How to rent a motorcycle in Leh
Ladakh has been termed as a “Biker’s paradise” and the term is not incorrect at all. A motorcycle ride in Ladakh is a mix of both adventure and fun. Even people who are not bringing their own motorcycle to Leh look forward to renting one here for a day or two for this very feel of adventure. Because of this very reason, motorcycle rentals are a huge part of the tourism industry here. Some people rent a motorcycle to visit the nearby areas of Nubra or Pangong and some people will just rent a motorcycle for local sightseeing within the city of Leh. I have even known people who drove to Leh in their own car but for visiting the nearby areas, they opted to rent motorcycles just for fun. In this article, I will provide some information on the topic and some basic tips which I am sure can be helpful for anyone wanting to rent a motorcycle in Leh.
Please note that I own a Royal Enfield and have never rented a motorcycle myself. This article is completely based on my knowledge of the region and the feedback I have received from numerous people that I have helped planned their trips to Ladakh.
Can I rent a motorcycle in Leh?
Definitely a yes. These motorcycle rental agencies are a big part of the tourism industry here and finding a motorcycle to rent in Leh is no problem at all.
Where can I rent a motorcycle in Leh?
Lot of options. Pretty much every tour operator, every travel agent and most of the mechanics in Leh offer this service. Just take a walk around in the city Leh and you will notice that options are in plenty. Do not worry, Leh is a very small city that you can probably cover on foot within an hour so you won’t even have to walk much. You may even inquire at the hotel you are staying and they can guide you too.
Can I use a motorcycle rented outside Leh?
No you cannot. If you rented a motorcycle in some other city, say Srinagar or Manali, you can take it only as far as Leh. Locals here do not allow these motorcycles to be used to visit nearby areas like Nubra valley or Pangong Tso. For commuting within Ladakh, you will have to rent another bike from Leh.
Can I use a self-owned motorcycle in Ladakh?
This is a little off the topic but I still thought to add it here. If you came to Ladakh on your self-owned motorcycle (or even car for that matter), you are free to use it anywhere you like. There is absolutely no need to leave your own vehicle at the hotel and rent a motorcycle.
Can I rent a motorcycle in Leh and drop it at either Manali or Srinagar?
Some of the renters or tour operators do provide this option but not for free. There will be an additional charge involved for dropping the motorcycle at either Manali or Srinagar which can be anywhere between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000
How much it costs to rent a motorcycle in Leh?
It will depend on which motorcycle you want to rent but I will give you a breakdown of all.
- Renting a Royal Enfield 500CC motorcycle in Leh would cost you Rs. 1600 per day and Rs. 1000 for half day.
- Renting a Royal Enfield 350CC Thunderbird and Classic in Leh would cost you Rs. 1300 per day and Rs. 800 for half day.
- Renting a Royal Enfield 350CC Electra in Leh would cost you Rs. 1100 per day and Rs. 700 for half day.
- Renting a Royal Enfield 350CC Standard in Leh would cost you Rs. 1100 per day and Rs. 600 for half day.
- Renting a Bajaj Avenger 220CC in Leh would cost you Rs. 1000 per day and Rs. 600 for half day.
- Renting a Bajaj Pulsar 200CC in Leh would cost you Rs. 1000 per day and Rs. 600 for half day.
- Renting a 150CC motorcycle in Leh would cost you Rs. 800 per day and Rs. 500 for half day. This includes Yamaha FZ, Fazer, Pulsar 150CC, Hero Impulse, Duke motorcycles etc.
- Renting an automatic bike in Leh would cost you Rs. 800 per day and Rs. 500 for half day. (Activa for example)
An extra amount of Rs. 100 per day will be charged for Rack and saddle bags.
Half day charges are application 2 PM onward.
Is this price negotiable?
Not at all. All the agencies have strict instructions to follow this rate list. If any of the agency rents out bikes for a lower rate, they will be charged Rs. 5000 as penalty.
Do you have to pay a security deposit to rent a motorcycle in Leh?
Yes you do. Apart from your daily rent, you will also be required to pay a security deposit which will be refunded at the time of returning the motorcycle. If there is any damage to the machine, repair cost will get deducted from the security deposit. Amount of the security deposit will vary but be ready to pay a minimum of around Rs. 15000 or more. Some of the agencies may even accept half of the amount in case and a cheque for the other half. They may even opt to keep original of one of your identity cards too as security.
