Interview with the founder of Cruizador
First article to know the people behind Cruizador. And it is neither more nor less than Adrien, the founder and manager, who gets on the grill to set an example! In this interview he talks about the origins of the project, the development of the platform and the future of Cruizador. interview-founder-cruizador-adrien
How did your history with motorcycles begin?
Relatively late, I must admit. My parents never let me own a motorized two-wheeler before. They said it was too dangerous. But the urge was still there, almost nagging. Then in the summer of 2013, my cousin decided to take his provisional license, and I decided to do the same. At the end of August I found a 1998 Honda CB600 Hornet with 40,000km for around 2,500CHF. At the beginning of September, I had my provisional license. And at the end of October 2013 again, I got my license on the first try! interview-founder-cruizador-adrien
What were the first sensations?
An indescribable feeling of absolute freedom.
It was a bit a difficult time for me. After graduating, I was applying for jobs. It was taking time, too long for my taste. And the bike allowed me to set a goal and hang on to something tangible. Also, when I was feeling low, I would jump on my bike and ride out with no destination in mind. I just wanted to roll over and clear my head. This first year I rode more than 3000km in 2 months. I have traveled almost all of French-speaking Switzerland :-)! interview-founder-cruizador-adrien
Any first fright ?
Yes and no. The fact that I waited until I was 28 allowed me to limit my enthusiasm I think. Clearly I started straight off with a big cube (600cc over 90 hp). Plus those old 4 cylinders (carbs) really sing when you go high in the rpms. So I wouldn’t say that I didn’t get carried away by the acceleration from time to time. But hey in Switzerland, with Via Secura, you better think twice before riding full throttle. interview-founder-cruizador-adrien
And since then ?
Fright ? Still not, knocking wood :-)!
No I mean you keep riding ?
As much as I can, although now, and it is paradoxical, I have less time to ride now with Cruizador, which takes a lot of my time.
So I thought that by making my passion a job I would spend my days on two wheels, and now, I find myself no longer able to practice my passion because of my job!
We’ll come back to Cruizador later, but let’s continue a bit on your personal experience first. You keep riding your CB 600?
No, I made up my mind to part with it, although I regret it a bit. They say you never forget your first love… I thought I would keep it as a basis for a custom café racer style project, but I quickly realized when I scoured the forums that it was not the best basis for such a project.
In 2016, I bought myself a Triumph Speed Triple (used one from 2009). I fell in love with this bike while reading the Moto-Heroes magazine. A custom project from a French CreativGarage Workshop. A dirty, over-vitamin scrambler that blew my mind. interview-founder-cruizador-adrien
I’ve read a lot on the subject, about three-cylinder architecture and about the Triumph brand. And after a try, I knew it was the right one. A radical frame, with a rocky sound that made you shiver from head to toe. And an acceleration that hit you in the buttocks every time you opened a little. I came across an owner in Bern who wanted to sell it because, given his age (over 60) and his knee problems, he couldn’t / wanted to ride it anymore. And a bike sleeping in a garage is never good for her. We agreed on the price and in 30min, after a brief mechanical check and a little test run, I bought it from him! interview-founder-cruizador-adrien
Indeed, a hell of a bike, without any assistance and not yet all these Euro 5 standards etc … The good old days as they say! And now ?
I still have my Speed which I will keep for the rest of my life I think. We won’t do a bike like that again, I don’t think. It’s out of fashion.
But since I don’t have a car, I told myself that I could find a second bike, a little more versatile, why not a Trail… I was a bit reluctant at the start. For me, the bike was above all about style. A motorcycle should not be consensual, a roadster or nothing. Then I tried a friend’s 2015 Africa Twin and thought “after all, it is a great compromise after all”. I even wrote an article on why Trails are the best bikes (here).
In 2018 I fell in love with a used Triumph Tiger 800 as well. A golden opportunity! A soon to be retired Berner guy again who had a Bonneville and a Tiger but no longer had the time / inclination to ride both. She had few km for this kind of bike and the price was more than reasonable. In 30min, the deal was done.
And I have done over 20,000 km in one year. And that was a great discovery. A somewhat linear engine but still sporty (three cylinders with 90hp), with torque, a fairly rigid chassis, in short, a good compromise. Me who likes to make road-trips of several players, in wild camping mode with friends, that seemed perfect to me. And I was not wrong.
A bike with which you can ride 1000km in a day and arrive fresh at the aperitif in the evening. A slightly different experience than with the Speed Triple!
So this is the type of ride out you do know? Long road trips?
Not always. A day roadtrip on for ex. the Susten-Grimsel-Furka triplet is great too. But for me, going on a bike also rhymes with discovery, and therefore travel. So if I can combine the two, that’s great. So I try to stall myself once or twice a year, if possible in the off season (June or September for example) and to go between 4 days and a week.
