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Riding 2-up

4241 Views 20 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Robert
I hope to purchase a 2nd helmet this weekend so that I can take my wife or teenage son riding with me. I've never done any 2-up riding before. Any recommendations?
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Politely ask them to mount the horse from the left and only to do so once you are firmly planted. Sometimes inexperienced pasengers will strandle a scooter or M/C as you are setting up. I found when breaking in a first time rider, you have a little talk also about riding gear or the danger of riding with just shorts or short sleeve shirts. As you take off, take it easy.

Most first timers will grab you tightly but coach them gently to where they can hold on. They will grab on to you or coach them to use the grab rail. Finally, explain to them to "go with the flow" as you manuver the scooter through the turns and emphasize how their fidgiting can upset the vehicle's control. Its not like a car. You'll be fine once the ground rules are clearly understood. I've been there many times.
All good advice, Tim. Also tell them to put all the weight on their butt and not on their feet. That keeps them from steering the bike with their feet.

When riding two up I use a Pillion Pal belt. This is a web belt with handles near the hips. It helps give the passenger something to hold onto, and interferes less with my control. Also safer if you are riding with kids.

Not only should you make sure the passenger mounts when you tell them it is OK, but make sure they know to NEVER put their feet down or out, to look over your shoulder in the direction you're turning and lean with you and the bike, not against it.
All good advise. Also make sure they are consistant. Meaning, either lean a little, or not at all. Whatever works for you, but it must be kept consistant.

Idealy, have someone be a passinger for your 1st few times that has already has been a passinger, or at least has riden a bike before.

A 1st time passinger can be a handfull if they don't know the proper way to ride and you haven't carried one before.

My son never had a passinger either, and wanted me to be his 1st. I suggested his mother because she has more time as a passinger than me, about 100 times more. She is an excellent passinger, but dosen't care to drive.

Remember allow extra time for everything, Starting, Stopping, and Turning. Be prepaired for something unexpected from your rider.
Here is a link that may help from another forum. ... =passinger
I think it is important enough to repeat one of Johnny Death's suggestions. That is, make sure you tell first-time passengers to lean WITH you when you lean.
If you're leaning left for a left turn, tell them to peek over your left shoulder. If you're leaning right, tell them to peek over your right shoulder. Many first-timers panic when the bike starts to lean and their first instinct is to quickly lean their bodies in the opposite direction of the rider. This can suddenly bring your bike back up out of the lean and cause you to straighten out your path of travel. This isn't good when you're going through a turn. :D
I usually ask a new passenger to keep their shoulders lined up with mine. I don't lean a great deal anyway, since I use countersteering to control the bike in the curves. I stay pretty much perpendicular to the seat. With the Burgman, fidgeting around at low speed or when stopped is particularly bad, since the passenger's weight is very high compared to the low center of gravity of the machine. We've had a couple of folks drop their scooters when stopped, due to that.

Be very sure that you are comfortable with the scooter 1-up (particularly when coming to a stop) before trying 2-up riding. The added weight of the passenger will aggravate that "lurch" when the clutch cuts out at about 7 mph - having a bit of brake applied at that point will minimize awkwardness from that.
When my wife rides with me, she usually has her arms crossed. she just leans back into the passenger backrest, and relaxes. I don't even know she is back there.
This site has some good information click on “carrying a pillion passenger”.

When I did my first 2 up ride I did a few minutes of practice in an area with very little traffic, a few corners and a hill. Good luck with your first 2 up ride.

