If you are planning to head out on a trail but you don’t have a mountain bike, then you may be wondering about the process of renting a mountain bike, or even whether it is going to be worth it. On this page, we want to explain absolutely everything that you need to know about mountain bike rental.
The price of renting a mountain bike will vary from location to location. After all, the renters here are going to be a captive market. On average, you can expect to be paying $45-$60 for half a day’s rental. It will, of course, be double this for a full day rental. You will need to ask what the rental shop classes as half a day and a full day. This will absolutely vary from location to location.
On top of this, you will have to pay a security deposit. As long as there is no damage to the bike, this should be refunded when you return the bike. The price of this can vary wildly. At the minimum, you should expect a security deposit of at least $150.
However, there are some rental locations that will ask you to leave a deposit equaling the full cost of the bike. This could easily be $2,000+. Thankfully, the latter locations tend to be few and far between nowadays.
Where to Rent a Mountain Bike
There are a couple of options you have available to you if you want to rent a mountain bike.
The most common option is to rent one from a bike rental place at the destination that you plan to be cycling. If the area has major trails, then you are almost certainly guaranteed to find multiple stores that will rent to you.
In some cases, people will rent mountain bikes before a multiday trip. You can rent from your home town and take them to your final destination. It is a bit more cumbersome, but it could work.
In recent years, a lot of online mountain bike rental companies have started to appear too. Many of these do not have designated rental stores. Instead, you rent online, set a date and location where you want the bike delivered, and you just collect it. A service like this may only be available in some of the larger towns and cities, though.
The Process of Renting a Mountain Bike
The process of renting a mountain bike will vary from company to company. What we are going to do here is give you a rough overview of the process.
Book Your Mountain Bike in Advance
Most bike rental places will ask you to book a mountain bike in advance, particularly during the busier times of the year. This is because many of the more popular rental locations will manage to rent out all of their bikes. You don’t want to go to an empty store, right?
Choosing the Bike
Once you do head to the bike rental location, they may ask you a few questions about the type of bike that you are looking for, what your experience is, etc. They may even end up measuring your inner leg to see which bike may be the most suitable.
If you are not experienced with mountain bikes, then we suggest that you go with whatever they recommend. This way, you can be sure that you will be ending up with something that is right for you. If you have a bit more experience, then you may be able to ask for a specific bike.
Payment for Rental, Security Deposit, Insurance
Before anything else happens, you will need to pay for the rental. You will also need to put down the security deposit. Don’t forget to ask whether insurance and equipment is included here. If it isn’t, then you will need to pay for that too.
Have the Bike Adjusted to Your Liking
Once everything has been paid for, you will be handed your mountain bike. However, it won’t be ready to take away quite yet. The rental location should help you to get that bike to fit you. This means adjusting the height of the seat and the pedals. This should only take a couple of minutes, but it is important for the comfort of your cycling.
Once that is done, you can cycle away. Just make sure that you return the bike at the agreed time so you do not have to deal with any extra fees!
How to Find a Mountain Bike Rental Shop Near Where You Are Traveling
A quick Google search should be pretty much all that you need to do to check bike rental shops in the are that you are heading to. We love to use sites like Yelp. This is because these sites will give you a review of the various bike rental locations. This will help you to determine which places are a decent place to rent from, and which places should be avoided.
For google maps and yelp, don’t forget to change your current location settings to the location that you will be residing at, otherwise it will show results from where you are currently are located.
For a google search, be sure to type in something along the lines of “mountain bike rentals near Sedona, Arizona” to get a list of rentals near that area.
We always recommend that you check out a couple of websites for these bike rental locations. By doing that, you will be able to work out which bikes they have in stock, and you may even be able to get an overview of the rates that they have.
What Should You Ask When Renting a Mountain Bike?
When you are renting a mountain bike, there are a few questions that you need to ask in order to fully understand what you’re paying for.
What Is Your Rate?
It is important that you understand what the rate they charge for the bikes is. As we mentioned earlier, it is also important that you have a clearly defined idea about what is classed as a half-day ande a full-day. This means that you will not suffer any extra penalties should you bring the bike back a little bit too late, as is common when people rent for half-day prices.
Is Insurance Included in the Rate?
In almost all cases, insurance costs will be included in the rental rate of the mountain bike. The insurance cost should cover certain types of damage to the bike, theft, etc.
If there is no insurance included, then it is important that you ask how much it will cost to get insurance on the mountain bike rental. Do not try and cut costs here. If you do not have insurance, then you will be on the hook for well over a thousand dollars if something goes wrong with the bike.
What Is the Deposit?
You will always have to pay a security deposit when renting a mountain bike. Find out how much this is. Find out how long it will take to have the money returned to your bank account when you have returned the mountain bike too. Some deposit refunds can take a couple of days. Many people will give their deposit in cash, as a result.
Did you know that owning your own mountain bike can save you a lot of time and money on future mountain biking trips? A great budget mountain bike option would be this mountain bike by Schwinn. It’s great for beginners and intermediate bikers alike, and works great for both trails and neighborhood rides.
Do You Need to Spend Extra Money on Gear and Equipment?
In most cases, the cost of safety equipment e.g. bike helmets will be included in the cost of the bike rental. If it isn’t, then find out how much all of this extra stuff is going to cost you. You should always be heading out on the trail in safety equipment, even if you are an experienced rider.
Some companies may also rent you GPS and trail maps. These are likely not going to be included in the rental price.
What Happens if Something Goes Wrong on the Trail?
Issues can happen on the trail. Find out how you can deal with the problem if it happens. For example, what can you do if the tire bursts? What can you do it random parts fall off of the bike? The mountain bike rental company will help you, but you need to understand the process.
