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Recollections of riding in Melbs on a hire bike

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by vicj0r, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. I have decided to write up my riding experience in Melbourne ending early last week of last month. Kinda wraps up a few topics so I hope Geneal discussion is the right place for it. I had a great experience hiring a motorcycle for four of my seven days down there and also got an impression of Melbourne being a great place to be a rider. This is also me remembering what it was like to ride a different kind of bike for the first time. For other noobs with enough credit - Hiring a bike is a cool way to try out a different kind of bike.

    This is the perspective of a new rider from Brisbane (3 months) presently riding a Suzuki DRZ400SM (totally great urban bike for a new rider). I was in Melbourne for little break, sharing an apartment with some friends for a week. I knew a bit of the place already from pervious visits but this time around I wouldn't be seeing a femme, alas.

    Anyway I was loving the cooler weather and looking for trouble when I chanced upon Garners bike hire on my way to the city. We were in in North Melbourne so it was just around the corner. Bike hire Woot! BUT yeah settle down tiger and look at the prices. Okay I don't 'really' need a bike ...

    so next day I'm back at Garners handing over my credit card :p (bike withdrawl kicked in bad overnight) and I have just enough credit to cover the deposit and terms for a three day hire of a Yamaha 600 Fazer. I had never ridden an inline four so it was gonna be so sweet.

    Advice received: 'You should check out the Great Ocean Road with your unlimited kilometers, head towards Geelong, keep going, don't speed on the freeway cause of cameras, have fun.' OK I might check it out tommorrow if I have time.

    The jacket, gloves and helmet I got with the bike were as good as my own at home. The jacket was actually a 'lot' better than mine. Sitting out in front of Garners on the Fazer I lol'd ... where are the bars (they were lot skinnier than what I was used to). I was a little nervous about riding a different bike in unfamiliar territory, but I crept off around the corner and then zoomed up the road with a lot more confidence feeling the wacky (bit clunky) first and second gear changes but digging 'big time' the whiney but smoother engine. Big grin ... all of a sudden plans have changed ... cause I have to check out that ocean road thing.

    Its a different kind of acceleration on this bike ... not faster than mine up to 80kph but easier and thats a pretty cool feeling. Not really needing anything more than two gears in the city or even the freeway for the most part ... also interesting. Turning also nice (understatement) ... totally different.

    It's pretty windy on the freeway and I am lol'ing pretty hard each time I get pushed around the lane, but I am thinking this might get old after a while. Woah thats a smelly bit of coutnryside right there ... Geelong soon.

    Having to watch the limit because of cameras (I have no idea where they are) is hard. Finding it hard to get comfy keep moving round trying to find a good postion. Then the fuzziness leaves my head and I just curl into a position on the bike with my legs tucked right up and drop my chin towards the tank and its almost perfect (a tank bag would be good for snooze is what I'm thinking a bit later). I twist the throttle ... wicked. I really need and I mean 'need' a bike like this :cool:

    I pass Geelong ... and then it starts getting cold. WTF ... summer. The sky looks a little bit dodgy ... clouds like that might bring rain ...dunno keep riding.

    Bells Beach and other towns and stuff go past ... some of em I ride down to view the water ... beautiful stuff. I alternate between foolhardy (considering my experience) and safer riding ... digging it bigtime ... wish I had some mates along. Lotta cruisers on the road too most coming the other way. Clouds keep drawing my attention and also wonder what time it gets dark round here. Gets to a point where I reluctantly turn round and head back.

    Busier freeway on the way back for sure but I felt safe enough. Man is that a nice view of Melbs from that bridge as the sun sets. No tolls for motorbikes ... do Melbourne riders get how cool that is.

    Next day I'm basically using the same bike for commuting round, visiting a few people and checking out the city. It's cool parking wherever you want wihout paying for parking ... I mean way cool. Never seen so many bikes parked out in the open. Splitting in traffic without checking for the red and blue awesome. Motorcyclists get the perks in Melbs for sure.

    The Fazer has been a great ride and its been a fun two days using it to get around. Filtering in traffic was easy enough too but my clutch hand is tired (yah I know wah wah wah) and I notice that scooters are riding circles around me without even trying (dang) ... and they look like fun too ... so I ride back to Garners late in the second day and ask very nicely if I can swap for another bike more suited to the metro (not expecting to do any touring) and extend the period on the hire. No wuzzas they say, but they tell me that the VTR250's and the scooters are out but what about that BMW Dakar over there.

