Life from an outsider's perspective…

Why do bikes cost more to rent than cars?

You get what you pay for.Every now and then, I hear someone comparing the price of hiring a good quality bike to renting a car. Or else they tell me directly to my face that my bikes are too expensive to rent (and those ones are always non-cyclists by the way). I’ve heard it several times in the last two or three years, so I thought I’d offer a little explanation. The reason bikes usually cost more than rental cars is because:

  1. A bicycle is not a car! For example- to hire a good motorbike costs €45~€130 per day depending on the type, yet they all cost less than a car. To hire a wedding dress costs an astronomical ~€400 per day!!! Why?

  2. Simply because it’s extremely difficult to find people who want to rent good quality bikes here in Tenerife. This is the world’s 3rd largest volcano after all. The locals used to say to me: “Les, who in their right mind would want to cycle here? There aren’t any flat roads!” Well, the truth is it’s the ideal place for hard-core riders but I’d estimate that they account for approximately 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 20,000 of general tourist visitors. I.e. almost nobody. That very small niche market instantly makes the cost go up, because there are many days where the bikes are not being used. Business calls this “supply & demand”. In simple terms, it means I have to work bloody hard to rent out a bike.

  3. Cars suit everybody; bikes do not. I have to stock at least 3 sizes of bikes in road & MTB for clients that are 170 – 185 cm tall (5 sizes to cover the people who measure 150 – 200cm). What happens when a group of 5 people measuring between 173-176cm all want to rent road bikes? Even though I have invested in 20 bicycles, it’s hard to supply them all with a correctly fitting bike. This is the big problem for me at the moment… what happens to the other 15 bikes?! They basically sit & do nothing, that’s what.

  4. So I often have a fleet of 20 bikes which are not all being used 100% of the time (especially in the spring/summer time) BUT they are still losing money through depreciation… €20,000 worth of bikes realistically ‘loses’ around 40% of the original value each year.

  5. Bicycles are more easily stolen than cars.

  6. There is much more maintenance needed with bicycles than cars. For example, every single time I rent a bike I have to perform the following taks:

    • Clean the dirt, brake dust, sweat + congealed gatorate off it.

    • Check the brakes & gear adjustments.

    • Clean and lubricate the chain.

    • Pump up the tyres.

    • Check the condition of tyres & wheels and true them if necessary.

    • Change the pedals and check what other special equipment people require.

    • I often need to buy new tyres, innertubes, handlebar tape, cassettes, chains, brake pads, water bottles, spokes, maps, oil. And in the past I’ve replaced broken parts such as cracked frames, crushed handlebars, etc… (all this is included in the price of the rental by the way).

  7. Then there’s the time I spend on website maintenance & answering everyone’s emails (even though they sometimes change their minds).

4 Responses to “Why do bikes cost more to rent than cars?”

  1. You are to expensive!

    Why can free motion do it for around 15€ and you around 35€. The free motion cannondales on Gran Canary are top bikes!

    I’m a 20000km+ / year cyclist so do not say that i’m not a cyclist!

  2. For starters, they charge 18€ for something similar one day and I charge no more than 30€. Secondly, I don’t know how true it is, but the owner of told me recently that they sell more Cannondales than anyone else in the whole of Europe!! They offer their clients to buy the bikes after they are used for 30% less than retail price… Keep in mind that I started from *nothing*. Next year I will hopefully be big enough to get some good wholesale prices too… I appreciate your input… please keep your comments coming!

  3. Hi Leslie,

    I had the hotel on the phone today and they informed me that I could rent mid-quality MTB’s for 6-7€ a day for a 5-day period and a high-quality MTB for ~10€ a day (also for 5 days) at a bike-rent close to the hotel. This would also save me the bring/return cost. Why is the Mrazek so much more expensive? Can you give me a better price then the 125 (=25€ a day!)?

    Looking forward to your reply.
    Have a nice weekend,

  4. I’d just like to add that the owner of the Tenerife Bike Park rents his bikes out for €60 per day.

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