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Topic: Riding Two Up - a Compendium.  (Read 88694 times)

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Lawn Dart
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« on: January 11, 2007, 02:04:58 am »

I recently had a good friend and new rider ask me what I thought about giving his girlfriend a ride.  I said "Sure, I'd be glad to".  I think he meant something a bit different though.

Still, it got me to thinking.  This would be a great topic for the Beginners Garage.  One of the greatest experiences I have riding is riding two up with my wife on the back.  The companionship is something truly special when a couple rides together.  And the truth of the matter is that having a nice set of bewbies pressed up against your back just plain feels goooooood!

So I thought I'd start with some basics and then get into some more advanced commentary on two up riding.

The Pillion.  (Aka, the Passenger.  Aka, Baggage or Ballast.  Aka, the Wife.)  The Pillion is the most precious cargo on your bike.  Whoever this person is, they have just placed their absolute faith in your riding skills.  You no longer are responsible for your own safety, you are 100% liable for theirs.  If you go down, THEY go down.  And chances are, they are going to get hurt.  Think about that and let it sink in.  

Shelf the ego at the door.  If you want to be aggressive, do it solo or take it to the track where you will only endanger yourself.

Posted on: January 10, 2007, 11:03:17 pm
Chapter 1.  The Pilot.
   I’ve met many, many riders both young and old who have leapt at the chance to give their girlfriends or wives a ride.  Some of these guys had been riding perhaps a week, a couple maybe had a month under their belt.  I have seen them ride off, blowing shifts, stutter braking, stumbling along with all the balance of a newborn colt.  I’ve seen it with Gixxers, Standards, and Cruisers alike.  It spans all riding styles and types, spanning all ages and race.  

   Sadly, inexperience is the common norm.  

   As a new rider, I highly and strongly recommend that you do not give anyone a ride for the first 5,000 miles of riding.  It takes time before one fully develops the muscle memory required to be confident and smooth on a bike.  Clutch – Downshift – Brake – Turn In – Countersteer – Throttle control:  All this takes time to master. It’s not personal and it’s not a question of maturity or raw skill:  it’s simply a question of muscle memory and muscle memory takes time to develop.  

   When riding two up the Pilot must not only consider the basics of riding but also consider how their motions affect the pillion.  On top of it, the pilot must consider the impact of every motion a Pillion makes.  Trust me when I tell you:  you do not want to have to worry about the basics when you have a Pillion squirming around on the back!  

   5,000 miles.  It’s a nice round number.  Besides, you don’t want embarrass yourself in front of your woman by riding like a twit, now do you?

   As a Pilot, you want your Pillion to have a good time, right?  It’s very important to give the pillion a pleasant ride that they will enjoy.  Smooth is a word that describes the best roadracers in the world.  It also describes the type of ride that your pillion wants too!  Smooth means that your Pillion won’t be startled and scared!  A scared pillion is a fidgety pillion and a fidgety pillion will affect your handling!  So let’s take a moment and talk about things that aren’t smooth.

   Whacking the throttle wide open on your Gixxer 1k is not smooth.  It’s not smooth your S&S 120hp Harley.  Be gentle on the throttle.  Also note that with a pillion on the back of the bike the center of gravity is moved backwards on the bike making it easier to wheelie.  A bike that might not normally wheelie could indeed flip you over with a pillions weight on the back.

   Sudden and sharp braking.  Unless you are in an emergency situation, please please please do all of your braking as smoothly and gently and as upright as possible.  Firstly, it won’t upset the bike’s handling.  Secondly, it won’t scare the pillion.  Thirdly, you won’t experience helmet knock.  Fourth, you won’t have a pillion sliding forward into you and ramming your nuts into the gas tank!  

   Sharp and fast turns are not smooth.  Remember that YOU can see where you are going.  Chances are though your pillion is looking around, enjoying the view, waving at other bikers and small children in cars.  All of a sudden you jerk the bike left doing your best Rossi impression -  You’re ready for the turn but the pillion isn’t.  You lead left, she banks right due to centrifugal force.  All of a sudden the bike’s handling is upset – not a comfortable feeling.  

Be gentle and be smooth in all things.  You will be happier and so will your pillion.  Remember, you want the pillion to move WITH you, not against you.

Posted on: January 10, 2007, 11:03:44 pm
Chapter 2.  The Pillion.
   Many people have the idea that all a pillion need to do is “Get on, Hang on, and Shut Up”.  I think I read that on a T-Shirt somewhere.  A few centuries before, some really smart guy figured out that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”.   Anything that the pilot does on a bike has an immediate reaction on the bikes handling.  Shift your body weight right?  The bike turns right.  Weight the left peg and the bike leans left. Absolutely anything your pillion does will affect the bike’s handling just as immediately!

   My wife has developed an exceptional talent for being smooth on the bike.  When she adjusts her position to get more comfortable, she does so in a way that doesn’t upset the bike.  She moves smoothly and gently – not quick and fast.  

   There’s a lot that goes into riding pillion and it’s much more than simply sitting on the back!
 
   Let’s start right from the beginning:  Getting on the bike.  Sounds easy, right?  Many bikes, especially sport bikes, have 31.5” pilot seat heights.  I’m 5’8” tall with a 31” inseam and most sport bike seats mean that I can only flatfoot one foot at a time, or balance on just the balls of my feet.  So it is quite fair to say that in many cases the pilot is already at a leveraged disadvantage when the pillion mounts a bike.  To add more to the challenge the typical  pillion seat is a fair bit taller – perhaps as much as two inches higher than the pilot is.  What this means is that the pillion exerts even greater pressure on the pegs when trying to get on.  It’s happened to me on several occasions where I was caught just a bit off guard when the wife got on the bike – and I promptly dumped the bike on the ground.  

   It’s hard for me to actually describe the process of a pillion getting on the bike.  My best effort is this:  She should keep as much of her body weight over the seat as possible so as to keep the bikes center of balance as vertical as possible.  She puts her left hand on your left shoulder,  right hand on your right shoulder, left foot on the left footpeg, and as gently as possible, lifts herself onto the pillion seat in one, smooth and easy movement.  She should also settle herself into the seat as softly as she can.  Being smooth is valid not only for the pilot but also for the pillion!

   Now let’s talk about the end:  Getting off the bike.  Use a curb.  Seriously.  A pillion seat often has even tighter footpeg accommodations than the pilot – can you say cramped legs?  Also, if you are the normal couple, chances are that your woman is a fair bit shorter than you are.  Remember that extra 2” of seat height?  So she’s got short legs and she’s up higher on the bike (and she’s tired and cramped from that ride to boot!) – that’s going to make it just that much more difficult for her to slide off the bike gently.  Go ride up to a curb – give your pillion the extra 6” of curb height to get off.  Even better is if you can find a curb right next to a wall or a pole to balance against while using the curb height to her advantage.  

   Ok, so we’ve addressed getting on and off the bike.  We’ve also talked a bit about equal and opposite reactions.  Let’s talk about pillion position when in a turn:  Here it is:  super easy:  She looks over the shoulder of the direction of the turn.  If you are turning right, then she looks over your right shoulder.  Yep, that’s it.  Right turn, right shoulder.  Left turn, left shoulder.  

Edited to add:  Great point from AirborneXX:  "My wife had a bad habit of adjusting her position just as we were coming to a stop.  I finally got it through to her that it's ok to adjust when we're at speed, but for gods sake when we're about to stop or moving real slow don't move!"

