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  #1  
Old 14 Mar 2012
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Warning! Why not to rent bikes from Stonehead Bikes - Delhi!

We are a couple that's been travelling together for a year, we are both bikers at home and we were missing riding and decided that we wanted to travel North India by motorcycle. The obvious choice of machine was the Royal Enfield! We found Stonehead Bikes in Delhi by searching online. They wanted 15,000 INR per bike per month. We figured we could easily lose this amount by buying and selling motorcycles, which would also be a lot of extra hassle and paperwork, so we decided to go ahead with the rental. Our contactperson at Stonehead Bikes was "Harry", or Khomendra Singh according to his personal e-mailaddress. They responded to all of our queries via e-mail very quickly, they were friendly and spoke good English so we felt confident in dealing with them. The only thing that we felt slightly uneasy about was the policy of the company that any breakdowns had to be paid for out of our own pocket. Obviously we could understand that any damage we had caused ourselves or normal wear that had occured whilst we were using the bikes (brake pads etc.) should be our responsibility, but what about pre-existing problems? What if something was about to wear out before we recieved the bikes? We asked Stonehead Bikes many questions about the bikes via e-mail including how old they were. We were assured that the oldest bike in the fleet would be a 2007 model. We knew that any bike this new would also have the left-foot gear system and would be a more modern machine and hence less prone to breakdowns.

We were obviously not impressed when we had checked out of our hotel, made the 50 minute rickshaw ride across Delhi and showed up with all of our luggage to Stoneheead Bikes to find that one of the bikes was a 2004 model with gears on the right-hand side. Alarm bells ringing slightly louder now. We should have refused the bikes and asked for our deposits back, but wanting to get on with our trip as planned we took the bikes. Like a fool, I let the Stonehead guy bullshit me into it, "oh my friend, it only takes half an hour to get used to this system...". Having ridden bikes with a left-hand side (LHS) gear system for 17 years it was really horrible to try and get used to them on the RHS. The gear system was also upside down (one up, two, three and four down). Take it from me, two weeks later I was still changing up gears instead of changing down and vice versa and trying to find the rear brake only to end up changing gears also. It was a nightmare.

When we arrived in Agra from Delhi there were already some issues with the bikes. The 2004 model was leaking oil profusely from two places, the speedometer was not working, and the horn was not working properly (horns are very necessary in India!). Obviously these were pre-existing problems so we requested that Stonehead Bikes (SHB) pay for the repairs. Strangely enough, SHB were less responsive than they had been when we were prospective customers. The first email we sent was ignored entirely. Sound alarm bells. After a second, less friendly e-mail we got a reply. They tried to tell us that we had caused the oil leaks because we had ridden the bikes non-stop over a long distance! (we rode 200km in three days). The horn issue, just tighten a screw they said (this didn't work by the way, because the wiring had been bodged together and needed replacing). They clearly couldn't think of a way to worm out of the speedo issue so they conceeded to cover the costs, but made a big hassle over it.

Two weeks into our two months, disaster happened. I was knocked off my bike by a oncoming jeep which was overtaking a truck. A trip to the hospital later and I came out with a broken arm and lots of cuts and bruises. Our motorbike trip was over. We got the bike to a mechanic and paid for all of the repairs. We contacted SHB and explained the situation. We had paid up front 60,000 INR ($1200,-) for 60 days of rental. We had only had the bikes for 12 days so we reasoned that if we returned the bikes 48 days early then we might qualify for a small refund. We had hardly covered any miles and hence no further servicing of the bikes would be required by SHB. We stressed that we were only looking for a token amount, we understood that they would not be able to re-rent both bikes for the remaining 48 days at such short notice. We finally managed to get a 'maybe' from them so rushed the bikes back to Delhi on the train (on our expense of course) in the hope of a gesture of goodwill. No such luck, we received not a Rupee. Even worse, after not responding to e-mails "Harry" was apparently not in Delhi, thus sending two of his underlings to pick up the bikes. They didn't speak English, so there was no way to have any dialogue as we handed in the bikes. "Harry" didn't show his face again. We tried communicating many times, only after complaining of "terrible customerservice" did we provoke an agressive response. We wish we'd have kept the bikes until the end of the rental contract, we could easily have sublet them to re-coup some of our costs had we have known we were getting nothing back... Our advice, avoid this company like the plague, a terrible experience.
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Old 14 Mar 2012
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Sorry to hear that you got hurt; hopefully you´re back on track now. Anyways, I think what we can take away from this is that
- you don´t rent a bike from an unknown source by e-mail with a deposit paid before you have seen and checked out the bike in person, not in India and not in Daytona Beach;
- you don´t believe that even a 2007 Enfield in an Indian rental fleet would have been "less prone to breakdowns" after five years in rental service;
- you don´t believe that any Enfield will not leak oil in a month of overland travel (which I´d think is one of the "oh shucks" scenarios, not the end of the world).