In most cases, they will ask you to telephone them, and they will provide you with further instructions on what you need to be doing. However, it is vital that you are clear about the process. It will ensure that you aren’t trapped in the middle of nowhere.
What Bikes Do They Have for Rental?
Find out what mountain bikes they have for rental. You can even ask them about their model years. This way, you can get a feel for the type of bikes that they have available before you hand over your cash. Some people will do a bit of research online to make sure that they are going to be renting something that is of a decent quality.
What Type of Bike Would They Recommend?
If you run through your experience and the type of things that you are hoping to do with mountain bikes, then it is likely that the mountain bike rental company may be able to recommend a couple of bikes for you. This way, you will end up with something that is a lot more comfortable for you to ride when you are out there on the trail.
Popular Destinations to Rent a Mountain Bike
So, now you know a little bit about renting a mountain bike, where are the best places to take one? Let’s take a look at some of the best cycling destinations in the United States, shall we?
Moab may be just one town, albeit the largest town in Utah, but it has more mountain biking opportunities than almost every other place in the United States. You have a couple of national parks. You have a winding river. You have beautiful scenery that you can get lost in.
Just about everywhere you turn, there is going to be a dedicated mountain biking trail that you can enjoy. In fact, when the summer rolls around, it is not uncommon to find the entirety of Moab just packed to the brim with budding mountain cyclists.
Driggs may have a population under 2,000, but that isn’t going to stop you from having adventures in the area. National Geographic have actually claimed this to be one of the best locations in the United States for outdoor recreational activities.
This means a lot of mountain biking opportunities to be enjoyed. During the summer months, you can even mountain bike down the ski hills. For the more adventurous, a trip to the Big Hole mountains would be in order.
Rivers, forests, lakes, volcanoes. Where can we possibly begin with Bend, Oregon? There is something for everybody in Bend. This includes a couple of state parks in Pilot Butte and Tumalo.
However, if you want an exciting mountain bike experience with literal mountains as your backdrop, then you will almost certainly want to look at Deschutes National Forest. There are trails for both beginners and advanced riders available here.
Sedona is a desert town. This means that you probably won’t want to be heading here during the warmer months of the year. Well, not unless you have experience with that type of cycling.
When the weather gets a little bit cooler, then it is truly fantastic to cycle through the awe-inspiring red sandstone rock formations. It may actually be worth taking a multi-day trip here, if only so you can camp by the rocks as the sun sets. There is no experience quite like it.
Crested Butte, Colorado
If you love your mountain biking to be a little bit more challenging, then the snow-covered landscape of Crested Butte should almost be certainly somewhere that you will want to consider.
Although, it is also worth heading here during the warmer months too. This way, you will be able to see the stunning mountains as they are coated in green trees as far as the eye can see.
Mammoth Lakes, California
Mammoth Lakes has some brilliant natural locations to explore in the area. This includes the John Muir Wilderness areas. However, a lot of people will actually use Mammoth Lakes as a base before they enter the Yosemite National Park, which is just an hour away from the town.
However, no matter where you do decide to cycle, Mammoth Lakes offers some of the best summer mountain biking in the country. Just do bear in mind that this is California, so it can get a little bit hot at times!
Copper Harbor, Michigan
Copper Harbor makes a great base to explore some of the Great Lakes. From here, you will be able to explore the lush area around Lake Superior. From Copper Harbor, you will also have some of the Rocky Mountains as your backdrop, which is always going to be a pleasant experience when you are enjoying a great bike ride.
While Bellingham does have some brilliant locations that you can explore around the town, a lot of people will use Bellingham as a base so that they can explore the North Cascades.
There will also be some shorter mountain biking trips if you want to head to the San Juan Islands via ferry from Bellingham, which should provide some decent scenery, even for the newest of mountain bikers.
Salida, Colorado is deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. And you know what this means…brilliant cycling opportunities! There are also some nearby beautiful towns that you can explore too if you plan your trip right.
We are particular fans of trips to Poncha Springs and Canon City, although we are sure that looking at a map will introduce you to so many more places than just this.
For shorter day trips, Bentonville, Arkansas is great. Across 22 parks, there are 50-miles of trails, and the town does a fantastic job at keeping them maintained. Lake Bella Vista is our favorite place to head, but any of the parks provide great mountain biking opportunities.
Is It Better to Own a Mountain Bike or Rent One?
If you can own a mountain bike, this is always going to be the preferred option. A rented mountain bike is great and all, but it is not going to be comparable to a bike that you are used to riding. If you buy a mountain bike, then you will be familiar with the way that it works.
You will have spent a long time adjusting it to your needs. You don’t get that with a rented bike. You can probably adjust the seat and handlebar height and that is it.
That being said, rented mountain bikes do not need to be transported. You can just pick them up at the start of whatever trail you are cycling. This means they are ideal for those that are traveling long distances in order to cycle i.e. a plane trip.
Rented mountain bikes are also cheaper. If you are on a budget, opt for a rented mountain bike instead. It will be far, far better than anything that you will be able to buy. This means that you will be able to enjoy a far better and more comfortable cycling experience.
On average, you can expect to spend about $50 dollars per half day, and $100 dollars per day on a mountain bike rental. Again, this is based on the overall average, each mountain bike rental shop will have their own prices and costs associated with insurance, deposits, and gear.
It may be a good idea to invest in your own mountain bike if you plan on going mountain biking a few times per year. It can save you time and money from having to find a shop to rent a bike at, and will also save you time from picking up and dropping off a bike.
Transporting a bike and maintaining it are some considerations you will need to take into account if owning your own bike, but its definitely worth it because it will be specifically tailored to your likings and needs.