Taking Pillions

I’ve got a small waiting list of people who want to go for a spin on the back of my bike but there are a few problems with this:

  1. My bike is nearly bigger than me, I’m not on tippy toes but then again my feet aren’t flat on the ground. I’m assuming with a bit of added weight on the back though and my feet will be closer/more in contact with the ground. (Note: Suspension has be lowered to as far as it can go).

  2. I’m not the strongest of people… I find it a task manouevering my bike sometimes as I don’t have much upper body strength.

  3. Again with being too small but in this case on the seat, I sit pressed up against the tank with a sizeable gap between me and the pillion seat. I would assume that any pillion they’ll be pretty much sitting on my seat rather than their own.

Basically, any tips? Is it worth getting some training with an instructor or just take someone for a go round the block and see how it goes??

I’m the same on mine, i can get about half my foot on the floor, but even with a light girl on the back I’m flat footed.

A good pillion will help with manoeuvres and thing because they follow your position, i recommend people holding your waist/tank for added stability as the grab rail promotes an upright position.

again if the pillion is round your waist, they can press the tank whilst breaking and it keeps them on their own seat

I’m not the most seasoned pillion carrier but in the few journeys I have taken a pillion this is what I found.

Get someone that rides to go pillion first. They’ll know how to behave

I took a pillion for a longer ride for the first time yesterday (we went up to Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes, a mix of motorway and A and B roads). Obviously completely different situation (I’m six foot tall, on a different kind of bike, etc) but a couple of thoughts:

  • you’ll be very surprised as to how differently the bike handles. You lean out to go around a corner, and it just doesn’t because the pillion isn’t moving. (Perhaps this works differently if you have an experienced pillion - mine had never been on the back of a bike before). Imagine a big lump on the back of your bike, weighing more than you, and probably higher up than you.

  • when standing still, you have to balance the weight of the bike and the pillion. I know it sounds obvious, but I nearly went off like this at one point, it took a lot of strength to just hold the damned thing upright.

I’d suggest first going with someone small who knows how to be a pillion. Try it out and go from there.


Jump on leave the side stand down and let them get on then heave the bike up right. You’ll only really notice a difference on slower speeds aslong as they don’t do a little dance on the back mid corner.

When it’s time to stop have both feet out to support you. When they get off put the side stand down and rest the bike on it that way it’s not you taking the strain.

Start with someone light.

me,me,me…great starter pillion:D:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I’m sure one reason for a waiting list to go pillion with you, is just so they can get their hands round your waist. If you have a male pillion, don’t be suprised if you feel some ‘extra support’ rubbing up your arse/lower back ;).

Personally, if the suspension is ‘bottomed out’ already (so you can ride it) then it may not be a good idea to take pillion as theres no play for the suspension to absorb the extra weight of said pillion. To be fair I’ve not taken a pillion for similar reasons.

I think trying to upright the bike from stand with them on the back will tell you all you need to know. You may find it very hard. Definitely it’s the slow speeds that will be tricky. I’m a big guy, but I’ve lost a bike, doing a u turn with a pillion, I just couldn’t keep it upright with the extra weight.

Awww Rob remember when you climbed on my 125 you could bloody well ride for me! :w00t: :crazy:

Tell em if they want to go on a bike …


Tell them to keep still ! and also not to try and put their feet down when you stop.

Also , as others have said a more experienced pillion will help when it comes to conering and not panic and move in a way to unstable the bike.

Over long distances the position of your pillions head will change how the bike behaves also !

AndyP will be ya man for advice as I have never seen him without a pillion !!

Alex Gold will also be ya man , he is so smooth his pillion falls asleep !

I took Garret out as my first pillion from BM a few years back. It’s just something you need to get used to really. And as mentioned before the best thing is to take an experienced biker as your first pillion as they will know what to do and not jump around, like some evil past pillions i have had!! LOL :slight_smile:

Let them read your post & the list will probably dwindle away:). Any normal person reading point 2 would not want to get on the back:w00t:

quote] ALL- E (27/02/2012)

I took Garret out as my first pillion from BM a few years back. It’s just something you need to get used to really. And as mentioned before the best thing is to take an experienced biker as your first pillion as they will know what to do and not jump around, like some evil past pillions i have had!! LOL :slight_smile:

Rob… i officially hate you lol :frowning:

People like pictures:D

I think you did a damn good job considering the rowdy audience you had! :slight_smile:

I ride with my girlfriend everyday, I drop her off and pick her up from work so I have a fair bit of experience. I also give my younger brother rides around the town from time to time. My girlfriend weighs about 50kg, she is experienced enough to be considered a good pillion but there is still a huge difference in the way the motorbike handles. my brother weighs 80kg and is about 5’11, not a very good pillion, or maybe I just find him more difficult.

Braking performance and acceleration is seriously decreased. Even with my girlfriend I have to give myself a much greater breaking distance then I normally would, acceleration is also decreased. You also have to keep an eye on your pillion when accelerating, they may not know what you are about to do. This is also true for braking, my girlfriend often hits her head against mine :slight_smile: The acceleration with my heavier brother was seriously decreased, I was trying to show him what my bike is capable of and whilst he was impressed I just thought it seemed very slow.

Handling - This is tricky, I would consider myself fairly strong, but filtering through London traffic with my girlfriend used to wear my wrists down, the constant braking, accelerating and filtering is not easy, especially if they are holding on to you. Imagine everytime you brake their weight is being transferred on to your wrists - the best advice I can give you is to use your knees/thighs to grip the tank and help hold your upper body, its how you should ride a motorbike anyway.

I have filtered through London traffic with my brother who is much heavier and its fairly unpleasant, even when using my knees to grip the tank my wrists took on a lot of weight…he was holding on to me…He now used the rails to hold on to but I find cornering to be trickier.

All in all, I hate pillions.

My biggest tip for riding with a pillion is learn how to countersteer properly and then it becomes much easier to compensate for the pillion at anything above walking pace.

Also, do not underestimate how much longer it takes to brake with the extra mass.

I guess I’m lucky, I just ride normally and apart from the occasional headbutt and wobbly corner, all goes well!

It helps if the pillion braces on the tank on braking.

We also have ‘love handles’ (quiet at the back of the class!) which help a lot with the ‘pillion not being on the back after you give it a handful’ problem.

If I’m taking a less experienced pillion or she fancies a sleep (!) I just allow slightly more room to brake and don’t give it a huge handful out of corners. It helps to not be alternating between full throttle and full brakes anyway, but even moreso with a pillion.

Oh, and watch the front wheel if you’re on a sports bike the first time you try and race off the lights!