Chris
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Old 14 Mar 2012
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Sorry you had such a poor experience. I toured south India on an Enfield about 12 years ago, and I have to say the whole "India by Enfield" experience is overrated. I can definitely see going back to India for another tour, but I would rent a small Japanese model, never another Enfield.
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Old 14 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keks View Post
Sorry to hear that you got hurt; hopefully you´re back on track now. Anyways, I think what we can take away from this is that
- you don´t rent a bike from an unknown source by e-mail with a deposit paid before you have seen and checked out the bike in person, not in India and not in Daytona Beach;
- you don´t believe that even a 2007 Enfield in an Indian rental fleet would have been "less prone to breakdowns" after five years in rental service;
- you don´t believe that any Enfield will not leak oil in a month of overland travel (which I´d think is one of the "oh shucks" scenarios, not the end of the world).

Chris
To add, nor should anyone take on an "upside down" gear change when riding in a new country (and you had not been riding anywhere for a while).
Been there myself, done that and got the scars to prove it.

Regarding the issue of hiring bikes, I would like to see this type of feedback in a thread where it does not become lost with time; for instance, there is a forum for "tours" in here which might be near enough appropriate and this information could be found there in the future.
There is a rather similar cautionary tale with a lesser outcome within the Morocco forum; on futher thought, perhaps there is a better place within the HUBB where such cautionary advice can be found??
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  #5  
Old 14 Mar 2012
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whant to rent or bay a enfield or pulser

wharning dont rent in delhi go to pusckar 6 auers from new delhi thear yuo have alot off bikes and foringers selening thear bikes around 500 us NEAVER RENT A BIKE IN DELHI
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  #6  
Old 14 Mar 2012
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What I really wonder about is when people yell: Warning! Don´t ....

A bad experience is one thing, and we´ve all been there. But as well as you don´t hang a bed sheet with a similar warning about your local butcher´s or baker´s products outside of your roadside window at home, since you´re not willing to get into a nasty discussion with that business owner or his lawyer, don´t yell for boycotts on the web either. From my point of view, it´s just unfair and we´ve seen the variety of responses in the Marocco issue recently.
Just my 2c
Cheers
Chris
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Old 15 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keks View Post
What I really wonder about is when people yell: Warning! Don´t ....
...don´t yell for boycotts on the web either. From my point of view, it´s just unfair
I dunno, it can be difficult to find someone good to rent from when travelling and personally appreciate all the data I can get. Renting a bad bike, or even a good bike from the wrong person, can ruin a trip, or at least create bad impressions.

Obviously all such reports should be taken in context, and it would be good to get more reports about good customer experiences, not just bad ones...
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  #8  
Old 15 Mar 2012
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Renting

I am in Nepal renting an Enfield, & it has been brilliant and Bikemandu could not have been better (so far) I will be in India (Delhi) & will go to this place & give them what for on your behalf & let them know if you shit on one biker you shit on all of us & what goes around comes around, I know you want get your money back, but I will make them feel very, very uneasy about so they think twice before pulling that stunt again.
Cheers
Paul
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  #9  
Old 15 Mar 2012
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I think we have all had business dealings, not necessarily in motorcycling, that did not go well. Some businesses will let things 'slide' if they are not given constructive criticism.

I think it's fine for folks to post negative comments, as long as they give a clear explanation of what went wrong, and what steps they and the business took (or didn't take) to resolve the problem. I thought WorldlyMaret did this.
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Old 15 Mar 2012
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Hey all - I am very interested in this topic as a friend and I are planning to be in Delhi in September to rent bikes and head to Leh / /Ladakh for 3 weeks. Following that my wife and I will be in Nepal for a few weeks and I would love to rent a bike in Kathmandu and head as close to Everest as I can.

SO!!

Feedback, feedback, feedback guys - don't say 'I had a terrible experience when I rented in Delhi' - Tell us who with!! - Don't say 'i had an awesome experience in Nepal' - Tell us who with!!

