Renting is tricky for a newbie
We understand that coming to a new country, renting a bike, getting used to the traffic etc… is a very tricky business. So much so, that many people put it off or never do it at all. They end up paying way too much for taxis and Grabs and also have to put up with the general inconvenience that it involves.
The company was started by an expat, Danny, for expats. He wanted to treat people as he would like to be treated as a customer and not let them get ripped off.
So, Rentabike Vietnam was formed in the hope of reducing some, if not all of those fears, by informing you of the process that we take and think that every rental firm should follow.
In this article we tell you about what kinds of bike there are and how you might make your choice. We also tell you about the rental process so that nothing is a big surprise.
Another of our aims is to rent you a decent bike that will not break down and to help you with anything connected to that rental. This could be route instructions, advice on how to drive in Vietnam and contact assistance should you need anything on the road.
Table of Contents
The Rental Process
Now, you wanted to rent a bike so here we will walk you through the procedure so that you know exactly what to do, what we will ask you and what is needed.
How long do you want to rent for?
We offer daily, weekly and monthly rates for most of our bikes. In order to charge you correctly we need to know how long you intend to rent for.
The daily rate is considered a short term / tourist rental whether you live in Hanoi or not and is priced as such. We have bikes ranging from 7 – 35 usd per day. The security deposit for these rentals is EITHER 500usd OR an original passport(with entry stamp to Vietnam). We do not accept anything other than these as a deposit
NOTE: We hold this and return it to you once you return the bike in its original condition.
The weekly rate is simply the daily rate x 6 as we discount every 7th day for you. Yes, that means that 7 days cost the same as 6 days and no we don’t reduce the cost of the 6th day. The deposit conditions are exactly as the daily rental above.
Please Note: We like to know how long you wish to rent for so that we an manage our stock of bikes for customers. However, if you do need to extend your rental we can often accommodate this. We appreciate as much advance notice as possible. We often leave a minimum of 24hrs between rentals to allow us time for any servicing or maintenance needed.
The monthly rental rates are much lower that the daily and weekly for good reason. They are long term and also there is much less wear and tear on the bike. This rental term is for those people who are living in Vietnam and are for in one city only. They are not for pick up and drop off tourist rentals between cities. Our prices range from 40 to 85 usd per month.
The deposit for these rentals is one month’s rent and that you let us know your home and work address as well as email and telephone number. This is all so we can contact you and arrange servicing of the bike.
Can You drive a bike? If so, what kind?
Some people come to us and they have never ridden a motorbike. Some have never even ridden a bicycle and we have to refuse to let them take a bike. It is dangerous and they could get hurt.
We do offer free driving lessons, so if you want to try it out for free, get in touch.
For those who need to have a quick refresher, we can show them how a bike works and spend a little time making sure they are safe. Once, we are happy that they can control a bike, we then rent to them. We occasionally refuse to rent to people who we feel are not fully in control.
Please note: In order to deter time wasters, we now charge 400k for a lesson. This is REFUNDED immediately, if you rent long term from us.
Auto, Semi-Auto, Manual
Only a small number of our customers have learnt to drive a manual bike, but we can also show you how to drive these as often they are the best choice for longer trips and it is useful to know how to drive them.
What do you want to use the bike for?
By telling us what you need to do on the bike we can suggest certain bikes to you. If you plan to take a trip through the North and go on dirt trails, you are not going to be happy with a small scooter. Vice versa if you only plan to take a few trips to the park with your dog you are unlikely to find a dirt bike convenient or practical.
Your size, weight and level of driving skill also factor in to this decision so without knowing any of this we can only offer broad general advice. If you come in to have a chat with us, we can be more specific. Here are a few customer types, one of which you might fit in to:
The Daily Shopper
We are likely to suggest something like any of the automatic bikes as they have room for shopping on the foot platform and some of them, Honda Lead for example, have huge under seat storage. You can also use the semi-automatic bikes but it is harder to stow bags.
The Daily Tourist
Perhaps you are just visiting friends or Hanoi and you need a bike just to get you around for a day or two. In that case, we would suggest pretty much any of the semi-automatic bikes or the automatic bikes. The final choice would be down to what you are comfortable driving, how many of you will be on the bike or what you might carry on the bike.
The Daily Commuter
Again, all of the automatic bikes and also the semi-automatic bikes are likely to do this job quite well. Generally, the longer the distance you plan to travel, the larger the bike you would choose. This is because there is likely to be more space on the larger bikes to make it more comfortable.
The Weekend Tripper
For short distances, say 50-80km, you can get by with an automatic bike. However, these are not ideal for long trips as they tend to get quite hot and may have mechanical problems. They are also not recommended on steep roads as the lack of engine braking and the tendency for brakes to overheat can be dangerous.
The semi-automatic bikes are much better for this, but we recommend choosing one of the larger bikes such as the Honda RSX or the Honda Future. These are slightly larger physically and have more powerful engines and better brakes and suspension.
Any of the manual bikes are a good choice for this and you simply need to choose whether you want a cruiser style, Honda Master / Honda FTR, or a dirt bike, Honda XR150.
The Inter City Tourer
We do not rent the automatic bikes for trips between cities because they are more likely to break down and we prefer to rent to riders who have some experience.
