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Advice for First Pillion Riders

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by nettles6, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. After two years of riding its time to start taking pillion passengers.

    Ive been riding daily and I'm finally at a point where i feel confident in my abilities to the point to be responsible enough for a passenger.

    Looking for advice and pointers?

    I'm planning on taking my room mate (fellow rider) on the back of the bike. Also what type of environment is best to start pillion riding with? Would it be wise to start in a carpark for slow movements, country road for getting used to weight distribution.

    Any advice for new pillions and roads best suited to learning to cope with a pillion.

    thanks in advance everyone!
  2. I was going to post a thread about first time pillioning as well this week! Im legal to pillion in a fortnight and feel ready to take it on. Looking forward to hearing of any helpful hints, too.
  3. I would say first step would be to have beed a pillion yourself .
    Best to understand what they're going through.
  4. Stuff a couple of cans of bourbon down their throats, and then they're ready!

    Somewhat more seriously though, just ask them to relax, put their hands on the tank, assure them that it's okay to hold onto you as tight as they want to, ask them to always follow your body leans, ask them to never lean away from a corner, and for you don't do any sudden actions. Be as smooth as you can be.
  5. If you are taking someone who has never been on the back of the bike this article is good


    Other than that work out some signals for rider / pillion communication

    Remember everything takes longer with a pillion, stopping, starting etc..

    and as flux said, smooth as you can. That is important..
  6. Keep in mind that the pillions weight if they jump around or lean opposite to you. wave one arm around, or a leg, it can throw the bike sideways and put you in a dangerous situation,
    Stress on them to sit still and keep in line behind you, and dont do any sudden movements,
    The extra weight also lowers the bikes height and clearance to the ground, so cornering will be a bit slower than by yourself.
    Take it slow at first,
    Its easy once you get the knack off it,
  7. Be aware of the effect of the extra mass on your brakes. It's not so relevant nowadays, but I used to have an MZ250 whose brakes were.......ummmm......barely adequate solo. Two up it was possible to get the lever back to the bars and it still felt like the thing was accelerating :shock:.
  8. If the pillion is another rider you should be ok.

    1. They mount after you.
    2. Get then to put their hands where they feel the most secure.
    3. They must flow with the bike
    4. Be as smooth as you can
    5. Brake earlier
    6. The first time they fight the bike you stop and they walk
  9. Take a pillion that has been on the back of a bike before, it may help not having both people not knowing what to do.
  10. Thanks very much everyone. the advice is great!

    Just wondering what sort of road you would suggest for first time with a pillion rider? I have some roads near me with 80km limit and very gentle curves and very much a cruising road. conversely should i start with low speed areas first (aka carpark?)
  11. Nup...forget carpark stuff for now...Best to have a little speed up for stability.

    Go the 80k route with the gentel sweepers etc.

    Apart from what everyone else has said, which is correct.. YOU need to learn how to ride with a pillion...it is quite different, The bike acts and feels differently underneath you with the extra weight etc.

  12. I took my mate on the back of my gixxer as my first ever pillion.

    It was certainly a task that required a lot of concentration. I have done it a few times now but I can't say as I enjoy it.

    My mate actually weighs quite a bit more than me so having him sit on the high pillion seat really changes the dynamics of the bike. For the first few hundred meters we were wobbling all over the place.

    Things to note:

    1: As stated, the extra weight really effects the breaking
    2: The extra weight also effects how much throttle you need to get off the line. Don't do what I did and stall, only to crush my nuts on the fuel tank.
    3: Slow corners, like round-a-bouts and turning down side streets etc, take these very carefully.

    As to the roads to start on? Straight, quiet ones. First do it when there isn't much traffic around.

    Good Luck!
  13. Also consider adjusting your suspension (if you can on your bike). The additional weight of a pillion can affect the handling of the bike and adjusting the suspension can address that.
  14. Because the pillion is sitting up so high on modern sports bikes, it tends to give the bike an extra dimension in wobbles, making the bike tend to weave or wobble,
    You eliminate this wobble by having your pillion sit against your back, (Male and Female.) then you know you are both in line,
    If there is a gap between you. You will get the wobble,
  15. FIRST things first, make sure you're able to change gears without jerkiness and brake to a stop in one smooth move without any hops at the end. This means your pillion will have a smooth ride. Most riders don't know that their gear changes are jerky - having a pillion with poor core muscles and crap changes results in clashing helmets.

    Your bike will be heavier, you may wish to up spring preload. It will handle differently, so go slower, signal longer, brake earlier, accelerate more slowly.

    Mounting is usually an overlooked part of pillioning and pillions make a real meal out of it. Rider should grab both bars, engage front brake and stabalise the bike by planting both feet solidly on the ground and only give the ok to mount when confident the bike is stable.

    Pillion pegs can be too high so the pillion might need to fist step on the rider's peg. Otherwise get a pillion to approach from rear left. Put their left foot on the pillion peg, left hand on your shoulder, right hand on the pillion seat, and instruct them to get up on the bike in a quick vertical motion. All that's left then is to swing the right foot around to other peg and sit. If you're not careful a pillion will "climb up" you and drag you and the bike over.

    Worst case, park the bike in a gutter and have the pillion mount from the kerb.

    Your passenger can steer your bike inadvertently, so instruct them to make sure they only repositioning themselves during straight line travel only and that any move is deliberate and slow. No moves in corners!

    Let them know that it's natural for a body to try and keep vertical, and that if they do that in a corner, they'll steer the bike right off SO they either don't lean at all or at most look at the road over the shoulder that's in the direction of the corner. i.e., left corners, left shouder etc. I prefer the latter as it counteracts the vertical SR.

    Depending on bike ergs, there might be a grab rail, if not, a balled fist against the front of the tank and the other arm wrapped around you the rider will see the pillion safely able to resist braking and acceleration forces. You wont be able to move much, but that's NOT an issue at noob pillioning level is it?!

    They can sit close to you or back a little. That's up to you, them and/or the bike logistics. If they sit too far back though, steering will become light and mono's reallllly easy. So start by getting them to be close.

    If you do a lot of pillioning, consider getting something called a triboseat pillion cover. This gives the pillion something grippy for their rear end to sit on.

    Smooth inputs will see you and the pillion have a better ride.

    Communication is usually by signals and leg taps.

    Enjoy the ride :)
  16. any excuse to get HER closer ;) works for me!
  17. I've seen lots of ads for the Triboseat but havent heard of anyone that has tried one recommend them before. I might just grab one.

    Re comms, also if you have a regular pillion and the dough consider one of the comms devices. I prefer bluetooth to wired but being able to talk to your pillion is very handy at times. Good to still have hand signals to fall back to just in case.
  18. Never done it before as all my pillion passengers have all been experienced but I have heard that blind folding the pillion helps as they have to follow what you do and trust you
  19. Never carry a pillion unless there is root at the end of the day,or you need someone to carry a carton.
  20. Huh? I thought the aim of the game being a pillion - you're to follow the rider and lean with them?