   So she’s on the bike.  Now where should her hands be?  There are five basic places for her hands.  #1:  use the grab rails on your bike (if comfortable).  #2.  Wrap her hands around your waist (may or may not be doable depending on how short her arms are or how big your belly is!).  #3.  On the gas tank. (very good under hard braking situations as it keeps the pillion off your back and from sliding into you.  Unfortunately this is not always comfortable for extended lengths of time and also puts a LOT of pressure on the riders wrists.  Also, it’s quite possible that her arms simply won’t reach around your waist).  #4.  On your thighs. (this is my wife’s preferred position when riding the twisties.  She claims that she can tell what I am going to do by what my thigh muscles do.  Left thigh tense, left turning coming up.  On top of this, it keeps her body very close to mine, maintaining a more consistent center of balance) #5. Gripping the back of your jacket.  Any of these are acceptable and all can apply in different situations.  Experiment and find the one that works best for you!

   Where her hands should never be is tucked into your pockets!  I’ve read on more than one occasion of ladies who have had their wrists broken in accidents because they had their hands tucked in their pilots pockets.  

   Body position in sporty riding:  as close to you as possible.  Have her lean into you, melding her body as close to yours as possible.  The goal here is to become one body in turns.  Why?  Center of gravity and control.  Pushed away, the center of gravity shifts over the back tire, causing the bike to want to wheelie.  It also creates a delay in reaction times.  Two bodies need to act as one.

Edited To Add:  Compliments to Zen Rider for this note:  "In addition to your list, another thing (I do) is explain to the Pillion a basic set of hand and eye communications - two of the most important ones are as follows:  1) wait to mount the bike until I give you the nod to indicate I'm ready and in position to support the weight of the bike and the dismount; and 2), wait to dismount until I pat your leg indicating again that I'm in position."

   If all this seems like a lot of work that’s because it is.  An astute pillion does a lot of work on the bike and it can be quite fatiguing.  As a pilot you should keep this in mind – pillions need a rest too.  

   Getting away from the work aspect of things, the pillion should also be given a couple of “little fun jobs”.  Waving to other riders, taking pictures, enjoying the scenery – she gets the job of being the ambassador to the rest of the road.  Give her the job of navigating too.  

Posted on: January 10, 2007, 11:04:33 pm
Chapter 3.  Gear.
   Commonly it’s the pilot who has the best gear.  After all, pillions aren’t on the bike that often and many pillions just don’t want to invest a whole lot of money in gear.  I have to admit, this was certainly the case when my wife (then girlfriend) and I first started riding.  I really didn’t like it so I made it a point to take it easy on the bike.  At a minimum the pillion must have their own helmet.  For that matter I recommend that they buy the helmet with their own money – it’s a commitment thing.  Hey, if they aren’t willing to spend $75 for a minimal helmet, then how can you expect them to take riding seriously at all (or, for that matter, how much they value their own noggin)?  Remember that they must have a helmet that fits right – your old XXL HJC isn’t going to be a good choice for a Small headed woman.  Get a new helmet and get it fitted right – it doesn’t have to be a Shoei RF1000 or an Arai Corsair – several manufacturers make very respectable dot approved helmets.

   At a minimum:  solid jeans, tall over the ankle boots, heavy leather work gloves, and a leather jacket are needed.  My wife used my old heavy leather jacket for her first ride with me.  By our second ride she had spent $80 on a closeout Fieldsheer jacket and another $60 on a set of riding pants.

   The truth is that you can get fully outfitted in decent gear for under $350.  www.newenough.com is an excellent place to start:  Tourmaster jacket and pant combos can be had for as little as $200, add another $75 for a helmet and $40 for gloves and you are off the races pretty darn cheap!

   If your pillion truly enjoys riding with you, make the gift of gear.  It shows that you care about her health.  It also shows a level of commitment and responsibility – chicks dig that!


Chapter 4.  The Bike & Suspension.
   All bikes are not created equal.  Some bikes simply handle two up riding better than others.  Sport bikes (Gixxers, R6, CBR’s) in general are not all that comfortable for a pillion.  High pegs, thin seats, tall riding position:   talk about being perched like a bird!  Obviously the basics here apply:  Gold Wings, BMW’s, HD dressers pretty much own the raw comfort category.  Of course on STN your chances of owning such a two-up monster that slim to none!  Still, if you have a rather resistant pillion it might well be worth trying to rent a big bike like this as an enticement.
   In the sportier category are the VFR’s, Sprints, RS’s, ZZR’s, etc.  Bigger bikes designed for two up riding but with a solid sporting background.
   In any case, a pillion’s comfort level can certainly be improved regardless of the type of bike one owns.  A back rest, more comfortable seat, lower footpegs all go a long way towards comfort.
   Obviously though, if you are going to give pillion rides, you pretty much ride what you own.  Just remember that whatever bike you have, your real objective is to tailor your ride to what the comfort level of your bike is (from a pillion perspective).  Just because you can real off 500 mile days on your super-sport doesn’t mean that your pillion wants to!  Take it easy, especially on your first few rides.  Take lots of breaks:  every half hour depending on how sporty your bike is.  Give her time to stretch out and relax.  Or, at the minimum, pull over and ask her if she still wants to keep going or if she wants to take a break.
   Take into consideration the type of rides that a new pillion might enjoy.  Straffing the twisties like Rossi is likely to turn off your pillion from ever wanting to get on the bike a second time.  Go slow, perhaps consider just making a quick Ice Cream run somewhere.  Much like a marathoner, one needs to build up to longer rides.
   As an aside suggest to your pillion to wear some kind of gel-seat bicycling shorts.  These may well help improve their comfort.

   Riding with a pillion often has a pretty dramatic effect on the way a bike handles.  The extra weight overloads normal rear shock settings.  For that matter, many riders haven’t even taken the time to properly set up their suspension for solo riding in the first place.  I’m not going to bother to explain how compression damping or rebound damping works.  But what I can tell you is that once you have set your compression and rebound damping you do NOT need to adjust them at all for two up riding!
   In two up riding the only adjustment that you need concern yourself with is Spring PreLoad.  In short, spring preload controls how much static sag you have on the bike.  Or, in simpler English, how much your bike “squats” under rest.  Properly set up a sport bike might  have around ¾” to 1” of sag.  That provides a nice, firm ride for control.  Add another 145# of pillion and that ¾” of sag can turn into as much as 2” of sag.  Now you’ve eaten up a significant portion of the shocks travel meaning that it can be much easier to bottom out the shock or even cause damage to shock seals through overtravel.  
The easiest way to manage spring preload two-up is trial and error.  Depending on your shock, try adding a couple of full turns to preload to a remote adjuster.  Or, if you have a stepped shock collar (common as an OEM shock) dial in a couple more steps of preload.  Go for a test ride:  make adjustments as needed.  
But just to reiterate all you should need to do is adjust the spring preload.


Chapter 5.  Communication.
   No, I’m not going to talk about bike communication devices.  Yes, I’ve got helmet to helmet communication, but my wife and I learned to communicate very effectively without needing it at all.  30,000 miles together will do that.  I made my wife the navigator – I had enough on my hands managing the bike so I figured that she could use mini-maps and the like. It’s worked out exceptionally well for us on moto-tours and it gives her something else to do.  

