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  1. #1
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    Rent your Fat Bike? Could it work? Crazy?

    So I am scheming a plan to justify a fat bike purchase before winter rolls in. I am thinking of buying a fat bike, and then renting it out per day to help fund the thing. I would be happy if I could rent the bike out a total of 20 days during the winter/ spring season at $40 or $50 per day.

    I am in Colorado where there are a lot of tourists, great places to use fat bikes in the snow and on singletrack. Currently there are not very many bicycle shops that offer fat bike rentals or demos. I would be surprised if there are a total of 10 bikes available for rent in all of the Denver area.

    I am looking for opinions. Has anyone ever tried this? Is this worth a shot to fund an otherwise unlikely purchase?

    Just a note: I would probably order up one of the newly released fat bikes, hoping that they sell out quickly and add even more appeal for renters.

  2. #2
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    Just happened to see this: https://www.spinlister.com/
    It's an cyclist-to-cyclist bike rental network. Looks like an interesting idea.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    Just happened to see this: https://www.spinlister.com/
    It's an cyclist-to-cyclist bike rental network. Looks like an interesting idea.
    Great Idea! Got some coverage should there be a mishap too.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like a lot of risk and headaches for $50 a pop.
    Theft, damages, lawsuits, etc
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    Sounds like a lot of risk and headaches for $50 a pop.
    Theft, damages, lawsuits, etc
    You'd probably need some basic insurance and make them sign a waiver. That Spinlister site seems to have that stuff covered.

    This would work big time on Cape Cod. So many people ask about renting fatbikes and as far as I can tell there is one shop that says it will have them soon. That has been on their website for months. No idea if they are already renting.

    That being said, I'm way too anal about my bikes to rent them out.
    NEMBA Freetown VP

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    Just happened to see this: https://www.spinlister.com/
    It's an cyclist-to-cyclist bike rental network. Looks like an interesting idea.
    That's a good find. I didn't realize something like this existed. I have mostly searched for fat bike rentals. I had considered the need for both a liability waiver and insurance on a per rental basis and this may be a good solution.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    Sounds like a lot of risk and headaches for $50 a pop.
    Theft, damages, lawsuits, etc
    You definitely hit on my biggest hesitations. I am hoping that people searching for fat bike rentals in the Denver area, and willing to drive a little bit out of the way to pick one up, will be cyclists. I hope that just the nature of the bike being a fat bike, and someone's willingness to bike in winter will eliminate a lot of the common morons that would intentionally damage a bike. As for theft, I would require a copy of their drivers licence, and their credit card number.

    I would never rent out my Tallboy, but this bike I would consider a rental bike that I basically had access too.

    Serious helicopter tape would be in order too!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venturewest View Post
    As for theft, I would require a copy of their drivers licence, and their credit card number.
    Getting the DL # will allow you to give something to the cops to track them down and you will eventually get your bike back if the cops decide to put an effort in to it.
    As far as CC#, the card can be cancelled within a minute after they leave.

    I dunno, I just don't see it being worth while effort for such a little return and huge risk.
    Not saying it is a bad idea. Obviously there are people out there doing this. I just don't think it is worth the risk for me personally. Maybe it would work for you though.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  9. #9
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    All of those issues can be worked out, however the time you put into it wouldn't pay off. It would be especially difficult dealing with the person returning it with what may seem like minor damage, that may be fairly expensive to fix. If you went with insurance for that, it may end up not leaving much profit for the hassle.
    I would think if the market was very good, the shops would have the bikes available for rent already. We have Pugsley rentals available here in Austin, where there is no snow or sand. Denver is a pretty big city, and I would think a place where mountain biking is quite popular. Did you check around where they rent mountain bikes already? I bet they already have a Fat bike for rent.

    Edit: Oh, oops I didn't read your post very well. I see you think there are just not enough available for peak demand, I guess. Maybe you would be able to get them to refer someone to you when they are already all rented out, if the person is set on a fat bike, but I still don't think there's enough money in it to be worth the time and hassle dealing with the renters.

  10. #10
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    One problem with renting a personal bike, is that the bike can not always tell you under what conditions and where it was ridden.

    That would likely entail increased maintenance just to protect your investment.

  11. #11
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    Peer to Peer Bike Rental Network SpinLister

    Quote Originally Posted by SmooveP View Post
    Just happened to see this: https://www.spinlister.com/
    It's an cyclist-to-cyclist bike rental network. Looks like an interesting idea.
    Thanks for that great link. I have spent quite a bit of time on the Spinlister website, and it seems like a great service. They basically provide protection to the owner of the bike, even covering the bike up to $5000 if it is damaged or stolen. They place the burden of any damage on the renter.

    If nothing else comes from this thread, I hope that people will at least become aware of Spinlister. There are bikes for rent all over the USA (and probably the world, I just didn't do any searches overseas). Many of them are like $15. The next time I am traveling for a day or two and end up in a city where it would be fun to ride around I am going to see if there are any bikes for rent.

    This service eliminates most of my hesitations so I just may go for it. They charge a 17.5% fee on each rental to the owner of the bike. I think that is reasonable considering they are handling the protection on the bike and also the merchant account fees.

    My Business Plan:
    Buy one of the new release fat bikes. (Probably the Specialized). I am confident that no Specialized dealers in the area will offer rentals on these and probably not even demos. I am hoping people will want to try these since they will have 4.8" tires and are the new thing.

    I will create a wordpress website and use free advertising any place I can to get exposure. All my transactions will be directed through Spinlister for their protection.

    I will treat this like a real adventure rental business. I will provide maps and trail information. I think I will even provide 1/2 or 1 day tours! Why not? This is for fun.

    After some set period of time, I will sell the fat bike, and hopefully have covered all the depreciation plus my costs with the rentals. I probably only need 15 or 20 rental days to cover this. If this works really well I will buy a new fat bike next fall.

    This may seem like a lot of work to some, but that is part of the adventure. (Kind of like clearing mud from your fork when it exceeds 30 lbs per wheel) This spring I went from fairly out of shape, to riding a 50 mile epic race in Breckenridge with 7500' of climbing, in a much better time than I ever thought possible. If I ride all winter and don't lose that fitness then any amount of hassle will be worth it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by icecreamjay View Post
    You'd probably need some basic insurance and make them sign a waiver. That Spinlister site seems to have that stuff covered.

    This would work big time on Cape Cod. So many people ask about renting fatbikes and as far as I can tell there is one shop that says it will have them soon. That has been on their website for months. No idea if they are already renting.

    That being said, I'm way too anal about my bikes to rent them out.
    icecreamjay, what shop are you talking about on the Cape? I vacation a week every summer out there with my wife, daughter and son in law. My wife and I will both have fat bikes by next summer but I would love to be able to rent two more for the week. We have rented bikes from one of the shops before but fat bikes would be ideal.

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