The Rider’s View
I’ve been riding for 13 years and whenever asked to take a pillion I’ve always dodged the bullet. The great ‘what if’ makes me twitchy and someone else’s safety being in my hands doesn’t appeal.
The ease of riding the Honda X-ADV and our team’s newbie rider, Online Editor, Maria, have given me inspiration to have a crack. Maria passed her test last year and has already taken a pillion, if she’s done it, I’m bloody well sure, I can! I volunteered her to be my ‘willing’ victim for an afternoon of two up fun.
With a payload of 177kg and our combined weight being just a smidge over 150kg, I kept the suspension on the factory setting.
A top tip to aid a pillion getting on the bike is to keep the side stand down and it was easy for Maria to hop on the back. As I flip the side stand and select Sport mode, the extra weight is noticeable as I cautiously pull away. Nerves make my shoulders wedge tightly under my ears and I have to make a conscientious effort to relax.
To smooth out the ride there’s no sharp twists of the throttle and lots of back brake use. On the open road, the 50bhp motor feels sluggish and it takes longer to reach top speed. Once there we cruise along and I soon forget I’ve got Maria in tow. I take extra time to plan approaches to junctions, to avoid sudden braking.
I’ve broken my pillion-carrying duck and the X-ADV was a great bike to do it on. I still prefer solo riding but at least I’ve got the confidence to chuck someone on the back if needs be.
The Pillion’s View
I’m a veteran pillion with fifteen years’ experience under my belt and I’ve earned my stripes perched on sports bikes. I found it easy to jump on the Honda X-ADV and the seating position comfortable. Visibility was limited because I’m 5’3” and could only see the back of Ali’s lid.
I’m mindful when a bike’s accelerating that I’m likely to slide backwards and I found the top-box gave that extra bit of security. With that said, Ali’s a smooth rider and there were no sudden jerks. I felt so relaxed that I was soon looking at the scenery and enjoying the ride.
My only real criticism was how difficult it was to get off the bike. It helped to have the side stand down to make the drop to the floor less. I had to plant my left foot on the floor and wiggle my right leg through the gap, which was tricky.