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Discussion Starter #1
I've only been riding since September 2013 and I'm starting to think about when and how to start taking my wife on the bike (2013 DL650)

So I'd like to hear about when to start riding two up. My original thought was to take stock at the six month mark to see if I was comfortable enough to have a rider at that time -- is that too early? I've had no issues and I'm very comfortable riding each day to work.

Regardless of when to start, what advice can you give me on things to look out for or to be aware of?

It's probably not PC to list my wife's weight, so let's just say it's greater than 129 lbs and less than 131 lbs. :mrgreen:
 

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I ride two-up 90% of the time. The first thing I would recommend is to invest in a intercom system such as a Scala Rider. That way you can communicate and tell her what to do as you ride.
I would develope a technique for mounting and dis-mounting your passenger while in the comfort of your garage.
Tell her to not do any extra leaning or adjusting her postiion while cornering.
One of the most important tips is to tell her that there will be no agrivated hitting or yelling at the driver while vehicle is in motion.
 

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Main thing when riding 2 up is to be smooth so the passenger has fun as well,its no fun for anyone if helemts hit or they are stuggling to hold on.Just tell your passenger when going around a curve or corner to look over the shoulder that is the same as the corner,left curve left shoulder, right curve right shoulder
 

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I ride two-up 90% of the time. The first thing I would recommend is to invest in a intercom system such as a Scala Rider. That way you can communicate and tell her what to do as you ride.
I would develope a technique for mounting and dis-mounting your passenger while in the comfort of your garage.
Tell her to not do any extra leaning or adjusting her postiion while cornering.
One of the most important tips is to tell her that there will be no agrivated hitting or yelling at the driver while vehicle is in motion.
Amen brother, I hate getting gouged in the ribs at about 140.
 

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Oh, the olden days! My wife rode horses as a kid so the feeling on a bike was very familiar to her. Having said passenger lean the same as you is a good thing. It's not the wife's weight on the bike it's how she moves it.
We got a intercom early on and it is a help. She hated my swearing and I disliked her sneezing.
I remember those days fondly though. We ended up with a sidecar rig after her first hip replacement. Dang the bad luck!
 

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How about her taking a beginner scooter riding class. No clutch and shifting to worry about, and she'll begin to get an understanding of the dynamics involved for cornering and braking.

I tell a first time rider to look over my shoulder in the direction we'll turn--look over my left shoulder for a left curve, etc.

Lee Parks' book Total Control: High Performance Street Riding Techniques has an excellent chapter on high performance riding with a passenger. The rest of the book is excellent as well.

David L. Hough's Proficient Motorcycling books have info on riding with a passenger including his latest version, Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well.
 

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Amen brother, I hate getting gouged in the ribs at about 140.
My passenger loves the 100+ mark on the odometer however I have riding buddies whos wives are absolute ninnies and slap the hell out of them if they do anything that scares them.
 

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+1 on riding more conservative and smooth. Easy speed transitions. We have all seen the leather vested morons who crack the throttle off the line and slap their helmet into the passengers face (no doubt a cereal bowl helmet). My wife enjoys the ride very much. We rehearsed how to saddle up and unsaddle when stopped. I make sure I am on even solid ground, lean forward over towards the tank and have her slide on or off. Sudden stops can become hard to manage so anticipation of what is coming or looking for extra room when merging or turning into traffic is a good idea. Personally, I enjoy the silent and nonverbal forms of communication, like a little squeeze or nudge instead of the back seat verbal assault when we are in the cage.
 

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I ride two-up 90% of the time. The first thing I would recommend is to invest in a intercom system such as a Scala Rider. That way you can communicate and tell her what to do as you ride.
I would develope a technique for mounting and dis-mounting your passenger while in the comfort of your garage.
Tell her to not do any extra leaning or adjusting her postiion while cornering.
One of the most important tips is to tell her that there will be no agrivated hitting or yelling at the driver while vehicle is in motion.
good tips. make sure she has a comfy seat, or better yet, get her on a bike solo.
 

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Do not let her watch this video


And get her good protective gear from the get-go.
 

