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MCN  says:

You Ask/You Answer: Should I carry a pillion?

"I passed my direct access two months ago and have been riding every day since. I am confident commuting to work and riding on local roads but I am worried about taking a pillion. "I have been able to put off my nagging girlfriend because of the cold weather, but now it’s getting warmer I’m running out of excuses. I am...

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  • Posted 2 years ago (22 April 2013 14:55)

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Aug 09

Posts: 2713

MarcusMarsh says:

Carrying your girlfriend

Time for a single seat conversion methinks! :lol:

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Dec 07

Posts: 93

britri123 says:


Buy some earplugs.

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Dec 12

Posts: 1437

Diablere says:

Torque and smoothness

Are your friend when carring passengers. so you'll need a big capacity bike to begin with.

 Try to avoid too many gear changes. unless that is you like being repeatly headbutted?

have a set of hand signals prearranged, thumb up thumb down works well.forget microphones and such not, i find the screaming puts me off my riding!

Good Grab rail (see headbutting).also good for protecting the wedding tackle under extreme braking.

up the preload on the rear shock , otherwise your sports bike takes on the handling off a dodgy shopping trolley

good riding Gear for you passenger, they generally come off worse in an crash, give them yours if it comes to it!

otherwise if i haven't put you off, take the pillion as it adds a certain spark to riding, more of a shared experience, and also good for the ego (my brother often tells the tale of Evesham to Hereford, strange that was the last time he came on the back).

Just remember all that extra weight changes how a bike works, and to get the best out of it, the pillion needs to know what your doing, so never going to come with one ride. don't try and scare them and given time having a pillion can be very rewarding(someone to buy the tea for a start)

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Nov 05

Posts: 125

scare the crap out of her and she wont ask again! Worked for me:)

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Aug 02

Posts: 2736

spondonste says:


The question is two fold. Are you comfortable enough to take a pillion and is your potential passenger comfortable riding pillion? The pillion can significantly affect the bikes handling if they don't follow the rider (ie freak out, throw their bodyweight against the direction of leaning or throw their bodyweight significantly towards the direction of leaning). You also have to be comfortable that they'll hold on adequately and correctly brace when braking.

If they're comfortable with all this then it's your choice. You have to remember that their life is in your hands so don't be an idiot when they're on the back. Once your both equally comfortable then you can up the pace/ ride in a more fun manner.

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Apr 05

Posts: 8

Go fit it!

Just remember to be smooth, and for the first few corners take it easy while you get used to the change to the centre of gravity. Once your used to it you will be fine, I have seen riders take corners with pillions as if they were solo so no need for it to be a problem or slow you down.


Oh and just practice getting on and off the bike a few times, the extra weight can be fun!

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Jul 09

Posts: 10

bboydoy says:

Take the Plunge

I was as nervous as you were about taking pillions after passing my test. My advice is take the plunge and just do it, let her know you're new to it so you need to work together as a team. Make sure she knows the rules to being a pillion. She needs to keep still on the back but remain relaxed, feet always on the pegs and she must always look where the bike is going and not lean but rather relax and let the bike guide her. She needs to keep a good grip on the rear or side handles too. If you have none or if she prefers to hold on to you, id recommend buying "love handles" its a belt with handles to go on your waist, they're priceless. As for you make sure you got a solid grip on the ground with your feet and a good grip on the handles when shes getting on and off the bike. Also Make sure the pegs are down for her to stand on first. Always let her know when its OK to get on or off the bike to avoid any drops or accidents. Don't worry and be confident in your skills, just ride safe and you'll find out its tons of fun. Be sure to read up on the effects of a pillion on the bikes handling before you go out too!

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Sep 10

Posts: 1318

SatNavSteve says:

First, make sure your insurance covers you for carrying a passenger. Some companies charge an extra premium. One trick I now do is keep your side stand down whilst they get on. Some people wriggle around a lot and can overbalance the bike, so make sure they are comfy before you set off. If they are new to bikes, get them to practice getting on and off before you go anywhere.

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Aug 02

Posts: 11

pyeo says:

Yes, on the right bike

My partner regularly rides pillion on my CB1300S... she found even my Bandit 1250 too uncomfortable. If you're taking a pillion for the first time don't try to impress. Make sure they have the right gear in case the worst happens. Girls and gravel rash don't go together. Tell them how to behave on the back 'don't lean the other way', 'don't put your foot down when we stop' etc. Agree a signalling system so you communicate before they get on and before they get off, you're going too fast/slow, stop now etc. Ours is so good I now often get a punch in the kidney's BEFORE I attempt an overtake. Keep it smooth, short shift and change up without the clutch: after a car, even a slow bike will feel like a rocket. It also helps avoid helmet clash. We've a top box that helps make a pillion feel secure, but grab handles are great for a first timer and cheap enough even if she hates it. Put a couple of clicks on the rear suspension to firm it up a bit and make sure your tyre pressures are correct. When riding be careful as the front will feel a bit less planted than you are used to. Try to avoid filtering first time out, pillions can find this terrifying. Then check you haven't taken pillion riders off your insurance to save you a few quid.

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May 10

Posts: 427

X2Glider says:

There's a particular set of skills for a passenger to acquire as well as what's been said below.  Like don't lean.  Amazing how many passengers don't know that leaning with you can make fall-in unpredictable.  When to sit upright and loose instead of hunched over with you when accelerating...  There's other stuff but first and foremost make sure she has gear.


To each their own.  But like the cell phone answering poll and me not wanting to take calls, I don't want a passenger either.  She should get her own. But GFs/Sos are a touchy subject.  One one hand, it's great to have one that is cool with your riding hobby.  OTOH, it can suck if you feel they're intruding/inviting themselves on your "me" time.

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