Why and When should you rent a motorcycle for Ladakh Trip

by Vargis.Khan

Ladakh is commonly referred to as a Biker’s paradise and quite rightly so. There are of course other modes of transport available as well to visit here; but the fact in the end is that nothing compares to a motorcycle ride to Ladakh. The entire journey becomes an experience in itself; one that you are bound to cherish for years to come. An important question however about bikes that I often get asked by several people; is whether it is wise to bring your own motorcycle or to rent a motorcycle for Ladakh trip. Rented motorcycle vs self owned and which one is a better choice. To be honest, there is no straight answer to this question; as both have their pros and cons and several factors would have to be taken into consideration; which I will talk about in this article.

rent a motorcycle for Ladakh

At any given day, bringing your own motorcycle for the ride is the preferred choice. Reason behind this is pretty simple, it is your own motorcycle and you are familiar with its pulse. You know its shortcomings and can get those taken care of specifically before the ride. The biggest factor is that you will be riding on a tough terrain and knowing the machine here helps a lot. I think everyone will agree to the fact that it takes a couple of days at least before you actually get well versed before riding a new motorcycle.




Another factor is of the condition of motorcycles available on rent. I am not saying that they are all in terrible state though. Depending on which rental you got the bike from, some of these can even be in a mint condition. The fact however can still not be denied that most of these motorcycles are badly used by multiple people and always on steep and tough roads of Ladakh. There is no telling about the actual condition of the bike. They will all be properly washed and cleaned to give an upper image of a reliable motorcycle; but you cannot be sure of its engine performance until you start riding it.

Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh

Last but not the least is the cost factor. Depending on which motorcycle you chose, you will end up paying a daily rental of Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1800 per day; which will definitely cost you more than the total cost incurred if you brought your own bike. Then there is also the hassle of returning it. If you rented a bike from Manali, you will have to bring it to Manali to return. If you left it at some other place, it will cost you another roughly Rs. 15000 more. This also becomes a problem while drafting your itinerary because then you are bound circle back to the same place and cannot exit via another route.

Also read: How to Handle Acute Mountain Sickness in Ladakh

With the above being said, renting motorcycles is not really all that terrible either. It definitely has its own advantages as well and if you chose the bike right, overall experience can really be a pleasant one; saving you a lot of hassle.

Why and When should you rent a motorcycle for Ladakh Trip

There can really be a few situations when renting a bike will be much easier a task than bringing your own vehicle. Let me run down a few reasons.

No Motorcycle

I think this one goes without saying but still thought to add it here. If you do not own a motorcycle, do not even want to own one; but want to ride to Ladakh then what do you do? Do you buy a new motorcycle just for the trip? No, you rent one.

Distance and time to reach Ladakh

This is the biggest reason when you should seriously consider renting bike for Ladakh trip. For people living in northern part of India, it is a bit easier to kick start your motorcycle and start riding to Ladakh. For people living in other parts of the country, a bike ride from home means riding for several days in plains before you finally get to Ladakh. This may get boring; will be time consuming and add further cost to the trip. To avoid this hassle, you can reach either Srinagar, Manali or even Leh by other modes of transport and rent a bike there for the trip.

Also read: How to Obtain Inner Line Permit for Ladakh

Transporting the Motorcycle

If you were living far off, then a choice can be to transport your personal motorcycle by either train or a personal movers and packers. This will again mean the hassle of making all those arrangements both while going to Ladakh and returning home. This also to some extent runs the risk of a possible damage to the machine which can be avoided if you rented one.

Under-powered or Old Motorcycle

Do you own a 100CC motorcycle which already has 40-50,00 kilometers on the odometer? Do you have a bike that you have been using for last 12-13 years? Are you not really confident that your machine can last the trip? If the answer to either of this question is yes then you are better off leaving your bike at home and renting one.