Cheers Al
The best advice I can give you is, tell you rpassenger to sit perfectly still. I used to ride my daughter on my bike. On the city roads, I didn't mind her waving to everybody as we rode by, as with slower speeds, it didn't matter much, but as soon as I would get on the expressway, just the movement of a 10 year olds arm made a big difference. So I'd tell her, when daddy starts to get on the expressway, you have to sit perfectly still.
I'd like to thank everybody for their advice. IF I have an opportunity to get a 2nd helmet this weekend and IF we have a chance to ride, I'll let you know how it goes.
I do quite a bit of 2-up riding. I started 2-up riding about 3 months ago. The bike behaves quite differently with each passenger. Some passengers are like you don't even know they're there. With others its scary at first because you think you're going to drop the bike any time you're at a stoplight. Get used to them moving around, it'll feel like the bike is wobbling... you'll get used to it. Especially important... don't go on the main roads with them until you've mastered driving them around your neighborhood. Turning, stopping, and starting are all different with a passenger onboard.
I think that one of the things that I have found with a passenger is to think of stopping more often.
I can do a gas tank without stopping riding single but with my wife on the back it becomes a matter of time. With her I have to stop every half hour or so. She get's stiff and starts to 'wiggle' around trying to get comfortable.
I can't blame her, it is pretty hard to sit in one place for a long time. So, to keep peace when ridiing two up we stop every half hour or so.
We found this by trial, no errors, a couple of wobbles that were a bit hard to deal with.
So I would suggest, since this is the Newbie fourm, that you check with your passenger to see what is a good length of time for them to handle.
With sincere respect, have you ridden before getting the Burgie? Several people, including MSF RiderCoaches, have told me that one is better off not taking on passengers until he/she has 1-2K miles solo riding or a year of riding.

You may have this or may decide you're ready without it--I'm not judging regardless, just passing along what IMHO is good advice.

Enjoy the ride!

Watch the ground clearance too with a passenger, and wind up the rear suspension pre-load a good few clicks.
My son is only 12 stone and I add 8 clicks (four full rotations) to the suspension dial, that seems to even out the ride but the centre stand will still clatter when you're cornering much more with a passenger.
Take a good grab of the bars when your passenger climbs aboard too if they are the type that "climbs up the side" to get on rather than swing their leg over!

I promised a report, here's the report.

Fortunately, my wife, daughter (age 20), and son (age 15) all wear the same size helmet, so the purchase of one new helmet covers all three. (My head is a bit larger. See avatar.) So, I bought another helmet.

I took today (Monday) off from work because my daughter was home from college for a 4-day weekend: mid-term break. The weather was BEAUTIFUL in the Philly suburbs. (Saturday was windy and rainy, Sunday was windy and cold. But Monday was great. I'm glad I wasn't stuck in the office.) In the late afternoon my daughter convinced me to take her for a ride. It didn't take much convincing. Very close to my house is a restricted road (one way, no trucks, etc.) that winds along a creek that feeds into the Brandywine. Then you make a turn and follow the banks of the Brandywine. A little further, turn again and return home. Round trip: about 5 miles. So I took my daughter on the loop. The first stop wasn't as smooth as I'd like but, other than that, no problems.

When my son got home from school, he wanted a ride too. So, one more time around the loop. Again, no problems. So, my first experiments riding two-up were successful. My wife hasn't decided that she wants to try a ride yet.

Heavy rain and bad weather are scheduled to arrive tonight; but maybe I can try a slightly longer trip with my son next weekend. (My daughter will be back at college.) As people advised, I'm starting slowly and will gain experience on quiet roads that I know.

Thanks to everybody for their advice.
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Good for you, Analytical!! You're doing it the right way!
How were the turns? Did you do any 90 degree turns?
Keep it up. Better to do what you're doing than to start right off in rush-hour traffic riding 2-up.
chuck807 said:
How were the turns? Did you do any 90 degree turns?
Turns were fine; very stable. A main reason the road is restricted is because it's narrow and has lots of twists & turns as it follows the creek. So I got lots of practice. And, yes, I did have several 90 degree turns.

The road also has lots of deer, but I didn't see any this time.

I even got to practice not-quite-panic-but-quicker-than-I'd-like braking when an idiot started to pull out in front of me at a stop sign. The intersection is notorious for that, so I always anticipate the worst.
Analytical said:
I even got to practice not-quite-panic-but-quicker-than-I'd-like braking when an idiot started to pull out in front of me at a stop sign. The intersection is notorious for that, so I always anticipate the worst.
Good move! Just remember to treat EVERY intersection (including driveways, exits from parking lots, etc) that same way - not just the "notorious" ones. Just back off the throttle a little, cover the brakes and "anticipate the worst". As you know from driving your car, a lot of drivers don't stop for signs or traffic lights or care about who has the right-of-way. :D
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