With the largest choice of BMW, Ducati and Harley Davidson rental motorbikes in France, Motorbike Trip is in a position to satisfy most motorcycle tastes. Our motorcycles have to be special to make it into the Motorbike Trip fleet: be it the styling, engine, handling or that certain something - from the moment you push the starter button, our bikes must make you feel good.
This guide will help you choose the right rental motorcycle. Appraising a motorcycle can be subjective. We based our recommendations on experience and customer feedback. We refrained from a technical analysis and reviewed each motorcycle based on its character, comfort and favorite road.
Ducati Monster 696
The Ducati Monster 696 competes with the Honda Hornet 600 and Triumph Street Triple for the crown in the entry-level roadster market. Comparing these four-, three- and two-cylinder bikes, our choice is firmly in the Ducati camp.
Being the lightest bike of its class gives the Ducati Monster 696 excellent handling. The bike feels agile without being nervous. The Brembo brakes offer more than adequate stopping power. The Monster might not have the most powerful engine, but thanks to its lightweight chassis offers a first-rate power to weight ratio. The engine develops its power in the upper rev range and likes to be “kept on the boil”.
This bike is targeted primarily at the rider. One-day trips two-up can easily be managed. However, we would recommend other motorcycles for extended journeys with a passenger. There is no top case available for the Monster 696. The side bags offer enough space for the travel belongings of one person.
Be it sweeping bends or hairpins, the Monster 696 feels at ease. This bike feels very much at home on the twisting coastal road between Cannes and Saint Tropez. With the blue Mediterranean on one side and the red Esterel rocks on the other side, this is an unforgettable experience.
BMW R NineT
The brand new BMW R Nine T was launched into the custom motorcycle segment. The bike faces competition such as the Triumph Thruxton and the Moto Guzzi Griso. What differentiates this bike from the other retro-bikes is the attention to detail, build quality and BMW-typical engineering prowess.
The engine is an evolution of the air-cooled boxer. Plenty of torque inspires trust. No need to constantly work the gearbox – just enjoy the ride. The suspension feels surefooted with plenty of feedback. The brakes come straight off the BMW S1000RR and offer plenty of feel.
The BMW R Nine T is more comfortable for the rider than the passenger. Riding the Nine T for a couple of days two-up is not a problem. However, if you are looking for passenger comfort, we would recommend a BMW R1200RT, R1200GS or F700GS. The only downside of the BMW R Nine T is the lack of available luggage. If you want to take this motorcycle on a longer trip, you will need to take a rucksack.
The BMW Nine T not only has the looks, but the performance to back it up. The ideal road for this bike is the legendary Route Napoleon and then coming back to Cannes for a coffee on the Croisette beach promenade.
BMW R1200 GS
The new BMW GS 1200 leads the adventure motorcycle segment. The GS became famous with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman in the TV show “The Long Way Road”. Today, the BMW GS is the world’s most sold motorcycle above 250cc. Competitors such as the KTM 1190 Adventure, Triumph Tiger Explorer and Yamaha Tenere have not managed to dethrone the market leader.
Love it or hate it, this motorcycle has the feel good factor. After riding it for a short while, you feel right at home. The handling inspires confidence. Obviously, the GS is no featherweight. But once you’re rolling, you no longer feel its weight. The new water-cooled engine offers both low-down grunt and top end power, making the new GS 1200 feel sportier than the previous model.
This BMW is our second most comfortable bike. You and your passenger wont be suffering aches and pains after a long day of riding. Thanks to the extendable top and side cases, you have plenty of storage space to embark on longer trips two-up.
The BMW GS 1200 is the Swiss army knife of motorcycles. Be it sharp hairpins or cruising down the Autoroute, this bike does it all. The “Kodak moment” for this bike would be the riding up the legendary Stelvio Pass in Italy and enjoying the stunning views from above.
Ducati Multistrada 1200S
This is Ducati’s foray into the adventure motorcycle segment. Although the Multistrada is marketed as having 4 distinct personalities (Sport, Touring, Urban & Enduro), we would classify it as a sporty alternative to the BMW R 1200 GS or KTM 1190 Adventure.
The Multistrada’s Testastretta engine is an evolution of Ducati’s 1198 sports bike. This is the fastest touring bike in our fleet. Keeping up with sports bikes is easy - the only difference being that you sit comfortably and get to enjoy the scenery. Thanks to premium brake and suspension components, the Multistrada has no problem handling the diverse road surfaces of the Provence, Alps and Cote Azur.
The comfort for rider and passenger is good. Trips over several weeks are a walk in the park. Luggage space is sufficient thanks to a big top case and side cases. One thing we would like to see improved is the locking mechanism of the side cases.
