Hi folks - Bear Haughton here,
I have been renting bikes for myself and riding internationally for over 20 years. In recent years I've taken a deep dive into the motorcycle "tour" world and got a good look at its seedy underbelly, complete with people using fake names, phone numbers that ring to hotel rooms, and a long list of unprofessional practices including hidden fees and more.
I'm here to tell you about those dangers and encourage you to work with people like us that not only sell you the tours, but lead them and own the bikes you will be riding.
I am of the opinion that in order to be credible in this business you must be there doing the job and not just a reseller or "tour designer" running a website and farming the clients out to contractors.
For the best experience here are some tips:
1. Make sure the person you pay and make the deal with will physically be on the tour with you.
2. Ask if they will be at the airport to greet you. (We always have a Motorcycle Sherpa member pick you up and see you off at the airport)
3. Ask who owns the motorcycle you will ride. (We have our own fleet)
4. Buy your adventure from a person based in your country or at least on your continent (US & Canada for example).
5. Watch the add-ons and up-sells! Whenever you see an operator offering many up-sells like para sailing or bungee jumping, be leery. If you want them, most of those types of services can be had for a fraction of the cost when you are on the ground and easily booked day of at the end or beginning of the trip.
6. Be wary of tour companies that offer many different tours. It's hard to be a professional in more than 3-5 locations at a time and a large offering is a sure indication of a reseller that simply takes his cut off the top then hands you to contractors. We are invested in your experience because we are there with you.
7. Pay with a credit card or PayPal for your protection. Sending international wires can be risky and if the money goes missing you have little recourse. If a tour company tries to charge you additional money for processing "fees" or deter you from using PayPal or credit card, or pushes wire transfer or other type of money transfer, be very leery.
8. I'll repeat #1. Make sure the person you are dealing with and paying will actually be on the expedition! This is the best way to ensure they're invested in your experience!
P.S. Whether you buy from us or not we are here to help!
-Bear Haughton & Buddhi Singh