 So here are some specific navigation commands:

1.   A single tap or long squeeze to the bicep of either the right/left arm:  “move a lane over to the right/left”
2.   Two taps or two long squeezes to BOTH biceps simultaneously, “Second Exit”
3.   A series of quick taps to the bicep of the right/left arm:  “Take the first exit on the right/left”.
4.   (if doable) A series of taps on the gas tank:  “find a restroom”.  If you can’t hit the tank see #6.
5.   A series of hard taps on the helmet:  “Slow down!”
6.   A serious of hard taps to the helmet that don’t stop until the rider stops “I need off, NOW”.



Well, if you’ve read all this, then perhaps there is still hope that you too will not only have a wonderful time riding two up, but more importantly, your pillion will want to come back again and again!  After all, the real point of riding two up is for two people to have some fun together in a sport that tickles both your fancies.


Remember, A good ride is ANY ride you come home safe from.  A GREAT ride is one in which you can ride the bike again.

Ride safe.



The wife speaks!!  "Another thing to think about is that this is just like being in the saddle.  When the rider is braking, use your thigh muscles to keep from slamming into the rider.  The same when he takes off; hang on with your legs and thighs.  The rider might feel the squeeze a bit, but it's better than slamming him into the gas tank.  When you're going over bumps, put some downward pressure on the pegs so that your bottom comes slightly off the seat.  This will save on having it feel like your fillings are going to be knocked out.  But remember... all of these movements are NOT big, or fast.  Think minimal movement, minimmal impact on the riders balance - and that's a good thing.

Most important of all, don't be afraid to tell the rider if something isn't working for you.  I had to tell my husband about the curb, because he couldn't really see how I was getting off the bike.  The wall thing was his idea, but I certainly told him how wonderful it was to have something to hold on to while I hopped off on one leg, and now he tries to find one each time we stop.  Let the rider know if you're too tired, or need a break.  Don't be a hero!  Better to have a few more stops, than to be miserable.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun.

That's all I can think of for the moment, except to say, I love it.  Between riding my own bike, and riding as a pillion, I'll take pillion almost any day."

« Last Edit: January 13, 2007, 10:42:23 am by BMW-K » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2007, 09:45:16 am »

Wow. Thanks for posting that.  I think two-up riding is one of the underdiscussed skills.

I ride with my wife on the back quite a bit, and I think all of your suggestions are spot on.  That is a great resource.
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2007, 12:01:41 pm »

Nice write up,  I ride alot with my wife so I am used to the two up skill needed. I enjoy riding more with my wife then I do solo we explore the state and also meet up with people for coffee meets and such, I also have a Goldwing so I might be out of my area here.  Smile
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2007, 12:40:24 pm »

Another thing to remember about riding with a passenger, going along with the "smooth" recommendation:

If you do not practice emergency maneuvers as much as you do solo, don't expect them to work as well.  The point of lock-up on your wheels change, traction changes, and your handling changes.  That means you should increase your margin of safety.  I would recommend doubling it (that means 4 seconds of following distance if you're used to having 2 seconds).  Drop your "8/10ths" performance riding to "6.5/10ths".

We've all seen the pictures over at killboy.com of the girls dragging their fingers on the asphalt on Deal's Gap.  If your passenger can do this (and doesn't have abnormally long arms), you're riding too fast - even if you think you're in control, unless you happen to ride with a passenger a lot of the time (not that it doesn't look really cool...!).
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2007, 12:42:11 pm »

Good write up.  I was laughing all the way thinking about the time when my Wife and I rode 2-up on the RT.  The helmet to helmet communication really saved us and likely saved me from a concusion from her hitting my helmet telling me she wants off.   Lol
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2007, 12:45:02 pm »

Here's a handy quick reference:

http://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/Passenger_Tip_Sheet.pdf

Item #7 under "General Safety Considerations" is a good checklist to proffer to a new passenger, to help him or her get an idea of what to do on the back of a bike.

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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2007, 01:56:50 pm »

Thanks, I hadn't seen this before.  I'm forwarding it on to my co-pilot.
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2007, 01:07:42 am »

Excellent!!!  I printed it (7 pages) for educational (wife's) purposes.

At my age (71) I have owned & ridden many different bikes; transported many different passengers for thousands upon thousands of miles.  
My 1st wife & I road together (2/up) for 28 years before she passed away;  a perfect passenger & always a pleasure.  

My present wife and I have been riding together for the past 17 years.  When we first met, she said that she had ridden many times before & loved every moment.  This of course was music to my ears; I assumed that she would be a proficient passenger.  Wrong assumption!!!  Although she in blissful ignorance was having a ball,  I was fighting every moment to keep the bike upright.  Like most I suppose; no mater how lovingly proposed, she does not take to constructive criticism.  Over the years however I have diplomatically managed to to impart a little tidbit that has greatly improved our riding experience....RIGHT TURN = RIGHT LOOK!!....  LEFT TURN = LEFT LOOK!!!

I will lovingly provide her with the print of your post, and if we are back on speaking terms next spring, I hope for much improvement in passenger proficiency.
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2007, 01:19:20 pm »

Great post!  Thanks for considering those of us who only ride on back.  I will remember the curb suggestion the next time I’m trying to get off the RS Sprint.  Being 5'1" makes it challenging  when the luggage is stacked on behind.  

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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2007, 08:51:12 pm »

Excellent write up Thumbsup

My wife had a bad habit of adjusting her position just as we were coming to a stop Crazy

I finally got it through to her that it's ok to adjust when we're at speed, but for gods sake when we're about to stop or moving real slow don't move!

I had the Corbin with the backrest, now I have a Givi with the backpad and she likes that alot more. When I first got the XX I almost lost her. Came right home and ordered the backrest  
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2007, 10:06:42 pm »

Very comprehensive write up and well done.  Thanks a bunch for sharing that.

In addition to your list, another thing (I do) is explain to the Pillion a basic set of hand and eye communications - two of the most important ones are as follows:  1) wait to mount the bike until I give you the nod to indicate I'm ready and in position to support the weight of the bike and the dismount; and 2), wait to dismount until I pat your leg indicating again that I'm in position.

The idea of pulling up to a curb is great and very considerate.  
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2007, 11:10:11 pm »

Mudcat, I like the wording that BMW-K uses: have your passenger look over your shoulder in the direction of the turn. It's basically the same concept as what you wrote, but the wording might prove beneficial to your wife.

Redhead1: welcome to the forum! I hope you find more beneficial info here. Oh, and if you have any interest in finding out what it's like on the front of the bike, just let us know--we'll point you in the right direction.   Smile
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2007, 12:28:05 am »


Do things change much if your passenger weighs 30-40 pounds more?

I'm hoping to practice so I can give my father a ride for his birthday next May...he's been asking for one lately. I'm taller than he is, but he outweighs me and isn't so agile any more.
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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2007, 01:27:53 am »



Do things change much if your passenger weighs 30-40 pounds more?

I'm hoping to practice so I can give my father a ride for his birthday next May...he's been asking for one lately. I'm taller than he is, but he outweighs me and isn't so agile any more.


Will the two of you remain within the maximum recommended weight limit for the bike?

Make sure to crank up your preload (edit: and increase tire pressure, if needed).

My experience has been that it definitely lightens the front of the bike, so take a short test ride around the block or in some other unthreatening area before going for a longer ride.
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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2007, 02:03:39 am »



Do things change much if your passenger weighs 30-40 pounds more?

