Push/Mountain- and Motorbike rental

There are plenty of bike rental agencies in Kathmandu and Pokhara;

Push-bikes in Nepal; Chinese- and Indian-made bikes are available from street vendors for US$ 1 or 2 per day, but they’re heavy and uncomfortable, components are flimsy, maintenance may be poor, and they rarely come with a helmet. If you find such a bike in a fairly new condition, you could get away with a day trip or overnight loop but they’re not really fit for rough roads. Don’t ride this kind of bike further than you’re prepared to walk back with it.

For hard or long-distance riding you’ll need a proper mountain-bike which can be rented from specialist bike shops/tour operators in Kathmandu and Pokhara. A helmet and basic tool kit should come with the bike. Chinese-made bikes with V-brakes go for around US$ 5 per day, but if you’re doing anything more than pootling about it’s worth paying for a Western bike. Prices range from US$ 10 per day for older hard-tail bikes to US$ 15/20 for a newer one with dual suspension. You’ll generally have to pay for damage or above normal wear and tear. Be sure to reserve these bikes as far ahead as possible, choice is limited during the peak season. Ask your designated company in Kathmandu to sort this out for you.

Whichever kind of bike you rent it’s your responsibility to check it over before setting off. Check brakes and pads, test spoke tension (they should all be taut), ensure that tyres have sufficient tread and are properly inflated (check inflation while sitting on the bike), test the chain for tautness, and work the bike through its gears to see that the derailleurs function smoothly. Check that there’s a bell – you’ll be using it a lot.

You may be able to buy a decent used bike from a departing traveller, especially towards the end of the autumn or spring seasons – check mountain-bike shop notice boards in Kathmandu or Pokhara or their websites. Alternatively, you could buy new and sell on yourself. Good quality bikes from manufacturers such as Trek or Commencal can be bought in Kathmandu and Pokhara at prices similar to your home country.

Motor-bikes in Nepal; smaller bikes (125cc) can be hired for around US$ 6 per day, ask your designated company in Kathmandu for further advice. The Indian-made Bajaj Pulsar has the advantage that if it breaks down you should be able to find someone to fix it. Bigger (350cc) bikes should cost about US$ 20/25 per day and larger (500cc) about US$ 45 per day.

NB the price of fuel is high in Nepal, around Rs 125 a litre.

NB Nepalis drive on the left-hand side as in the UK and India.

You should have;

a) a valid driving licence from your own country or an international driving licence for motor-bikes,

b) either an original passport or a photocopy of your passport and expect to leave a deposit,

c) insurance

and expect to pay for the entire rental period in cash up front.

NB non-resident Nepalis and Indians may be expected to deposit their passport with the rental company.

Recommended web-sites;

Bikemandu – motorbikes

Rider Nepal – motorbikes and mountain-bikes

Roof’n’Ride – motorbikes

BS Motorbike – motorbikes