Are you ready to ride with a passenger on your motorcycle? Once you are an experienced motorcycle rider and you are ready to ride two-up, there are some things you need to know and practice before letting a passenger on the back of your bike.
Having a passenger can be an awesome experience if you are prepared, follow safety guidelines, and have the appropriate gear. Whether you are taking a short ride, weekend get-away or a long road trip, being on the bike together can be a great experience, and a great way to see the world! To read more on what it is like to be a passenger on a motorcycle, from the passengers perspective, read Finding Peace In The Passenger Seat.
Riding with a passenger can add a whole new level of complexity to the operation of your bike. Make sure you are an experienced rider and make safety a top priority. Refer to your motorcycle’s operator manual for adjustments for the extra weight. You will need to adjust the suspension and check the tire pressure.
Typically, you will require more time to stop and accelerate when you have a passenger on the bike. You will need more braking distance and acceleration will be slower. Taking corners and turning will feel different. You may notice that the wind will affect your ride differently as well. You may also experience helmet bumping with your passenger if you make a quick stop and the passenger slides forward. This happens, even to the experienced two-up riders.
As the rider, you need to make sure your passenger knows some basic safety rules for being on the bike. Make sure you passenger has a proper helmet and the proper motorcycle attire, long pants, boots or appropriate footwear. No flip-flops or slip-on shoes that could come off during a ride. To read more about passenger safety, read Motorcycle Safety for Passengers.
Having a helmet for your passenger is a must! At minimum, it should be a helmet that meets the Department of Transportation (DOT) safety standard. Proper fit is also very important, if the helmet is too big it won’t be comfortable, it will catch wind-gusts easily and it will rattle on the passenger’s head, this does not make for a fun ride! A helmet that is too big could also come off in a crash. Likewise, having a helmet that is too small will also not be comfortable for your passenger.
Instruct your passenger to sit still, no wiggling and no sudden movements or jolts. Tell them to brace themselves during acceleration and at stops so they don’t slide and bump into you. Make sure they keep their feet on the passenger pegs. An inexperienced passenger will want to lean the opposite direction that you are turning. When you are turning, have them look over your shoulder in the direction of the turn, not leaning or moving their body but following your body movement.
Tell them not to get on the bike until you have the bike upright and off the stand, and you inform them its ok to get on. Same holds true for when they are getting off the bike. Instruct them to wait until you are ready as you need to brace your legs and keep the bike upright!
Adding another person to your bike will have a noticeable effect on how your bike will handle. Before heading out you should practice in a safe area, like a parking lot and roads with very little traffic. Your passenger should also read up on passenger safety before getting on the back of the bike.
If your plan is to have a permanent passenger, (like me!!) or if you plan on long rides, then a comfortable seat is something you will want to look into. A narrow seat with a small, or no, backrest will make the passenger feel less secure. There are many different style bikes and seats and depending on your needs you will want to investigate them. To see more on bike and gear selection read Motorcycle Safety Tips and Things to Remember.
Having and being a passenger can be a great experience for both of you and is a wonderful way to experience and see new things together. As the rider, you are now responsible for your passenger’s safety. Please follow all safety guidelines and enjoy the ride!