I'm hoping to practice so I can give my father a ride for his birthday next May...he's been asking for one lately. I'm taller than he is, but he outweighs me and isn't so agile any more.


CBS is on the button there.  Crank up the preload a bit more and prepare for the bike to handle slower.  The front will also be quite a bit lighter.  Take it easy and it's no big deal.

The 30-40# is no different than my wife riding on the back sans luggage and the wife with both saddlebags & topcase loaded to the hilt.  

Thanks for the compliments all!

Airborne & Zen - WOW!  Flashbacks I totally forgot about!  WAIT for "approval" before getting on/off the bike & position adjusting at stops.  Great pointers there.
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2007, 01:57:42 pm »

+1 on the write up! Thumbsup

I've been thrown off balance before by a pillion who claimed to be an experienced passenger.  Then they started leaning all over in turns.  Almost dumped the bike.
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2007, 07:12:29 pm »

Nice--I'm emailing this to my main pillion buddy now. Nice to hear from an actual pillion rider on the subject, too!

If only I'd known these things before I started wobbling around town with girls on the back... Lol

A couple of my pillions are rather amazonian, and outweigh me (not hard, I'm 5' 6" and 150 lbs.) which makes it a challenge to adapt to the slowed handling and braking at times. No unintended wheelies so far though, not even on the steep hills in San Francisco!
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2007, 10:07:57 am »


Redhead1: welcome to the forum! I hope you find more beneficial info here. Oh, and if you have any interest in finding out what it's like on the front of the bike, just let us know--we'll point you in the right direction.   Smile


Thanks!  My husband (Arkansawyer) started me lurking here a a little over 2 years ago.  He is patiently waiting for me to start riding on my own.  I figure I have about 6-7 years to figure out if I can handle it.  When the little daughter is old enough to ride I'm going to have to share my seat on back. The thought of them heading out on a ride without me doesn't sit well.

I've played on my trail 90 a few times.  I think I could really enjoy my own ride.  Only I'm not sure if I want to give up sitting on back.  I can not see how I could ever be as fast and smooth as my husband around a good twisty road.


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« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2007, 12:59:55 am »




Thanks!  My husband (Arkansawyer) started me lurking here a a little over 2 years ago.  He is patiently waiting for me to start riding on my own.  I figure I have about 6-7 years to figure out if I can handle it.  When the little daughter is old enough to ride I'm going to have to share my seat on back. The thought of them heading out on a ride without me doesn't sit well.

I've played on my trail 90 a few times.  I think I could really enjoy my own ride.  Only I'm not sure if I want to give up sitting on back.  I can not see how I could ever be as fast and smooth as my husband around a good twisty road.



You're welcome!

When you decide the time is right, we'll help you out. Then you'll be able to ride your own ride. You don't need to worry about riding as fast and smooth as your husband; just take things at your own pace, wear ATGATT, and have fun.  Smile
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2007, 04:20:52 pm »

Nicely done.

I might have to show this to my wife who thinks a good "Slow Down" signal is smacking me upside the head as hard as possible.  Bigsmile
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« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2007, 11:47:45 am »


Nicely done.

I might have to show this to my wife who thinks a good "Slow Down" signal is smacking me upside the head as hard as possible.  Bigsmile


 Lol
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« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2007, 04:53:34 pm »

Nice Thumbsup



but I still do not know what a 'compendium' is Headscratch
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2007, 02:55:41 am »

com·pen·di·um     /kəmˈpɛndiəm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kuhm-pen-dee-uhm] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -di·ums, -di·a     /-diə/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[-dee-uh] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation.
1.   a brief treatment or account of a subject, esp. an extensive subject; concise treatise: a compendium of medicine.
2.   a summary, epitome, or abridgment.
3.   a full list or inventory: a compendium of their complaints.

Damn, I probably should have used the term "Tome" instead!
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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2007, 09:56:05 am »


com·pen·di·um     /kəmˈpɛndiəm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kuhm-pen-dee-uhm] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -di·ums, -di·a     /-diə/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[-dee-uh] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation.
1.   a brief treatment or account of a subject, esp. an extensive subject; concise treatise: a compendium of medicine.
2.   a summary, epitome, or abridgment.
3.   a full list or inventory: a compendium of their complaints.

Damn, I probably should have used the term "Tome" instead!


Isn't a 'tome' where dead people are? Headscratch Bigsmile
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« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2007, 09:40:38 pm »

Excellent post BMW-K, one of the best I have read on a MC forum in quite a while...covering a "very" important topic and skill set. Nice job! Thumbsup
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« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2007, 03:30:31 pm »

Nice job BMW-K, as usual.

Tome = where dead knowledge is stored.   Wink
Tomb = where dead people are stored.   Razz


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« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2007, 03:50:45 pm »

good stuff. now if i can just find someone to ride on the back...
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« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2007, 11:58:19 am »

Good stuff.  I'm working with my wife on two-up riding so this was good timing.  
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« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2007, 07:46:52 pm »

Thanks for all of the great info! My wife is going to start riding with me this spring, I waited until I had almost 10K miles under my belt before I invited her to come along. We are now waiting for ordered gear to arrive, will be out there together very soon!
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« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2007, 11:58:20 pm »

Best o Luck to ya John!  Riding two-up has been one of the greatest moto-joys I get to have.
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« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2007, 01:15:39 pm »

Great write up!  

All the info is spot on and should be required reading at the DMV prior to the license test.  I've seen the universal slow down signal (helmet smack) in 6 different countries so far!  The wifey's signal for a bathroom break is a quick but firm grab of my hooyah.  It gets your attention while expressing her urgency.  If she needs a rest; she gives a quick but firm massage of the shoulders.  If needing to pass or accelerate I use the left hand to reach back and double tap her leg.  This gives her time to get a good position before I can reach the clutch for a downshift, if needed.  It forces me to plan my passes.  If I do not have time to tap I will not make a pass.  If she sees the pass coming, she will position and give  a double squeeze letting me know she is ready.  
I  couldn't ask for a more attentive pillion.  Now that she is learning to ride on her own she has a better understanding of motorcycle physics and has become the perfect pillion.  
Oh yeah, she's hot too!!   Bigsmile

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« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2007, 02:13:31 pm »

I liked it so much I think it deserves to be stickied. Thanks!
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« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2007, 03:53:32 pm »

 Excellent post!! One thing I've always done is to wait for my pillion to get comfy before starting out. Trish knows I won't move until I get a gentle tap on my waist. Easily 90% of my riding is two up and it is a fantastic way to spend quality time together. Trish has NO desire to ride front seat,so I'm guessing she enjoys the closeness as well  Inlove
  While camping a few years back, we were riding into town to get some supplies when a spider crawled out of my pillions' helmet. She jammed her thumbs into my sides so hard I think they touched!!! Check your gear.
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« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2007, 07:55:54 pm »


I liked it so much I think it deserves to be stickied. Thanks!


Holy Smokes!  I got STICKIED!  Honored AND Humbled!

Thanks Hobbes!
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« Reply #34 on: April 05, 2007, 03:12:19 pm »

Great article, we ride 80% two up. I passed this on to my wife. Thanks again.. be safe
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« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2007, 01:09:58 am »

Bike won't be maxxed out with my father and I on it, but it'll be close.

My first MSF instructor talked about his first ride as a pillion; after twenty years' riding experience.  It happened by accident when a friend offered to give him a ride to the shop to pick up his bike. Friend showed up with his motorcycle; instructor asked what he was doing.  The response:  "I'm here to give you a ride, what do you mean?"

