Motorbike Rental in Chiang Mai
In such a small city, it is amazing to see that there are literally hundreds of motorbike rental firms in Chiang Mai. It is not surprising that motorbike rental is a theme due to the popularity of the Mae Hong Son Loop and the Chiang Rai Loop.
These are beautiful roads that wind through stunning scenery and have many places to stop that appeal to a range of tourists. They are backed up by the local Thai people’s friendliness and great food. All in all, it is great area to tour. It is easy enough that you can relax and not worry about things that might bother you in other areas when touring.
Disclaimer: This content is the unpaid original content of VietNomad and is based on real life experience. No payment in cash or in kind was received for this content. VietNomad aims to inform impartially.
When you Google Search for motorbike rental in Chiang Mai a few big names will pop up. The likes of Mr. Pop, Mr. Mechanic and C&P will turn up. From what I can see, these are well established names in the industry.
You can also rent a bike from almost any hotel or tour agency. The world and his wife have a handle on where to rent a bike and will eagerly make a quick buck out of you.
What to look for in a rental firm
Not all rental firms are equal. You have to beware of those that are overpriced, although, with so much competition, it is hard not to be aware. You also have to be wary of the quality of the bike and more importantly how well it has been serviced. Another, factor is the level of back up you will receive when ‘shit hits the fan’ because it could do. What will the rental firm do to help you if you are stopped by the police, crash into a local (car, motorbike, KID??), have difficulty with the police or the bike is stolen. These are questions that are not commonly asked but should be ranking factors for motorbike rental firms.
We chose Cat Motors
After searching online, we found Cat Motors. They are quite easy to find as they rank No.1 in SERPs for terms like ‘motorbike rental in chiang mai’. This does not mean they are the ones to choose. Not by a long shot.
Further searching shows their web page and FB page and you will see that the first they state is that they do not rent to anyone who cannot ride a bike. This is likely due to the fact that they have a conscience. Ok, good start.
You will then see that they have a range of bikes from small autos up to low end dirt bikes for rent. My guess is that these would be enough to cater for the needs of 60-70% of the riders coming through Chiang Mai. GT Rider might want to correct me on that.
Then you have to look at the reviews.
On FB they are rated 5 out of 5 from 89 reviews. That looks ok. When you read these reviews you will see that 1. They are genuine, from genuine renters and 2. They mention key words such as ‘reliable’, ‘decent motorbikes’, ‘no hassle’, ‘didn’t try to scam us’ and so on.
On Trip Advisor it is the same story. Some 260+ reviews with nothing below 4 star and the same key words mentioned. Also, all the reviews I looked at ahd been responded to. So, this seems to be a business that is concerned about its public persona and customer service. These are the tell tale signs that signal things are going to be as ok as they can be (we all know that things can go wrong at any moment but are less likely to when the rental company pro active with maintenance and concerned with safety and public image). It looks like we are on to something here.
When I got in touch with them via FB, I asked a question or two about whether or not to book. I got answers fairly quickly and they were helpful and informative. What’s not to like?
Tel No : 090 729 9090
Range of Bikes
Cat Motors has a wide range of automatic bikes such as: Honda Click, PCX and more. They also have a bunch of road and dirt bikes. I saw the CRF Rally and some other bikes that I am not familiar with. We took two Honda Clicks as they were the cheapest and easiest and more than enough for our needs.
The rental on bikes ranges from 200B to 900B per day. They have better rates for longer term rental but we were not concerned with that.
Picking up bikes
When we arrived in Chiang Mai we checked in and then headed off to the rental shop. We were met by a young lady with a baby and a young man, both thai. They were polite and friendly and explained what we needed to do and showed us the bikes.
The young man was a little slow and his English quite basic. However, it was still quite easy to deal with everything without confusion and get our bikes and helmets quite quickly.
There was a range of helmets. They were quite simple cheap helmets and probably good enough for around town. You could buy a full face better option for only 500Baht (looked to be used) If I were renting a more expensive bike: CRF, KLX 250 … I would probably want a better helmet provided. However, it is hard to have all sizes, all types etc… so, if you want a really good helmet, bring your own.
Where we went
We took two Honda Click motorbikes for 3 days. The bikes looked quite new and were in good condition. We did several trips: Grand canyon, Hidden Village and PooPoo Paper park (I know… ) and the bikes were fuel efficient and reliable. There were absolutely no problems.
When we returned the bikes there were 3 young men at the shop and they gave them a quick check. They were most concerned with the fuel level and we had filled them before returning so again no problem.
Suggestion: Show customers on a map, or on their phones where the nearest places to fill up are. Also, state clearly how much fuel costs if the bikes are returned without a full tank.
We received our deposit (passport) back without hassle and went on our way.
Overall, there is not much to fault Cat Motors. Yes, in a perfect world they would have newer bikes, better helmets and more information. However, they are a rental firm and if you want new bikes, go to a showroom. If you want better helmets, pay more for rental so that they have the funds to provide them. They do give out a lot of information on things like the cost of replacement parts, the first aid kit etc… and I am sure most people don’t really listen to half of all that they say.
For motorbike rental in Chiang Mai I would not hesitate to rent again and recommend these guys. I think they tick most, if not all, of the boxes and provide a good service at their price point.