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Twisted Road is essentially Airbnb for motorcycles. Similar to how Turo allows car owners to rent out their cars, Twisted Road seeks to fill in the gap for motorcycle owners around the United States.
We sat down this week with Austin Rothbard, CEO for Twisted Road to garner a better understanding of what Twisted Road hopes to achieve with this recently founded startup.
“We are still in our infancy as a company but we have seen progressive growth since going live in October 2017,” said Rothbard. “There are those pioneers in the motorcycle community who are willing to jump on board with us and form stronger bonds with traveling riders. In doing so, we believe we are doing our part to grow the motorcycle community.”
And that’s an interesting notion because I have used these various peer-to-peer rental apps and my experience has always been positive but I find myself balking at loaning out one of my motorcycles.
Twisted Road is the first of its kind to offer a peer-to-peer motorcycle rental service that cuts out a full-blown rental agency like EagleRider or MotoQuest. However, the most pressing concern raised at the table was ensuring coverage for the motorcycles rented.
“Currently, renters must provide their own insurance to rent a motorcycle through Twisted Road but we are working toward having a system in place where we are able to cover those costs.
What also seems to be most interesting about Twisted Road is the variety of motorcycles that can be rented through the site. Remember these are people's individual motorcycles. Everything ranging from a Honda to Triumph, Yamaha to Indian, and Kawasaki to Harley-Davidson.
Currently, Twisted Road has around 350 motorcycles listed in over 35 states including Hawaii and Alaska. Texas is currently the largest market with listings in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Twisted Road’s goal in 2018 is to grow the community in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, California, and parts of Florida—areas in the United States where travel, motorcycling, and year-round riding are most prevalent.
Renters are allowed to set their own price for daily rentals. The costs are split 70-30 between owners and Twisted Road.
The company is focusing wholly on street-bound motorcycles and has chosen to exclude scooter and dirt bikes for now. The logic behind this is to keep the system manageable and to grow it progressively.
One thing I know every motorcyclist is thinking with a system like this is what happens if my bike is damaged or totaled? Twisted Road interfaces directly with the insurance companies and handles all parts of the claim process. In the event a motorcycle is totaled, Twisted Road will cover motorcycles up to $15,000. So you might want to give it a second thought before listing your Ducati Superleggera or Harley-Davidson Road Glide.
Twisted Road is currently beta testing a rating system to ensure participants are validated by the community and hopes to roll it out in the near future. We asked if it would be similar to rating systems found on Airbnb or Uber and Rothbard agreed that it would allow renters to comment and rate the riders and allow riders to rate the renter and the condition of the motorcycle.
We wanted to know if Twisted Road is making any steps to get dealers on board as many of them have broadly used vehicles which could, in turn, benefit all parties. It could lead riders and travelers to rent and possibly purchasing a new motorcycle as test rides are difficult to come by for most new model bikes.
“We are approaching a number of dealers but some are hesitant. No one really wants to take the first step but we are confident that there is a relationship to be fostered from the discussion,” said Rothbard.
What We Would Like to See Moving Forward with Twisted Road and what are some of the real benefits for the community?
The biggest concern would be full comprehensive coverage that protects the rider, the renter, and the value of the motorcycle in the event of an accident or issue. I think there will be greater acceptance of this kind of service when the rider renting the motorcycle doesn’t have to go through the extra hoop of providing their own insurance and the renter’s motorcycle is fully covered. There is a lot to be said for security.
Twisted Road has the opportunity to link motorcyclists to other motorcyclists, similar to how Instagram has served as a hub for many in our community. I can personally attest to meeting and developing relationships with so many motorcyclists through the site and nothing seems more bonding than the act of riding a motorcycle while on vacation. Renting out a house through Airbnb is somewhat impersonal but satisfying, renting a motorcycle and being trusted to ride it could lead to long-term relationships.
By offering a healthy selection of bikes in various cities, test riding a motorcycle though Twisted Road could be easier than dealing with dealerships or demo days organized by OEM’s. Riding a trusting owner’s bike might help others in deciding their next bike purchase.
The real question is, would you loan out a motorcycle you own to someone who travels to your city? Do you think this community building service is good for motorcycling? Are you gung-ho to list your bike now? We want to know so please leave your comments below.