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Pillion Passengers - Industrial Design Major Work

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by robmaca, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I've been following this website for quite some time now and finally signed up yesterday which is exciting! I currently ride a 2008 Z750 and loving it!

    I'm currently studying my final year of Industrial Design at UTS (Sydney) where we have to complete a major work and design a product. I have decided to focus on an area which seems to be a 'grey' area of motorcycles in comparison to the rest - pillions.

    I was wondering if any of you could be able to give me your opinions (as a pillion) when riding on sports / naked styled motorcycles, issue you come across when riding, helpfulness of previous experience etc.

    Any issues or opinions as a pillion (especially on sports styled motorcycles) would be great and much appreciated. I'll be happy to inform you about my progress as I go as I would love to be able to help the industry I have been involved in since I was a kid!


  2. What sort of issues do you mean,
    I am a rider and a pillion,
  3. Well I'm primarily focusing on the pillion so I guess I'm looking at issues you experience when on the back of the bike. Such as following the rider's body around corners or comfort on the seat. I don't want to say too much as I want to hear the views from you.

    Does that make more sense?

  4. Yep.
    I sit leaning hard up against the rider, usually with my hands on my legs,
    My pillion, sits hard up against me, G/F has her hands in my pockets, if she goes to sleep, I know it and can keep her on the bike,

    Years ago, rideing on the back of drunk riders or riders that couldnt ride too well, I rode the bike from the back,
    Too hot for a corner I did the leaning for both of us, Saved us plenty of times,
    Modern pillion seats are sitting too high, and too thin for long distance,
    On My Bird, the pillion kept sliding down the seat crushing the rider into the tank,
    I lowered the whole back end of my bike to make the seat level, The pillion can sit back or against me, with out slipping forward,
    I prefer them sitting against my back, as the bike gets a wobbly feel about it, when they are leaning right back,
  5. Thanks deadman, this is exactly the sorts of answers I was looking for!

    Really good insight, especially with the areas on pillion seating / holding on and cornering! never thought of suggesting pockets to hold on with. Did you notice that pulled them in harder against you when slowing down?
  6. No, they are just sitting there, if they are leaning against you, you know where they are,
    Depends on how hard I am pulling up, I have my hands on the bars, so I can brace myself for the extra weight against my back,
    The hands are in the pockets because she goes to sleep a lot,
    A bloke on the back will have his hands on his legs or the grab rail at the back,
    A novice pillion, male or female, put your arms around my waist, and hang on tight,

    A pillion can wave his or her arm out and flick the whole bike across the road,

    Pillions are to sit still behind me, do not wave your arms or legs,
    Do not lean the wrong way when cornering,
    All this is told to the pillion before the ride starts,

    A pillion jumping around on the bike can kill both of you, Very quickly,

    A pillion leaning the wrong way can fling you across the road into the path of an oncoming car or truck, Very Fatal if that happens,
  7. Before I take off with any pillion I quickly explain the ground rules, to both riders (basically don't be a tool) and non-riders (so they don't do stupid things). For the non-riders it goes along the lines of this is not a car, you can affect the bike. Don't fight the lean, look through the corners, don't adjust your seating position at anything below jogging pace, three solid wacks to the body/helmet and I'll stop. As they get better I give more tips.

    I prefer the pillion does not sit right against me, but keeps one arm around my waist so that I can feel how hard they are holding on (when I accelerate) and so that same arm can brace on the tank when I brake. The worst pillions are the ones who feel too awkward to hold on to me and try and balance on the back.

    As a pillion, I find one arm around the rider, one on the grabrail/strap works best.
  8. When I'm on the back of a bike I rarely have ANY contact with the rider, use the tank and grab rail (if there is one) and my lower legs to stay put. I've been told by very experienced riders that I'm an awesome pillion too. everyone is different.

    I believe that just due to the nature of a true sports bike the pillion seat is a courtesy - it's only there to take your one of your mates home if he bins it out on a ride.

    You want to pillion on a regular basis there are plenty of bikes out there that are better that still let you have a giggle up front
  9. I'm a rider and a pillion ..

    I have pillioned on 3 out of 4 bikes that my partner has ..

    Suzuki GSXR 1000 super sport ( which I now also ride :D)

    Kawasaki ZX9 sports tourer

    and the bike of all bikes ....Yamaha Vmax

    I am a great pillion ( Boss says so , specially when tapping me on the leg to see if I'm still there )
    Very rarely do I hang on to him with my hands ..
    I normally use my knees to grip his hips , and have my hands on my knees ,
    when doing tight twisties I put my right hand around him and push on the tank so I don't move into him when slowing down .

    I move with the bike .. it goes left , I go left , it goes right , I go right .
    Don't fight the bike when it's tipping , cause you will loose ..LOL

    The GSXR seat has me perched up high so I can see where I'm going ,
    the Kwaka has me seated behind him , I have to peek around his shoulder to see ,
    the Vmax , normally would be seated the same as the kwaka , but some mods have me now seated so I can see over his shoulder comfortably .