    Hey hey hey ... :D I'm not crossing any deserts in the next two days but that looks like a barrel of laughs ... I'll take it. Five minutes later and I'm sitting high and mighty ... 1st, 2nd, 3rd Woohoo ... swinging into a square left hander back to second ... :eek: holy shit is that the back end coming round. Look ma I'm backing it into a corner for the first time, by accident, on a hire bike, in the middle of metropolitan melbourne, and I'm absolutely shitting myself. It settles nicely for me when I don't chop the throttle or hammer it and I just think damn! with some experience and some cajones maybe I could totally blast that corner. But just not today thanks. Much respect big BMW thumper ... thank you for the non-lethal lesson.

    Word count is getting sily so I'll post some more later ... to be contineued ... where I scare the shiznit out of myself on some state forest roads (umm gravel) and wonder "Is this the famous black spur or just another set of beautiful deadly smooth curves ... umm dunno"
  2. good read, i enjoyed it. Glad you like melbourne, should have organised to catch up for a beer.
  3. :applause: \:D/ Keep it coming.
  4. totally agree
    Im thoroughly enjoying the read so far, when's part 2 ?
  5. Sweet. Great read.

    I was thinking about hiring from garners, but the prices (security deposit) made me sit back and think a bit more. Still, maybe I can try a XX that way. Take it up north and out of the traffic.... hmmmm...

    Please continue. Sounds like you're at a very similar level to me. I'd really like to hear how you go. :cool:
  6. bravo dude! we're ready for episode II
  7. +1 Vicj0r...great stuff...
  8. cont :)

    Hey it finsihes with a whimper guys ... I had to go home back to work. But I suppose there was some more stuff

    So the BMW Dakar, didn't feel blindingly quick, more like it was loping along like a long distance runner. It felt underpowered but the front end did came up like it was climbing a tree, when I let out the clutch a little swiftly in first. I'm not exactly up to speed with monos yet. My first mono expermiments on my own bike left me without my bike for a week ... that was a bad week. I'm more conservative with the learning new things right now ... but its starting to pass :)

    So yeah for the next day I was just riding the bike to get around ... got to park it on the curb a few times and with its deep shocks it just mounts the curb easily ... I wondered how guys and gals on sports bikes bounced their way onto the footpath ... I never really saw anyone do it.

    I was also enjoying the comfy seat (best ever) and the ride height was cool too. I was able to see over all the traffic around me and then jump on the pegs to get an even better view. I also noticed that first day how great the balance on the bike was ... I could sit on it stopped at the lights and not put a foot down for a lot longer compared to my own bike or the Fazer. It was just really well balanced. Oh yeah and the other thing I noticed is that non-riders liked this bike. I got heaps of people checking it out, including some kids who near climbed out of their car to get a look at it ... cool bike they said in chorus. Well I think it looks like a big ass tonka toy and thats prolly why they like it.

    Yeah so this bike was made for adventures so everytime I went past a park I would get thoughts about taking it offroad ... the feeling struck hard as I was riding down Flemington or Royal near a golf course and a park area. I wonder if anyone would mind if I took a tour ... and then a cop car drives past. How do they do that? :p

    So I shelved that idea for the day and rode back to base to hang out with my friends on foot and leave the bike garaged. What a shame.

    but the next day I'm up at 9.00am ... I decide to head out to some kind of bushland or something. I don't have map but I kinda remember a place called Warrandyte and the Yarra goes up that way or something so if I head up along the Yarra I'll eventually get to some forest ... righht. Sounded like plan so off I went. Can't really remember all the suburbs, and roads I went through ... lots of em but I did arrive at some foresty stuff. Eventually.

    So yeah I know that I didn't make it to Black Spur which is Healesville to Marysville right ... but I was plenty impressed by the baby spurs that I rode on around Mt Dandenong, Olinda, Monbulk and the other places near there :) It's a desginated black spot for motorcycle accidents guys ... must be good. Some of the twisties and tighties had such sweet smooth surfaces I was thinking the head guy at Vic roads must be a rider for sure. First time I'd hit some technical turns too and it all made me wish I was on my DRZSM cause the BMW was bit too soft, and the SM would have eaten those corners up. The Fazer might have been even better ... maybe. So I did a random repeated pass through the area and then had a bite to eat at a local cafe.

    So I was still really looking for some offroad when I passed Silvan, and a a large water resevoir basin and near there I saw this dirtoad heading off into the bush and I thought yep this is it. OK I've never been on a dirtbike ever so the gravel road starts out kinda civilised and I'm enjoying the ride not minding so much the rear doing the skipparoo and the front bouncing over stuff like small rocks and corrugations. but the more I bounce and skip the more my inner voice lets me know ... you have no idea what you're doing buddy so keep it simple.

