A nice mix of good condition off-road & road bikes for rent in Chiang Mai.
Once upon a time the market used to be all scooters & often ratty 2nd hand grey import bikes from Japan. But not any more; with Kawasaki, Honda, Triumph, Ducati & BMW all manufacturing big bikes in Thailand there is now an excellent range of good value for money bikes for rent. 3 Cheers for Kawasaki leading the way, followed by Honda. The most popular hire bikes in 2017 are
1. Small 100 – 125cc – 500 scooters. 2. Honda Phantom 250 cruisers. 3. Kawasaki 250 KLXs / D-Trackers 4. Kawasaki 250 Ninjas 5. Kawasaki ER6Ns / 650 Ninjas 6. Kawasaki 650 Versys 7. Honda CBR250. 8. Honda CRF250L. Released early 2013. 9. Honda CRF 250 Rally. Released 2017 10. Honda CBR500R. Released early 2013. 11. HondaCB500X. Released early 2013. 12. Honda CB500F. Released early 2013. 13. Honda CB650s. Released May 2014. 14. Honda Africa Twin 1000. Released 2016. 15. Suzuki V-Strom 650s. Released May 2014. 16. Yamaha FZ 09. Released mid 2014. 17. Yamaha Bolt 950. Released mid 2014.
Sporty riders might like to rent the Honda CB650F for a blast around the countryside.
The best bike to ride is the one
Think about the type of riding you enjoy most & like to do, then pick a bike that is available, & affordable to satisfy that need.
The more serious enduro rider might like to try the new Honda CRF 250 Rally
Small bike or big bike: note that it is not necessary to ride a big bike to enjoy yourself & take in the scenery. Ride a big bike fast & you need to watch the road more, you see & will learn less because you travel faster & are less inclined to stop & take photos. Generally for first timers, one up, a smaller (a 250) is better if you want to take it easy, potter around, take photos & enjoy the people & villages en route. Riding at 60-80 kph a 250 is a better bike to ride than a 650. Ride faster than 80 -90 kph & you need to watch the road & not the scenery. So go slower & take a 250! Plus the 250s are incredibly fuel efficient. But wanna go faster & rack up the kilometres & not see as much or stop & take photos, then take 650. And if you are two-up then a 650 is maybe the way to go.
Read on GT Rider how someone did it all the way from Singapore – the Golden Triangle & return on a KSR 110cc.
Riding a little KSR from Singapore to the Golden Triangle!
Read these tips on Traffic & Roads before you set off from the rental shop.
A Kawasaki 650 Versys or a Suzuki Vstrom 650 should be the choice for the touring rider, especially two-up.
Cross border rental & travel – in Chiang Mai either C&P Motorcycle Rental or Pop Motorcycle Rental or in Chiang Rai ST Motorcycles & Chiang Rai Big Bike Rentals will let you take their bikes across borders.
Get the best & break the bank – rent an Africa Twin from Pop.
Insure yourself for motorcycle rental via Mister Prakan
Check the GT Rider forum for the latest bike & shop info.
If you’ve already got your own bike & need some work done it, then check out the GT Rider list of Chiang Mai bike shops.
GT Rider also has a list of handy motorcycle related shops in the Chiang Mai area if you’re looking for parts & accessories for your trips.
Serious big bike riders might want to bring their own machine, but come and rent a local bike first before jumping in at the deep end.
Read about how to bring your own bike.
To be satisfied with the bike’s reliability and comfort for an upcountry tour, test ride it before hand. Start with a run around the city moat, then if you are still not sure take it for a one day trip.
The Samoeng loop is an excellent 100 kms half day ride from Chiang Mai, which everyone should do at least once, even if just to test out a bike.
Take a Mae Sa Valley Samoeng Loop map with you & have a great day out.
