Twisted Road, a new app that allows you to rent a motorcycle – either your own or someone else's – is either the best or worst idea of 2018.

Twisted Road is the newest service that allows motorcycle riders to rent out their bikes or rent someone else

In recent years, app-based services like Airbnb and Lyft launched the sharing economy and disrupted many a traditional, hidebound industry. The business model is simple, rent out spare rooms or properties (or give people rides) and make some extra income. Recently a company has taken that idea and packaged it around motorcycles. Twisted Road is a new service that allows any rider with current motorcycle endorsement and valid insurance to rent a motorcycle from anyone who posts their respective bike – or bikes – to the Twisted Road website/app.

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So far this service is only available within the US, though the company will likely expand if things go well for it in the States. Riders visiting the US can still rent a bike so long as they have a valid license and put down a deposit. There are also background screenings that bar riders from using the service if they’ve been convicted of something like motorcycle theft. Each user also creates a profile that includes their riding experience and what bikes they’ve previously ridden. Owners of the bikes posted to Twisted Road are then at liberty to accept or deny any requests to rent their bike.

Twisted Road Wants to Disrupt the Motorcycle Rental Biz

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The selection of bikes has the potential to be tremendous so long as enough users sign up. As of the time this article is being written, the site currently has under 300 bikes posted, though it is slowly increasing. There are a lot of obvious upsides to this service, and with most rentals ranging from $75-$200 per day, it is a somewhat affordable alternative to other moto-rental businesses.

A lot of motorcycle owners (myself included) own multiple bikes, and the vast majority of the time most of them are just sitting there not being ridden. Additionally, a lot of bike owners don’t ride very often, or only ride on Sunday when the weather is good. This service would allow so many of these bikes that go largely used to be used to generate a profit for their owners. The service would also be a great tool to gather intel for an upcoming purchase by being able to test ride bikes for extended periods.

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There are, however, a lot of downsides and problems that immediately come to mind when I first heard about Twisted Road. First off, I assume most people would treat rental bikes with far less respect than they would their own, meaning a lot of these bikes might get thrashed. Twisted Road does have certain rules in place that restrict rentals from doing things like wheelies, burn-outs, and other hooliganary, but I don’t know how this would be enforced.

There is also the obvious factor of mileage. Yes, an owner would make some money renting out their bike, but, like driving for Uber, you have to spend more money on maintenance and adding mileage lowers a vehicles value (and lifespan). Also, let’s say my stator goes kaput and I don’t want to pay for an OEM stator for my bike. What is stopping me from renting the same make and model of bike that I own and swapping out parts? Or swapping out a cheap but functional part for an OEM part?

Call me a pessimist, but until I’m proven wrong I’m very wary of this whole thing. To learn more – or to join, post, or rent a bike – you can check out Twisted Road’s website.