Also read: How to Calculate Cost of Motorcycle Trip to Ladakh

Short on Time

Do you want to ride to Ladakh but only have 4-5 days in hand? If this is the case then you do not really have time to ride your own bike from Leh. Your only option is to reach Leh by Air and rent a bike there for the trip.

Not Confident of your Riding Skills

I know, this will be the case even if you rented a bike. But if you were not sure of your riding skills but eager on a bike trip, then a way around this is to reach Leh directly by Air or other means of transport. Once you are there, you can rent a motorcycle and take a short ride to judge your riding skills. If you are confident, then rent the motorcycle for the entire sightseeing there.

How to rent a Bike for Ladakh Trip

Depending on your itinerary, you can rent a motorcycle from Manali, Leh or Srinagar. As a ground rule, do not book the motorcycle in advance anywhere. Just reach your destination first, ask around a bit; take a look at a few motorcycle; take a test ride and only rent it on the spot after you are sure of the bike. No matter where you rent it from, ride the motorcycle around in the town before taking it to the hills.

Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh with Children

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.

Rented Motorcycle Vs Self Owned

Without any doubt, a self owned motorcycle will always win hands down because it will always be more maintained and better performing than a rental one. If you do not mind riding in plains for a few days; or the additional hassle or cost of transporting your bike; then by all means, you must bring your own bike to Ladakh. But if there is any of the above mentioned reasons involved, then you must chose to rent a bike.

I hope this information was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.

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26 comments

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Mitul Soni April 14, 2018 - 3:37 am

Hello sir..its really good to see your blogs and get all the help required..thanx in advance..
I just wanted to ask..m planning manali to leh..on my bike.how to get rohtang pass permit online.and do dey allow 10 year old bike.my bike is fully in condition only thing its been 10 years

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Vargis.Khan April 15, 2018 - 10:24 am

Mitul Bhai please see the article below. The entire procedure of Rohtang permits I have explained here.

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Jigar April 13, 2018 - 8:31 pm

Sir what is the alternative to ride friends bike ? I read somewhere that NOC certificate from bike owner can allow you ride his bike, is it true ?

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Vargis.Khan April 13, 2018 - 9:11 pm

It is all luck really. They may or may not let you go. There is no set rule as such so it all depends upon their mood at the moment. You may take your friend’s bike. If anyone stop you then do not argue with them and return to Leh.

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Jigar April 14, 2018 - 1:57 am

Thanks sir for reply. So basically what all places we might be stopped and get issue ?

Our plan is to send bike from Mumbai to Manali. Tour route Manali-Leh-Srinagar (11 days)

May be we park the friend’s bike at such problematic location and rent bike locally ?

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Vargis.Khan April 14, 2018 - 2:10 am

All paces in Ladakh including Leh city are problematic. And yes, you will have to leave the rented bikes parked at your hotel in Leh city and rent local bikes for sightseeing

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barathi February 23, 2018 - 11:51 am

what is called PUC (Document)

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Vargis.Khan February 23, 2018 - 3:44 pm

“Pollution Under Control” certificate

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Vishwa June 22, 2017 - 1:16 pm

Hi Vargis,

I have read a lot about the bikers association issue in Leh/Manali. I hear that they will stop bikes at Sarchu? I am planning to get my friend’s bike from Chandigarh. What are the chances of running into an issue? What documents should I carry?

Please advise.

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Vargis.Khan June 22, 2017 - 1:31 pm

Hi Vishwa – That was resolved. Please take a look at the article below.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/manali-rented-motorcycles-banned-in-ladakh-vice-versa/

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Vishwa June 23, 2017 - 6:54 am

Thanks a lot Vargis bhai. You are doing a wonderful job! 🙂

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Vargis.Khan June 23, 2017 - 4:38 pm

You are welcome Vishwa Bhai !!!

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Hemachandra May 21, 2017 - 7:21 am

Hi Vargis,

Own RE or a rented one? Which one is better ?

