There are many reasons to rent a bike in Manali like riding to Ladakh or making a bike trip to Spiti Valley or just a day trip to Rohtang Pass. Just to get a sense of adventure, it is a damn great feeling to ride a bike to Rohtang Pass and it is further a feeling out of the world to ride a bike all the way to Leh from Manali via Manali – Leh Highway.
In the past, I have noticed that for almost all the adventure lovers and bikers, it has always been a topmost question – How and where to hire or rent a bike in Manali?
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Should I carry my own bike or hire a motorcycle in Manali?
Well, though I am not an ardent biker still I have few points worth mentioning on this topic based on my get together with such bikers and members of DoW community who rent bikes from Manali.
It is worth highlighting that if your own bike is in decent condition then it is always the best bet to ship your own bike and make the journey on it. The rented bikes come no way close in terms of reliability, stability, fuel efficiency and overall mechanical conditions with your own bike.
The cost factor may not vary significantly when compared but the RISK of taking hired/rented bikes is far higher than what it can save you in cost terms. Depending upon your plan for Ladakh trip, you can ship your own bike to any of these places viz. Mandi, Chandigarh, Delhi or Srinagar.
Similarly, in case you are making a trip to Spiti Valley, you can ship your own bike to any of these places and ride either from Kinnaur Valley or from Manali side.
Where to Hire/Rent a Bike/Motorcycle in Manali?
First and the foremost thing, there are several tour/travel operators/mechanical workshops/mechanics in Manali who offer services for renting or hiring a bike or motorcycle in the Manali region.
Just make sure that you test the bike thoroughly, understand the terms and conditions and always try to make sure that you rent them after seeing the bike rather over the phone. There has been mixed response of travelers after booking bikes over the phone with few ugly instances being reported as well.
Hence, it is best that one should reach Manali and then look among the many bike rentals shops in Manali before making the call. In case you are one of those people who does not like to take a risk at all in peak Ladakh or Spiti season, then you may opt to book on online or over the phone with some reliable bike rental shops in Manali.
Cost to Hire/Rent a Bike/Motorcycle in Manali?
Generally, the cost of hiring a bike/motorcycle range about Rs 1000 – Rs 1800 per day per bike. Of course, the exact rental price depends upon the modal, make (bullet, Enfield, pulsar etc) and condition of the bike you choose.
As suggested by one of my friends and leading real travel writer and blogger Tarun Goel –
“The classic ones are nothing less than Rs 1500. The UCE and Twinspark models are also well above 1500. The old models are available for less but then if you do mileage analysis paying more rent is advisable because that serves two purposes, a) headache is not too much as fewer chances of breakdowns b) You don’t have to worry about the oil and mileage because mileage difference with UCE is well above 10kmpl.“
As for security deposit, be ready to shell out anything ranging from Rs 10K – 15K (for non-local hire) or maybe more and it totally depends upon the bike rental shop in Manali in question and the bike you select. The security deposit is much less if you plan to hire the bike locally i.e. getting a bike rent from Manali to Rohtang Pass.
You will need to deposit one of the original identity proof of yours like passport, pan card etc along with the money in many cases.
Please note that bikes rented in Manali are not allowed for sightseeing in Ladakh. You will need to rent a bike in Ladakh again for local sightseeing to places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri. Some of the Manali bike rent shops have a set up between Leh bike rental shops in which case Manali Bike rental shops will charge you 50% of the per day rates for the number of days their bike is parked in Leh. However, please confirm the terms & condition in writing before you finalize a deal to rent a motorcycle in Manali.
Important Things to know for hiring a Bike/Motorcycle in Manali
Let me share with you some very important tips on renting a bike in Manali and things to consider before finalizing the deal with the bike rental shop in Manali.
1. Check the rental bike condition in Manali
First and foremost, the conditions of the bikes on rent in Manali are not that good after being battered in the hostile conditions for several years. So, if you have your own bike, then do prefer shipping it at any day as compared to hiring a bike from Manali. Although things are changing but again you need to pay more on the front to rent bikes with good conditions in Manali.
If you have your own bike and are confused on how to carry it over train, then please refer the article: How to Carry your Bike in Train to Ladakh or Himalayas?
2. Make sure you have a valid driving license
You should have a valid driving license in order to hire a motorcycle in Manali. Some amount of experience of riding in the hills will be an added advantage as always. It is always better to avoid challenging roads like Manali to Kaza or Leh to Manali unless you have some experience of hills.
3. Better rent a bike in person & avoid bookings
Avoid booking your bikes over phone or Internet and always prefer hunting the right bike once you reach Manali. You must test a few bike rental shops in Manali and see what everyone has to offer. You never know, you may get an out of the box solution right away. Booking it over phone or Internet does not leave you with many options or you do not have much control over what is offered to you.
