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  • Renting and driving a bike in Bali

    Everything You Need to Know about Bali Motorcycle Rentals

    Here’s how to rent a motorbike in Bali, covering tips on renting those relatively small and nimble scooters that are ubiquitous to Southeast Asia, and which reign supreme over traffic scenes throughout the island. While renting a car in Bali and driving one yourself is one of the best ways to explore Bali’s many wonderful sites, riding a motorcycle in Bali lets you navigate even easier, as they enable you to access areas where four wheels don’t go.

    Avid surfers and those with a penchant for adventure will find motorbikes a godsend. By renting a motorbike in Bali, you can arrange for multiple day rentals for the length of your stay, and at a fraction of the cost if you rent a car and driver. There are some legal and safety guidelines to take heed upon when renting a scooter or motorbike. Here’s the lowdown for your Bali adventure on two-wheels.

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  • How Bike Rentals in Bali works

    The majority of rental motorcycles in Bali are the ‘underbone’ and scooter type, with regional market leaders being Honda and Yamaha, with currently popular models such as Honda’s user-friendly, automatic-gear Vario, BeAT and Scoopy scooters with 110 to 125cc engines.

    Major beach resort areas such as Kuta, Sanur, Jimbaran and destinations with rugged terrain but with exotic attractions worth seeing such as Candidasa in East Bali have rental stalls run and owned by locals. Parked bikes are easily recognisable with signs hung over their number plates or handlebars reading, “Motorbikes for Rent” or “Car and Motorcycle Rental”, as most offer both. You can choose from daily rentals to an agreed upon return time and date, or even a convenient rendezvous drop off at your hotel. Hotels are usually able to arrange a bike through the concierge, or you can walk into a warung offering rentals and ask.

    Do We Need an International License to Ride a Bike in Bali?

    An international motorcyclists’ license is mandatory to ride a motorbike in Bali. If you haven’t already arranged for one in your home country, rental shops can usually clear the way for you at a fee. All they need is your booking details, a passport size photo and an administration charge – somewhere between USD 10 to 20 (IDR 14,000-27,000).

    In most cases, motorbike rentals will offer you a Police Report, known as ‘Surat Kehilangan’ for your ‘lost International Driving License’, which is available and filled in at the police station (with a ‘fee’ of IDR 15,000). This ‘alibi’ is common practice for getting around the law, and might save you once at a police stop. However, it is still unlawful.

    You can apply for a temporary tourists’ motorcyclist’s license (with limited validity) at the international services of the Poltabes (city police headquarters) on Jalan Gunung Sanghyang in West Denpasar. You will need to present originals and photocopies of your passport, KITAS permit, and pay a fee of around USD 25 (IDR 250,000-300,000). Same goes for expats, who can get a longer valid ‘SIM C’ riders’ license (only valid for motorcycles – cars require a different ‘SIM A’).

    There’s no better way to discover the island with a great sense of freedom and peace of mind – a simple document could save a lot of hassle with traffic police, who have gotten into the habit of stopping foreigners on bikes ‘asking’ for ‘fines’ or whatever you have in your wallet, in the case you don’t have any such legal documents at hand.

    Does it come with insurance?

    As most motorbike rentals are small and locally run, don’t expect much inclusions with the rent of your bike. However, breakthrough western-managed bike rentals have sprung up, the likes of Bali Bike Rental (www.balibikerental.com), which noticed the demand, and offers premium insurance options upon booking. Traffic conditions in Bali are outright hazardous, but in case of incidents, it’s a good thing you’re covered, and can enjoy a 100% trouble-free holiday experience in Bali. In all cases, a personal travel insurance is recommended.

    How much on average?

    Considering all are in good condition, local rentals offer their Honda Varios from IDR 50,000 to 75,000 per day, and less for lower cc bikes such as the Scoopy models. Bali Bike Rental guarantees fresh new bikes as they let go of those exceeding a certain mileage, with daily rentals starting from USD 5.95 (IDR 80,000). Big bikes such as Harley-Davidsons are available at the Dewata Harley Davidson on Kuta’s Dewaruci roundabout, which offers different packages, starting from USD 100 (IDR 1.4 million) for four-hour rents including a tour guide, and USD 55 (IDR 750,000) for self-rides. Tanks are normally half to full.

    What to Check For…

    Check your bike for visible damages and scratches – ensure the owner acknowledges them. Avoid being a victim of a scam where you are blamed for minor damages. Even consider snapping photos as proof. So you don’t get blamed. Scams, although mostly isolated, can happen, from ‘minor sabotages’ to ‘deliberate theft’, where you end up extorted.

    Familiarise yourself on the bike and its controls. Examine the bike’s safety: effective brakes, responsive gas throttle, working headlights switches, etc. Turn them all on, including revving the engine. Note that most rental bikes are automatic gears, or referred to as ‘matic’, with front and rear brakes being handle lever brakes – it is much safer to use them together at the same time. Get a proper helmet with a strap that fits well and ‘clicks’.

    Tips and advices

    Always wear a helmet and protective clothing. Riding a motorcycle is freeing, wind-in-hair sensation, but don’t ride around shirtless or without a helmet. Besides for your own safety, disobedient riding only invites definite police stops and contempt among local riders.

    ‘Do as the locals do’ doesn’t fully apply to motorcycle riding in Bali. They commonly overtake or zigzag through dense traffic without switching indicator lights, blast through red lights, and ‘giving way’ seems non-existent. Local riding styles may look fun and tempting… just don’t do it for your own safety’s sake, follow signs and be a sensible rider at all times.

    Riding with a GPS or GPS-enabled smartphone can be a great help when on the road in Bali. In case of a flat tyre, ask a local for help or directions to the nearest roadside repair stall (there are many in urban and satellite areas) to get it patched for around a dollar (IDR 15,000).

    Always check your fuel levels while on the road – automatic gear scooters tend to drain faster than manual gear types. Most models have approximate 4-litre tanks, with petrol type marketed in Indonesia as ‘Premium’, at only half a dollar (IDR 7,300) per litre. State-owned petrol stations (SPBU Pertamina) are virtually everywhere, within close radiuses and in main areas.

    Where and How to find them

    Almost all main beach resort areas have locally-managed motorbike rentals (as an additional offering besides cars). It’s easier to ask your hotel’s concierge, who might also refer and arrange one for you, and have an available motorbike brand and type dropped off to your hotel at agreed time and date. For alternatives, and those mentioned above:

    Bali Bike Rental

    • Location: Jalan Raya Kerobokan No. 71c, Seminyak
    • Tel: +62 (0)821 4741 6202
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    Dewata Harley-Davidson

    • Location: Simpang Dewaruci, Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, Kuta
    • Tel: +62 (0)361 764 272
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