PaulD, I am particularly interested to hear from you re: your Nepal rental

WorldlyMaret - It seems you are particularly pissed about your experience with SHB as you have posted in more than one thread here and I cant' say I blame you - up until about 5 minutes ago they were my #1 choice but now I'm not so sure... Curious though, what did you rent? Did you pay a booking/reservation fee in advance? Why didn't you walk away and rent something else from someone else? - Not criticizing just trying to understand..

Cheers all
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Old 2 Apr 2012
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Bikemandu

Nepal rental was brillant I would highly recommend Bikemandu, very
professional & helpful, gave us a suggested itinerary on where to go and suggested good places to stay. Paid for taxi to collect bike & paid for our taxi back to our hotel after dropping bike off.
Cheers
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  #12  
Old 2 Apr 2012
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Been there done it twice

Hi all

Sorry to hear of people having not so good experiences with renting enfields in Delhi

We had a great experience renting bikes in Delhi, with Inder Motors - and the lovely Lalli Singh. We researched the company before we went, read some good reviews both of the bikes and of the company. Did this once in 2007 and again in 2009. We didn't pay anything until we had inspected the bikes and taken them for a test ride. They gave us plenty of spares for the journey and were really flexible when we changed our plans - we got carried away up in the mountains and didn't give ourselves enough time for the ride back to Delhi. So we flew and arranged with Lalli for the bikes to be shipped via road truck. The trust went both ways as Lalli gave us our deposits back without even inspecting the bikes... they were still enroute!!

All I would say is that you need common sense, if it feels dangerous and dodgy then don't do it... you wouldn't get on a bike in your home country unless you were sure it was safe to do so. So why would you in a country like India where the roads are crazy at the best of times!

Anyway we think India by enfield is fantastic, especially the himalayas and I would wholeheartedly recommend Inder motors in Karol Bagh.

Enjoy
Gemma
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  #13  
Old 19 Apr 2012
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Talking rental in Delhi

Hello all, I and a good mechanic mate of mine toured India and Nepal for two moths last nov/dec by Honda Hero Hunks. We bought them in Karol Bagh after spending many hours checking out the hoards of shops there that are all eager to take your cash...!!! We clicked with a guy on a matching pair of bikes, talked the talk over chai and biscuits, settled on a fair price after agreeing on a buy back price if all went well. He sorted out all paperwork and the issues with the bikes prior to us handing over money. We stayed in a great hotel over the road and the whole experience went smooth as silk..!!
There are so many scumbag dealers in Karol Bagh you have to be careful in choosing the right place. My personnel opinion about travelling in India is buy Hero Honda for less stress, breakdowns and ultimate reliability. Having stated all this, it is at the end of the day personnel choice..!!!
If anyone wants any contact details of the shop I used then just post up, I dont have them to hand right now.
Enjoy India, Mez.
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Old 8 May 2012
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To be frank and honest, I really can't see the attraction of doing a long distance ride on an Enfield.
Maybe to potter around the city, maybe very local, bot any thing longer than say 50km, then you should consider a small Japanese.
Sure the Enfield is a "cultish" bike, and people do like to tell one another that "they traveled India on an Enfield"
But apart from that, I would steer well clear, and ride Japanese.
A 125cc Japanese will of course be ultimately more pleasurable, and reliable.
Not to mention how much safer and economical Japanese bike would be.

We recently finished some thing like 2,400km all around Vietnam, we each had Honda 110cc, and they were great.
More than enough power with our rucksack luggage tied to the rear rack.
And let me say, the little Honda's were as tough as nails, the holes we hit, the "off roading" we did, when there was just 6 inches of mud, where the road had vanished, adn the little Honda's just kept on going, day after day, after day, no oil leaks or nothing.

vette
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  #15  
Old 8 May 2012
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Originally Posted by uk_vette View Post
A 125cc Japanese will of course be ultimately more pleasurable, and reliable.
Not to mention how much safer and economical Japanese bike would be.

I have to disagree, a little. In 2004 I rode a 500cc Bullet round the Himalayas for 3000km. No problems except a kinked throttle cable and a puncture, both not particularly Enfield specific. This included a lot of off-pavement riding along with mud and snow. I found it very pleasurable. This 500cc bike from Delhi was a good bike, I'll admit. 2003 was less fun. The 350cc Bullet rented in Manali was a dog and allowed me to meet lots more fun and helpful Indians than I had hoped to.

Sure, I'll assume a Jap (Made in India...) 125 might be less thirsty, but "safer"? The "danger" on Indian roads is about 50% your own riding ability and 50% the definite lack of ability of other road users. So, again, not bike specific.

Chris
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