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Touring Tip: Riding Two-Up

What to Think About When There’s a Passenger

Part of the enjoyment of motorcycle travel is sharing the experience with others, particularly with passengers who are experiencing the exhilaration of riding for the first time. Whether it’s a trip around the block or a journey cross-country, it’s important for you to properly prepare the passenger, the motorcycle, and yourself before departing for a two-up ride:

Passenger: Unlike riding in an automobile, the passenger on a bike needs to be an active participant. Passengers should: (1) wear protective gear; (2) understand how to lean with the motorcycle on turns; (3) be tall enough to reach the passenger pegs; (4) hold on to the rider’s waist or handholds on the bike; (5) avoid sudden movements; (6) keep hands and feet clear of moving and hot components; (7) avoid banging helmets with the rider when stopping and (8) stay relaxed and supple with the bike’s movements.

Motorcycle: Because the bike has to carry more weight when there’s a passenger, weight distribution, center of gravity, suspension, and handling will all be affected when riding two-up. You’ll need to make sure: (1) the rear suspension preload is adjusted appropriately for the additional weight; (2) tire pressure is adjusted for additional weight and (3) the gross vehicle weight limitations, specified in the owners manual, are not exceeded. And, of course, it goes without saying that the motorcycle should be designed to accommodate a passenger.

Rider: You must appropriately modify your riding technique when there’s a passenger, because: (1) stopping distances will increase; (2) handling will not be as crisp as riding solo; (3) passing distances will increase; (4) cornering clearances may decrease; (5) pressure on the tire’s contact patch will increase and likely reduce traction on wet or loose surfaces; (6) additional weight over the rear tire will likely increase the effectiveness of the rear brake; (7) gusty crosswinds will have more surface area to grab onto; (8) throttle and clutch response will be altered and (9) last, but certainly not least, it’s important to make sure that the passenger is comfortable.

Touring two-up on a motorcycle, with a special someone, can be a wonderful experience, but it becomes twice as important for the rider to follow proper safety precautions. If you’re looking for at trip that your significant other will love, join us on the European Romance Tour next year, July 27 – August 9, 2017.

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