This bike feels especially good, when the engine can “stretch its legs”. A great moment for the Ducati Multistrada would be riding across the Luberon going past vineyards, lavender fields and then stopping in a Provencal village for coffee.
MV Agusta Rivale
The MV Rivale is an extreme bike in every sense. Talking about looks might be subjective, but we love it. Being a super moto, the new Rivale competes against the Ducati Hypermotard and KTM 990 Supermoto.
This bike requires an experienced rider. The engine character is on the aggressive side and turning the throttle can become addictive. The best sound is the “crackle and pop” on the overrun. MV’s new three-cylinder has the low down grunt of a V-Twin and the top end of an Inline-Four. The new ride-by-wire has been improved. Thanks to the use of lightweight materials, the weight has been kept to a minimum. The agile chassis is eager to please. Brembo brakes ensure more than enough stopping power.
Although this bike is enjoyed most by the rider, the passenger comfort is not bad. The passenger has plenty of seating space. Only downside is the lack of luggage. A travel-light mind-set are imperative for extended trips.
This bike is a hoot to ride. Not many bikes could keep up with this bike when “canyon carving” the French Alps. That’s why the photo finish for this bike would be the road leading up to the Col de Galibier – one of our favourite routes in the French Alps.
The brand new BMW R 1200 RT is the leader of the touring segment. Competitors such as the Triumph Trophy or Yamaha FJR have been firmly put in their place with the new model.
The new liquid-cooled engine oozes torque allowing the rider to enjoy effortless motoring. Unlike the air-cooled version, this engine has more “vavavoom” and feels sportier. We also noticed the transmission being less clunky than the old model. The handling is surprisingly nimble for the size and weight of this tourer. The BMW R1200RT will not be left behind when riding the twisting mountain roads of the Alps.
The comfort of this bike is second to none in our fleet. Our BMW RT’s come fully loaded with all bells and whistles. The seating position is so comfortable that a Iron Butt Challenge seems doable. The passenger is also spoilt. What’s more, the large top and side cases allow for extended trips over several weeks.
This intercontinental mile muncher feels equally at home on long sweeping bends as on the Autoroute. The picture perfect “Kodak moment” for this bike would be crossing Norman Foster’s famous Millau Viaduct spanning the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in Southern France.
BMW F700 GS
The revised BMW F 700 GS is an enduro touring motorcycle. It competes with the BMW F800GS and Triumph Tiger 800. The name of the F700GS is misleading as it features the same 798cc engine as the F800GS and should not be dismissed on the grounds that it is “entry-level”. It has a lot to offer and guarantees loads of smiles per miles.
We absolutely love this bike as an all-rounder. The engine has plenty of power to keep up with the bigger bikes. But where this bike really shines is the handling. You can pretty much take any line through a turn and come out smiling the other end. It’s a joy to ride and remains 100% predictable no matter what the situation. Be it an experienced rider or a newbie, this bike will not disappoint.
The comfort for rider and passenger is comparable to the bigger GS1200. You will enjoy long trips. The extendable top and side cases swallow most of your luggage and are easy to take on and off the bike.
So what is the dream road for this motorcycle? The picture perfect moment for us would be going up the Saint Bernard Pass in Switzerland and then looping back to France via Chamonix and the Mont Blanc.
MV Agusta Brutale
The MV Brutale looks fast standing still. No other roadster such as the Kawasaki Z800, Triumph Street Triple or Yamaha MT-09 matches the Brutale in performance or sex appeal.
Similar to the Rivale, the Brutale requires an experienced rider. Novices are unlikely to enjoy this bike due to the aggressive engine character and sensitive handling. The engine is a powerhouse that enjoys being revved. The explosive top end must be handled with care – especially in first, second and third gear. The finely tuned chassis feels most at home on even road surfaces. The Brutale’s Brembo brakes have the best brake feel in our fleet and offer ample stopping power.
Comfort wise this bike is made for the rider. Passengers will not feel comfortable on this bike due to the limited seat space. Obviously, short trips are possible. Unfortunately, the Brutale lacks any form of luggage. Riders will need to pack their belongings into a rucksack.
It is difficult to find a location to match the looks of the MV Brutale. For that reason, we chose France’s most beautiful road – the Route des Cretes between Marseille and La Ciotat. Motorbike pictures don’t get any better.
This review was written to help you choose the right bike for your holiday in France. Reviewing each bike, the saying "horses for courses" springs to mind. Different riders will have different preferences and there is no such thing as the best bike. One thing you can be sure about is that no matter what rental motorcycle you choose, you will have a great time in the Provence, Alps and French Riviera.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We guarantee an answer the same working day.
Posted by: Jeff Fielding