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commuting in melbourne

Discussion in 'Scooters' at netrider.net.au started by cflake, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. Hi All,

    My wife would like to commute to work on a scooter. She got her m/c learners permit at the beginning of the year through HART and she has been looking at different scooters for the past few weeks. She will be travelling from the northern suburbs into St. Kilda rd, probably down st. georges rd/hoddle/punt/toorak rd.

    I've tried to talk her into a 250 motorbike, but she's not having a bar of that. She did the first day of the course on a cb250 and didnt like it (dropping it twice). She did the second day on a scooter and had a great time so for now, she only wants a scooter.

    Anyway, I've never gone that way in peak hour but I assume it's mostly stop/start traffic. My biggest concern is her having an accident. One of the reasons she wants a scooter is to lane split in heavy traffic, but from memory Melbourne drivers don't take kindly to lanesplitters (I havent commuted in Melbourne for over 5 years on a bike, and then it was only from hawthorn). I'm worried that if she lanesplits to the front of the line, she will get in front of 'p-plater Gino' or even 'SS work ute Gino' who won't think twice about accidently mowing her down because they took 1 second more to launch from the lights.

    This can be mitigated a bit by buying the right gear, which we priced up last weekend. The other way I guess is to buy a bigger scoot which will keep up with the F1GP green light race.

    So, is there anyone here who also commutes on a scooter? which one? Are my fears unfounded? We have been looking at the Honda lead 100, but I'd like it if she bought something bigger (4 stroke) and a litle more power. Recommendations? (prefer new, but 2nd hand is ok... under 3 grand + gear)
  2. Get her a 250 scooter.
  3. my suggestion is look at teh 125cc and up.
    There are lots to choose from now days so just go try them all out.
  4. She's better off avoiding Hoddle/Punt roads. I've seen a lot of drivers changing lanes without indicating or headchecking and doing generally dumb shit because they're frustrated.
    Personally I'd cut through the city 'back' streets.

    Also if she wants to lanesplit then she better be very confident and capable. Around the city many motorcyclists lanesplit and if she's not careful and too slow she'd get cleaned up from behind.
    As you mentioned she'll also want to be quick off the start and have a scoot with good 0-80kph acceleration or she'll end up a hood ornament.
  5. Can't advise you on the choice of scoot, but I strongly suspect that a little more power (and 4 stroke) is going to make the ride just a little bit easier and therefore probably safer. I would guess somewhere around 125cc?
    I'd be more concerned with the choice of route. Coming down St Georges Road, I personally would NOT choose Hoddle st/Punt Road, as it is an absolute sh!tfight every morning, with cars desperately trying to get over into the lane they need, flooring it etc.
    Much better idea, IMHO to take Brunswick St, or possibly Smith St or Rathdowne, into the city and then either the Exhibition St extension (right at Bridge Road) or over to King St to get to St Kilda Road. So long as you take your time at the intersections, CBD traffic is relatively slow and easy to split. These routes are actually quicker than Punt Road, too.
  6. oh if the budget is about 7k id get a Vespa gt200. These little things a quite zippy, im thinking about getting one for the GF but probably the GT250 it will get infront of the traffic and sit on the freeway comfortably at 110 - 120
  7. In a 4 stroke, nothing short of 200-250cc would really cut the mustard if you plan on getting in front of cars during peak hour.
  8. Yep you are going to need something to keep up with the traffic, I struggle from time to time on a 250 bike.

    But good on her, maybe take her to a HART course to see if she can get a handle on a bike.

    ANyway I love the Vespa 250.
  9. (riders of less powerful bikes may find this advice useful);

    instead of lane splitting (filtering) to the front of the queue,
    i suggest getting to almost 1 or 2 cars from the front,
    then find a nice spot and nestle into a gap where you can be seen.

    it is only the front runners that are prone to launch,
    even tough a scooter will not beat them,
    it should be able to stay ahead of the backmarkers.

    (i often do this when i am not in a mood to race,
    or if the front runners are of the ilk you have described.)
  10. Hi Cflake,

    Firstly welcome to Netrider!

    Secondly, im a girl and commute to work everyday on my 250.
    I often travel along those roads mentioned and can tell you that the peak hour commuters are not very accomodating to bikes/scooters.especially on Hoddle/Punt Rds.. :shock: :evil:

    Ive always been a confident driver/rider so those roads for me arent too bad. In order for your wife to travel safely along these roads i would strongly suggest some extra "intense training".

    Other than that, i would definately recommend using alternate routes.

    If would like a friend to go on w/end rides with to get used to riding, she can PM and i would be more than happy... :wink:

    Good Luck and keep us updated

    -Jamie :p
  11. Hi cflake, I would suggest getting at least a 125 preferably a 250.
  12. Yeah your not wrong there Jamie, VIC Police also thought so when they took your licence. :LOL: :LOL: :p :p :p
  13. I agree absolutely with Carver. On the 550cc I obviously have no problems with acceleration (and it's funny to see Mr Crankey in his old Corolla try to drag me when I pull up in the space to his left at the lights), but I use that technique on slower roads, where the cars try to push each other to speed (eg Johnson st, Collingwood). I used to do it habitually on the postie.

    Have you considered one of these

    or one of these

    Both common and popular. For your money, however, you should have no problem finding a decent second hand Vespa, if you look around. Frank at Vespa House in Collingwood is good to talk to about what to buy, in terms of quality and servicability. He also advertises his customers Vespas (there was a late model PX200 for $3000 some time back, for example).
  14. haha yes but they just wanted a picture of my sexy bike!
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  16. Hey cflake

    Let her get out there and ride whatever she's most comfortable with. If she's so timid that she can't work out how to keep the ginos from running her over, she's unlikely to be the kind to lanesplit anyway.

    That won't stop you from stressing, but she'll be pootling about at whatever pace is comfy to HER. Let her make her own mistakes. If she's smart enough to ride a bike she'll work out how to look after herself.
  17. Well said Loz!
  18. Yeah better to be comfortable and paying attention to the traffic rather than just trying to stay on the bike.

    Im sure i could lanesplit and get to work in the exact same manner on a 20cc motor strapped to the back of a BMX as i do on my 250.
    Im also sure more cc's are not going to help my daily commute.
    So dont worry too much about power.

    After a while when your splitting you get to have an idea about which lane to choose at the front. Sometimes you see two cars that just spell trouble and sit a car back from the lights.
    Dont worry too much, your wife will identify the Gino's pretty quickly and steer clear im sure.

    Good on her for wanting to give it a go.

    P.S. Get her to drive to work a few different ways and observe the traffic, then choose the safest route.
    On a bike any one of them will be quicker than trying to get there in the car.
  19. Get one of those Benelli 400 badboys, those things fang (and sound awesome).

    But as said above, if she's not skillful and confident, avoid Punt rd, not generally 2wheel friendly during peak hour.
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