Wasting time searching for the right bike rental in Manali is much better than wasting time stranded in the middle of Manali Leh Highway with no help around.
Make sure you are finalising the rates with the right person and handing over the security deposit to the right guy in rental shop.
4. Avoid renting an old motorcycle
Some dealers provide old bikes and you should know how to avoid selecting such bikes, so as to minimize the chances of being stuck in the middle of nowhere. Beware of such dealers. So, quite important that you have some mechanical understanding of the basic parts of the bike so that you can detect any fault or tentative age of the bike after inspecting the parts.
5. Go for a test ride locally, Manali to Rohtang
Whenever you rent a bike in Manali, then spare a day for testing the bike locally (maybe a run to Rohtang Pass) and getting any necessary fixes done right there in Manali itself or replace the bike with some better version. This will minimize the chances of being stranded in the middle of nowhere. The breakdown can result in several risks and dangers.
Example: Consider a breakdown at a chilly location of Taglang La where even the oxygen content is low, you are suffering from AMS, help hard to find and in all, you are left with an option to tow the bike in truck/pickup whenever one arrives and agrees. Ehhh!! Not so good feeling. Hence, it is very important to test the rented bike thoroughly and select the perfect one for you.
6. Know basics of bike mechanicals
It always helps to have some mechanical knowledge for doing basic fixes/repair of the bike. You never know when you need such skills on these rented/hired bikes on Manali to Kaza road or Manali Leh Highway.
7. Carry spare parts & check for basic toolkit
Do not forget to carry extra spare parts (at least basic ones for sure) even if you are going on your own bike, forget about hired bikes. Always make sure that the bike rental shop in Manali provides you with basic toolkit, at least single rider helmet, spare tube and other common spares like chain links, spark plugs or whatever they can offer.
Try to get as much as you can. Rest you can buy yourself. It will further minimize the chances of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. You can check a complete list of things to carry on a bike trip to Ladakh.
8. Arrange a backup vehicle and mechanic, if possible
If you are OK with the budget then carry a backup mechanic with you, if possible. Of course, you need to carry the basic spare parts as well. Some people also take an entire extra backup vehicle (car) to carry luggage, spare fuel, spare parts, and mechanic.
It is definitely a safeguarded approach but carrying extra mechanic and a backup vehicle will add to the cost factor to a great extent. If you have a decent group size, like 4-6 people, it will be cost worth spending to ride with peace of mind to Ladakh or Spiti. Hence, you need to decide judiciously whether it fits in the budget or not.
9. Beware of mileage and carry spare fuel
Most of these hired/rented bikes offer a poor mileage and hence it is always better to play safe and carry sufficient amount of spare fuel after analyzing the fuel efficiency of the rented bike on the test run. Never count on what a bike rental shop in Manali says to you.
10. Verify all rental bike documents
Make sure that the RC, Insurance and PUC (Pollution Under Control) documents related to the rented/hired motorcycle in Manali are provided, they are up to date and are completely valid. After all, you do not want to land in some dismal situation on your lifetime trip.
11. Discuss and beware of terms & conditions
Make sure that you have in writing what needs to be done in case you crash a bike or damages some or other parts of it. Generally, the bike will be transported to the nearest garage and the cost incurred for the repairs done need to be paid by the one who rented the bike. Also, check out the other intricacies (terms and conditions) as well like who will bear the cost of transportation or what happens in case the bike goes non-repairable state etc.
12. Ask for luggage support or Ladakh carrier
Many of the bike rental shops in Manali do provide Royale Enfield’s luggage carrier that does have luggage support (Ladakh Carrier) as well as space to carry jerry cans. You may not find these things on other bike models though.
You should ensure that the bike rental shop in Manali have bolted it properly and it is well equipped and will not fall off in the middle of the road.
13. Inspect and call out any scratches or dents
Make sure you inspect the bike from all corners and call out any scratches, cracks or dents on the rental bike to the shop guy and have them in writing so that you can avoid issues when returning the bike at the end. Otherwise, some bike rental shops in Manali may attempt to squeeze money from security deposits at the end of the trip.
14. Confirm terms in case of breakdown
You must confirm the terms and conditions from the bike rental guy about the pickup and replacement of the bike in case of a breakdown. This is VERY important else you may end up in a mess when the bike break down in the middle of nowhere.
Most bike rental shops in Manali will provide you the pick up in case of a break down but still better to confirm up front.
15. Enjoy the bike ride instead of reckless riding
It is always helpful to ride safely and with caution. You will find lots of lonely stretches on roads to Ladakh or Spiti Valley, but better keep yourself in check. Riding on high speed will waste your precious fuel in the rental bike, may lead you in some out of control situation due to sudden bump and puts an unnecessary pressure on an already worn-off engine of Manali rental bikes.
You do not want to spoil your bike trip just for speeding and riding recklessly.
