How to Ride Pillion | Guide

Tips for the Rider

Start slow. Engage with your pillion and show them all of the different parts of your motorcycle. Point out the exhaust (and how hot it can get so be careful!), your/their foot pegs, etc. Get your passenger to learn a little bit about your bike and thus making the trip easier once everyone knows how it works.

Communicate with your pillion! Discuss what to do if there is an emergency, what the route is, and what to expect (bumpy roads, pee breaks, etc.). Ask them if they are ready before you take off (even better if you have a set of Bluetooth communication devices).

Starting off, I would have your pillion get on/off the bike a few times (remember to get on from the left side). After you are comfortable with the weight, ride on a short road or parking lot so the pillion gets a sense of how it feels to ride and so you get a sense of the added weight. Practice slow turns and emergency braking if you need more time to feel comfortable.

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Tips for the Pillion

Lean with the bike, but don’t force it! What I liked to do was hug the rider so our bodies moved/leaned as one. Don’t squish the rider though! You should position yourself so that you are straddling the rider and there are a few inches from your crotch to their butt. I would focus more on keeping your legs tight to the sides.

You will feel a jerk backward when the rider accelerates, so brace yourself and prepare for take off. When the rider decelerates, you will also feel a jerk forward that will force you to push up on the rider, so try not to squish him too much.

Be cautious that if you move around, the rider can feel EVERYTHING. If you are going to adjust your sitting position (especially if your ass gets numb), do so at higher speeds. Don’t adjust yourself when the rider is going slow on the street, wait until he picks up speed to adjust. It’s less noticeable for the rider this way.

Remember to pay attention to the road as well, just don’t be a backseat driver. Let the rider focus on the road. He doesn’t need more distractions if you’re waving around trying to take a selfie (don’t do that either).

One thing that was stressed a lot as a new rider was not putting all my weight on the foot pegs (like if you are pushing down on them). Sit comfortably with your feet on the pegs but don’t push them down. Don’t ever touch the floor, ever!

Wear appropriate gear and carry a backpack with a change of clothes if the weather is going to change. Thick jeans, sturdy boots, a motorcycle jacket (or thick jacket if none is available), and of course a helmet. Dress for the slide, not the ride (pretty grim, I know, but always be prepared).

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Got any other tips? Comment below!

-Kim

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Abbi Hendricks says:

    Hello! Is it tougher when the pillion is heavier? My husband wants to ride with me but I’m nervous about the weight.

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    1. drvnkymonk says:

      Hi Abbi! What kind of motorcycle do you/your husband ride? I rode with my BF (190lbs) on the back of my little Honda Rebel and it was slightly uncomfortable. I wouldn’t recommend riding with someone heavier than you on that specific bike because it is so light and doesn’t have much power. If you are on a Honda Shadow or even a Harley Sportster, I think it can work as long as you feel comfortable. I’d recommend practicing a bit around an empty parking lot.

      Also, I have been riding on the back of my BF’s bikes (sport and cruisers) and weighed ~130-150lbs. My friend recently rode on the back of his HD Street Glide special and she was heavier than me, ~160lbs. He felt fine because the bike is massive to begin with.

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