    I've done 400 / 500 km day rides as a pillion on both the GSXR and the Vmax..
    love them both equally even thought they are 2 completely different bikes and seats.

    I don't really have any issues as a pillion because I trust my partner and his riding ability completly ,
    that's the most important thing about being a pillion .. trust in your rider :)
  10. Thanks guys all of this is extremely helpful as an insight , surprisingly there is an extremely small amount on information about pillions to write my thesis from.
  11. I'm of much the same opinion as deadman. One thing I would add, though, is that I find most pillion footpegs too high for me, leading to cramp in my thighs in a relatively short time. I'm 6'2" though, so maybe not a typical passenger.
  12. Minimal contact with the rider please. Give a pillion something else to grab onto IMO - unless it's a gentle ride.

    Oh & a comfy seat. Oh & maybe Muzak to help pillions relax. :)

    - - -
    Tapatalking loud, saying somethin'
  13. Separate left/right handgrips (eg: Tiger 1050, VFR800, etc) make it easier for the pillion to support themselves and keep the weight off the rider, I've found, and preferentially I instruct my pillions to use the Tiger's handrails when we're cornering or in "high stress" situations (eg: stop/start traffic) so that in hard braking their weight is transferred to the handgrips rather than to me and my genitalia.

    'Most' bikes that have only a single pillion grabhandle only have a handle just big enough for one gloved hand to fit. (The other usually gets placed on the tank or around the rider). If there is a grabhandle at all.

    I always tell my pillion riders that they are "co-rider" rather than passenger, and that they have to help me ride the bike. And that they may not mount or dismount the bike without my permission. (Have had a few pillions try to dismount before I've got secure footing)
  14. Thats down right hairy, Having a pillion try to get off before we are stopped,
    Nearly gone down a few times like that,
    And they wonder why you scream at them, Hahahahaha
  15. Tell me about it, deadman. XD

    Edit: The engineer in me contemplates whether the pillion could be given a ferrous belt to wear, with a powerful electromagnet in the subframe preventing them from leaving the seat until the rider deactivates said electromagnet. >.>

    Edit edit: The comfort and usability of a pillion seat is typically inversely proportional to how much the bike resembles a MotoGP bike. Race-replica sportsbikes offer a thoughtfully-wrapped-in-pleather tiny plank of plywood for the pillion, perched up ludicrously high, which can easily be replaced with a stylish aerodynamic single-seat-conversion cowling. At the other extreme, big-displacement touring bikes such as the Honda Goldwing, Suzuki Burgmann 650 maxi-scooter et al provide the pillion with a sofa stolen from a furniture display warehouse, resplendant in its wide, thick padded seat, often with armrests and backrests. Substantial legroom and a less ridiculous altitude above the rider. Suffice it to say that on most track-oriented sportsbikes the pillion seat is more for "emergencies" (I need to get this hot date to my house from the club) than for routine use.
  16. Most pillion complaints I've heard are sliding forward on the seat, seat too hard, knees bent too much(restricted blood supply). And bumping helmets.

    Heard some very good reports about the pillion belt that the rider wears, with handles for the pillion to grab, BTW.
  17. That's called "love handles". Google it :)

    Grippy seat helps avoid the sliding issue.

    - - -
    Tapatalking loud, saying somethin'
  18. Pillion eh?
  19. For me, I ride long k's and sometimes quite hard with my girly as pillion, I find her a great pillion, and we both enjoy it... So I'll relay some of this things she has said to me.

    As the rider:

    What makes her a good pillion is that I can ride without noticing she is there. She tucks in when we nail it, she doesn't fight the corners - she goes with me, good comunication, doesn't wriggle around, doesnt put any weight on me.


    We have some set signals we use to communicate..
    Me: tap her left knee - I'm going to boot it - tuck in. Tap her right knee - It's OK to relax (long stretch moving), ok to hop off (stopped).
    Her: tap left side of tank - it's too much, slow down. Tap right side of tank - ready to go (stopped) or boot it (moving).

    As pillion:

    Seat comfort: Z750 - like sitting on a wooden plank, GPX250 - not too bad, 98GSXR - pretty good, modern sports CBR/Ninja/etc - too small for a real bum to fit on.

    Seat height: prefers the GSXR as she can see over the top of me, and we dont bang helmets.

    Technique: She reaches around me and holds onto the tank. This way she finds she can keep her weight off me and support herself under hard breaking. If I've tapped her right knee she'll sit upright and hold my hips. Leaning wise, she'll stay with me, and we go together.
  20. Spots is spot on, Hahahahahahahaha
    I lowered the pillion seat 3 inches, its now a comfy bike to ride, Pillionwise,
    And the dead wombat removes the numb bum syndrome,

    You forgot the kitchen sink and B_B_Que that slide out on the Goldwings ETC,