You can also advance book your bike rentals in Leh and Manali online by checking out for some SPECIAL DISCOUNTED RATES available to all the readers/followers of the DoW website through our Destination Specialist / Sponsor – Offbeat Escapes. In order to avail the discounts, you can use the online booking form at the link: Advance book your bike rentals in Leh online
Technical / Mechanical Tips to Rent Motorcycle in Manali
Given below are some of the technical or mechanical tips to rent a bike in Manali. These tips will help you get more confidence when renting a bike a from Manali for a Ladakh trip or Spiti Valley trip from Manali.
1. Check / replace engine oil
Make sure you check and replace the engine oil of your rental bike in front of yourself or you do it yourself before starting the long trip up in the Himalayas. You should go for low-temperature engine oils. Sometimes bikes will have less engine oil, ask for a proper replacement.
2. Check the spark plugs and carry few spare
You must check the spark plugs because most rental motorcycles will face spark plug issue due to high altitude and rarified oxygen. Hence, replace one at the start and/or carry a couple of spark plugs in spare on your trip too.
3. Check for worn out tires
Inspect the tyres of the rental bike and make sure they are not torn out. Good tread on the tyres will help you save puncture hassles in the middle of nowhere.
4. Look for oil leakages
Inspect the bike you are renting for any signs of oil leakages around fenders, usually the case of broken oil seals in the front forks.
5. Inspect Air Filter & Carburettor
Ask the bike rental shop to show you the air filter and the carburetor. In case of any signs of dirtiness or burns, it is better to ask them for a replacement to have a troublefree ride to Ladakh or Spiti.
6. Replace the rental bike based on your local test ride
Take the rental bike for a test local ride and get it replaced in case you notice any of the following issues:
- Roll in 2nd gear and notice any occurrence of false neutrals to detect troublesome gear tooth.
- Any un-natural sound from the engine means trouble
- White smoke coming from the bike
- Check battery by blowing the horn and starting the bike again and again
- A noisy bike ride around chainset and sprockets means trouble as well.
- Ride on a steep climb and notice if the rental bike is ascending smoothly or not. It helps to identify clutch plate issues if the bike is not riding smoothly on ascend. Ask for a convincing reason and decide.
FAQs – Manali Bike Rentals
The best bike for a Leh Ladakh trip is the one with which you are comfortable in controlling and riding. If you cannot control a bike or you are not comfortable with the riding position, then that is not the best bike for Ladakh trip. Bike rental shops in Manali offer a variety of bikes on rent ranging from Himalayan to Royal Enfields to Avenger to Pulsars. You should hire a motorcycle which suits your riding style, comfort, and control.
You will be able to find various models of Scootys like Active, Jupiter, etc.. available for rental in Manali. So, yes, you can find a Scooty on rent in Manali, which are mostly used for local short rides around Manali.
There are many bike rental shops available in Manali. Some are reliable but some does have old bikes which can cause trouble on your trip. Like I explained in the article, best option is to always reach Manali and inspect the rental bike before finalising the deal.
Both Old Manali, Manali and Vashisht are full of bike rental shops where you can hire a motorcycle on rent for a Leh Ladakh trip. You must keep the tips explained in this article before you rent a bike in Manali or Leh.
Yes, oneway bike rental for Leh Ladakh is also available in Manali. However, please keep in mind that it will bury a big hole in your pockets. Unless you are a hardcore biker who cannot live without a bike ride or someone with deep pockets and OK to shell out 10-12 K just for a pickup, you can opt for this option. So consider the options of Manali to Leh one way bike rental only when budget is not a concern.
Yes, you can easily find a bike rental in Manali for one day trip to Rohtang Pass. You will need to arrange the Rohtang Pass permit.
As there are so many options of Manali Ladakh bike rentals available in Manali you can of course get some cheap bikes on rent in the absence of any bike union unlike Ladakh. However, do not make a bike rental deal which looks cheap unless you inspect the bike as you may get a old bike with not so maintained condition.
In the end, again, if you have your own bike then do prefer it over the hired or rented bike from Manali. But, if you still plan to hire/rent a bike from Manali then do carry a test run for a day and get the required fixes done right in Manali itself or replace the bike if it is too troublesome.
If budget is not a concern then opt to carry a backup vehicle or a mechanic along with required spare parts with you.
Do understand all the terms and conditions thoroughly from the renter before handing over the security deposit and documents. Do go through all the other points mentioned in this article, so as to better understand and prepare yourself on bike rentals in Manali.
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I will be looking forward towards your responses and questions as comments below. Have you rented a bike from Manali? If yes, then kindly share your own experiences with other fellow travelers here. The tips for you will help ensure them a safe and a hasslefree journey.
If you know your friends or family are planning a trip to Ladakh, do share this article with them to help them make a memorable Ladakh trip.