Can be negotiable, but if you bargain too hard for a bike the owner will probably give you the worst bike in the shop and keep the better bike for someone else who wants to pay more money. A cheap rental price might only mean a cheap bike that costs extra money for fuel, repairs and heaps of worry while on tour. Hire prices in Chiang Mai are very cheap with most of the shops struggling to survive in low season. So, take care of your bike, don’t try to screw the shop owner, and they’ll be there when you come back next time.
PASSPORT SURRENDER When you hire a motorcycle you must surrender your passport to the shop as security for the bike. As the bike is not insured, your passport is the insurance for its return. When the shop has the bike back to their satisfaction, your passport is returned. This hiring condition might alarm first time visitors, but it is standard practice in North Thailand and there is seldom a problem recovering your passport, provided you bring the bike back. Note too that motorcycle theft is not a real threat to deter you from hiring a bike. If you do experience any difficulty recovering your passport, don’t waste time with the shop – call the Tourist Police.
Shops worth considering (but which all have good & bad days):
1. C & P Service. 51 Kotchasarn Rd. Tel: 053271161. Bikes:
CP Motorcycle Rental Chiang Mai.
Comments: Recommended for the best off-road bikes in town. CP will let you take a bike to Laos.
2. Dang Hire Bike. 23 Kotchasarn Rd. Tel: 053271524. Bikes: Honda AX-1 250s. Comments: The only shop left in town with AX1 250s. A big fleet and getting old, bike condition varies, so have a good look at your preferred steed first
3. Joe’s Bike Team. Tel: 081 033 6937
3 x Honda XR250 2005 model (upside down forks) @ 1,000 baht a day.
1 x Honda AX1 250 @ 800 baht a day.
Joe’s rental & workshop for big bikes.
Comments: This is the number one expat big bike service shop in North Thai. Bikes serviced by German Joe, the expat expert, & generally more reliable. Break down service: Joe’s got a powerful sidecar (Kawasaki VN1500 motor) for breakdown pick-ups, and they’re an awesome pair on the road at times. Prices start at 300 baht inside Chiang Mai city. Up country pickups cost 500 baht + 7 baht per kilometre. Ring Joe 081 033 6937 to check availability. Sundays not available. Other days depends on work load in his work shop (rental customers come first) so he may not always be able to respond immediately.
4. Mr Beer. 2 Rajwithee Rd, Chiang Mai. Tel: 053418236. Bikes available
Comments: some mixed reports, but generally acceptable. Mr Beer is an interesting character.
5. Mr Mechanic. 4 Soi 5, Moon Muang Road. Tel: 053214708 / Mobile 018824402.
The CRf 250 Rally for rent from Mr Mechanic
The biggest fleet of rental bikes in North Thailand.
Pop will let you take a bike to Laos.
7. Tony’s Big Bikes. 17 Ratchamankha Rd. Tel: 053207124.
Comments: All of Tony Big Bikes’ bikes of 500cc and over are fitted with genuine Pirelli Tyres (Scorpion Trail 2 and Angel GT and Rosso 2), D.I.D X ring Gold chains(genuine Japanese imports) and OEM genuine brake pads. These are fitted to give more confidence to customers with the knowledge their bikes are in top condition & well maintained. The shop has a good variety of well-maintained bikes and is run by a couple of knowledgeable expat bikers with a lot of local miles between them. If you want trip advice with a dose of Brit humour as well as a decent bike, this is the place to go.
Latest bike & shop info: check out the GT Rider forum
1. ST Motorcycles. 1025/34-35 Jed Yod Road. Chiang Rai.
ST Chiang Rai.
Tel: 053713652. 053752180. Mobile: 087 926 6100.
The ST bike fleet
ST will let you take a bike to Laos.
2. Chiang Rai Big Bike Rentals , 869/79/80 Thaiwiwat Road Wiang. Muang Chiang Rai. 57000
CR Big Bike Rentals
Phone Contacts Manager: Took. Tel 0908910997 & 0916279367. Umpon 0871820414 Brian 0873675987
GPS Location N 19* 54.361 E 099* 49.933
CR Big Bike road bikes
Chiang Rai Big Bike Rentals will also let you take a bike to Laos.
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