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TL/DR: Consider owning the one bike that makes sense for your most common style of riding, and renting a bike for everything else.

I'm on my second owned bike, and whereas there are a number of benefits to owning multiple bikes, there are some involved expenses as well. It's certainly nice to have a second bike when one needs to be serviced or repaired, but the ownership costs of a second bike (it's own maintenance, insurance, fuel, etc.) can easily exceed the cost of renting a bike for a period of time, or you may be fine with just doing without until the bike's back up.

The other thing to consider is that bikes need to be ridden to stay in good working order, especially carbureted engines. Humans are creatures of habit. I don't have two of everything for both my bikes, and when I switch from one to the other, I cross load things like my rain gear, charging cables, air compressor, etc. Although it isn't a lot of work to cross load, it is still way easier to load up one bike, and then fall into the trap of only riding that bike because it's ready to go, leading to neglect of the other bike. Case-in-point: I have a fuel injected sport-tourer ('03 Honda Interceptor) that starts right up, no matter the weather is, gets better fuel economy, and I've outfitted to be very comfortable (biggest item being heated grips); whereas my cruiser ('96 Honda Magna), although plenty comfortable, needs a proper warm-up the first time it's fired-up for the day, and the lack of fairings or heated grips lends me to favor the Interceptor on colder days. The Magna isn't much fuss, but it's more than the Interceptor, and so I tend to favor that bike. I force myself to take the Magna at least once per week, because I know it needs to be run, and although I still enjoy riding it, I enjoy riding the Interceptor more, and I get better general use from it.

On this note, a quick point of philosophy on buying your first motorcycle... Whatever you think you want is probably wrong. Get something, get riding, and then you'll figure out what you want through what you current bike does well, and what you wish it did better. Once you get your license, and some experience under your belt, there's always the option to rent and/or test ride other bikes you think you might be interested in as well, which can also help you figure out what you actually want. Which brings me to my next point.

The rental/ride-sharing economy has exploded in recent years, and in contrast, expendable income has downsized. Both of my bikes are "ancient," and as much as I'd love to be able to buy brand new motorcycles, the fact of the matter is, there are plenty of more than adequate bikes in great shape that are 20-30 years old that can be bought for a song, but some of the "newer" genres coughADVcough are still pretty pricey, even in the used market. Any motorcycle purchase is a major investment, and any bike you buy is going to be compromise in certain respects. My Interceptor does a lot of things fantastically, and for my primary uses of commuting, canyon carving, and long-ish distance touring, it checks all of those boxes. But, for obvious reasons, I'm not going to be taking it down any Back Country Discovery Roads, and it definitely not a two-up touring bike.

I don't have any intention on owning a Goldwing, or any other large bagger designed for two-up touring, but I can have an appreciation for the benefits they offer in contrast to their compromises, and can see a scenario in which it would be the best tool for the job... Like, let's say, taking a multi-day road trip with my wife. I'm a firm believer that the best passenger seat is a second motorcycle, but my wife has no interest in riding her own bike, and sharing the experience of my journey with her is more important to me than forcing an ultimatum of "ride your own or not at all." A large bagger doesn't make sense to keep in my garage when the compromises are applied to my general daily use, but I can work out a vacation budget to include renting an appropriate bike, especially if that ride is the vacation. It also opens up options on where I want to start my trip from. Even over the course of the week, as much as the up front cost of renting a bike may be, it still will be a fraction of the cost of actually owning the bike in question, especially when we start talking about those flagship baggers or ADV bikes. Further, the rental bikes are often outfitted, can be outfitted to support your desired intention.

In contrast to the above, I found that I really liked sport-tourers when I rented a BMW F800GT during a vacation to Las Vegas, even though my riding experience at that point had only been cruisers. I could've just as easily rented an Indian Scout, and stuck with what I "knew," but in hindsight, I wouldn't have grown as much as a rider, that and the F800GT was more appropriate motorcycle for the riding I was doing for that trip.

