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  1. Default Coast to coast on Motorbike - summer 2010

    Hi all,

    This is my first post on this forum. I see that there are many nice people writing very useful information here so I'm hoping to obtain some :).

    Me and my girlfriend (we are from Israel) are getting married next year (June or July 2010), and for our honeymoon we had this idea of doing a coast to coast trip on motorbikes in the USA.

    We were thinking of taking something like 3 to 4 weeks for this, and the idea would be to lay back and have a nice calm trip across nice towns and interesting places. We were also considering maybe doing some parts on motorbikes and others in a car.

    So here are a few of my most basic questions (we'll start from this...):
    1. What would be a recommended itinerary for a trip like this?
    2. Are 3 to 4 weeks a reasonable time for this kind of trip?
    3. How easy is it to rent bikes/cars and exchange them along the road? Can someone recommend any particular rental company for this?
    4. My driver's license allows me in Israel to drive bikes up to 500cc, are there similar laws in the USA?

    Well, I think that's all for now, this should give me a good start for planning.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Very Tenuous (and Expensive) Proposal

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First of all, while there are outfits that will rent you a motorcycle for a one-way trip (where you drop it off somewhere other than where you pick it up) this is going to be very expensive. A quick check showed rates that were about double what I would expect to pay for a similar car rental. And that's the other thing, one-way car rentals aren't cheap to begin with once you include the drop-off fees. So unless you're prepared to spend on the order of $500/week (and up!) for transportation, the idea of frequently changing your ride is just not in the cards. A mid-sized or intermediate car would offer you considerable comfort at a relatively reasonable price, and you'd only have to pay a single drop-off fee at most. In fact, if you have four weeks, you could easily make it a loop trip returning to your original city without seeing the same country twice and saving a bit on the car rental. The one other thing I would have to caution you on is the extra charge if you or your fiancée are under 25. That alone could add up to $700/person additional on the rental cost. Once you've digested this information and have come up with a basic transportation plan, maybe we could help you plan your trip. Just be sure to tell us where you'd like to go and what your interests are.

    AZBuck

  3. Default Mmmmm...

    Thanks a lot for the warm welcome and for your quick reply!

    I really thought the transportation issue would be simpler, I was hoping there would be some major rental company with branches across the country where we could just pick up and drop vehicles without much problem. I see I was a bit naive here... :)

    I think we would be both open to the idea of a round trip if it makes the prices reasonable ($500 a week is certainly more than we expected to spend...). Another option would be maybe to do a one way trip in a car for a certain part of our trip and then do a round trip on motorcycles for some other.

    Could you please refer me to some recommended rental company in order to start getting some idea of the options I have?

    BTW, is $500 a week the estimation for 1 or two motorbikes?

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I have no personal experience and have not heard anything about them, but this company claims to be the largest motorcycle rental company in the world, and has several US locations.

    I just put in a 1 month rental, pick up in Newark NJ and dropoff at LAX, it would be $3000. The only available bikes are Harleys, which are way bigger than 500cc.

    Here's how it is - motorcycles are not a way of life in this country, unlike many other countries. Very few people here use them as their primary mode of transportation. Most motorcycle riders are enthusiasts and do not have to depend on them for daily transportation. That makes the rental market here very specialized - and costly.

  5. Default

    According to the site you referred me to, a week's rental would cost about $763.
    Maybe a good idea would be to take a car for 3 weeks and a bike for 1 week (mostly for the fun of it). Does that make sense?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Sure - but your license may not cover a large bike such as a Harley - and do you have any experience riding a monster like that? If your license is not in English, you will need an international driver's license to drive anything over here. That is something you have to get in your home country prior to leaving.

  7. Default

    I certainly do not have experience with that kind of bikes (other than seeing them on TV... :) ). My experience is with a Suzuki 500cc, and I guess it has to be quite different.

    Regarding the license, I have the equivalent to European "A+B" where "B" is for cars and A is defined as "Motorcycles; motor tricycles with a power exceeding 15 kW". What are the American equivalents?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Legal or Logical?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    My experience with motorcycles is limited to getting a learner's permit many years ago, but I believe that, as is the case for most licenses in the U.S., categories are fairly broadly defined, so that one would typically only have a 'motorcycle' endorsement without reference to engine or power restrictions. So your Israeli license would probably be legal in the U.S. (Note that that's only my opinion and in no way legally binding on anyone, least of all the police!) I think your bigger problem is going to be your own comfort zone - I doubt that you'd want to place you life, let alone your fiancée's in the hands of someone who is inexperienced with such large bikes and strange roads and traffic patterns. Also, if I were the rental agency and saw the 500 cc restriction on your license, I flat out wouldn't rent to you, if for no other reason than my insurance company probably wouldn't cover me if you wrecked my bike. Again, I think your best bet here is to just stick with a sedan. Less thrilling perhaps, but at least you'll live to tell of your adventures.

    AZBuck

  9. Default

    Oh, sure! I wasn't thinking for a moment to get one of those monsters without the appropriate experience. I'm planning to have a nice and (very) calm trip, not to end up in an ER... I really appreciate your concern BTW, it's nice to know that you take this as seriously as I do.

    I just wanted to know where I stand, since I've been googling a bit and found that most rentals are above 500cc. I guess that riding a 650cc shouldn't be a problem - wouldn't you agree?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default There are Three Separate Issues

    I suspect, but don't know first hand of course, that you could handle a 650. Whether you can safely handle that is your call. But again, you will have to be prepared for the rental company to refuse to rent you a bike which exceeds the limits imposed on you by your license. Finally, even if you can handle the bike, and the company is willing to ignore your license restrictions, a 650cc motorcycle is not a touring machine and would not be my choice for trying to do a RoadTrip with two people even if I had the skill and inclination.

    AZBuck

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