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Newbie pillion - advice from pillion's perspective

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by isis, May 2, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm a newbie to the forum and about to be a newbie pillion.

    I did a search before I posted, but didn't quite find what I was looking for - apologies if I missed a relevant thread.

    My partner has now got his full license and we're both excited about me riding pillion. I've read some threads here about pillion from the rider's perspective, which were helpful and I'll show him, but I'd appreciate some thoughts, tips and advice from the pillion's perspective.

    At the moment we're just planning on short trips - riding around the city (visiting people, going to the footy etc).

    I've ridden pillion once, helmet-less and in a dress and sandals in India - not recommended and I'll never do it again, but I have at least one experience :)

    What is "helmet clunking"? Can I hold him around the waist the whole time? Is it better to have something behind me to hold onto?

    And in terms of riding gear - would Doc Martens be ok or should I get proper boots?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!


  2. Probably most importantly don't move around, especially when the rider leans to negotiate a turn, do not try to do anything to counter the move. Grab rails on the side are probably the best, I don't trust the strap on many one piece seats. Alternately hold the rider around the waist.

    Doc Martens are better than normal shoes, but they probably don't offer the same level of ankle protection as proper riding boots.There is a compromise between comfort, protection, and convenience.
  3. Helmet clunking is when your helmet connects with the riders helmet, and it can get rather annoying.

    So you can grab them around the waist, but don't lean right forward. Lean back and sit up straight to avoid the helmets clunking. Anticipate braking and gear changes, that way you can keep in mind to stiffen your back to avoid being rocked forwards.
  4. I tell my gf to grip me with her thighs. Puts less strain on the riders arms. Best advice I can give is to do one of 2 things, either sit there like a sack of potatoes and don't move, or look to the inside of the riders head in a turn. So if turning left, your head is left.
    Never relax at traffic lights or stop signs, always be ready for the take off.
    If you need to adjust, do so while moving at a decent speed as it will have less effect on the bikes handling than at a stop or walking pace.
    Organise some 'tap language' to tell him to slow down, that you are ready to go.
    Never hop off without him telling you to, if he is not ready you could make him drop the bike.
    That is all for now.
  5. Yes, reminds me of a few weeks ago a helpful Repsol rider pillioned me to a servo, it was really awkward to grab his waist, to prevent rocking forward when stopping I held on to the tank.

    Luckily it was at night with not many people around, me 100kg sitting up high on a super sport, the rider is probably only 60kg to 70kg, he had done well but it wasn't pretty.
  6. Keep your eyes and head level with your neck, and just let your body go with the flow. Don't try to lean into corners. Or sit up out of them. Just keep your body neutral with the foot pegs. As in your body will lean in as the bike does.
    Use your tummy muscles to lean back under braking To stop the dreaded clunks. You will find you don't slide into the rider as much. Same with under acceleration. Use your tummy muscles again to lean forward into it.
    Oh and wear hipsters and a G banger
  7. Pillioning is fun on a decent sized bike. On a twofiddy, it sucks.

    Couple of tips I give my pillions:
    - Put your chin on the shoulder that is towards the apex (left corner, left shoulder, right corner, right shoulder)
    - Push on the tank when braking or grab hold of the grab rails. Never lean on the rider whilst braking or cornering.
    - Be relaxed.
    - If I'm going too fast, tap me anywhere (shoulder, chest, leg, whatever)
    - Hang onto the tabs on the back of my jacket (they are like tightening tabs), it will give you some feeling on me and what I am doing.

    It will take some practice. You need to have alot of trust in him and he needs to trust you. Being a good pillion isn't in everyone. I remember chasing a rider and his pillion through a great road down here, I was "on it" and only just keeping up with these two. They were an awesome team and absolutely incredible to watch ride together.

    I'd suggest you start off small and go for regular rides. You'll get better at it.

    btw, handjobs on long straight roads are mandatory, not optional ;) :D :rofl:

    Lastly, think about getting a license yourself and a bike of your own. Then you can make him biatch it up and go pillion with you :D
  8. Had a pillion on for the first time the other day myself - also his first time on a bike so was rather interesting. In addition to all the above my only suggestion really is to keep feet on the pegs even at standstill.
  9. (y)
  10. IMHO it's NOT the pillion's fault of the helmets are clashing, 99.999999% of the time. The rider ought to be super-smooth with changing the rate of acceleration of the bike - accelerating, braking and the transition from power to no power and back again when changing gears.

    Human reaction speed isn't quick enough for the pillion to go from bracing themselves against the acceleration of a sports-tourer to suddenly sitting up/relaxing as the rider pops the clutch for 2nd gear, and bracing themselves all over again as the rider gets back on the throttle. It ain't gonna happen. Helmets will clash. The rider HAS to give them a chance by making the changes smoooooooooooooooooth like buttah.

    Edit: There is one thing that pillions must do, though. Never, ever, ever climb onto the bike without the rider's permission. Never, ever, ever dismount from the bike without the rider's permission. I've had two pillions become complacent over time (despite this instruction) and basically dismount the bike the instant we've stopped, while I'm still putting the bike into neutral and getting a secure footing. This usually results in a 200+kg bike coming dangerously close to hitting the ground. Do not dismount before the rider says he/she is ready (or indicates with an affirmative "nod").
  11. Don't move around on the seat when the bike is going along at walking pace - it upsets the balance of the bike and is a biatch to keep straight.
    I also bought a Triboseat pillion seat cover that grips like a mongrel to the ass of my girl. Keeps her planted on the seat and stops her from sliding around.
    The rider should also be very smooth with gear changes.

  12. Hi everyone,

    Thank you very much for all your thoughts and suggestions. Well, except maybe for the hipster/g banger suggestion, that doesn't sound very safe or comfy =D

    It sounds like I just need to relax and go with the flow, and it will take some practice. I'm a short arse and he's a big bloke, so I don't know if I can reach the tank, as suggested.

    modern_ninja I liked your tips, but a hand job?? lol I think I'll leave that until I'm more experienced (as a pillion)!

    I like the idea of a tapping system - that makes sense and I mentioned that to him, with frantically tapping him meaning "slow the f&&k down, I'm shitting myself"!

    Someone suggested getting my own bike. I went for my "L's" a couple of years ago, I rode ok during the 2 day course, and LOVED it, but when it came to the actual test I froze and kept stalling the bike. Perhaps after riding pillion I'll get a better feel for it and try again.

    I'll let you know how I go when I finally get on it - soon, I hope!

    Thanks again!