Renting a bike or e-bike

What do I have to pay attention to when leasing?

Do you rarely need a bike? Don't want to invest in your own? Here's what you need to know about bike rental and leasing!

If you want to ride a bike, you buy a bike first, right? Not necessarily! Because there are more and more providers who also offer bicycles and e-bikes for rent. Either spontaneously for short distances or in a subscription model over several months or years. Is that worth it? And where can you find a rental bike that suits your needs? We'll answer your questions!

Rent or lease a bike: These rental models and providers are available

The type of bike you rent depends mainly on how often and what type of bike you need. Depending on your requirements, one of these three options may suit you best:

  1. You need a bike regularly, but don't want to buy your own. In that case, a bicycle subscription is a good idea. You register with a rental provider and take out a subscription for the bike or e-bike that meets your requirements. The bike is delivered to you, already insured and ready to go - and you pay a monthly subscription fee. 

    The best known providers:
  • Swapfiets
    The bikes with the blue tire are available in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark. You sign up for a monthly subscription and receive your bike within 48 hours. Support and insurance is included. The subscription for normal bikes starts at €16.90 per month; for e-bike rental you pay from €75 per month.
  • ebike abo
    At ebike abo, everything revolves around e-bikes. You'll find exactly the right type of bike for you, from e-city bikes to e-bikes for kids. Delivery takes around seven working days, and subscriptions can be taken out for three, six, twelve, or 18 months. Subscription prices start at €79 per month

  1. You need a bike for trips through the city from time to time or want to explore foreign cities by bike. Then it makes sense for you to opt for one of the many city bike rental providers. Here you pay a small annual fee. Once signed up, you can spontaneously rent bikes via app at the respective bike stations and return them at another station. Some providers also work without specific stations; here you simply park the bike at your destination. With this model, you usually pay per half-hour ride; with some providers, the first half-hour is free. 

    The best known providers:
  • nextbike
    With nextbike, you can conveniently rent a bike in over 50 German cities via app - for €1 per half hour or a monthly rate of €10. 
  • call a bike
    Call-a-Bike is a service of Deutsche Bahn and works very similar to nextbike. The main difference is that here you have to pick up bikes from certain stations and also park them again at a station. The app shows you where bikes are available. For €3 a year you get the basic subscription, every half hour costs €1. 
  • Leihfahrräder pro Stadt
    In addition to the two nationwide providers, most cities also have their own bikes for rent - such as the red city bikes in Hamburg or the yellow "meinRad" bikes in Mainz. So if you're looking to rent bikes in your city in particular, just take a look around to see what's on your doorstep.
  1. You need a certain type of bike for special activities. Maybe you have your own city bike that you use for everyday activities - but on vacation you'd rather explore the area on a mountain bike or an e-bike? Then rent a bike just like you would rent  a car for the day. You may find these types of rentals from professional providers or via private bike rental. 

    The best known providers:
  • listnride
    At listnride you can rent bikes or rent out your own bike in many European cities. You'll find both private bike leasing offers and new models from cool bike brands that you can try out. 
  • Travelbike
    With Travelbike, you can easily rent e-bikes for your vacation in Germany or Austria. There are a wide variety of e-bike models to choose from - just like with a rental car. 

Rent a bike instead of buying one: Is it worth it?

Whether it is worthwhile for you to rent a bike depends mainly on how often you use it. In any case, the advantage is that you don't tie yourself directly to a bike. This is especially the case for e-bikes; it can be worthwhile to first test whether the motorised bikes suit you before paying a large sum for your own. You are, therefore, more flexible and have the security that your bike will be repaired in case of damage. However, if you rent bikes over a longer period of time, the subscription models may be more expensive than your own bike. You should calculate this for yourself depending on the subscription provider. 

Bicycle leasing through the employer

Recently, it has also become possible to lease a bicycle through your employer. It's like a company car! Thanks to a new tax law, you have the same privileges as car drivers. Whether the leasing model is worthwhile for you depends on aspects such as your gross salary, your tax bracket, a possible child allowance, and any subsidies from your employer. A good rule to consider: the more expensive the bike, the more likely it is to be worth leasing.

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