Vietnam is gaining popularity as a cyclist’s paradise, with stunning scenery, interesting cities, and relatively flat terrain in many regions. More and more travelers are looking to explore Vietnam by bicycle. However, finding a rental with a well-maintained bike can be a challenge. Follow these tips to locate rentals with bikes that are tuned-up and ready to roll.
Research bike rental companies in Vietnam
The first step is identifying rental companies around Vietnam that offer bicycles. There are a few ways to uncover good options:
Online search for “bike rentals Vietnam”
A quick Google search for “bike rentals Vietnam” or “bicycle rental Vietnam” will reveal dozens of companies to consider. Pay attention to rental shops located in your destination city or region. Focus on rentals that specialize in bikes rather than multipurpose travel companies.
Some reputable nationwide rental chains to look for include:
- Vietnam Bike Tours
- Vietnam Cycling
- Velo Club Cycling Center
- Saigon Green Bikes
Ask friends/family/colleagues for recommendations
Speaking to people who have visited Vietnam and rented bikes there can provide trustworthy recommendations:
“My sister traveled to Hanoi last summer and rented from a great local shop she found on TripAdvisor. She said the bikes were high-quality and very affordable.”
Friends who are experienced bicyclists may have insight into choosing rentals with well-maintained fleet.
Check travel forums/blogs/reviews for rental company mentions
Travel sites like TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum, and travel blogs often have discussions about bike rentals in Vietnam. Look for recent recommendations of reputable rental companies and warnings about ones to avoid.
For example, this travel blog post titled “Biking Vietnam’s Countryside” lists several rentals the author used across Vietnam over a two week tour. The blogger notes the condition of the bikes from each rental.
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Evaluate company reputation and reviews
Once you have a list of potential bike rental companies in Vietnam, take time to evaluate online reviews and reputation. Well-reviewed companies often provide higher quality equipment.
Read reviews on Google, TripAdvisor, Facebook, etc.
Reviews on third-party sites like Google Maps and TripAdvisor will give you a sense of customers’ experience with the rental company. Look for:
- High overall ratings (4/5 stars or higher)
- Numerous recent reviews in the past 1-2 years
- Specific feedback on bike quality and maintenance
Quotes from detailed reviews can reveal maintenance policies:
“The bikes from Motorbikethuaha Rentals were all relatively new Giant and Trek mountain bikes. My bike shifted smoothly and the brake pads were in great condition.”
Look for mentions of bike maintenance and quality
As you read company reviews, watch for any mentions of the bike fleet’s maintenance, repair, and overall quality:
- Are the bikes described as well-maintained and high quality?
- Do reviews mention bikes needing repairs during the rental?
- Does the company appear to tune-up and safety check bikes routinely?
Positive signs like these suggest the company values bike maintenance:
“They did a quick safety check and tune-up of my bike before my rental period.”
Inspect company bike fleet and maintenance
Reach out to your top rental companies to learn specifics about their bikes and maintenance routines. This will help you determine who has the best fleet.
Ask about their bike fleet – new/used, origin, brands
Email or call the company to find out:
- Age of bikes – do they refresh their fleet regularly or use older bikes?
- Where do they purchase their bikes? Local or imported?
- Bike brands/models – more reputable brands often equate to better quality.
- Bike types – road, hybrid, mountain etc.
“We have a fleet of ~50 bicycles that we update every 2-3 years. Our latest bikes were purchased in Vietnam and major brands include Giant, Merida, and Trek.”
Inquire about maintenance schedule and policies
A reputable rental company should have clear maintenance procedures and schedules. Ask questions like:
- How often are bikes serviced and safety checked?
- Do they have full-time bike mechanics on staff?
- What is the bike repair/replacement policy if issues arise during rental?
Look for in-depth answers that show routine upkeep:
“Our team of 2 mechanics inspect every bike biweekly and do any needed tune-ups, repairs, and parts replacement. We aim to keep our fleet in excellent riding condition.”
Assess condition of individual rental bike
Once you arrive to pick up your rental, inspect the specific bike assigned to you to confirm it is well-maintained.
Check tires, brakes, gears, chain for wear and tear
Give the bike a thorough once-over before accepting it:
- Tires – adequate tread, no dry cracks, even wear
- Brakes – brake pads not overly worn, no squeaking
- Gears – clean and lubricated, shift smoothly through all gears
- Chain – no rust, stiff links, or grinding noises
Also check bike parts like handlebars, seat, reflectors to ensure they are solidly attached.
