June 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm #257074
Would like some thoughts or advice on the use of a scooter.
We live about 15kms from a small rural town on a bitumen road that is not what I would call busy but does see a reasonable amount of usage from cars to semi-trailers. I would like to buy a scooter of some description to ride up to one of my jobs which is 5km up the road. Would it be feasible to also ride it the 15kms into town and back as I own/run a little bookshop weekdays too? I am not worried about speed/distance/time to get to town or particularly about inclement weather but I am worried about the safety issue of cars and trucks travelling at 100kph coming up behind me and passing me. Even with fluoro gear and such is it wise to even think about it out on an open road? I often pass single and groups of cyclists training on our road – I guess it is not much different to that?
What do you think?June 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm #524998
Something else to bear in mind is the condition of the road and how confident you are as a rider. My DH has been riding a pushbike to work and for sport for many years and still has mishaps. We are in the city (Adelaide), and it worries him riding to work because of all the traffic, so he sticks to back streets where he can. Because I haven’t been much of a pushbike rider, DH doesn’t want me to ride to work as he says I’ll have an accident! The other night in the wet, DH fell off his bike and hurt his knee quite badly. It was just as he was taking a curve and there were leaves over a slippery patch or pothole – something like that. Even as an experienced rider he had this mishap. I know a scooter is different, but I think some of the concerns may still be valid. If you came upon a rough/slippery patch of road, or a car/truck cut you off, would you be confident/competent enough as a rider to take evasive action without getting hurt? I know here in Adelaide you can do motorbike riding courses – might be worth considering…June 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm #524999
Thanks Bel for those thoughts. Our road is in good condition but it is only a country road so not that wide. There are back roads I could take but they are dirt so not really that suitable for a scooter. The cost of fuel is just driving me batty. I try to drive conservatively but there is no getting around the fact that it is costing us a small fortune just to get to work and back each month! :angry:
I am seriously thinking that DH could get a motorbike to get to work (he already has a license) and I could just ditch the jobs and stay at home and be more productive. :shrug:June 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm #525000
I have ridden a scooter for maybe 10 years now. I think it’s certainly doable but would recommend a scooter with a bit of oomph if possible – one that can keep up with traffic if required (sometimes it feels safer to do that). It also means you have a bit of power up your sleeve to get yourself into safer positions.
Key ingredients to safe riding include confidence, cautiousness, a heightened awareness of others & a smidge of stubbornness. You can’t let a truck up your tail phase you. Stick to your guns and your comfortable speed until you can safely pull into a side road to let traffic through (if required). I did this quite a bit when I first started riding. I’ve found most drivers tolerant enough for short periods.
Frosty morning riding sucks. Wet weather riding sucks.
When weighing up the financial side, take protective gear into consideration too – it adds up.
Having said all that, it’s one of the funnest ways to get around :o)June 17, 2012 at 10:49 pm #525001
thanks Noodle. I was also thinking I would need something that could do around 70kph or so? To get those speeds what size engine do I need? Over 50cc I need a license but 50cc in SA I can just use my car license. I have seen some modern scooters that are more sturdy, motorbike looking, larger tyres etc rather than the little natty things for nipping about the city. I thought something along those lines would be better for out on the open road. Any suggestions? ThanksJune 17, 2012 at 11:40 pm #525002
As a bike ( thing BSA! Triumph type) have you considered a small, say 250 cc bike suitable for off road as well. I have also ridden scooters but always found the lack of maneuverability compared to a motorcycle to be a problem. A 250 cc also has quite a bit of grunt to help get out of a sticky situation. Apart from that I would really suggest leathers, no matter what bike you fall off, lots of skin is lost in even the most minor fall.June 18, 2012 at 1:22 am #525003
I had thought about the motorbike option a little but would need to get a license. That’s okay except to get a license I would have to do a 2 day practical course run at a town over 100 kms away and only held on week days about once a month. How the govt. think is affordable or practical I have no idea. :angry:June 19, 2012 at 3:17 am #525004
I wouldn’t take a 50cc on a 100km/hr road, particularly one carrying heavy vehicles. They are better suited to slower 60km/hr sorta speeds. I’d advise looking for something that can do the speed limit of the roads you’ll be traveling (even if you don’t travel at those speeds).
