How to rent a motorcycle in Srinagar
Whenever I get asked this question that whether renting a bike for Ladakh trip is better or riding your own motorcycle is, my answer is always the same. If you can then you must take your own motorcycle to Ladakh. This is beneficial in multiple ways and bringing your own motorcycle will always have advantages over riding a rented motorcycle. What those advantages are is a topic that I have covered in another article at the link below.
However, self-owned motorcycle is not always an option for everybody due to several reasons. Someone may not own a motorcycle at all in which case, buying one just for one trip does not really make sense. Or you may not have a motorcycle that you consider good enough for a trip to the challenging terrain of Ladakh. The most common reason of all however remains to be that you do not live in the northern part of the country which means that if you want to bring your motorcycle to Ladakh, you will have to ride it all the way in plains as well until the mountain region starts which I agree sounds quite boring in itself and hence the option of renting a motorcycle comes into picture.
There are multiple places that you can rent a motorcycle for Ladakh. You can get a motorcycle in Manali if you are starting from Manali and from Srinagar if you are taking the Srinagar Leh highway to reach Leh. If you are thinking of a longer route, then you may also consider renting a motorcycle from Shimla. Cities like Delhi and Chandigarh too have bike rental options but most of the people consider either renting from Manali or Srinagar as it is convenient as compared to other cities. I have covered renting a motorcycle in Manali at the link below.
In this article, we will talk about what your options are in case you want to rent a motorcycle from Srinagar. Please note that I own a Royal Enfield and never had the need to rent 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 Srinagar?
Yes you can. Even though limited, options to rent a motorcycle in Srinagar are in fact available.
Where can I rent a motorcycle in Srinagar?
Unlike Manali, where the entire town is flooded with places offering motorcycles on rent, situation in Srinagar is way more different. Finding a motorcycle to rent here can be slightly difficult for primarily two reasons. First it is a larger city than Manali and second that the options here are not that great. Hence it is better to contact a renter in advance and check with them if they have motorcycles available in the time slot that you are planning to rent in. Below are names of a couple of agencies that offer motorcycles on rent in Srinagar with their contact details.
The Lion tour and travels
Main Oficce : Khyam Chowk Srinagar
B/o: Munawabad Opp. STP Srinagar KMR. 190001
Phone : (+91) 9796-188199
Please do note that neither have I dealt with either of these renters personally nor am I trying to recommend them. Few of people I know have had dealt with these guys and I received a positive feedback. There may be other bike operators as well but these are just a couple of names that I am aware of. Please negotiate and inspect motorcycles carefully as you will, I in no way vouch for these guys to be the best.
Can I rent a motorcycle in Srinagar and use it in Ladakh as well?
Please do not. The tour operators and the locals in Ladakh do not allow this. If you have rented a motorcycle outside of Ladakh, then you can only use it to get as far as Leh. For local sightseeing and visiting areas like Pangong and Nubra, you will have to rent another motorcycle from the city of Leh itself.
Can I rent a motorcycle in Srinagar and drop it at Manali?
While some of the tour operators in Manali offer the option of one side rental for an additional cost, I am not too sure if this option is also available in Srinagar so cannot give a firm answer on this. Best to call the agencies I mentioned above and inquire with them.
Can I rent a motorcycle in Srinagar and drop it at Leh?
Same answer to this question as above.
Is there a minimum or maximum rental period?
It depends on the renter but some of them do have a 7 day minimum criteria.
How much it costs to rent a motorcycle in Srinagar?
It depends on which motorcycle you want to rent but the cost would be anywhere between Rs. 800 to Rs. 1600. Smaller engine motorcyles, 150 CC for example would cost you slightly less and a 500CC motorcycle would cost you more. For example, Royal Enfield Standard, classic, or Electra 350CC would be around Rs. 1200 or Rs. 1300 per day, a 500 CC Machismo or Thunderbird would be around Rs. 1600 per day. On the other hand, a Pulsar would cost you close to Rs. 1000 per day. Automatic bikes like Activa would cost around Rs. 800 per day.
Is this price negotiable?
No it is not. Most of these tour operators have a standard rate. It may however depend on how well you negotiate, how many motorcycles you want to rent and for how long.
Do you have to pay a security deposit to rent a motorcycle in Srinagar?
Yes you do. Apart from what you will pay as daily rent, a security deposit ranging anywhere between Rs. 15000 to Rs. 30,000 would also have to be paid. Renters usually would accept part of this amount in cash and may take a cheque for the remaining amount. They may also keep your Identity card as security deposit. If you crash the motorcycle or there is any damage to it, the repair cost would be deducted from the security deposit. If there is no damage at all, then this amount is refundable in full.
What are the documents required while renting the motorcycle?
Your driving license is a must and pretty much the only document you will need to submit as it works both as an Identity proof and address proof as well. Someone asked me on an email if you have to submit the original and the answer to that is no. You are required to carry your DL with you during the trip and just need to submit a photocopy at the place you are renting the bike from in Manali.
Is riding gear available for rent as well?
It depends on the agency or operator you are dealing with. Some of them do provide the riding gear on rent but there will be no jacket included. It is pretty much limited to helmet, knee and elbow guards etc.
Is luggage carrier available for rent?
Since these motorcycles get rent out for touring purpose, most of them are already equipped with luggage carriers. In case you want a motorcycle without luggage carrier, you can opt for that too. There may however be a separate cost involved for renting luggage carriers, like Rs. 100 per day for renting the carrier.
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 option, 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 Srinagar?
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 Manali for a day and test the motorcycle. Take it towards Rohtang 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 Srinagar would actually cost you less than going through the hassle of renting a motorcycle in Srinagar. 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 Srinagar, 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.