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Tips for pillioning

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by pete the freak, May 26, 2006.

  1. So I'm about three weeks away from finally getting my full licence, and my girlfriend is starting to get excited about being able to pllion her around. I've printed off the "How to be a motorcycle passenger" story from the Articles section for her to study...

    ***BTW: Anyone who hasn't had a look at the Articles section, go there now, there's some great stuff***

    So basically I'm looking for advise on what to expect once my girlfriend starts insisting on coming along on every ride...

    How will the behviour of the bike change?

    What changes should I make to the setup of the bike to optimise the pillion experience??

    If I get enough sensible answers I might even think about compiling it all into a neat little article to put in the articles seciton of Netrider.

  2. Leave her at home IMHO. :LOL: :wink:
    Bike handles terribly two up.....
    You try sooo hard to be smooth with a pillion, but you end up hitting helmets all the time and them sliding forward and squashing your manhood on the tank......Not fun.......
    Would be interested to read the article if you do one, though. :)
  3. take it easy... ride like you would if it was wet and you are near tram tracks :)
  4. Pillions with zero experience will always try and sit up straight when you lean the bike, resulting in massive understeer. Tell her to keep her body vertically aligned with yours at all times and it will be just fine. Don't forget to adjust the rear suspension. A bike two-up, with the rear suspension correctly adjusted for the weight, will handle almost as well as when solo.
  5. Over the years I have had many pillion passengers, some don't what to lean when going around corners and other what to help you corner, which is really scary....
    But what I say to a pillion is to relax and trust me... :LOL: :LOL: ..
    also with my daugther, I found a product that goes on the pillion seat that when she sits down she doesn't move...."Grip Mat" or something, its called..


    .......sorry 4got to mention what a good pillion my wife is..

    is that OK...honey... :grin:
  6. The bike will handle pretty much as you'd expect, awful! Slow and heavy. You'll need to plan your cornering, be especially smooth and basically slow everything down a notch, as your bike won't brake or steer anywhere near as well as solo riding.

    Low speed riding is the trickiest. Fidgetting pillions are a real no-no as you'll find yourself weaving all over the place. Save the fidgeting/ adjusting until you're moving, when it won't have as much of an impact.

    Suspension changes I make are to jack the rear preload up to max and soften the damping a little to give her an easier ride. This is all easy on the BM of course due to the remote adjuster, but on other bikes can be a real pain & I probably wouldn't bother.

    We don't suffer helmet bashing ( :shock: ) quite as much as some, mainly because the baggage holds on to the rear grab rail. It does make the bike a little rear heavy, but she prefers it like that so I ain't arguing.

    And yeah, work out some hand signals before you set off...
  7. To start with:

    Take a riding mate out with you first.

    You drop them, it's less fuss. Also they won't lean silly.

    Braking distance more, cornering is worse. You get used to it.

    Crank up rear suspension a little. Plus tyre pressure needs to go up to compensate.

    To start with tell them not to lean at all. It's easier to compensate for a sack of potatoes than someone leaning wrong. Later get them to lean with the bike.

    Sort out your hand signals before hand. I just use left shoulder to stop when you can. Right shoulder stop now.

    And tell them not to get on/off till you tell them it's okay.
  8. sew a golf ball into the pillion seat. she'll love it.

    oh sorry you wanted sensible answers my bad.

    suspention & tyres
  9. Yeah, well fortunately she's pillioned on other bikes before so she knows pretty mich what to do.

    So it's basically:

    Up the rear suspension and rear tyre pressure


    Slow down and Brake early...
  10. Her having pillioned before does'nt really mean anything - she might not be any good at it (no offence intended)

    The art of being a good pillion is for them to remain basically inert...Not affecting the bike one way or the other. The pillion should be mindful of what effect they are having on a bike and try to negate it where practical, to the point of not being there (metaphorically speaking). :)
    You, as a rider need to be smoooooth as possible...as others have said...ride like it's wet is a good thing to keep in mind.
    Any sudden movements from you, can't be anticipated by her, so you will get that "delayed weight flopping around effect", and you and she will be out of "sync".

    Tighten up your suspension with some preload on the rear mainly, and possibly a few stops of damping (both compression and rebound).
    Remember! - THAT will make your bike feel quite different to what you are used to, so YOU will need a little time to get used to it as well.

    Be careful when you are coming to a stop as well. There is alot of additional weight and you may not expect it when you put your foot down - get a little off kilter and it's possible to just fall over :)

    It aint to bad, but aint much fun, but if you wanna feel something nice sticking into your back, then it must be done (coff)
  11. Tell your pillion it's ok to wriggle and make adjustments when the bike is straight BUT NOT ok when leaned over.