We usually leave with my cousin, we take the camping equipment, a stove, and we leave without a specific itinerary but with a strong desire to ride. And after a long day of driving, we bivouac and we talk till late in the night around the fire with one or more bottles of red wine or beers!
And your favorite place(s)?
There are many. The Pacific One in California between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Captain Cook Highway in Australia … But I particularly like France. Route des Grandes Alpes, Drome, Lubéron, Gorges du Verdon, etc. And a big crush on Mont Ventoux. 24km of climb, in an incredible landscape, almost lunar at the top. Well, beware of cyclists, some behave a bit anyhow on the road. But otherwise it’s just plain happiness. interview-founder-cruizador-adrien
So now back to Cruizador, how did you get the idea?
I would say first of all a personal need. I travel a lot and it was often impossible to find rental motorcycles, and even when I did find them it was awfully expensive. And this as well in the USA, as in France, Thailand, Australia, etc. So, why not bring motorcycles into the sharing economy. I did a market analysis in Switzerland, and I said to myself that there was something to do. Keeping in mind that a motorcycle spends 95% of its time in a garage, why not allow them to stretch their cylinders while giving happiness to a potential renter? In Switzerland, there are more than 460,000 motorcycles registered, so if we manage to offer 4-500 in the first place, it allows to test the idea and validate the concept.
You would be surprised to see the number of abandoned bikes that we come across when touring the car parks in Switzerland.
No later than the other day, not far from Lausanne. A BMW R-NineT, registered and abandoned under a railway track, with 2cm of dust on the saddle, the tires completely flat. It hurts my heart.
Because, and I’m not teaching you anything, a bike that doesn’t run/ride is a bike that gets damaged.
So I would like to tell the owner of this Nine-T, since you pay your insurance, your tax etc, why not rent it out on our platform, to at least offset the ownership costs? interview-founder-cruizador-adrien
I will mention also that there are similar concepts abroad (USA, NL, etc.) and that it is starting to catch on! interview-founder-cruizador-adrien
But there is an emotional link with the motorcycle … We say you should never lend a motorcycle !?
This is true and we understand it. Some will never want to rent out their motorbike and we respect that.
But first of all, that doesn’t mean they won’t find any interest in Cruizador. They might want to rent a different bike to test a new model, or rent one on vacation without having to bring their own bike. And Cruizador addresses them too. I always say, I personally don’t rent out my apartment on Airbnb, but I often use the platform to rent accommodation on the go. And so I think it’s a great service. In short Cruizador is for everyone, owners and renters.
But in any case, owning a motorcycle is expensive. You have to pay the insurance, taxes, maintenance, a box to protect her from the capricious climate. In short, motorcycles are an expensive passion and many can afford it, but at the cost of sacrifice (s) in their daily life. So if thanks to Cruizador you can pay off these costs and save for your vacation, to pay for accessories or even save for a new one, isn’t that a win-win?
In fact, we wrote an article on the economic reasoning behind Cruizador. A real life case study based on a BM R9T precisely. What are the fixed costs, what are the variable costs, how much do I have to rent over the season to pay off all the costs, etc. 0 blah-blah, only concrete stuff. You can read the article here
But basically, from 13 rentals throughout the season, not only will you pay off all your expenses and your bike doesn’t cost you anything, but in addition from there you make a net income that you will be able to use to buy an other bike, accessories, etc.
I admit that presented like this … but you? You rent out your motorcycles?
When I wanted to launch Cruizador, the common thread was this: with the current structure, would you be comfortable with the idea of renting out your bike to someone you don’t know? And until the answer was yes, I did not launch the service. I reworked the questions with the lawyer, reformulated the contracts, readjusted the processes, etc.
And so the answer to the question is now YES, my personal bikes are for rent on the platform.
We review and unravel in another article all the myths related to P2P rental (fines, material damage, etc.). Read the article here
So you will see that we have thought of putting all possible and unimaginable safeguards and that our desire is to provide a safe ecosystem. We check each renter upfront (we have a copy of the licenses, identity cards, etc.) and we provide all the required documents such as the rental contracts (validated by a specialized lawyer). So yes I rent my motorcycles and I do it with a clear conscience.
But you are not afraid that there will be breakage ?
It is clear that I wouldn’t particularly like that. And of course a 0 risk doesn’t exist. I will not lie. Afterwards, we put in place safeguards to avoid problems as much as possible and limit the risk: upstream control of renters (min 25 years and min 3 years of license otherwise they cannot rent), rental contract proofed by a lawyer, extended general conditions, etc.
