Mountain biking is an engaging and rewarding hobby, challenging you both physically and mentally as you navigate through challenging terrain and push your body to its limit. But if you don’t own a mountain bike, or if you’re on vacation, you won’t have the most important tool necessary to enjoy the challenge.
Fortunately, there’s always the option of renting a mountain bike – but before you rent, there are some important tips you’ll need to follow to get the most out of the experience.
Tips for Renting a Mountain Bike
If you follow these tips for renting a mountain bike, you should be able to save money, get the best bike for your needs, and have a more pleasant experience overall:
1. Shop around for a good price. Make sure you look at multiple establishments to try and get the best price. Bike rental shops vary in price for several reasons, such as bike selection, routine bike maintenance provided, location, and additional services provided. Sometimes, paying a bit extra is perfectly warranted, giving you more bang for your buck. Other times, the price is artificially inflated. Whatever your motivation, it pays to look at multiple establishments and review their offers directly.
2. Consider additional services and features. Does this establishment offer any additional services or features that are useful to you? For example, some bike rental shops are “mobile,” allowing you to rent a bike no matter where you are, not requiring you to visit a physical location. Your bike shop may also offer riding lessons and other supportive services that you find valuable.
3. Note the maintenance policy. Ask about the maintenance policy at this establishment. Trustworthy bike rental facilities take maintenance very seriously; they have documented policies and procedures for inspecting, repairing, cleaning, maintaining, and lubricating all their bike components. If your bike rental shop doesn’t have such policies in place, you can’t be certain that the bikes are safe to ride.
4. Review the rental policy, terms, and conditions. Pay close attention to the rental policy, including any terms and conditions that apply to you. Are you required to provide a security deposit in advance? If the bike is damaged during your rental, who is responsible for paying the damages? What is considered to be normal wear and tear in this context? You don’t want to be blindsided by a flurry of additional charges at the end of your rental period.
5. Consider negotiating. Consider negotiating the price, especially if you plan on renting the bike for many days or if you’re going to do business with this establishment in the future. In some establishments, the prices are firm, the employees aren’t authorized to change the prices, and the owners aren’t going to budge. But if you’re renting the bike for a long period of time or if you’re on a tight budget, it may be worth your while to ask for a lower price.
6. Get the right size. The size of your bike is critically important. A properly sized bike will be more comfortable and easier to ride – and it will reduce your risk of injury as well. If you’re not sure how to figure out the right size for your body type, ask an expert at your bike rental shop of choice; they should be able to help you.
7. Consider your suspension carefully. The suspension on your bike plays an important role in the comfort and feel of your ride. Bikes with no suspension are cheaper, but less comfortable. Partial suspension is a significant step up, but full suspension is even more comfortable. Make sure you review your options carefully before choosing which type of bike to rent.
8. Exercise caution. After securing your rental bike, be sure to exercise caution. You don’t want to be held responsible for any damage done to the bike by your own carelessness. It’s also important to wear safety equipment at all times when using the bike, including a helmet.
Future Rentals (and Purchases)
With one mountain bike rental under your belt, you’ll have more experience and more knowledge that you can bring to future bike rentals and bike purchases. In fact, many mountain biking enthusiasts rent multiple bikes when thinking about purchasing a new one for themselves; it’s an inexpensive way to get hands on experience with a wide variety of different bikes, all without the risk of actually purchasing them.
Getting more familiar with bike rentals is also helpful if you plan on taking lots of vacations. Renting a bike is much more convenient than bringing your own, and it introduces you to a wealth of new opportunities, such as riding more mountain bike trails and enjoying a convenient form of transportation.