So, he rode pillion to the shop--and told us with a straight face that it was the single most terrifying experience in his life.
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« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2007, 10:02:03 pm »

An excellent article!  The frist time I rode with my wife, all that I asked her to do was to become part of the bike.  I knew that my ride was heavy enough without a passenger, let alone with one.  After reading this message on pillion riding, I have to thank my wife for getting it, without having to be specific.
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« Reply #37 on: May 09, 2007, 12:18:35 pm »

I did my first two-up trip on Sunday - relatively short at less than 30 minutes each way, mostly in suburban traffic. Things went easier than I expected. She is leggy and fit so she was comfy on the pegs and no problem getting on and off. Apart from a half dozen light helmet to helmet taps I barely noticed she was back there.

Most of the helmet taps came when I did my shifts from 1>2 at too low a speed and the bike lost momentum before picking up in 2nd. So I slipped the clutch from a stop more than when solo but from then on, just shift quickly and accelerate like normal. Braking was business as usual - miss as many red lights as I can and proceed.
This is my 3rd season on the same bike, a 1979 UJM 750cc; now with SS brake lines.

The hot tub and wine was the thanks I got  Wink
Ooooh, I like my bike!
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« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2007, 05:36:05 am »


My first MSF instructor talked about his first ride as a pillion; after twenty years' riding experience.  It happened by accident when a friend offered to give him a ride to the shop to pick up his bike. Friend showed up with his motorcycle; instructor asked what he was doing.  The response:  "I'm here to give you a ride, what do you mean?"

So, he rode pillion to the shop--and told us with a straight face that it was the single most terrifying experience in his life.


Riding pillion is scary!!  EEK! Took my bike for a service the other week and my mate came with me on his bike to take me to and from the shop. We ride a lot together so I know how he rides, when he brakes and leans etc so I could react as one with him and that was all fine. But goddamn I do not like not being in control!!  Crazy
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« Reply #39 on: May 13, 2007, 09:20:05 am »

Thanks for the excellent post.  And timely - the new gf says she wants to ride along starting real soon. I've scrapbooked it and will show it to her over dinner.
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« Reply #40 on: June 19, 2007, 03:13:51 pm »

Excellent post.  I'm just getting back into riding again after a 12yr hiatus. I am now married and have 3 kids who all want to ride with me.  I have taken my oldest son (just turned 9) on a very small ride to school on his birthday and now he's hooked.  I have never had pillions before and would like to know what recommendations you have for carrying youngsters?

Thanks,
Anthony
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« Reply #41 on: July 12, 2007, 04:56:50 pm »


Excellent post BMW-K, one of the best I have read on a MC forum in quite a while...covering a "very" important topic and skill set. Nice job! Thumbsup


+1

There's also the gear referenced earlier in this thread:  Too many men and women in shorts and tee shirts riding 2-up.  Crazy  I'm forwarding to some friends!
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« Reply #42 on: July 17, 2007, 02:19:39 pm »

Great postings. My wife and I have ridden several thousand miles together over the years.
I have always told my rider to always match me shoulder to shoulder, helmet to helmet in the curves.
One of the biggest improvement to 2-up riding I have ever had was the wonderful addition of a backrest for the pillon rider. As pilots we tend to forget that we absorb all of the acceleration force in our forward leaning angle with our arms. Meanwhile our pillon rider is forced to absorb that same force in their lower back. When I added the Corbin backrest mount, my wife praised me endlessly (well it did end...but for a short while).

The backrest takes the stress off of their lowerback and allows them better stability in acceleration. So in the two "emergency" accelerations I had to produce, she right with me-- instantly able compensate her ergonomics because her center of gravity was held against the backrest. Otherwise her weight will shift backwards very quickly.

Handsignals wonderful-- everyone should generate. We have the "bathroom break" with a quick pat on the package....You know the meaning quickly...and its a WONDERFUL SIGNAL.
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« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2007, 12:41:57 pm »


good stuff. now if i can just find someone to ride on the back...


i just revisited this thread. about a week after i made this post in february, i met someone. she's been on the back ever since. Inlove
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« Reply #44 on: October 18, 2007, 01:07:45 pm »




i just revisited this thread. about a week after i made this post in february, i met someone. she's been on the back ever since. Inlove


Grats to ya!  Two-Up is fun!
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« Reply #45 on: November 22, 2007, 10:16:55 pm »

NEw to this forum and found your article really informative. My dad taught me about riding two up at a young age, so I taught my wife, daughter and have been teaching my 9year old neice alot about riding two up. riding is fun two up  Smile. The bandit i ride has more than enough room for two, plenty of power to go and more important to stop. Lots of miles to y'all..............m..
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« Reply #46 on: November 24, 2007, 12:49:57 pm »


Excellent post.  I'm just getting back into riding again after a 12yr hiatus. I am now married and have 3 kids who all want to ride with me.  I have taken my oldest son (just turned 9) on a very small ride to school on his birthday and now he's hooked.  I have never had pillions before and would like to know what recommendations you have for carrying youngsters?

Thanks,
Anthony


IMHO, riding on the back needs to be "earned" and put off until they're big enough and mature enough to follow instructions and understand how important the rules are. (I've heard some scary stories about pre-teen pillion antics.)

Children also must be big enough to put both feet securely on the footpegs. I prefer that my kids hang onto the luggage rails, which they can wrap hands around rather than trying to hang onto me. Keeps then from sliding into me if I have to brake suddenly.

Kids tend to be wiggly, so a reminder to only do their wiggling when we're moving down the road, in a straight line is important. With the addition NOT to wiggle as we're coming to a stop or moving very slowly.

P
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« Reply #47 on: November 30, 2007, 06:21:09 am »

Don't forget the simple stuff like, "Don't try to put your feet down - EVER - unless I signal you it is o.k. to get off the bike."  It seems natural to people who have never been on a motorcycle to put their feet down, but can make things very interesting at intersections. Smile

If you have a regular riding partner, practice quick stops.  You will be VERY SURPRISED by what can happen, depending on your bike, when you have to stop quickly.

On a sportbike, the pillion can literally slide up your back, causing them to press on your shoulders and significantly affect steering.

The worst passengers are fellow riders.  I won't carry a fellow rider unless I absolutely have to.  
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« Reply #48 on: March 01, 2008, 07:08:29 pm »




Riding pillion is scary!!  EEK! Took my bike for a service the other week and my mate came with me on his bike to take me to and from the shop. We ride a lot together so I know how he rides, when he brakes and leans etc so I could react as one with him and that was all fine. But goddamn I do not like not being in control!!  Crazy


Oh, man!  I had a similar experience last summer...my buddy took me to where my bike was on the back of his CBR-600 F3.  A CBR-600 F3 with a Corbin seat that the previous owner had Armor-Alled and stored outside uncovered.  Needless to say, it was terrifying trying to keep from skating off of that thing in every driection, even for only 3 miles.
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« Reply #49 on: March 01, 2008, 07:11:30 pm »


Excellent post.  I'm just getting back into riding again after a 12yr hiatus. I am now married and have 3 kids who all want to ride with me.  I have taken my oldest son (just turned 9) on a very small ride to school on his birthday and now he's hooked.  I have never had pillions before and would like to know what recommendations you have for carrying youngsters?

