What’s It Like Renting a Motorcycle Through Twisted Road?

After talking with the CEO of Riders Share, I naturally got curious about its kind of motorcycle rentals. Especially since, while I enjoy riding my Triumph Street Triple R, I like to window-shop for bikes. And since one of the best ways to truly test-drive/test-ride a vehicle is to rent it, that’s what I decided to do. So, over a recent long weekend, I paid to rent a motorcycle through Twisted Road.  

Twisted Road is a bit like Turo, only for motorcycles

Much like Riders Share and Turo, Twisted Road is a peer-to-peer motorcycle rental company. The Drive describes it as “essentially Airbnb for motorcycles.” Basically, rather than renting from a fleet as you do at, say, Hertz, you’re renting someone else’s privately-owned bike.

Twisted Road founder Austin Rothbard with his black-and-gold 2010 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic on a bridge
Twisted Road founder Austin Rothbard with his 2010 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic | Twisted Road

If that seems rather similar to Riders Share, that’s because, well, it is. However, Twisted Road isn’t the only company embracing peer-to-peer rentals. Lyft recently started offering its take on the idea. Motorcycle rental company EagleRider, which typically functions more like Hertz, now has a peer-to-peer program, too, called EagleShare.

So, what separates Twisted Road from Riders Share and these other programs? Firstly, there’s the bike selection. True, nothing is stopping an owner from listing the same bike on multiple sites. But often it works out that some owners list on one site, while others list on another.

Secondly, Twisted Road initially required renters to have their own motorcycle insurance policy, Motorcyclist reports. While that simplified things on the legal side, it also essentially limited would-be renters to people who already owned motorcycles. Because, after all, who pays for a motorcycle insurance policy when they don’t own any bikes?

I actually wanted to use Twisted Road several years ago when I was shopping around for my first bike. But with those insurance requirements, no dice. However, the company has since started providing its own coverage, Rider and Ultimate Motorcycling report. So, even if you don’t insurance of your own, you can purchase it through Twisted Road itself.

How does it work?

Although you don’t need a pre-existing insurance policy, Twisted Road has several requirements you need to pass before you can rent a bike.

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Renters have to be at least 21 years old with a valid motorcycle endorsement. They also must have obtained that endorsement at least six months prior. And if they’re under 25, they need at least three years of riding experience and must purchase Twisted Road’s ‘Premium Insurance.’ Plus, in addition to signing up for a Twisted Road account, renters must have a working mobile phone number.

That last part brings us to the actual motorcycle rental process. After you pick out the bike you’d like to rent, the site asks if you need insurance and if you want any supplemental coverage. The latter covers flat tires, repairs in case of break-downs, and towing costs. And while Twisted Road does charge renters a service fee, it doesn’t make any profit on the insurance, Motofomo reports.

Regardless of how much coverage you purchase, Twisted Road puts a $1000 hold on your credit card. This covers “any minor damages or expenses.” The company removes the hold once you return the bike safely.

Here’s where the phone part comes in. Once you put in a rental request, the motorcycle owner has 24 hours to respond. If they OK the rental, Twisted Road puts the renter and owner together via text message. That way, the two can arrange pick-up and drop-off details, as well as communicate any issues that spring up.

Twisted Road founder Austin Rothbard's black-and-gold 2010 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic next to a green warehouse
Twisted Road founder Austin Rothbard’s 2010 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic | Twisted Road

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Listing your bike on the site is also fairly simple. First, you upload some pictures, along with a brief description and some technical specs. Then, you set a rental rate. After the bike is returned, the company pays you in a few business days. And as with Turo, Twisted Road covers both the motorcycle and its owner.  

Twisted Road is a legitimately easy way to organize a motorcycle rental

Admittedly, my experience with Twisted Road is just one datum point. Still, my rental experience mirrored my colleague’s Turo experience. Namely, apart from one minor issue, it went extremely smoothly.

Originally, I wanted to rent a Triumph Thruxton. However, after I submitted my request, the owner never replied. But before the request expired, a company employee reached out to me via text. They asked if I was still interested in renting and offered to give another owner a heads-up. And the 2009 Triumph Bonneville I selected instead was still available.

The side 3/4 view of a black 2009 Triumph Bonneville with saddlebags rented on Twisted Road in a parking lot
Twisted Road 2009 Triumph Bonneville side 3/4 | Matthew Skwarczek

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The text-based system meant I could easily schedule a pick-up window with the owner. Once I met him, he walked me through all the bike’s switchgear and indicator lights, how to properly warm it up, and so on. He then let me take the Bonneville up and down the block to make sure I was comfortable riding it. And before I set off, he just had to take a photo of my license next to the odometer, as well as some pre-rental walk-around photos of the bike.

While I’ll be reviewing the rented Bonneville in a later post, know that it ran without a hitch. And returning it was just as simple as picking it up was. So, whether you’re renting because you’re curious or investigating a future purchase, Twisted Road is worth a look.

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