Enterprise Rent-A-Car rents cars, but you know that. Now it rents motorcycles. Out of its West Flamingo Road location in Las Vegas, licensed motorcyclists can now rent Harley-Davidsons, including the Street Glide, the Road Glide (Custom and Ultra), the Electra Glide (Classic and Ultra Limited), the Fat Boy Lo and the Heritage Softail Classic (coming soon). Enterprise is looking at its Vegas office as a pilot program, so this trend might expand to more cities (and more bikes) in the future.
Admittedly, this is not the first opportunity to rent a hog in Vegas. EagleRider has been offering the service for years with a variety of Harleys and a mix of other bikes—capitalizing on the fact that the experience of taking a Harley into Red Rock Canyon and then down the Vegas strip at sunset is a moment that you'll always remember.
EagleRider offers motorcycle rental locations around the country, and someday Enterprise may have the same (the Vegas location is a pilot project for the company). Over the years, the variety of motorcycles available for rent has steadily expanded in the U.S., but even with the efforts of EagleRider and Enterprise, the options are fairly limited and not consistently available in all cities, and, well, that got us thinking about renting a bike and taking a long trip.
To get an idea for what riders would love to rent for their travels, we asked three seasoned motorcycle enthusiasts what they’d like to see available for rent at all major cities around the United States and the world—in addition to the thundering Harleys you can find in Vegas.
Here's who we asked: Eric Milsen works in the Atlanta film industry, but in his spare time is known for long motorcycle rides to Alaska and other far-off destinations. Dan Peschio, a web developer in North Carolina, took off a year to travel on his motorcycle from the United States to the bottom of Argentina. The trip was a success; he managed to ride his bike all the way to the farthest-most point of South America—and then back. Shannon Nicholson, who works for a PR firm in North Carolina, was on the same journey with Peschio until his trip was "disabled" by a sloppy cab driver in Peru.
The bikes they picked for our dream-rentals list are all about twisting the throttle and exploring on two wheels. And in case you needed more inspiration, we picked the perfect riding destination for each bike.
The 10 Motorcycles We Wish We Could Rent for Our Next Trip
It’s old school in its styling, and Peschio says that if he was doing a trip from London through the Scottish Highlands, this class British bike would be the one for the trip … as long as your luggage is comprised only of a pair of jeans, some good leather boots and a well-fitted denim jacket. Recommended destination: The Scottish Highlands, of course
Suzuki makes the V-Strom available in a 650 and a 1000 size, and these are versatile "adven-tour" bikes. Known for reliability and power, they give the rider a comfortable, upright-seating posture. It's equally happy on a dirt road as it is on an interstate. Recommended destination: Riding the Continental Divide from Mexico to Canada
Sometimes you need to go fast and eat curves, and the CB500F takes care of that for you, while the lower seat height and lighter weight will be appreciated by riders of shorter stature as well as those with lesser experience. Recommended destination: San Francisco and Marin County
If we were touring Italy's coastal towns or winding our way through the Northern Italy and beyond, it's safe to say the the Ducati Hypermotard would be on our short list. Incredible cornering, great power and cutting-edge styling to keep you looking good when you roll into Milan—yeah, it's all here. Recommended destination: The Great Dolomites Road
Yamaha calls this bike “SuperSport touring,” and it’s a beast of a traveler, with a 1,300-cc engine, a plush layout, built-in cargo boxes, electronic cruise control and electronic suspension control (ES version only). This is the bike you want to rent if you’re doing a highway tour of the United States. Recommended destination: Baltimore to Los Angeles—and everywhere in between
Bombardier Can-Am Spyder RS
As Nicholson says, this is "the motorcycle that isn't." It isn’t a traditional 2-wheeler. The bike places two wheels up front, and one in the rear, but drives like a sporty motorcycle and yet gives more stability and comfort for when you’re riding with a passenger. There’s an available 6-speed automatic transmission that even has a reverse gear. Recommended destination: Atlanta, then head north into the Appalachian Mountains
Named a 2012 “bike of the year” by Cycle World, this bike is a bit of a Swiss Army knife. Unlock the street capabilities or the off-road capabilities; you can do a little bit of everything with it, and at 64 mpg, you won’t have to pull over at the gas station very often. More time for exploration? We like that. Recommended destination: Washington state, leaving from Seattle
KTM 690 Duke
Rent this toy and then head out of town to the curves. With a big single-cylinder engine—and limited fairings to give the bike a “naked” look—this bike is all about raw motorcycling. Recommended destination: The Austrian Alps
It’s all about style on this Russian-made cycle which looks like it is straight out of World War II (in fact, it is). “If renting this bike, I'd have to wax my mustache and get a white scarf and riding goggles,” says Peschio. This is the bike to lock in on if you’re touring a communist country or just want to look dashing with your significant other on a summer motorcycle trip through Maine. Recommended destination: Vietnam
BMW’s F and R Series GS
No, we didn't forget BMW. These bikes appeared on all our reviewers’ lists, and they are type of bikes that English actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman rode around the world in their movie "Long Way Round." BMW’s F & R GS bikes are available in a variety of configurations and sizes (including the pictured R1200GS), so if your goal is to rent a bike and not return it until after a months-long, transcontinental exploration, these might the ones. Recommended destination: Africa