Thanks,
Anthony


Well, I rode on the back with my dad a bit when I was in the 6 ~ 12 year old range, and I must say that a motocross helmet is to be avoided on the street.  When I was little it WORKED, but I was also in the wind shadow of my dad.  If I poked my head around either side of him it felt like the wind would take my helmet off and my head with it.
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« Reply #50 on: March 14, 2008, 03:44:44 pm »

I have a 97 VFR 750 and when I go out with the girlfriend I have all my GIVI bag set up on.  She is a bit short so its easier for her to get on first as I hold the bike then I get on, the same in reverse for getting off.  Seems to work good for us as the larger bags make getting on after me almost impossible for her .....
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« Reply #51 on: March 14, 2008, 05:54:50 pm »

I have a question regarding the MSF passenger tip sheet--Under General Safety Considerations, item #12 says to start the motorcycle before the passenger mounts.  Why is this?

A friend and I discussed it and all we came up with was that it's a leftover from the kickstart days.  But that seems strange to say that you should start ANY motorcycle before a passenger gets on.  Can anyone shed some light on this?
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« Reply #52 on: March 15, 2008, 10:41:10 am »


I have a question regarding the MSF passenger tip sheet--Under General Safety Considerations, item #12 says to start the motorcycle before the passenger mounts.  Why is this?

A friend and I discussed it and all we came up with was that it's a leftover from the kickstart days.  But that seems strange to say that you should start ANY motorcycle before a passenger gets on.  Can anyone shed some light on this?


Hi Rick,

I don't know if there's really any pro-con here at all.  I think this will just boil down to personal preference.

The only reason I can see about having the bike started before allowing the passenger to get on involves being able to use the throttle to control the bike in certain circumstances.  ie: if your brakes decide to go out you could use the throttle to hold your position.  Or, if you were falling over you could accelerate out of falling (likely dumping your pillion, but what they hey!)

I can also see it as being just another bit of time for a bike to warm up.

Me personally, I always let my pillion mount the bike with the bike off.  No particular reason - it just "feels" right to me.

BTW, the MSF provides a very basic foundation for riding.  And I do mean basic.  As your skills grow and bike technology grows a lot of the "old rules" just don't apply.  I mean, look at the current BMW K1200LT with it's hydraulic c-stand.  Talk about making it easy!
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« Reply #53 on: July 04, 2008, 07:01:30 pm »

Well I'm sort of a newbee as I took a Loooooooooooong break between rides. My new BMW 1150 R has been my choice of poison this time around and is a good bike for one or two up though in raw form is not exactly ideal for cruising two up.


That said after about five thousand miles I'm taking a chubby little red head along for the mountain runs to share the beauty and have a buddy to take breaks with and smell the roses so to speak. She had a LOT of miles in the seat with a previous BF but they were on the back of a Gullwing , not a R type Beemer so she gave my nads a frequent introduction to the gas tank for the down hill passes but was a great rider on the uphill charges. We got a good rythum considering the amount of time together we had and I look forward to taking her along on occasion.

I agree with most of the posts above and frankly at my age 65 I recognize that two up riding is probably best on bikes designed for that so I don't plan to make a touring cruiser out of my R model but do plan on making a few simple changes for the passengers comfort . I think a top box with a seat back would be great for us I already have two hard bags and a tank bag for luggage and enough gear for weather.

If I were going to do a LOT of two up , I'd get the RT and change little about that as I don't see myself on a Hog or a Honda anytime soon.

The main thing I've noticed is ,even with a good seasoned passenger on back you need to rethink your timing for passing, and stopping and downhill mountain passes. Especially if the gal is a tad on the chunky side. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I posted when I first got my bike and said I was getting back into it and have put five grand on the clock since then mostly solo doing as much practice as possible in good technique and remastering the idea of truly defensive driving. I've been almost run over twice so far by typical folks who were not aware of me even in my dayglo jacket and menacing looking black beemer. So I know that it will be no way for me to ever take the concentration away for a second while riding in traffic of anykind and I've learned quicky that riding two up or one up the main thing for us new guys is don't get cocky. And if you ride a beemer , remember to cancel your turn signal. That will get you killed real quick.

I'm also amazed at the comraderie of other drivers regardless of what bike they are on and that is very comforting.  Thumbsup
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« Reply #54 on: July 27, 2008, 02:11:06 pm »

Excellent work, I have never ridden with a passenger, and now my girlfriend and I decided that we will give it a go. We are going to go for a ride around the block when I get home from work, we live in the country so that means about 5 miles. See how she feels, and more importantly, see how I feel. She is a big girl and I ride a VFR so she should be comfortable. When I say big I dont mean big around, she is 5'10 with long legs. Also I have explained to her that I am scared to death and I dont want her to get hurt so I told her to get her own bike lol, but thats not going to happen, we may love it and take some longer rides!!!

I made her read your post and she learned quite a bit, I know I certainly did!!!

Thank you again!!!

Mark
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« Reply #55 on: July 27, 2008, 02:17:39 pm »

Good luck, and have fun riding two-up!  I don't get to very often, but it's a wonderful experience.  If I can offer any advice, it's to make sure she understands that she has nearly as much control over the bike's direction as you do.  For instance, don't be surprised when she turns her head to look at the passing scenery, that the bike will turn in the direction she's looking.  I guess what I'm saying is, it takes a lot more effort at the controls just to go straight.  Best thing you can do is keep speeds low and build them up as your confidence (and hers) builds.  Have fun and be safe!

-Rick



Excellent work, I have never ridden with a passenger, and now my girlfriend and I decided that we will give it a go. We are going to go for a ride around the block when I get home from work, we live in the country so that means about 5 miles. See how she feels, and more importantly, see how I feel. She is a big girl and I ride a VFR so she should be comfortable. When I say big I dont mean big around, she is 5'10 with long legs. Also I have explained to her that I am scared to death and I dont want her to get hurt so I told her to get her own bike lol, but thats not going to happen, we may love it and take some longer rides!!!

I made her read your post and she learned quite a bit, I know I certainly did!!!

Thank you again!!!

Mark
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« Reply #56 on: August 07, 2008, 11:27:11 pm »

Since few have shared their stories, i thought i might share mine from few months ago, A buddy of mine had a GSXR600, the way the tank was shaped, it made very good handles.  He thought he would give me a ride around the block so i can feel how the 600 rides.  I was "frozen" on the seat.  No movement, just hold on to the tank and dont move. I was pretty comfortable since i was holding on to the bike instead of a person that moves and he said i didnt throw his balance off one bit.  I gues handles on a bike are not a bad idea but then if something happens to the passenger you will see this with out the driver knowing.

http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r46/Motorbiker_photos/NewsPics/oldNewsPics2/The-Bitch-If-you-can-read-this.jpg
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« Reply #57 on: October 07, 2008, 01:32:35 pm »

The passenger must squeeze the rider with her legs!  Just as the rider should squeeze the tank with his.