    Grooves in the road have thick loose gravel each side of my front wheel ... and I keep the juice on and hope for the best ... I point the front wheel a little but lean my body optimistically in the direction of corners the way I've seen guys do it on telly. This is the last place I want to stack it and then I wonder how heavy this bike this ... I'm sure I wouldn't be able to pick this bastard up by myself.

    So the road starts heading up and up ... and I think it might even go to the top of the one of the mountains ... I see some cars have made it and are parked nearby so I think yeah no problem. So I reach another fork in the road and go up. I pass some mountain views and wild flowers ... very pretty so maybe ... I can get to the top. Then I reach a sign ... advised 4wd only Steep Ascent or something like that. Hmm well I'll see how it goes.

    So I keep going and the road goes up and up a bit more and the road degrades heaps ... rutted from water run off with loose gravel and exposed rock bits and it sure feels steep to me. I'm having no problems going up with all this torque in a low gear but its the having to come back down that is giving me pause now. I'm realising I have to turn around but I can't until it levels off or I get to the top. :shock: Shit dunno bout this now. It's a real relief when I see a utility drive ahead ... its a small area just off the road level enough to give me chance at turning this bike around without dropping it ... provided I don't stuff up. The ground is broken clay with loose rocks but its safer than the road as far as turning around goes. I have to put my foot down a few times (at least I can put my foot down here) but I get it round and then point it down the road and take it very cautiously cause halfway down I have to break right and it looks pretty slippery and steep at that point. I can't imagine how an experienced rider might do it ... prolly flat out and take the turn with the back out ... but I'm the noob who gets to ride another day and get his deposit back. Whew I make it past the squiriley bit and once I'm on the easy gravel road ... I'm back to pretending I'm a Dakar Rally guy. I even stand up on the pegs and give it some stick. :LOL:

    If you know this area and regularlay ride your scooter up to the top for kicks please don't ruin my story and bring shame to my family by mentioning it in this thread. Thanks.

    So I'm back on blacktop and I decide to head out east ... so thirty mintues later I end up at Gembrook. Yeah I had it completely wrong so I got onto the Princes Highway ... boring but I got see how the BMW went on the freeway and the answer is it lopes along and the seat is comfy. At earliest I manged to turn off the freeway and head towards the bay and then I followed the bay back to St Kilda ... that felt like a long ride but it was nice and fresh and I got to go fast.

    The final anecdote is based near St Kilda. I was rocking up to my cousins apartment somewhere between Port Melbourne and St Kilda and at the lights I glance across to my left just as a sweet black sportsbike pulls up there. So the bike really catches my eye cause it looks brand spankin hmm maybe a 2k7 R6 cause it looks like batmans bike ... well maybe Batgirls bike actually because there was a lovely riding this bike decked out in black and red leathers to match her bike. And so what does one say to such vision of loveliness woman and machine. I tend to think 'Niiiiice bike' says it all really :)

    Lookin forward to visiting Melbs again ... and it was fun experiencing it on two wheels. :grin:
  9. Drags it was the earlier model but I definately noticed the short clutch travel. I got used to it. I think its an FZ thing cause I read a review of the FZ and the Fazer 600 last week and they mentioned it. The seat was firm but it was OK ... they may have changed the seating position for your model though.

    Yours looks like a nice bike.
  10. I like them both. The clutch travel being short was like my VFR, and once your used to it, it's easy to handle and makes gear changes very fluid. Seat is super comfy too, and the space/angle allows for some good shifts during longer rides.
  11. Aw ya goose, you should have hooked up with some MElbourne netriders to take you out to where the REAL fun is!

    Glad you had a good time, and yes, I'm sure I'm not the only Melb rider who is deadly grateful each day for the free Citylink and footpath parking.
  12. Cool, just wondering about others opinions. I (like most owners) find that the stock seat on the 04-06 is too hard, but we all get used to the clutch pretty quickly. Put me on another bike and I would be slipping it pretty badly :shock:

    Good read too vicJ0r.
  13. Goose?! :LOL: Loz. I hear ya. Didn't expect to be riding at all on that break, and maybe I'm still a little green to be riding with others ... dunno, but I will be back to Melbourne before too long so I'll put out a call when it comes time.
  14. :LOL: :LOL: :cool: Riding diary made good reading Vic Jr.