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Tips for having a pillion

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by geeth, May 31, 2009.

  1. After having bought the wife a helmet (she wanted a red one) and some gloves. I am close to having her geared to be a pillion.

    I am looking for some tips for having a pillion on the bike as I haven't had anyone else on the bike before.
    She has been pillion years ago when a teen on trail bikes but never on a road bike.
  2. carpark practice.

    Get her used to how it feels, and more importantly, get yourself used to how it feels. having an extra person on the back of the bike makes it more entertaining, the handling is certainly different. Also take into account the pillions behaviour(leaning forwards/back/left/right).

    Also make sure you have the bike firmly planted when they hop on. Nothing funnier(for a spectator) than a stationary drop from a mount up or dismount.

    Also you should tell your pillion to tap your shoulder if they feel uncomfortable/nervous/terrified and need you to stop.
  3. - Get used to how much more top-heavy an extra person makes the cornering handling, that was the main thing that I noticed most. It made it slower to tilt the bike initially, but once it is on an angle it can dip quite quickly if you're not on the ball. If that happens and spooks your pillion and they start shifting around on the back mid corner...well it could all end rather emabarassingly/expensively. I tell pillions to look over the shoulder the turn is going - that gets their weight in a more correct position for the turn.

    - Discuss a comm system, 1 tap on the shoulder fine, 2 taps stop, 3 taps do a mono etc.

    - Make sure the bike is planted before they get on, hold on the front brake and plant your feet as wide as possible flat on the ground to give a really solid base.
  4. :LOL: and tell them to never put their feet on the ground except when getting on and off :LOL:
    Nothing worse than having Your left foot down and thinking "Sh!t they're heavy" onlt to find pillions right foot on the ground and them thinkung the same thing :eek:
  5. +1 for the slow practice. I started to pillion my wife when I only had about 1000K experience.

    What I found:

    - Suburban riding seemed quite simple (once you get going).
    - Riding slow is difficult as hell, starting and stopping were quite embarrassing and wobbly the first time out.
    - Country riding is lovely you just need to ease up from your normal pace.

    What I did to improve:

    - Carpark practice. I can complete the MOST with a pillion now (U-turn is a little wide though).

    - Agree on the mounting and unmounting procedure (e.g only get on or off on my signal).

    - Get the pillion to undersand their behaviour must be preictable in corners (ie look over the shoulder in the direction of the turn).

    - Develop signals, now we use a blueant to the signals are not required. A signal for hard accelleration is imperative from the outset though (used the "lean forward" method).

    - Make sure the pillion does not "look for a gap" shile waiting at an intersection. My wife had the reflex to do this after years of driving, however she would turn her head to the right and lean slightly forward. Unforunately it is difficult to keep the bike upright under these circumstances as it is your left foot on the ground while in the "ready" position.

    It takes a while to get comfortable with a second rider but it is definitely worth it.

  6. Take it very very easy while lane splitting. There is nothing worse than going between cars and having the pillion flinch at that close critical point.

    However the pillion responds to your riding (leaning into corners and such) make sure they are consistent in how they do it.

    When you stop if you can plant both feet.

    My wife is fidgety and that drives me nuts, so carry something to hit them with.
  7. Thanks for the tips.

    With the pillion getting on and off is it best to have the side stand down so the bike can't drop?

    I think my wife would kill me if I split with her on the bike.

    I am going to start with slow riding etc with her to get used to it.

  8. No, unless you feel like you cannot hold it, but it has as much risk of it going over on the none stand side.

    I find holding the bike straight up and planting both feet is best, leaning it over just makes the angle harder to dismount.
  9. + 1 to all thats been said

    As a side note, popping the front up is really, really easy when you have someone on the back. The fatter they are the easier it is for you to end up in a situation where you notice the front wheel has left the ground :LOL:

    Nice and smooth roll on should help at avoiding this.