That is something I learned recently and after carrying passengers for years without feeling safe or comfortable, completely changed the joy of the ride.  My gf and I did almost 300 miles on one of her first rides through twisty mountain roads.  I could barely tell she was there.  Try it!
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« Reply #58 on: January 03, 2009, 10:56:09 pm »

Lots of good informaiton on here...If someone hasn't riden two-up before, this WILL definately help. It's funny that they mention the Pillion has their ambassador duties. She does just that, waves to the people and she loves giving the sign to the passing riders  Smile.
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« Reply #59 on: April 07, 2009, 05:51:54 pm »

Although I've ridden many miles 2-up with good, bad and (no ugly) Pillion's,
I prefer not to for the simple reason that it's one more huge set of variables on an already unstable condition.
I can feel it in the bike when my pillion simply moves a hand up to her face to scratch her nose.
I do it, but don't really like riding 2-up, plus I think it's the mental thing that I'm
totally responsible here for another life besides my own.

my GF has her own bike, but trying to talk her into getting a bigger more ST friendly one
so we can tour and camp and enjoy the road + experience together.
Two bikes beef up the comfort level of a campsite shared by two, also.
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« Reply #60 on: April 07, 2009, 09:40:38 pm »

Excellent!!!  I prefer to ride alone, but I do enjoy a nice ride with beautiful woman. My wife likes it to, it makes her, well, she likes it Embarassment.  One of my most memorable was when she was working in Cody a couple summers ago:

   Saturday morning dawns bright and beautiful. It will be the perfect day for a ride. The plan is for the three of us to ride the eastern side of Yellowstone, then through Cooke City and the Bear Tooth Pass to Red Lodge, MT.  Not a lot of miles, but a great ride. Shawna is very impressed with the extra cargo capacity of Jeff’s FJR, she can’t believe she can take more than what fits in the half a tank bag I allow her! We manage to stay ahead of an approaching weather system for the day, while still stopping to look at the natural beauty of the park. How much better can a day get??
   As we head up the Bear Tooth Highway I see him, approaching at a high rate of speed, his headlight growing larger by the minute. We’re stuck behind two slow moving Harleys, not knowing if we can actually see the entire road ahead to pass them safely. In an instant the approaching rider flashes by in a red blur leaving only the fading sound of a boxer twin. Shawna taps me on the shoulder and say’s “That was an old guy.”
   Immediately I get that all too familiar feeling. I don’t know if it is simply my competitive spirit or something more sinister? There is no choice, how dare he herd that Bavarian contraption past me and my technologically superior machine! I will pass him! I feel Shawna’s legs tighten on my hips as I click it down a couple gears, by this point in our relationship she knows exactly what is about to happen. It takes longer than expected but we finally catch up to the crazy old man on his BMW. I follow him for several corners waiting for the opportunity to pass. I see him checking his mirror at the exit of every turn, a little smirk on his face. I’m pushing it hard, far too close to the limit with a passenger.
   Then something happens, I begin to notice how much debris is on the road, how much his rear tire is sliding, how unforgiving the side of the road is. Suddenly I no longer feel the need to pass him, or even keep up. I roll off the throttle and return to a more reasonable pace. Jeff catches back up as Shawna makes a comment about how fast we were going, I nod in agreement.
   Before long we find our BMW rider at an overlook. He approaches with a grin and compliments us on our ability, “Pretty Damn fast for two up.”  We talk to him for a while, the mutual respect obvious in our remarks. Then we are on our way.
   Later that night while having a few beers at Sam’s Tap Room I think back to our few moments at the limit. Was it dangerous? Foolish? Crazy? Irresponsible? Illegal? Yea, I imagine it was. But for those few minutes on that mountain road Shawna and I were one, One with the road, one with the bike, and one with each other. Two bodies, a hundred and thirty five horsepower, a pair on Dunlop Qualifiers, and some wonderful asphalt all combined in perfect harmony.  I’m not sure how it all works out, but in some strange equation two riders, a passenger, two very different bikes, an ego problem and a common road somehow combine to create a moment in time where a simple rider somehow feels like a god. Well, at least it does for me.

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« Reply #61 on: April 26, 2009, 02:52:14 pm »

I just took my first passenger for a ride yesterday.  I've been riding since '03, put about ~25K miles on 4 bikes.  I was never really interested in carrying a passenger, and I never had anyone who was interested in going for a ride before.  But a friend of mine has been thinking about getting a bike, so I offered.  He had never been on a motorcycle before... probably wasn't smart, but oh well.  Smile  I've read a bunch on the basics of 2-up riding, and I made sure he was ATGATT, at least.  I decided to take my V-Strom, since it has grab-bars and my VFR doesn't.  

Man, having two grown men on a V-Strom 650 takes some getting used to!  Total passenger weight was probably north of 370lbs.  Crazy  I had to max out the preload on the shock and forks, just to get the bike to handle AT ALL.  The forks were like a pogo stick at first.    It also utterly murders the Wee Strom's power output.  Good god.  No more snappy torque, and the friction point is way higher.  I really had my doubts about the whole passenger thing at first, when we first took off and did a few test-loops around the neighborhood.  The extra weight really felt alien to me, especially when he wasn't moving with me exactly.   I'm glad I didn't opt for the VFR.  I'd have had more power, but less leverage on the handlebars, which was crucial for the first few miles while I was figuring all of this out...

But, after he got the hang of shifting his weight with me, and I got used to having this giant lump with a mind of its own on board, things went pretty well.  I took him through some rural backroads north of Baltimore and did my best not to scare him while also providing a fun ride.  Aside from the 50% reduction in power, I hardly knew he was back there.  He had fun, and hopefully this whetted his appetite for getting a bike of his own one day.

I do think that if I carry anymore grown men as passengers, I'll have to take the VFR.  You just need 90+ horsepower for that, IMO.  Putting all that weight on my Wee Strom just felt too abusive to me.
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« Reply #62 on: December 14, 2009, 02:48:24 am »

Nothing to it.

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« Reply #63 on: January 05, 2010, 09:10:55 pm »

ATGATT 35:12-14
"And Atgatt courted Motgatt, and took her for a wife.
And lo, he compromised with Atgmott, and verily she conceived,
and did bear a son, Notgatt. And Notgatt roamed naked,
and did bequeath his skin to the roads. And he was a wild ass and an outcast,
and was hated through all the land. And his forehead was branded, and he did become a sign and a warning to all the people."

This is sheer genius!
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« Reply #64 on: January 08, 2010, 04:24:25 pm »


Nothing to it.




 Thumbsup
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« Reply #65 on: April 23, 2010, 04:29:35 pm »



The last time I rode a female passenger I said whoa Lady... that is not
a hand hold but don't stop squeezing...
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« Reply #66 on: July 08, 2010, 07:00:19 pm »

Somebody over on VFRD posted up asking for advice on two-up riding in the twisties, and I wrote up a reply detailing the technique my wife and I have worked out.  I thought it might make for a good addition to this thread, as well.  This is more of a "how to haul ass with an experienced pillion" post, rather then instructions for people who are new to two-up riding.  Also, this is what we have worked out that works best for us, on my bike... some of what we do might not work for other people of different sizes and abilities on different bikes.  Only experimentation and seat time will really help you figure out what works for you and your passenger.  Anyways...


The holding-on-with-her-legs thing is exaclty what my wife does while under braking or acceleration.  She also braces herself on the gas tank for braking, though she doesn't need to really hold on to me for acceleration--if done smoothly and predictably, all she should have to do is lean forward closer to you and hold on with her legs.  And yes, if you do either of these sharply, without warning, she will come piling into you and smash your balls on the tank, or feel like she's going to go toppling backwards.  Hard, aggressive accel/braking shouldn't be a problem; sharp, sudden and unexpected accel/braking is.

