusted me with their bike, I trusted them with my documents. This arrangement works fine as long as nothing goes wrong. Yes, there is a risk, but since the next alternative option is NOT to ride at all, I took that risk.

Vivek Anand said...

Shri Nidhi: The insurance clearly states that the same shall not be valid if the vehicle is on Hire or reward. Since claiming insurance when we are renting will result in fraudulent claim, we dont claim insurance. We use insurance only for police verification. Also we tried negotiating with lot of insurance Companies but they all rejected to provide insurance for renting bikes till we have a yellow board for our bikes. Thanks again.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Vivek: Thanks for commenting.
Hope law makes provisioning to allow proper bike rental services

Siddharth Lamba said...

Shrinidhi: Hello, Just wana know... How could anyone apply for the insurance claim if the bike is registered with the 3rd party...

Aragorn said...

Why couldn't you have yellow/black board for ur bikes from inception? What rule was stopping you?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Aragorn- that is old story- I was told RTO was not entertaining such registration for bikes. Now this seem to be sorted out- Yellow on black two wheelers are being registred in Karnataka..