    Also you can rely alot more on the rear brake, it helps for stabilising it when you're coming up to an intersection or for slow speed turns. I think the extra weight on the back makes the back brake work better... not sure about the physics of it all but i heard this when i was starting out pillioning and its worked a charm for me.
  10. Just did it for the first time myself a couple of weeks back.

    Gave a mate a lift from the CBD out to edgecliff.

    The change to the handling was un-nerving at first, I was crawling around corners. But you do get used to it.

    Leave plenty of room to brake!
  11. Having a pillion who knows what they're doing can make a trip a heap of fun. However a nervous pillion or a pillion who "fights you" will expose your own shortcomings quicker than anything else.
    With that in mind start out by lapping the block a few times and make sure you turn both ways and brake.
    Stop and reassess things if you have to. Work out a signal system for stop & go etc.

    Be aware that acceleration will be slower but may be much quicker than the pillion is used to and on your little Yam allow a little extra braking distance.
    Have the pillion hang onto the grab rail and not you and make sure they can support themselves under heavy braking as the last thing you need is to be pushed up onto the tank in a stoppie manoeuvre.

    The pillion climbs aboard after you but only when you say so.
  12. Wear a back protector, the first time you forget she is there and pop a mono off the lights you will thank me for this advice. :wink:
  13. Thanks again.

    I was hoping to remove the back protector of mine for more feeling of the boobie crush :p

    I guess it all is going down to slow and steady and get comfortable to my riding and me used to her on the bike.

    Slow blockies sound like a good start to it.

  14. I don't completely agree with this. I like to feel the person behind me and what they are doing, some people have a hard time depending on where the grab rails are.

    And I'm more than happy to take their weight under braking as it can be a lot harder on them than me. But that can come down the the bike.
  15. I agree that it's good to know what the pillion is doing... But I'm with 2wheelsagain - I prefer it if they can take their own weight during moderate braking rather than crush me against the tank unknowingly and potentially compromise my control of the bike.

    Whether that's by using the grabrails or by placing one hand around me and one hand against the tank for support depends on the bike's amenities. :)

    On other topics;
    * Pillions mounting/dismounting (dismount in particular) before the rider is ready is something to stress; The pillion must stay put until the rider says so. I've nearly dropped the Tiger once because on the third ride the pillion got complacent and jumped straight off the very instant my left foot touched the ground. Pillion was given a stern reminder briefing. :evil:

    * Pillion should be considered to be a 'co-rider' and informed of this role; they must understand that their actions influence the bike almost as much as the rider's. Fidgetting in the seat, trying to "sit up" during corners... It's not a passenger car.

    * On a related note; the pillion should behave consistently during corners. I prefer it if they look through the turn over my inside shoulder, as this ensures they don't try to "sit up" during a turn. Others ask the pillion to pretend to be a sack of potatoes and simply lean with the bike. Whatever the preference, consistency is key.

    * Rider should be mindful of the pillion not having any seat back or seatbelt to support them; Violent changes in acceleration will cause the pillion's helmet to smack the rider in the back of the head, and more than likely frighten or upset the pillion. Braking, acceleration and gearchanges must be supersmooth and predictable. :)
  16. Surprised Spots was the only one to mention being SMOOTH... not much fun for either party if the pillion is constantly rocking back and forward trying to fight acceleration and deceleration forces, or headbutting you lol. Found that out the first time i took the wife for a ride on the back when i was still relatively new to riding and not as smooth. Also had the spuds squashed under moderate braking as she came forward!
  17. I find being harsher on acceleration and brakes much more fun. 2up wheelies are great when accelerating, and the 'boob jam' when braking is awesome! :twisted:

    I do find cornering much more difficult though, cant move around on the bike much with a back warmer clinging on to you.
  18. How many head buts do you need before you work that out :shock:
  19. Oh god yes, the boob jam. My g/f has started doing it deliberately because she knows I like it :p boob jam on acceleration.
  20. I assume you are sitting on the seat facing the front, Where is she sitting for you to get booby squish on acceleration?? Or do you just use her as a back stop so you don't slide off the back when not holding on??