Opportunities to ride different bikes can be hard to come by, so many riders prize them when they do occur.
Motorcycle dealers are less likely to offer test rides than auto dealers since a test ride is a significant risk. Without knowing whether you are an experienced rider, there's a risk that you'll drop the bike before you even leave the parking lot...or that you'll be killed and the bike totaled when you pull out into traffic.
Demo rides are easier to obtain at a regional motorcycle show or bike rally. If you don't live somewhere these events are held, your options are even more limited: rent one or borrow a buddy's scoot.
Rentals are very expensive compared to an auto rental. Still, the cost of rental for a long day or two is worthwhile if you're considering buying the same model. It's also a good choice if you're visiting someplace far from home and don't want to spend the time riding (or trailering) a motorcycle several days each way.
Most people will loan a friend their car without worry; insurance will take care of any fender benders. When someone loans you their bike, it's an expression of trust in your riding skills.
Following is a list of the bikes I've ridden. "Rentals" are long rides in which I have been able to really experience the bike under a variety of conditions. "Test Rides" are shorter rides; demo rides and bikes borrowed from friends. "Spins" are short rides of a few miles, just long enough to get a basic feel for the bike.
- 2003 Suzuki GSF 1200S Bandit — "El bandido de cerceta" ("The Teal Bandit")
- 2010 Yamaha FJR1300A — "Gin Tama" ("The Silver Bullet")
- 2000 Kawasaki ZRX1100
- 2008 Can-Am Spyder Roadster SE5
- 2008 Kawasaki 1400GTR Concours 14
- 2008 Kawasaki Z1000
- 2008 Yamaha FJR1300AE
- 2008 Victory Vision