Take a test ride to check comfort and function
Take the bike for a quick test spin around the block. Listen and feel for any issues while riding:
- Brakes respond adequately without too much lever pressure
- Gears shift cleanly from high to low
- No odd clanking or rattling noises arise
- Bike is comfortable for your size and riding style
If anything seems off or needs adjustment, notify the rental company before departing.
Ask when the specific bike was last serviced
You can request to see the bike’s service records or ask staff directly when it was last tuned up. Ideally it received a full safety check and maintenance within the past 1-2 months.
“This Giant hybrid was last fully serviced and safety checked two weeks ago when the tires were replaced.”
Request a tune-up and safety check beforehand
To receive a bike that’s surely in good mechanical shape, ask the rental company to do a full tune-up and safety check a day or two before your scheduled pickup.
Ask the company to tune-up and safety check the bike beforehand
Most quality bike rentals will provide this service if you request it ahead of time. You can ask by phone, email, or in person.
“I’d like to request that my bike receives a full tune-up and safety check 1-2 days before my rental pickup this Saturday.”
Specify needing a bike in good working order
Politely emphasize that having a bike in excellent condition is important to you:
“I’ll be riding some long distances, so I really need a bike that shifts smoothly and has strong brakes. Please prepare a bike that’s in great working order for my trip.”
Reputable companies will make sure to meet this request.
Learn basic bike maintenance before your trip
Another way to avoid issues is educating yourself on basic bike maintenance tasks before your trip. Being able to handle minor repairs yourself makes it less likely you’ll end up stranded with a broken chain in rural Vietnam!
Watch YouTube tutorials on simple adjustments/repairs
Plenty of great YouTube channels offer instruction on tasks like:
- Adjusting derailleur shifting
- Tightening brakes
- Lubing a chain
- Replacing inner tubes
Carry a multi-tool, spare tube, and pump while riding
Having the right gear on hand allows you to troubleshoot basic problems on-the-go:
- Multi-tool – for tightening loose bolts/screws
- Spare inner tube – swap out punctured tube
- Bike pump – re-inflate tire with new tube
These essential items weigh very little and can really save the day!
Handle any bike issues arising during the rental
No matter how well-maintained a bike, problems can occasionally crop up while riding. Work promptly with the rental company to address any bike trouble that emerges.
Notify the company if problems arise with the bike
Don’t hesitate to contact the rental company if your bike experiences issues significant enough to impact riding. For example:
- Brakes wearing out and losing effectiveness
- Significant gear slippage that won’t adjust out
- Broken chain or part that leaves bike unrideable
Call right away if the problem leaves you stranded somewhere with a broken bike.
Ask for a replacement bike if yours becomes unrideable
Reputable companies should have provisions to bring you a replacement rental bike in the event yours has a mechanical issue that cannot be fixed on the spot.
“My bike’s derailleur is completely broken – the chain won’t stay on at all. Could someone bring me a replacement rental bike to my location?”
If they lack capacity to deliver a bike, request reimbursement for transportation costs to swap out bikes.
Provide feedback to the rental company afterwards
Once you return your bike, give constructive feedback to the rental company on the bike’s mechanical condition during your trip. Your reviews help keep their fleet in top shape!
Give constructive feedback on bike condition post-rental
Let the staff know:
- If the bike performed well overall
- Any noticeable wear and tear or issues that arose
- Suggestions on servicing/replacing parts showing decline
Providing polite, honest feedback helps the company identify maintenance needs in their fleet.
“The bike did great overall, but the brakes felt a bit soft and will probably need new pads soon.”
Leave detailed reviews on third-party sites afterwards
Similarly, share your rental experience on third party sites like Google Reviews. Mention bike quality and maintenance specifically:
“I rented a new Giant road bike that was clearly well-serviced. Shifted gears smoothly and brakes were nice and responsive.”
Your reviews guide future customers on where to find quality rental bikes.
Finding well-maintained rental bikes in Vietnam just takes a bit of preparation. Research reputable companies, dig into bike fleet details, perform your own inspection, and learn basic bike skills. Handling any issues promptly and providing feedback also keeps rentals focused on bike quality. Follow these tips and feel confident you’ll be pedaling through Vietnam on a smoothly rolling set of wheels. With the right rental bike between your legs, Vietnam’s landscapes and city streets will open up for a cycling adventure of a lifetime!