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2-up

I'm very lucky that my wife ( also about 130 pounds) likes to ride with me; she has about 20,000km on her arse riding with me, mostly on long trips.
First most important rule is to be sure that whatever you do, and where ever you go, that she has a good experience so that she will want to ride again and hopefully more often with you.
Proper fitting good protective gear. ATGATT Yes it will cost some serious bucks for the first ride. Don't wait until you have a mishap before spending money on protective gear. I'm sure that she is far prettier than you are, so look after her.
Be certain that she understands that when stopped or at very slow speeds that you cannot hold both of you and the bike upright if you don't have a plan. She is also "riding"; you are not just taking her for a "drive". You must ride in sync together. Her feet should never come off the pegs.
Be sure to communicate clearly every time before getting on or off. She needs to be aware that when you're stopped not to move around or you will fall down. Similarly don't fret too much if and when you do have a minor tip over. It's usually no dig deal and happens to all of us.
Practice some emergency braking and acceleration, so that you get a feel for the extra weight and she develops some comfort and trust in both you and the bike.
Always let her know ahead of time what your intentions are; regarding turning and passing etc.
My wife and I get on just fine with hand signals, no intercom required. We do have some good laughs developing our unique sign language.
 

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Good protective gear is a must! My pillion doesn't get on or off until I let her know I'm ready. We can talk at the lights, if she needs to stop in the meantime she taps the top of my helmet (highway etc).
I refuse to have any intercom or music, to me the beauty of riding is that when my helmet goes on, it's me time, my sanity time, just me and the road.
 

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I refuse to have any intercom or music, to me the beauty of riding is that when my helmet goes on, it's me time, my sanity time, just me and the road.
Amen to that. I have plenty of time to talk to my wife that it doesn't need to happen while I'm riding.

The first thing I tell a new passenger is not to change positions while in the turn. I've had a few passengers over the years that would lean with the bike part way through the turn and then suddenly switch to sitting upright out of fear of tipping over. For me that is the single most annoying (and dangerous) thing a passenger can do.
 

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I have ridden with and without an intercom equal amounts with my wife. I prefer to ride with the ability to communicate with her. However, I can completely understand some of you may find it some what annoying.
 

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This is my 2 cents worth.

A inexperienced rider and a pillion could be a recipe for disaster, especially if the pillion is inexperienced too.

Because you have asked this question I will assume you don't have a lot of confidence and ridding a motorcycle is all about confidence.

If you go into a corner too hot and start to think I won't make this, you probably won't make it, but if you go in too hot and think OK I'm hot but I just need to try harder you will come out the other side OK.

Now your pillion needs to have that same confidence in you and your bike.

I think personalities have a lot to do with it, a good pillion can be made but a great ones are born with it in them.

Do you have any mates that ride and have more experience than you ? you could put your wife on their bike to build up her confidence and learn what bikes are all about.

I met my now wife at the Bondi Hotel when she was 15 years of age, she had never been on a motorcycle before, I told her what was expected of a passenger and how dangerous it could be if she didn't follow my lead.

There is two thing about her personality that make her a great pillion, she will never show fear and she will not embarrass her self, from the moment she climbed aboard she was the perfect passenger and looked great too.

From that very first night I knew she was a keeper and she is still to this day happy for me to loft the front wheel and have a bit of mono fun.

You will know in your own mind if a pillion is a good idea or not but the more experience you both get the safer you both will be.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the input everybody -- it's much appreciated that you would take the time to respond.
 

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My wife does not want to learn to ride, but she enjoys pillion. Like others have said, whe we are riding together, keep the speed & crazy riding in check. I remind myself that while I may ride alone a litte crazy at times, she is not the adrenaline junkie I am. Scare her or piss her off & no more rides together.

Also, buy her gear, real gear. Again, if your ugly butt gets hurt, scars are cool. If she gets hurt, you'll hate yourself.

Most of the driving tips have already been discussed. One thing to practice is starting uphill from a stop. Learn to use your rear brake so your hands are free to work the throttle & balance the bars. Add full panniers & camping equipment & you'll quickly learn stops & low speed are very difficult 2 up.

I don't use comm & the wife doesn't want it either. Its nice too zone out & then we have lots to talk about when we stop.

On long days in the saddle, I give my wife a camera she wears around her neck. Keeps her busy & forgets that it will be 6+ hours stuck on a little seat. Bonus is I get a lot of nice pictures out of it.

Most importantly, ask her what she wants, how she feels, etc. Make her comfortable & ensure she has fun. That probably means more pee brakes than riding solo, but that's part of riding 2 up.

I find good practice is loading the bike up with full luggage, camping gear & a full tank of gas & riding solo. Then when you ride 2 up, the extra weight won't feel so foreign.

Have a plan if you need to bail out & drop the bike. It will happen. Luckily my Mrs. pays attention & while pulling into our driveway after a 5 day trip, she held the bike up against my truck when I should have been more careful. After that, I had full faith in her as a passenger & she is always welcome on the bike now.
 

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When to ride two up?? I think that depends on her as well as you........When you're ok with it and she feels like she'd like to go, do it...Short rides at first. She'll know and you'll know when it's all good....enjoy, be safe.............TD
 
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