I hate it here, generally in India and specifically in Hyderabad. At some point in the future I would like to settle down somewhere outside this country, but until I do, it’s important to keep myself happy and alive.
That has not proven to be an easy task.
Since I’ve more or less given up on touring, and there’s nothing much else to do in Hyderabad except track riding, things do tend to get boring from time to time. Sitting at home, day after day, trying to think up shit to piss random people off is fun, but you can only do it so many times before you start to question your purpose in life.
A while back I heard about Driven, a bike/car rental service in Hyderabad that has a wide range of vehicles under them. I have now used their services twice, once for the Daytona, and second time for the 600i. It’s been a lot of fun to get to ride a big bike after paying a fraction of its cost, and it has certainly given me something more to do than just stare at a computer screen and ejaculate from time to time.
Here’s my review of their ecosystem.
Driven bike rental service review: Range (10/10)
I was initially quite surprised at just how many bikes they had. It seemed like the owner had some unfulfilled childhood motorcycle fantasies, and basically bought anything and everything he could get his hands on. You can check out their entire fleet here. Things start from Honda Navi and go all the way up to Kawasaki ZX14R.
You have at least one example of every kind of motorcycle there is, scooty, off-roader, superbike, cruiser, street bike, they’ve got it all. If you’re also in cars it might interest you they have everything from Nano to Porsche 911. Also, cycles!
Just like ZoomCar, most of these vehicle rental services start out well. When I rented the Daytona, it had barely 500 kms on the odo, and so naturally was a brilliant, smooth, clean bike. However, as the times go by, and more and more people rape these unfortunate prostitutes of the automotive world, things start to fall out of place.
The Benelli TNT 600i that I rented from them last was visibly dirty, like someone had taken it off-roading and hadn’t cleaned it afterwards. After just about 30 odd kms the clutch cable broke off, and the overall condition of the bike can only be described as below average, and that’s not surprising considering the fact that it had done 10,000+ kms. I don’t think there’s much Driven can do about this, but as a customer you must thoroughly check the bike you are about to rent before taking it for a spin.
If shit goes wrong, you are the one responsible.
Ease of use (7/10):
In the beginning, things weren’t too good. They had only one pick up location, which was deep inside Jubilee Hills, which is basically the asshole of Hyderabad. After taking the Daytona from there, I immediately found myself stuck in traffic, trying to make a sharp U-turn on a bumpy pothole ridden road.
Not the ideal thing to do with a supersport.
Now things are better. They’ve opened a bigger office in Gachibowli, which has a clean, wide road in front of it. Also, the office has a cafe inside, where you can get stuff to eat and drink. It’s actually quite brilliant for people who want to rent cars, just take one, and the ORR is right around the corner, which is probably one of the top 3 roads in India to rip things on, just behind the Yamuna Expressway.
The only hurdle that still remains in getting a bike from them is the deposit. Their competition in Bangalore, Wicked Ride, doesn’t charge any advance on the bikes they rent. As far as I know their competition in Mumbai, Snap Bikes, doesn’t either. Driven on the other hand, takes a hefty amount as collateral.
On the Daytona, I paid 50,000 bucks as security. I didn’t pay it in cash, they just blocked the amount on my card, but it’s still a substantial sum of money for a lot of people. I understand the need for a deposit, but they also have to understand that anything more than 15,000 is going to create big problems for a lot of people.
From what I’ve seen till now, Driven rentals are either at par, or cheaper than the competition. I rode the Daytona around 500 kms, and had it for 2 days, and paid roughly 15,000 bucks for that. With the 600i I rode it some 350 kms and had it for the same amount of time. The bill was some 7,000.
Of course this isn’t exactly cheap, because you pay for the petrol too, but it’s still much cheaper than spending the money to actually buy the damn thing.
Driven’s pricing system is 2-tiered. They charge a basic amount per bike per day, and then on top of that, you pay some amount for every kilometre you ride. For example the Benelli 600i costs a fixed 2000 bucks a day, and then 7 bucks per kilometre over and above that. Felt like a fair system to me, apart from of course the deposit part.
The 600i’s clutch cable broke on a Saturday morning. I contacted Driven around 8, and by 11 a guy showed up, who had the bike up and running by 1.30. Full marks for the support system, the mechanic was extremely knowledgeable, polite, and even funny.
Support can also be used to actually get the bike to your doorstep, rather than going to the pick up point. I have never used this, since the cost can be a bit on the higher side. From what I remember, they were charging some 1000 bucks for pick up and drop facility of the Daytona, which felt a bit too much to me, but you know, still an option available for someone not as much of a cheap fuck as me.
Driven bike rental service review: Verdict (8/10)
The only negative experience I had during my dealings with Driven was after that clutch cable scene with the 600i. I understand that bikes can fuck up from time to time, and there’s little anybody can do about them. However, I paid the rent for the bike on a per-hour basis, and I wasn’t able to use the bike for around 6 hours. I contacted Driven and asked them to refund that amount to me, and I was politely told that they’d discuss it with the manager and get back to me.
I made some 5-6 calls in the next few days, but got tired of retelling the same story over and over again. There does seem to be a lack of ownership at some points, with the people on the phone having no real power to do anything. Also, the fact that I found some new guy every time I called didn’t help either.
I still think Driven is an excellent thing to happen to Hyderabad. I have always believed that writing a review of a motorcycle after test riding it at the showroom is kinda like writing a movie review after standing outside the theatre. With Driven, I have an opportunity to live with the bike for a few days, and do things to it. You don’t have to worry about the bike, don’t have to care about its maintenance, just enjoy what it can do and give it back once you are finished.
It’s still not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.