Well, here at Wemoto that is a question indeed and with many different answers ranging from:
“no never, ever would take a pillion, I’ve changed my seat to a single so I don’t have to!”
“yes every day, taking my partner to work and on holidays, what’s the problem? It’s fun!”

So do you sit in either of these camps or are you somewhere in between?
If you are in the take pillions sometimes category, are these some rules you apply to pillion riding or do you just wing it?

Add air to your tyres and adjust the preload if your bike is going to take extra passenger weight, just as you would if you were going on a road trip with a lot of heavy luggage. Obviously this will depend on the calculation you make about the size and weight of the particular passenger you will be carrying and the distance you are going. You may need to adjust your headlights too for night riding if you are two up. These adaptations will make a lot of difference to the handling and efficiency of your bike, which of course will be different with the extra human cargo.

Take a bit of time to give your pillion the low down on how to be a good passenger on a motorcycle, especially if they haven’t ever ridden pillion before. It can be frightening being on the back of a motorcycle if you are not used to it and the most natural reaction when going round corners for example, is for the pillion to lean the opposite way to the bike in an attempt to stay upright. This is disastrous if you are trying to steer round a corner with the accompanying necessary lean as it can affect the steering adversely. Tell them to sit still and lean with the bike, counter intuitive as this may feel.
Make sure that they understand that they must keep their feet on the footpegs at all times as well, and not put their feet down at lights or junctions but let you do that and keep their tootsies safely up and out of the way.

As well as the whole leaning thing, tell them what to hold on to. They should hold the grab rail at the back with one hand and your waist with the other so that they are anchored in both directions – for accelerating and decelerating. If your motorcycle has a top box then they will be securely anchored at the back which is all for the best and may make them feel safer.

Give them a heads up about what to wear. Although they are protected from a lot of the wind ahead by your body, they will still need to wear some good kit. A proper jacket, tough jeans, boots and gloves are necessary to protect them from any possible spill and from the cold which they might not have factored in if they are not used to riding a bike. A good helmet with a visor is a must of course, to keep the wind off and protect their head.

Try to keep your speed down and ride smoothly without violent acceleration or deceleration. Either of these will frighten your pillion unnecessarily, especially if they are new to motorcycles. Its a real trust exercise going on the back of someone’s bike so try to keep them feeling safe at all times.

Pull over and make sure they are feeling comfortable after the first few miles. Its a steep learning curve going from a car or the bus to the back of a motorcycle and you want to make it an enjoyable experience for both of you if you can. Ideally they should have loved it and want to have another go as soon as possible  - or even want to rush out and get their own bike – this may be up to you and the fun experience they’ve had riding with you!

If you would never take a pillion, is it because they might lean the wrong way, make your bike heavy and unmanoeuvrable or just generally reduce your riding pleasure?

We’d love to hear your thoughts, whichever side you espouse so please let us know at: or drop us a message on Facebook.
Posted by Lucy England
for Wemoto News on 05 August 2021 in General News



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