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Vargis.Khan May 22, 2017 - 2:07 am

Hi Hemachandra – Own RE, much better anytime. Conditions of the rented motorcycles is mostly bad and they are never trustworthy.

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sukrut borade May 12, 2017 - 3:34 am

Can i take my sibling’s bike .to leh.our surname r same ..also with proper valid NOC .will i face any problem

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Vargis.Khan May 13, 2017 - 2:09 am

Yes you can but you will also have to carry documents that shows the bike belongs to your sibling.

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sunil kurup April 22, 2017 - 5:48 pm

Hi Vargis,

One question, is there any problem in using a rented bike in Ladakh, I read in some other blogs, outside Leh/Ladakh bikes are not allowed to tour unless its your personal bike.

Appreciate if you can share your experience on this.

Regards,
Sunil

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Vargis.Khan April 22, 2017 - 9:19 pm

Hi Sunil – You are right. Motorcycles rented outside Ladakh can only be used to reach Leh but for visiting places like nubra valley, pangong and moriri, you will have to rent another motorcycle in Leh

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sunny July 22, 2016 - 12:25 pm

hi vargis..

i m planning bike trip from delhi to ladakh, nd want to ride my own bike, so i hope there will be no problem. Can u plz tell me the procedure what should i carry… plz advise

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Vargis.Khan July 23, 2016 - 7:58 pm

Sunny – As long as the bike is yours there will be no problem. Just carry your DL, RC, PUC and Insurance docs.

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Shakti May 19, 2016 - 5:22 am

Hi Vargis,

Your blogs habe been really helpful. I would like to know about the bikes on rent available in Leh. We want to take few bikes to Pangong from Leh & return the same day. Please let me know if it is doable using rented bikes.

Thanks in advance!

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Vargis.Khan May 21, 2016 - 3:12 am

Plenty of options to rent a bike in Leh, you will not face any problem finding one but Leh to Pangong and back in a day would be a very rushed journey. It is doable though if you started really really early from Leh, say before sunrise, rushed through the trip and make it back to Leh by late evening.

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Chintal Shah April 8, 2016 - 11:07 am

Hi Vargis,
Even I am having the same question. We are starting our journey from Srinagar on 4th of June and we have contacted few local bike rentals in Srinagar but they are asking to pay in advance otherwise we will not get bikes with good condition as per them
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What we are the chances to get a good bike in Srinagar and it it safe to pay in advance?

Moreover, we are starting on 4th of June from Srinagar to Leh so how will be the road condition?

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Vargis.Khan April 9, 2016 - 2:27 am

Hi Chintal – No need to pay in advance, this is just a trick they are playing to ensure that you do not rent from elsewhere. Once you have paid, you would have no choice but to rent from the same guy, irrespective of the fact whether you like it or not. Better option is to first go there, check out a few motorcycles, take a test ride and only rent it once you are completely satisfied. Srinagar Leh highway in June 1st week would be OK to ride on.

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Aravind July 10, 2015 - 10:41 am

Hi Vargis,

I have planned my leh-ladakh trip from Manali on July 19th where I will spend a day to rent and test the bike and start the journey to Leh from 20th onwards. My problem is most of the bike rentals in Manali are saying that bikes are not available for rent and most of them are not giving proper response either on phone/mail. I have read in many blogs that it is better to rent a bike after reaching there instead of booking it over phone and paying upfront. But I do not want to end up in a situation where there are no bikes available for rent. I am riding solo and I just need one bike in good condition in Manali when I reach there directly. What are your thoughts on the availability of bikes? Are there many options or is there a supply problem because it is peak season for Ladakh ? I am a little confused here although I am quietly confident about finding a good bike.

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Vargis.Khan July 11, 2015 - 4:45 pm

Hi Aravind, I do not think there would be a problem in getting a bike from Manali, plenty of options available.

And yes, I agree that you should reach there and check the bike rather than booking in advance. Another and a better choice would be to rent the bike from Delhi.

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