What are the documents required while renting the motorcycle?
A valid driving license is must without which, no agency will rent out the motorcycle to you. You will have to submit a photocopy of your DL which will work both as your identity card as well as an address proof.
Is luggage carrier available for rent?
As mentioned above, luggage carrier and saddle bags will be provided at an extra charge of Rs. 100 per day.
Is riding gear available for rent as well?
Except for luggage carrier and saddle bags, no other gear is available for rent. If you want to get any other accessories or gear like knee caps or elbow caps, you will have to buy it. Jackets of course are not available for rent anywhere.
Is there any paperwork involved while renting the motorcycle?
You may be required to sign a rental agreement which would lay down the terms and conditions like what will happen if there is damage to the bike, if you do not return it, if you return it late etc.
What documents should you ask for along with the motorcycle?
Please ensure that the renter provides you the RC, Insurance documents and pollution certificate of the motorcycle. Also, check the dates carefully and ensure that all these documents are still valid and not expired.
Can I book a motorcycle in advance over the phone?
Yes you can but I recommend that you do not. The most important thing before renting the motorcycle is to test it and you will be deprived of this option if you pre-book it. The best thing would be to walk through the town, check out several options, the condition of the motorcycle, the costs involved and then make a decision of where to rent it from
How is the condition of the motorcycles?
It is never good is what I can say. Condition will differ from being OK to bad to even being pathetic which is why it is of utmost importance that you do not book in advance and inspect the motorcycle closely before paying the amount. These motorcycles have been used by multiple people and always in the hilly region. Used is actually the wrong word, these motorcycles mostly get abused and hence the bad condition. From the engine to fuel efficiency, it will never be at par with a personally owned motorcycle.
What to check before renting the motorcycle?
I am not a mechanic myself but I will still list a few things. Check the condition of the chain set and ensure it is not worn out. If the motorcycle is electric start, try bringing it to life a couple of times and ensure that it doesn’t cough or give trouble when you press the start switch. If it is kick start, ensure that there is no starting problem and the motorcycle is a single or at most two kicks start. Check the condition of the tires if they are worn out. Sit down on the motorcycle to check that the seats are comfortable enough. Do a thorough inspection of the motorcycle for any oil leakage, either from engine or front shock absorbers. Check that the headlamp is bright enough and get it replaced if it is not. Also check the tail light and that both the indicators are in working condition.
Other tips that may be useful while renting a motorcycle in Leh?
The first tip is that check how old the motorcycle is and how many kilometers are on the odometer. Try to find a motorcycle that is comparatively new, has been bought in last couple of years and have run lesser kilometers. Finding a new motorcycle is hard but not tough so if you find one go for it. Second thing you must do is to stay in Leh for a day and test the motorcycle. Take it towards Khardung La Pass and get an idea about how it performs on steep ascents and fuel efficiency. If there is a fix required, get it done immediately. If there is a fault too big or time consuming for repair, dump the motorcycle and find another one. Third thing would be to make sure that you are carrying some essential spares like clutch/accelerator/brake wires, headlamp, spare tubes, a toolkit, chain link and spark plug etc. You must learn how to take off the wheel and change the tube in case of a flat tire. Any other basic mechanical knowledge too will be beneficial so learn a little basics of bike repair like fixing puncture, changing sparkplug, clutch/cable wire, headlamp, headlight, attaching chain link etc. My final advice would be that do not be tied down to a particular motorcycle, do not go with the mindset that you only have to rent an Enfield or a Pulsar. Rather look for a motorcycle which is in good running condition irrespective of which brand it is.
With all this said, another point to consider here would be that if you have a motorcycle of your own, transporting it to and from Manali would actually cost you less than going through the hassle of renting a motorcycle in Manali. Since it is your own motorcycle, you will always have the trust on its capabilities and hence the peace of mind. Something to think about.
I hope this information was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment and ask and I would be glad to answer. On a different not, if you are looking forward to rent a motorcycle in Leh, It would be a great help if you can share your experience here afterwards. If you came across a good renter, you can leave his contact details in the comments and I would add it to the article to help others. If there is a particular renter that you would suggest others to avoid, you may even mention that as well. If you feel I missed any particular information, please feel free to add it in the comments section.