I have just returned from almost a couple of weeks in Scotland, with full 7 days of riding a rental RT all around the highland. The RT was rented from the outfit named above, and I think that my rental experience will benefits many here who are about to, or is thinking of following my trail. I will relate things as they happened, and you guys can decide for yourselves of what you think!
I had been wanting to explore the Scottish highland for quite sometimes now, and finally got serious about it around last September (2014). I had been in contact with Amy around that time, getting information on the rental, and since they offered to plan the trip at no costs, I also had them come up with the recommended routes. The latter was provided by Joe, and the routes for the planned 7 days ride looked really good (in fact, it turned out to be GREAT!) Joe, it turned out, is the owner of the organization, which I didn't know until I showed up at Motorrad Central in Edinburgh. Neither Joe or Amy is based at the dealership, and so I did not get a chance to meet either person.
I had reserved a 2014 RT with low seat for my rental, being somewhat conscious of my 30" inseam, and knowing that I will be riding on the left with the camber of the road working against the stop stance with my relatively short legs! Gets worse, if I needed to stop with my left foot down off the road and possibly into lower unfinished surface. Therefore, problem #1
surfaced when I landed in Edinburgh, and checking my e-mail, I saw an e-mail from Amy telling me that my '14 RT will NOT be available - "Unfortunately the R 1200 RT allocated for your rental has been damaged by another rental customer and will not be available by Thursday." I was offered either a K1600GT or a '13 RT instead. OK, not a big deal, I thought. I don't want the extra weight of the K bike, knowing the kind of terrain that I will be riding, and so I selected the '13 RT with a low seat, even though that will be a little taller than a wethead with low seat (30.7" vs. 29.9"). Amy also gave me a 10% discount on the rental rate for the inconvenience.
Here, you should note that in addition to the rental fees, I was required to purchase a rental insurance, which is very reasonable (IMHO), BUT the deductible amount for the RT is £2,000 (about $3,200)!
I was at Motorrad Central the day before the scheduled start of my 7 days ride, to take care of paperwork and so on, so that I would be able to get an early start the next morning. I had contact with two persons at Motorrad Central - Peter (customer service for Mottorad Central) and Greg (customer service for Rentamotorcycle). Sorry for forgetting their exact titles, but that is the function that the two gentlemen serves. Greg was occupied with other renters on my arrival, and so Peter took over with the paperwork and the inspection of the bike that I was to take over the next day. Part of it was to look over the bike, and making notes of any prior damages - on this one, the major damages noted were very heavy scratches on the left pannier cover and heavy scuffing plus some scratches on the right pannier cover that was done by (presumably) previous renter(s). In hind-sight, I should have gone over the bike with magnifying glass and taken close up photographs of the whole bike!
I did meet up with Greg after I had finished with all the formalities with Peter. Greg is very friendly and pleasant, and in chatting with him (getting advice of traffic laws and such), it turned out that he is a retired motor-officer, and had started this new job just some 3 weeks ago! Great guy. Gave me a lot of advice and information on speed camera and such. He was there bright and early the next morning to assist and send me off on the early morning ride.
The ride went off extremely well, and I enjoyed it quite thoroughly (I will write about it in another thread). Unfortunately, I had a couple of unfortunate incidents (details will be in my ride tales) where I had bumped the RT off the side-stand onto its right side, and the second one was having to lay the bike down, supporting its weight as far as I was able to, onto its left side. Those two events did not spoil my ride at all, and I figured that it will cost me a new set of cylinder head guards that had gotten scratched, and something for the pannier covers which were already damaged.
On my return to Motorrad Central, I told Greg about the two incidents, and pointed out the visible (to me) damages. While I was in the lounge packing my suitcase, the shop's mechanic went over the bike, and making a long story short, he came up with a long list of damages! Here is the list of what I was unable to deny claim of liability:
1. Both pannier covers - I was charged "only" £50 each, because they were previously damaged! [Unvoiced thoughts - it had probably cost the previous renter(s) the price of new covers already and the covers were still damaged when I took over, and yet they still want another £100 from me??]
2. Replacement of the two BMW cylinder head guards - OK, I was expecting that.
3. Both valve covers - Eh??? I was shown that, supposedly, oil was leaking through the cover mount screw holes. What I saw was a film of oil in the recess of the mounting screw holes, with no accumulation of oil in the holes at all. According to their “mechanic” (standing beside me), oil leaking from these locations indicated that the cover is cracked. He explained that the areas of the cover around the sparkplug hole is very weak. So, I said that oil must be leaking from there too! He said yes, and I don’t know how he magically knew this because the sparkplug covers were never removed! I wasn’t going to win the argument with this “mechanic”! I later complaint to Peter as to what good the BMW cylinder head guard is, if you will damage the valve cover anyway! His response was that they won’t protect if you “drop the bike just right”! Sigh….I gave up.
4. Right mirror – I hadn’t realized that the mirror housing made contact with the ground on that drop, but I did accept the fact having been shown the scuff marks. OTOH, it is very important to the next item that I should note that the impact of the mirror housing to the ground must have been relatively light, because otherwise the mirror would have popped off. It didn’t, at the time. I also asked Peter as to why they don’t just replaced the outer mirror housing (having done so myself when I first bought my used ’07 RT) instead of the whole mirror. His response was that (after consultation with somebody inside), from their vast experience, it was impossible to do so without breaking the glass and some internal components! I guess there are some differences in design of mirrors for the hexhead as compared to the camhead!
5. Instrument cluster holder – Eh?? According to the “mechanic”, when the mirror got knocked, it bent the subject holder which must be replaced! All that I remembered was that the amount of labor involved was quite obscene!
6. Front wheel – this RT was the “Anniversary” model with the wheel rims painted black. Apparently, when I laid the bike down on the left, the front rim had received scratches. I accept that, since there were rocks all over the road where that had happened. However, a new wheel instead of a repaint?
7. Lower Right Fork – there was a moderate scratch on the surface near the very bottom, about 1” long. Not a heavy scratch or gouge, but not a light scratch either. That may or may not have been there before, and I had no ground for arguments!
All of the above exceeds the £2,000 deductible, and so I had to pay the full £2,000. No documentation of the above details was ever offered or provided to me. If I was residing in the UK, I would want to see evidence that all repairs were actually done, especially those valve covers!
By the way, just for laugh, here are items that the “mechanic” tried to claim, but Greg had rejected them as being not probable:
1. Scratches on front fender – I had missed that on initial inspection.
2. Scratches on both BMW emblems – just very light scratches on the emblems, and no sign of scratches anywhere on the fairings themselves!
3. Scratch on the muffler – beside the fact that one would have to remove the right pannier to scratch the muffler at the location indicated, the “scratch” was so light that I was unable to even see it!
Well, that was my experience with this outfit! My very first time renting a bike, and I know that I have learned some valuable and expensive lessons.
Will I go back to ride in Scotland again? In a flash!!!
Would I rent a bike from this outfit again? What do you think? Would you?