The semi-automatic bikes are good for this but again we suggest taking a bigger bike for more safety and comfort. The Honda Blade is capable of this trip but our preferred bike, the Honda Future is a great choice. It doesn’t look cool, but it will be safe and reliable; it won’t break down whilst your friends on Wins will be getting reamed by mechanics almost daily. It also have plentiful power to keep you safe on all roads you encounter from highway to steep winding mountain track.
We have refused to rent the Honda Cub for this kind of trip to customers who choose the cheapest option. Yes, of course a Honda Cub can do this trip, but we feel it is a stupid choice, particularly if the motivation is financial.
The Dirt Lover
If you are taking a trip of a few days or more and you know that you will be going off road and on some dirt tracks, a good choice is the Honda XR150. It is a very comfortable bike with enough power to do most of what you need and want all over Vietnam.
You will find that the seat is big and comfortable enough, even for two people and that the suspension allows enough travel to soak up the bumps. Another thing is that there is enough clearance for you to know worry about the potholes. Added to this, the XR150 is light and nimble so it is equally at home on the trail as it is in the city.
Generally, speaking it is a great all-round bike that suits most drivers in Vietnam.
Can you Test Drive the bike, please?
We are happy for you to try out a few bikes and take them for a quick test drive. We will ask you to leave your passport or significant deposit when doing so.
In fact, we kind of insist that you test drive the bike. This is because we want to be sure that things are ok and you are happy with the bike.
Once you have made the choice of bike, we request that you take the bike for a test drive, if you haven’t already. You should then tell us if you think there is anything that you would like looked at. Maybe, the brakes need adjustment, or the clutch cable etc… We will do that immediately or offer you a different bike of the same make and model.
Let's sign a contract (and pay)
Once you are happy with your choice of bike we need you to pay and leave deposit. You can see our terms and conditions here on our site. We ask that you do this before taking the bike.
We will note a replacement value for the bike on the contract. This value is the current value of the bike. If the bike is lost, stolen, irreparably damaged, we will ask that the cost of the replacement is paid. There is NO INSURANCE; please be aware of this before you take a bike. We do not ask for new for old as some companies do and we are happy for you the research and query the value stated, however, we have yet to be incorrect on this. If anything, we are slightly under market value.
What to do During Your rental.
We cannot be with you all the time and we cannot keep an eye on the bike for you. Therefore, we have to ask you to accept responsibility for the general maintenance of the bike. You can always contact us to ask questions.
- Keep the tyres inflated correctly. This is easy to do and there are air pumps on many streets.
- Keep the bike in a safe place. You can see our blog on parking but, generally, don’t leave the bike unattended or unlocked. They are very easy to steal.
- Try to use good quality fuel only from petrol stations. Here is a link to our guide on petrol. We understand there may be times when you need to fill up on the street but warn you that this fuel can be bad for the bike.
What not to do during your rental.
We would appreciate it if during your rental you thought of the bike as your own and took good care and responsibility for it. That way the bike is likely to treat you well and be reliable and we will be able to easily help out with preventative maintenance. It is ‘win-win’.
- DON’T leave the bike UNATTENDED AT ANY TIME. It will get stolen and it has happened many times before. Most people in Vietnam are decent and cool but bikes are easy to steal and tempting. Particularly around the time just before Tet (late January to mid February).
- Don’t let strangers touch or ‘repair’ the bike without talking to us first. There are plenty of friendly people out there who are willing to help out and often they are only interested in helping themselves.
- Call us before doing anything to our bike. It is our bike and we need to know what is being done to it for your safety and for the safety / convenience of any future renter.
- Please don’t ignore issues such as oil drips, weak brakes, strange noises. Call us or drop into the shop to let us know. It could be something that we need to look at. If you are touring, then just call us and we can advise you on the nearest reputable mechanic. It is quite common for carburettors and fuel injected systems to need to be re-tuned. You may find that you bike is hard to start in the morning or runs a little fast. Just call us or pop in.
We will also talk to mechanics over the phone to make sure they understand what to do and what to charge. If it is regular maintenance, we will refund you any agreed cost when you return the bike. However, we must know about this first and will not refund any unauthorized cost.
If the police stop you at any point, we can try to help negotiate between them and you. It is best to be calm and polite and call us so that we can try to help with the situation. Here is some more advice on dealing with the police. We will try to help with the police, however, no promises of success.
How can we help you during your rental?
Well, first of all, we will make sure you have a good quality bike and be available to service it and repair it if you damage it.
We can also give you advice on driving conditions, and routes around Vietnam.
If you are in trouble on the road, we will also talk to mechanics over the phone to make sure they understand what to do and what to charge. If it is regular maintenance, we will refund you any agreed cost when you return the bike. However, we must know about this first and will not refund any unauthorized cost.
If the police stop you at any point, we can try to help negotiate between them and you. It is best to be calm and polite and call us so that we can try to help with the situation. We will try to help, however, no promises made here.
Basically, if you are unsure about something related to the bike or using it, then get in touch.
As we said above, we want you to have a hassle-free rental. We want you to be on a safe, reliable bike and to be confident to do what you need to do and go where you need to go. We also want you to feel happy with the price you are paying and we feel that exemplary service is the way to make that happen.
We are contactable and responsive so make use of our service.