Inspired by the wish of doing things differently, Ecuador Bike Rental by Sleipner was born a little over 3 years ago, by one globe trotter and a loyal team behind the operation, we've succeeded in being recognized with many awards in the short time the company has been operating. And boy our clients had fun with us. These are a few areas that we think WE DID RIGHT from the beginning, thanks to the experience of the staff with God knows how many miles under their belts. We hope you enjoy the reading and get excited to come and ride with us in Ecuador.
USING KTM in our motorcycle rental fleet
We simply love the brand. There are many things being mentioned about KTM on blogs and international references all over and yes, to be honest, we were a bit reluctant to include them on our fleet. So we decided to put them to the test. We bought our first KTM 1290 SuperAdventure R and while breaking-in its engine, we successfully finished the 2019 Andes Rider Challenge. 1235 km in less than 22 hours throughout Ecuador's three worlds.
The only flaw the bike had, was the stock tires that slowed us down in the off-road bits. Then, the brutal test came up. We rode it on an epic trip to Mendoza, Argentina with one goal in mind: to climb Mount Aconcagua. This meant to set up the bike with a good luggage rack and prepare it for combat. The bike carried about 80 kg of mountaineering equipment and camping gear for the feat. We rode about 18000 kilometers in 4 weeks from which, 7000 were pure asphalt on the way down at about 200 km/h. You can imagine with the luggage, the air drag the bike had to cope with. The 1290 SuperAdventure is meant for hardcore travel and it proved it's worth many times over. After successfully summit Aconcagua and NOT happy to ride it in such a demanding way, we decided to cross Bolivia from Laguna Colorada in the south to the capital of Uyuni through the Salar. The area is well known for killing every single electric contact in your vehicle. At first, we hesitated to go for it. There was still another 7500 km on dirt to go before returning home, and the bike has a complex 7-computer system onboard to work its magic. You can imagine the risk. But we managed to arrive in Uyuni with not one single problem. Our intention wasn't to kill the bike, but we wanted to make sure that we are offering quality stuff to our clients. We fell in love just like when you do with your beloved one on honeymoon. We then decided to get more KTM bikes, and of course, we went for the KTM 790 adventure line. This last one was put to the test by an enduro champ from Nebraska. He loved it and since then, we were confident with the capabilities of the KTM brand. Our next purchase will be the beasty KTM 890 Adventure.
Don't get us wrong, we do have more brands and known models in our fleet, such as the mighty Honda Africa Twin (DCT and manual models), the XRE300, Suzuki DR 650, Vstroms, and Royal Enfield Himalayas. Machines that have been tested over all kinds of terrain in Ecuador. They are as reliable as it gets and we are happy to have them as part of our fleet. Every model has its goodies and dark sides, and we believe is up to the rider to decide which one is perfect for them.
Soft luggage systems
Due to many falls and issues split lane in other countries where the standard is to use aluminum cases or paniers, we decided that based on that experience, soft luggage was a must from the beginning. We've been testing different models from different brands and decided to keep what worked out for us. Among them, the GIVI GRAVEL-T GRT709. These are no cheap stuff. They are made of ballistic materials that are waterproof as well. They are also lockable and with their 35 lt of capacity, can hold enough belongings for a comfortable tour, besides the tool kits, emergency kits, and tire kits we send along with every party. If that wasn't enough, we also added a 40 lt waterproof duffel that can complete your ride.
The phone base was another important item on the bikes. We rely on the best top 5 lists to decide what works and what doesn't work for other riders worldwide.
Having our units being serviced by authorized dealers
Even when Davos, one of the owners disarms and arms Ducati's most complex models for fun on the weekends, as a company policy we rely on the expertise of the mechanics in every authorized dealer. The confidence of this added value to our clients is so worth the money. Safety and the reduced client's lost holiday time due to rescue operations compensate in a great manner the investment on dealers. We don't patch pieces or weld floating disk brakes like our local competitors. These modifications not only reduce the bike's reliability but also, become a hazard to the rider.
Motorcycle racing champions and experienced adventure riders in our fleet
Just like in mountaineering, a guide is the one with the most knowledge. This is vital to be able to help others in case of need. As a company, the rules are clear not only for the clients but also for the staff. Before the tour starts, the clients are briefed on road and traffic regulations that have to be respected by everyone on the ride. That being said, why not to learn from champions one thing or two about techniques that can improve and make the client's ride safer? Take our friend Vitaliy in 2018 for example, who's never ridden on dirt before. Thanks to our guide Pancho, he developed new skills that worked wonders for him when he went back home.
Not only to know how to ride on dirt but also what motorcycle was the perfect fit for him before purchasing it. By having a 100% Ecuadorean guiding staff on our lines, the way we engage with our people is much deeper. This helps as a bridge between the local culture and our customers for a better experience. Bottom line, all these good skills added to a great leadership skillset, makes our tours a pleasant experience for everyone. And this is not us saying, but our reviews in the media, either TripAdvisor or google.
SEO advice when branding our company
There are so many wonderful places on earth to ride, and starting a company having all those wonderful competitors could be a challenge. Hence the importance to present clear and upfront information about what you are doing and where. That, added to a patent to our name in 2018, can assure were are not copying anyone.
Proof that there is no mistake between us and our competitors when our potential customers have a chat with us, a 90% of the time, the question that pops up is: why would I go with you instead of "clear competitor's name"? There is no mistake here.
On another note, they also know via other people that we don't rely on charging ridiculous speeding warnings or excessive unintentional damage to the bike. Our business model is based on the approach of what the client wants, and not on what we want from them, and that's how we earn our customer's trust.
Being able to retribute the community as we go and give back to others
We are proud of being the leading 100% Ecuadorean motorcycle tour and rental company in the country. But our contribution to society doesn't stop on offer jobs, we also have enrolled in national charity programs, such as PRO-SONRISA. This non-profit organization helps kids with major health issues and in need of transplants. They also look after the elderly suffering from leprosy all over the country. 70% of our tours with high-end bikes such as the KTM 1290 SuperAdventure R or, the Honda Africa Twin, or the BMW models, deviate 10% of the revenue towards these causes. After COVID, Ecuador's people have been severely affected, and it feels so good to be able to help others and include our customers in the process.
As a side effect, the villages that know us for these acts, are retributing by allowing us to access places that are not commonly open to the public, or with restricted access. That way, we can offer a closer approach of the client to the real culture.
Direct agreement with the best lodges and hotels in Ecuador
It's easier to have an agreement when you speak the language and if care is shown. It has helped us to open new and exclusive doors to hotels and lodges at affordable prices to our clients by dealing directly with the owners. A clear example is our exclusive partner in Mindo, in the North-West of the country. La Bicok is an eco-lodge with a story behind it. Sebastien, a french dude that was riding around the world with his family, decided to settle in Mindo with a mission in head: to provide an experience as close as possible to nature with a high-class comfort.
As mentioned earlier, we give the customer what they want. We provide the base information for them to make a decision about what to visit, what to do, and taste. We depend upon the customer's time frame and budget to optimize their visit to this wonderful country.
In a summary, we are unique in our business and we are proud of where we are. We encourage you to visit our country and try for yourself if the testimony of our clients, falls on justice.
If you are planning to build your own motorcycle tour company, we encourage you to do so. There is no better way to help others to enjoy your own country and show the best of it to the world.