When riding as a pillion on a motorbike, there are certain responsibilities you must consider, to ensure the safety of yourself and the other rider. So before saddling up on the back of a motorcycle, check out these riding tips on how to safely and correctly ride pillion.
Before all else, ensure the motorcycle is up-to-date with the correct configurations for pillion riding. If the pre-load can be adjusted on your bike - then do so. Tyre pressure should also be checked and sufficiently adjusted accordingly. Most motorcycle manuals will have a recommended guide to pillion riding, so simply follow these recommendations to prepare your bike correctly.
Rule #1: Don’t Fall Off!
Get a little close and personal with your rider friend *cheeky wink*. Find a balance that comfortably works for both you and them - holding onto their shoulders or waist for extra support. Take an active role in positioning yourself that doesn’t counteract how the other rider operates the bike.
For example - If the main rider is slightly leaned over in a corner, then hug the back a little more and position your body with theirs. The ideal pillion is somebody that can sit comfortably on the bike and mirror the body language actions of the rider accordingly. For large cruiser bikes that offer a dedicated pillion seat, such as the Ultra Limited and CVO™ Limited, stay in a neutral position and enjoy the ride.
Reduce unnecessary wiggles or movement, when possible. Any sudden movements on the bike can affect the handling of the vehicle. This is especially noticeable on lighter chassis bikes, so keep this in mind.
Handy Tip! For extra stability and reassurance that you won’t be flying off the back, hug the bike fairings with your legs. This will help brace yourself when coming into stops, and reduces sliding around on the seat.
Rule #2: Communication Is Key
You and the other rider must find a way to communicate on the ride, without being distracting. A quick and easy way would be to use hand signals. Just be mindful that you never want to intrude on the vision of the main rider when communicating these signals. An easier way, and personally what I use, would be to invest in a motorcycle helmet Bluetooth headset, such as a Cardo System. Listening to music, communicating with friends/family, taking phone calls, or enabling GPS smartphone navigation have never been more accessible. Highly recommend checking them out, they really are a ‘must have’ riding companion. - Product Review on the Cardo Freecom 1+ Available now!
Rule #3: Dress For The Slide Not The Ride
There are far too many times where I see the main rider of a motorcycle geared up to the bone, and their pillion rider wearing nothing but a helmet and gloves. This makes no sense! If the bike goes down, both riders will be feeling the impact just as much as the other one. Make sure both parties on the motorcycle are appropriately geared up, dressing for the slide, not the ride.
Handy Tip! Watch out for that blistering hot exhaust! If your pillion rider is still fairly new to riding, remind them constantly. It's a huge mood killer when they get burnt. So every time you get on and especially off the bike, watch out!
Pillion riding should be a lot of fun, so enjoy yourself! With so many experiences to be had with motorcycling, pillion riding shares the same exciting thrills and adventures as the other rider. Be proactive, and ensure the safety of both yourself and the main rider is the number #1 priority. Check out the latest Harley Davidson® Parts and Accessories Catalogue today and take advantage of our in-store sales.
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