    When the bike is leaned over, tell em to make an even greater effort to relax and resist any urge to tighten up or react to anything that looks disconcerting from the passengers point of view... as it has a really big effect on the bike.

    If they make an effort to keep their chin aligned with your "inside corner" shoulder, they'll adequately contribute towards passenger lean in corners.

    Without helmet to helmet comms, I instruct pillions to use a tap on the helmet as STOP. A tap on either appropriate shoulder to turn when they're giving directions... unless they decide to yell instead of course.

    From the rider's point of view, if they're a hugging type passenger, you wont be able to slide around and move your arsse out of the seat in corners. You will only have limited upper body leaning, so expect greater bike lean angles in corners.

    Be smooth on throttle and brakes [anticipate well in advance] and when coming to a stop, be sure to come to a smooth stop in one movement, not the bunny hopping type stop...

    The bike will feel differently like everyone has said.

    Enjoy the ride... coz riding with your partner who appreciates the experience is worth it's weight in gold... trust me.


  12. I hyave pretty limited experience having only done it 3 times :LOL: but there are three things i found
    -First few times ride like you would in the wet (Allow extra distance, don't lean too far, etc)
    -Don't brake/downshift too hard (The person i took kept smacking their helmet into the back of my head :? )
    -You'll have to take off with heaps of throttle to get going... with a 250 anyway :)
  13. Guess who's hoping to get some tonight ... :cool:
  14. no root no ride
  15. All good valid points here. It is important to relax of course. Stiff bodies just fight against the bike and tire not only the pillion, but the rider as well. Braking is very different, and tire pressures as well as suspension may need to be adjusted. One thing to note though, and I may just be a little different here. But for me I get greater tyre adhesion on the rear due to the increase of weight the tyre is carrying. The extra weight gives me more traction whilst cornering, and the bike is less prone to power sliding. Now I am not suggesting that you ride harder with a pillion, nor that you ride at an unsuitable level on a road. Just simply that I have found the tyres grip more in certain circumstances due to the extra weight. I think taking a pillion is a learning curve for both the rider and the pillion. To be able to work together and not against each other. Sometimes the worst pillions are other riders as they try and pillion the way they would ride!!! I would suggest the best input I can make is to simply relax. You often dont realise how often you tense up without knowing it. And to take on board a pillion may be unfamiliar teritory and tensing up may be part of the learning curve.

  16. PMSL....you d%^& Craig

  17. can you reach the ground on your bike little man :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:
  18. PMSL....you d%^& Craig

    ...your just jelous!!! And it is not a problem...provided I dont stop...lol
  19. I pillion all the time with Lil and even with a bust collarbone in a sling. She reckons im a good pillion and Im a good weight on the back and it helps her bike sit better in corners. We do the spur and allsorts and never have an issue.
    My mate from Scotland came over for a holiday and said all tough like, that he can go on a ride as he has been on a Ducati before and its no big deal.
    Well he soon had his arse fall out and was really struggling.
    She wasnt going that fast either....i guess its just down to some people.
    Lil always said from day one "just go with the flow" and I did and we always have a comfortable and fun day out with no compensation needed, Might help because i ride too....
  20. Watch out for wheelies. Happens all the time to me - the extra weight on the back makes power wheelies happen even when you don't want them too. :p

    Otherwise, it's really not that much different. There's good and bad pillions, but you'll get used to both and know how to handle it. The best pillions are the ones you 'forget' are there - and generally it's just practise that makes perfect for both of you.

    One thing I would ask of any pillion - if you're uncomfortable and need to move, do it while we're still moving. The instinct for any pillion seems to be to move around and get comfy when you stop at the lights... when the bike least stable! Encourage them to get into position at speed, not stationary or at low speeds!

    It might be a little different given you're on a cruiser, but on a sportsbike the pillion should at least try and put a hand on the tank while cornering. This allows them to brace themselves when you're braking - no helmet knocking! They can use their other arm to hang on to you, so they don't fall back when accelerating. This way they've got both accelerating and braking covered, and will be quite well positioned while you're cornering.

    Um... what else? You'll need to ride a lot smoother than you would by yourself... roll on the power slower, roll off slower: otherwise your pillion will be whinging about a sore neck! It doesn't take long to get used to, however.

    I'm sure there's more. I've learned a lot regarding pillioning in the last 6 months - one bike for 2 people with only one license makes for a lot of two-up travelling. ;)