And if there should be a damage, Cruizador provides comprehensive insurance, in partnership with Helvetia, which is included in every rental. So even if risk 0 does not exist, I am ready to rent my bikes in this secure structure. And if that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t dare suggest that others do it! interview-founder-cruizador-adrien
So everything is perfect ?
Overall yes! We had a small damage in 2020 (a backpack that rubbed against a rear mudguard on a bobber and left scratches. Within a week, the bike had gone to a bodyshop and the owner got it back like new.
We have a strong community spirit that takes hold among our active members.
The fact that the owner and the renter meet when the keys are handed over means that there is a feeling of trust that sets in and suddenly, the renters show themselves to be more respectful of the motorcycle. We have had great feedbacks from our members. They exchange tips and itineraries, speak about mechanics, etc.
One of our Australian renter has already offered to lend his motorbike to the owner who rented his own if he ever comes to visit Australia.
In short, Cruizador also tries to maintain and strengthen the biker spirit which tends to disappear a bit at times. It’s not just business, but a real desire to meet a need.
And we offer real added value we like to believe. Some bikers, especially foreigners, do not know how to rent motorcycles in Switzerland, yet they dream of traveling our magnificent roads and alpine passes. And before, there was no digital portal. So imagine if on top of that you don’t speak the language and have to manage a reservation with a dealer who doesn’t speak English? And Cruizador brings them comfort and transparency.
Our idea is “book your bike in a few clicks“. Check out our promo video BROWSE-BOOK-RIDE:
And never any negative comments?
At the beginning it was very polarized. Some people were excited about the concept and others took a stand against us on social media, sometimes violently.
It was not always easy because we put a lot of energy into the project, to come up with something coherent but also authentic. And it felt like we were there just to rip people off. But there for some time, it calmed down. There are still a few derogatory comments here and there, but by and large people are starting to recognize the authenticity of our approach and especially that Cruizador meets real needs, both for renters and for owners.
We are convinced that everyone can benefit from it and our desire is also to generate added value for society in a broader sense. We are deeply convinced that our ecosystem is a virtuous circle not only for bike owners or renters but also for all the stakeholders in our industry.
The renter who can book in a few clicks, the owner who can pay off his expenses, and the dealer who can sell motorcycles, provide services, etc. Talk to some dealers. They will tell you that some customers almost offer to bring their spare parts, often ordered abroad, to save a few bucks.
What is the profile of the users?
Among the renters, we have a bit of everything. In any case, they have a minimum of 25 years and 3 years of license, otherwise they cannot rent on Cruizador. We have tourists, who dreamed of traveling our legendary routes but who could not necessarily do so for lack of a suitable rentals available. But we also have fathers who no longer own motorcycles but still want to ride out a few times a year. We also have bikers who have sports bikes and who want to ride out with their spouses on more comfortable bikes, geared towards grand tourism. Or conversely, bikers who want to test a bike a little more sporty.
Among the owners, we also have everything. Students with less money, expats who no longer have the time/inclination to ride their motorbike but don’t want to sell it either. But we also have owners who have several motorcycles and who say to themselves, ok why not rent one to cover the expenses of the others.
In short, Cruizador is for everyone and we are not sectarian :-)!
Ok, I think we’re coming slowly to the end. To conclude, are there anything new in the pipeline?
Of course. Improving our service is our bottom line. So in 2020 we launched the new version of the platform which offers extended functionalities to users, in particular in the management of their listing (more info here). We also launched a channel for dealers, so they can use our platform to rent their demo/garage vehicles (more info here). We are convinced that this is a real opportunity for them. Because developing their own IT platform would not be profitable for a garage. And that’s not in their core business.
And last but not least, we would like to be able to launch our operations in France in the near future. But with the health situation, everything has been put on hold for now. interview-founder-cruizador-adrien
Voilà, you know (almost) everything :-)!
Ah and one last thing! What does it mean in the end Cruizador?
It’s a contraction of two words: “to cruise” in English, which means to ride out peacefully, and “conquistador”.
Not in the sense of conquering and enslaving indigenous people, just to be clear. But rather with the idea of going on an adventure to explore distant horizons. Which goes well with my vision of motorcycles. In short, a philosophy conveyed by the first explorers on motorcycles, such as Ted Simon or Anne-France Dautheville, who set out in their time to discover the world on two wheels. Then later with the debut of the rally-raid in Africa.
Moreover, when I wanted to launch Cruizador, such a service did not exist in Switzerland. Cruizador was a pioneer. And in addition, I left my well-paid corporate job, to embark on this entrepreneurial journey. In short it was a big leap into the unknown and finally the word Cruizador popped up in my head to echo all of these elements.