Taking corners at a quick pace, I hang off the bike completely normally, just as I would if by myself.  Whether she is on the back or not makes absolutely no difference to my body positioning.  She is braced against the outside of the bike with her outside leg, and her outside arm on the gas tank.  Her butt stays pretty much planted, but her inside leg swings out to give me room, and she leans way off to the inside... as with more relaxed street riding, her goal is to be looking over my inside shoulder.  This also causes her to weight the inside peg, making the bike easier to turn.  Her inside arm is completely unused... usually resting on her knee or my hip, although sometimes she tries to pick wildflowers from the inside of the turn.

It took us a while to figure out and practice how to make it work.    The first few times she was hesitant to swing her outside leg out, and I would be shoving her out of the way.  Now, I just start to shift to the inside while approaching the turn, and that slight pressure on her leg tells her which way we're turning, and to loosen her leg and swing it out.  If I'm still braking while getting into position, her outside arm wrapped around me to the gas tank is what takes the braking loads.

Also, as evidenced by Seb's video above (link), make sure that she knows to tell you if she starts touching her toes down.  That is a sign that you need to either slow down or start hanging off more.  I got lazy with my body positioning once, and her toe dragged hard enough that her foot came off the peg, and she fell forwards into me... in the middle of a hairpin turn.  We saved it, but it was a scary moment.

Outside hand braced on the tank, inside arm free
http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i147/sckego/MSRC%206-26%206-27-10/IMG_24471.jpg

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i147/sckego/MSRC%206-26%206-27-10/IMG_24059.jpg

Butt planted in the seat, but leaning off into the turn and weighting the inside peg
http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i147/sckego/MSRC%206-26%206-27-10/IMG_24534.jpg

No matter how far I'm hanging off... she's still looking over my inside shoulder.
http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i147/sckego/MSRC%206-26%206-27-10/IMG_24305.jpg
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« Reply #67 on: November 22, 2010, 09:39:09 am »

this is a valuable thread you got going there bmw-k...

and for the 2up photos connick... yeeeeeehaaaaaaaa...

i have found that rider to passenger intercom is a vital component of 2up riding... perhaps not convenient if barbie wants a thrill... butt essential for a frequent passenger... im thinking communicating what the rider is seeing n doing n why engages the passenger and its easier to spot donkeys...

j o
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« Reply #68 on: November 22, 2010, 01:50:09 pm »

This is an excellent thread. I'll take some hints from it for many future two-up rides with HipGnosis, but I have to agree with this comment the most  "Between riding my own bike, and riding as a pillion, I'll take pillion almost any day."  Inlove

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« Reply #69 on: November 23, 2010, 02:14:55 am »

On the subject of communication, it's a good idea to have a signal that means "bump coming up."  That alerts the pillion to be ready to lift her weight off the seat as the rider does.  A tap on her thigh is our signal.
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« Reply #70 on: January 16, 2011, 11:09:30 pm »


On the subject of communication, it's a good idea to have a signal that means "bump coming up."  That alerts the pillion to be ready to lift her weight off the seat as the rider does.  A tap on her thigh is our signal.


Hello All,

I don't often post back on this thread, so I really want to thank all those who have added comments and suggestions.  There are hundreds of thousands of collective experience in here that are worth drawing on and all the points are appreciated.

Yeppers!  The question of "communication at speed" is certainly one worth a lot of, err, well, talking about.   Lol

Communication goes two ways:  Pilot to Pillion and Pillion to Pilot.  It's critical that both riders understand each other and what each non-verbal communicae mean.  The best way to do this is to review the language well before you ride together.

Admittedly, comm. equipment have made this process much easier, but there are times that you just can't reach up and spend the couple seconds to press that big knob on the Sena and start talking.  

Here are some of my wife's and my communications.

Pilot to Pillion
1.  Tap her left knee, pulling it in close to me:  "get ready, squeeze me and hang on".
2.  Rub the back of her calf:  "Love you Dear" or, more commonly "are you ok?" after a rather nasty bump.  
3.  The ever popular,  Thumbsup Thumbsdown

Pillion to Pilot
1.  Double knee squeeze (squeeze my legs/butt):  "I'm ok" or "I'm having fun"
2.  Navigation commands:  Tap once/twice on inside right bicep - "Get over right, turn coming up".  
3.  Tap inside right bicep repeatedly - "Take this exit".  Side note, this works great to signify a potty break, etc.  Can be used to get you to pull over for a gear adjustment, etc.
4.  Repeated slaps to the back of the helmet "You're going too fast and you're scaring me!"  /sigh...


You get the idea!  Make up some language signs - keep the pillion engaged, and above all, have fun!






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« Reply #71 on: February 07, 2011, 10:40:53 pm »

As a newbie this is a great resource. I will definitely keep these points in mind for future 2 ups. Awesome job!  Thumbsup
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« Reply #72 on: May 30, 2011, 07:21:14 pm »

Amazing read!  I've never had a pillion but a STn search brought me here, and I'm glad it did.  Thx for the advice...my pillion is being forwarded this topic right meow  Bigsmile
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« Reply #73 on: July 28, 2013, 04:37:37 pm »


As a newbie this is a great resource. I will definitely keep these points in mind for future 2 ups. Awesome job!  Thumbsup


For sure!
My wife and I were just discussing working out some signs for when we're riding.  She was yelling at me she wanted to pee for about 20 mins before she finally started tapping my arm non-stop so I could pull over.

I explained I can't hear much when cruising at 60+ ; these signals are great ideas.  We plan to incorporate them into our riding.
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« Reply #74 on: July 28, 2013, 06:09:29 pm »

 I find it curious that GTSrider has not chimed in here. He's faster 2-up than many are solo.

 I've done a bit of 2-up riding with a few different pillions. viffergyrl is a good pillion. She knows what to do, and when. My son (13 6' 190!) can tend to be a bit squirrely at times. I have to remind him not to shift his weight at the wrong time, and pay attention. I almost dumped him off the back of the VFR once passing traffic when he was daydreaming. Communication is important.

 It's also important to understand how the extra weight affects your suspension, and braking. Most bikes (even tourers) are undersprung/overdamped in stock form. The additional weight of a pillion can make some bikes downright dangerous in mid-corner bumps i.e. touching down hard parts, and suspension bottoming/packing. That is your signal to back off. Interestingly I've had more problems with the RT touching down than the VFR.

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« Reply #75 on: December 26, 2013, 09:00:09 pm »

All this makes me think of something I saw one time while I was stranded beside an interstate with a locked-up two cycle, somewhere back in the 1960s.  A Goldwing went by, he operating and she riding pillion.  He was sort of hunched over.   His posture somehow suggested misery -- I don't know how, it just did.  She was a very tall, skinny women.  The Interstate was flat and straight for a long distance there.  As they passed me she was jesticulating broadly with both hands, elbows in the wind, hands all aflutter.  On they went; on she went.  As they grew too small to see any more, she was still at it.

"Poor b-----d,' I thought . . . .
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« Reply #76 on: December 30, 2013, 02:25:24 pm »

Gotta find time to read this whole thing. My wife and I have ridden about 50k miles together, but we're still both learning.
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« Reply #77 on: December 30, 2013, 02:32:04 pm »


somewhere back in the 1960s.  A Goldwing went by,


 Musta been some good drugs. The Goldwing was introduced in 1975.
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« Reply #78 on: June 23, 2016, 10:14:25 pm »

This was wrote long ago, but is still valuable information. Thank you for the share. Thumbsup
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