Riding with a passenger…

Motorman’s Tips, Tricks, and Techniques – Riding with a Passenger

Sometimes what seems to me to be a very easy thing, others find to be the exact opposite and that’s only because some people overthink such things and believe it can’t be that simple.

I’m talking about riding a motorcycle with a passenger. You wouldn’t believe all the questions I get on this subject.  I’m going to lay it out right here in the easiest way possible.

Let’s start with how the passenger should mount the bike.  The simplest way I find is for the passenger to get on the bike first.  Here’s how it works.  The passenger mounts from the high side, while the bike is on the kickstand.  The passenger puts their right foot on the floorboard, swings the left leg over the tour pack and first sits on the rider’s seat.  Then, simply scoots up onto the passenger seat.  The rider mounts the same way.  Once both the rider and the passenger are seated on the bike, the passenger leans forward, close to the rider.  The rider then turns the handlebars full lock right, and pushes the bike straight up and puts the kickstand up.

I use this method at my class as I often put students on their own bike and ride them through an exercise to show them what the bike feels like as it leans through the turns.  Most of these riders are men in their fifty’s and sixties and not very flexible.  This method works perfect for me, try it.

I also get a lot of questions about what a passenger should and shouldn’t do while on the bike.  Again, I’ll simplify it.  When making tight, low speed turns, the passenger should scoot up close to the rider.  This puts most of the weight in the center of the bike and makes maneuvering much easier.  This also works well on winding roads even at higher speeds.

The passenger should NOT lean in the opposite direction of the rider.  It’s also a good idea for the passenger to inform the rider if they must adjust their position on the seat.  (No sudden moves).

On the same subject for the rider, if you buy a new heavyweight touring bike like an HD Ultra, you may be tempted to put the wife on the back and take her for a ride as soon as you get home from the dealer.  DON’T do it.  Get used to the new bike on your own.  Pull into a parking lot and practice your low speed skills before allowing a passenger on the bike.  Practice your braking, then swerving and leaning and U-turns for at least an hour on your new ride.  If you can’t do any of these maneuvers by yourself, putting a passenger on the bike will only make things worse.

A little common sense goes a long way.  Till next month, get out there and practice your skills.

Jerry “Motorman” Palladino


Copyright 2017 Jerry “Motorman” Palladino

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