And so, I'm downsizing to one bike in the stable, the one that makes sense most of the time. I've got a bit of an itch to give a BDR a whirl, but a cursory glance indicates there's plenty of rental/guided tour services to support those types of rides. I don't have any legitimate dirt experience, other than the occasional wrong turn down the wrong road with the Interceptor and the Magna. I'd like to dip my feet in the water to see what it's all about, but again, ADV bikes ask for compromises that I don't feel make sense on my day to day riding. If I lived somewhere that a demand for bike rentals (specifically cruisers) existed, I'd give serious consideration to pimping out the Magna, if there was the potential for it to be ridden often enough, and if renting it covered the costs of ownership. But, currently that's not the case, and I'm not sure if it ever will be.

Point is, there's a rental/tour-guide/racing school/service to rent almost any type of bike for any type of riding, which can allow you to own the bike you really want to own, instead of the one you think you should own. I can't think of a particular scenario wherein someone wouldn't own any bikes, and only rent bikes, but it's your money, do what you want with it. But this also allows you the opportunity to try other riding styles and other styles of bikes, and you may find like I did, that what you thought you wanted wasn't what you really wanted.

Last point: If you're able to get to any demo days, or go to any expos/shows that offer demos, challenge yourself to not just ride the bikes you're interested in potentially buying, but also the bikes that you normally wouldn't think about riding. It's a fairly cheap way to find out what those other bikes are about beyond the spec sheet. There are a lot of bikes that get overlooked because their spec sheet doesn't impress, but are an absolute hoot to ride. In one weekend at an expo, I was able to ride a Ninja 400, a CB1000R, a Scout, and a Fat Bob. If I focused more on the demos than the expo, I probably could've tested another 3 bikes, especially the Indians and H-D's. They had largest fleets, with the least amount of interest.
 

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Moderator - Like a crazy cat lady but with bikes!
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Interesting idea! New motorcycles can get expensive, so if you want to experience a lot of them you're going to have to have deep pockets.

The neat thing about a rental is that you're also not responsible for its maintenance. Something blows up on it? That's not on you. Unfortunately, the last time I toyed with the idea of a bike rental I realized that it wouldn't work long term. They were something like $50-$75 a day, which is a lot if you want to spend more than a few hours or a day with a certain bike.
 

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True that. I have owned as of this year 15 bikes, to some that is a lot, some not as many, and others not enough. As I get older the less I like trying to store them and keep them nice, and the less I trust others doing work on them. I prefer to do my own work, and well when you own a fleet you got fleet responsibilities. If you rent you hand it over and keep smiling and hope they have good tires on them. Side note: I have never rented a bike, or even looked at the perspective seriously, but might, now that you mention it.
 

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Warning: Mood change in 3... 2... 1...
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Rented on my second visit to the UK. Was expensive but not as expensive as shipping my bike would’ve been, and rental included insurance which is devilishly difficult for a Yankee to get there.

Not much choice of rides for the vertically challenged - rode my first and only Harley there because the BMWs were too tall, but that Sportster did the job :}

I’d absolutely love renting different bikes here. I love my Vulcan but nothing wrong with trying something new :D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
True that. I have owned as of this year 15 bikes, to some that is a lot, some not as many, and others not enough. As I get older the less I like trying to store them and keep them nice, and the less I trust others doing work on them. I prefer to do my own work, and well when you own a fleet you got fleet responsibilities. If you rent you hand it over and keep smiling and hope they have good tires on them. Side note: I have never rented a bike, or even looked at the perspective seriously, but might, now that you mention it.
Across the US, there's HD rentals everywhere, but there's a pretty good spread of rental options in SoCal and Las Vegas. Although more expensive, guided tours also come in all shapes and sizes.

I don't think I'd get on a CONUS road trip tour, as I feel my VFR is plenty adequate for that, but I definitely have an interest in taking an off road tour.

I'm confident in my own trip planning abilities, but you can't deny the appeal of having the choice to just literally show up, and everything's taken care of.

It's all about options!

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 
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