I ride a 150cc and that can manage 107km/hr with a tail wind (90km/hr with a head wind) 🙂 . I’d go for 150cc or greater.
While the 2 day course seems painful, it teaches valuable skills and for me was a worthwhile exercise. I did the course and my license test on a scooter too.
Or maybe you could try a 50cc on your 5km journey and weigh things up from there? You’ll get a feel for what they can and can’t do very quickly.June 20, 2012 at 12:21 am #525005
As a motorcyclist scooters scare me. I’ve found them unstable to ride, and most of them couldn’t do 80kph. Much as you pay registration and have a right to be on the road, I see it as a danger to travel below the speed limit. If you are riding on roads where it’s always easy for other vehicles to overtake you without slowing down, get one, but otherwise no.
My recommendation is to get a small motorcycle which is capable of at least 100km without being full throttle. A small motorcycle will have standard sized wheels, much better able to handle our Aussie roads than little scooters.
I’ve been off the motorcycle scene for a while so don’t know what’s available these days. Back in the 60s and 70s there used to be serious scooters which were larger than the current fleets available now.
Scooters fine for city traffic where everything is travelling slowly in multiple lanes, but not busy main roads and highways.July 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm #525006
I have a 50cc scooter and it is fine for a small town -just keep it off highways etc.
The benefits of this size scooter are
a) low peterol costs. To drive to work and back for me costs around $8 every three weeks
b) don’t have to use foot gears. I’m learning to ride a motorbike and driving a scooter is much easier
c) easier to pick up if you drop it
d) can use one on a C class (car) licence
a) wet weather sucks
b) some models have lots of storage space. some do not. Aprillea has none but the Yahamah Jog and the SCP runna are quite good
c) NOT for long distance or freeway runs
d) easily stolen. A bicycle lock is your friend.
If you are used to a motorcycle you will hate being on a scooter, but if you aren’t then you’ll adapt to using a scooter quicker than a motorcycle as they are automatic (and some of the turbo charged ones are quite powerful/fast but you’ll need an appropriate licence) and have handy things like a petrol guage, which some motobikes don’t. They are pretty easy to ride. Do buy a fill face helmet though and wear pants, as coming off at 60kmph will still hurt like a beast.
Get the limiter take off if you are in a state like WA that requires them, otherwise you won’t be able to get past 50kmph, which is a stupidly dangerous speed imho as you have no manouverability and can’t get yourself out of trouble. 60 – 80 is possible on most models I’ve tried (Aprilla on the lower end, SCP and Jog on the higher end) and many bike shops will do this for you (even if they technically shouldn’t).July 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm #525007
Over here in SE Asia the scooter (moto) is ubiquitous
if you see what I mean !
That aside, have you considered a pushbike ? The distances are doable (though you may not think so at the moment, after a few moths you will wonder what you were worried about) depending on terrain (lots of big hills and it might not be) and there are excellent health benefits of course. a 10km round trip commute is easy on a pushbike, 30km is do-able much more than that is a bit of an ask.
I have been riding motorbikes and pushbikes for decades and ride a scooter (and a push bike) over here in Camboida and believe me it’s MUCH more dangerous (and in my opinion much safer for me, everyone pays attention all the time or you die). No one pays any attention to the road rules eg everyone goes through red lights and just filter through each other, riding on both sides of the roads, all of which can be intimidating for a Westerner fed a diet of acquiescence to rules and authority from birth . I don’t particularly like scooters personally BUT they are frugal and compact. Get an FI model, so they even sell carbie models in Aus ?
If you are timid on the road you will have troubles I think. You need to be respectful and recognise everyone else can kill you but not be afraid. You also need to remember a small mistake could be fatal rather then in a car were you might just have a few dented panels, so paying attention and having peripheral awareness is a must.
Best of luck !
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