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adrw // Andrew Alexander

Buying vs. Renting a Touring Bike

Finance1 min read

Motivated by my recent reading of Alee Denham's touring bike blog CyclingAbout, his YouTube videos and helpful ebooks, I was curious whether the high upfront cost in equipment for bike touring would be worth it compared to renting it at the touring destination.

For example, in Taiwan and Europe, there is broad infrastructure of bike rentals and repair shops which would allow you to skip the hassle of packing up a bike and avoid the liability of your own personal bike being stolen abroad. Outside of some developed countries with expansive bike infrastructure, most countries and touring destinations would not be able to support the renting option.

For the comparison below, I primarily am interested in the case where buy or rent would be valid options so I researched costs for both paths for Taiwan and Germany.

Rent

  • Taiwan: \$182 CAD / 10 days
  • Germany: \$400 CAD / 10 days

Buy

  • Bike: \$2300
  • Pedals and shoes: \$300
  • Bags & accessories: \$400
  • Total: \$3000
  • Airplane per leg cost: \$50-100

Breakeven

  • Taiwan: 5-10 months touring
  • Germany: 3-4 months touring

Example Scenarios

Both Buy

  • Buy: \$6,000
  • Airplane per leg cost: \$50-100
  • Total (2 Asia, 2 Germany trips = 40 days): \$6,800
  • Total (10 Asia, 10 Germany trips = 200 days): \$10,000

One Buy, One Rent

  • Buy: \$3,000
  • Airplane per leg cost: \$50-100
  • Rental fee: \$182-450 / 10 days
  • Total (2 Asia, 2 Germany trips = 40 days): \$4,664
  • Total (10 Asia, 10 Germany trips = 200 days): \$11,320

Both Rent

  • Rental fee: \$182-450 / 10 days
  • Total (2 Asia, 2 Germany trips = 40 days): \$2,528
  • Total (10 Asia, 10 Germany trips = 200 days): \$12,640

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