Riding with rider - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Riding with rider

So I've logged just over 400 miles and that newbie feeling is wearing off (for those in the 400,000 range, ignore the 'newbie feeling' comment). Anyway, started to test the waters with my wife on the back just going up and down my own cul de sac road. Definitely more difficult, but was going real slow in turns and stuff. Notice the brakes also handle a bit differently.

1. Is it harder to ride with someone if you are a lightweight and the other person is only 40 lbs lighter than you? Vs. if you were 220 and your wife was 110? My guess is yes.

2. How long should one roughly practice with another rider before venturing into traffic and hills with stop signs?

Unrelated, but rode with the Givi windscreen on Rte 93 in Boston (NH to MA) and had no issues. Pretty comfortable if not boring, but there was virtually little wind that day.

Axel
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by AxelF View Post
So I've logged just over 400 miles and that newbie feeling is wearing off (for those in the 400,000 range, ignore the 'newbie feeling' comment). Anyway, started to test the waters with my wife on the back just going up and down my own cul de sac road. Definitely more difficult, but was going real slow in turns and stuff. Notice the brakes also handle a bit differently.

1. Is it harder to ride with someone if you are a lightweight and the other person is only 40 lbs lighter than you? Vs. if you were 220 and your wife was 110? My guess is yes.

2. How long should one roughly practice with another rider before venturing into traffic and hills with stop signs?

Unrelated, but rode with the Givi windscreen on Rte 93 in Boston (NH to MA) and had no issues. Pretty comfortable if not boring, but there was virtually little wind that day.

Axel
1. The bike will handle extremely different with your wife on their than without. The bike weighs 450 lbs(I thought more but that is what google told me). You say you are a lightweight, lets say 160. That would put your wife at 120. Normally you on the bike alone is 610 lbs. Put your wife on their and even though she is light, she is a extra 20% of weight.
The bike will be much slower to turn in to turns. The brakes will not work as well as they need to stop a bunch more weight. Also the weight of a person is much different than the same amount of weight in saddle bags or secured. That type of weight is always in the same place and does not move around. Your passenger will slide forward, and side to side as the bike brakes, accelerates, and turns.

2. I would not personally take her on your bike yet. You said you have 400 miles on your bike. While I don't feel there is a set mileage to wait for, I do feel that you should wait till operating the bike is done by instinct. That way you are less likely to get distracted by your passenger. Also you want to make sure you are as smooth as you could possibly be on the gas, brakes and turns. If you accelerate hard you know you are going to do it and brace for it, same as braking and turning. Your passenger wont really know what is going to be happening and will slide around.

Good luck with your ridning with her. Just don't do it too early, and be extra careful.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 01:21 PM
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I agree with everything Hawkshot99 said and just to add some voice of experience:

I assume this is your first bike from your description of only 400 miles?

If that is true, I would wait until you have a few thousand solo miles and a variety of riding experience under your belt before you venture two-up riding. That includes some twisty back roads, traffic riding, and just some highway cruising.

The dynamics of the bike will change a lot as Hawkshot noted. It will take more to stop it, a little more counter counter steering in a curve, and more control when you stop as you are hold up the extra weight.

Pillions can learn to ride two ways, one is to behave like a sack of potatoes and just sit on the back, in which you accomodate the extra weight. The second is teach them to lean in the curves too which is the easiest for both of you. You will just need to know how your extra weight you are carrying will respond in a consistent manner.

My wife goes with the sack of potatoes theory so I know thebikes response. I took my adult son out on the back of my ST1300 for a ride, and he was a new rider, and I did not even know he was back there in the curves. Big difference as I had never had a rider on the back before.

One other thing to realize is the pillion on a lot of bikes does not have the full view that you will as the pilot. They have to look around one side of your head or the other. If you see something of a warning on your right side and she is looking around the left, and you react, they might be a little jumpy as they will not see it :-)

If you wanted to practice some with her on the back, go to a large school or mall parking lot when it's empty, and practice there. Then you won't have to worry about cars, left turners, etc. But it would give you a variety of training for both of you in a safer environment, until you can work up to the street.

A lot of good advice on this forum as others will chime in too.

Another good forum I liked myself back when I just stared riding on the street is

http://www.beginnerbikers.org/forum.php

A lot of good folks over there along with several MSF instructors and some good answers to questions like this.

Ride safe and glad your wife wants to join you.

David

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 01:26 PM
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Does your passenger know how to be a passenger on a bike?

My wife is a pretty good passenger so it's not difficult at all for me. She mounts the bike keeping her weight centered. She doesn't move around as I'm riding. She keeps her body still as I'm leaning into curves making sure she looks over my shoulder on the side that the bike is leaning. If she looks the opposite way while I'm turning then I can feel it big time and the bike is much harder to turn. I think that's the most important part. She isn't supposed to lean...just look the way you are turning. The bike will make her lean.

If someone doesn't know how to be a passenger then it will be much more difficult.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 01:39 PM
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What I've done with a newbie passenger, after briefing them about what to do and expect, is (roads with little traffic) tell them to observe where the sun is, close their eyes till I tell them to re-open them, and gently turn 90 degrees and tell them to open up and see where the sun is. Then I stop and discuss that they felt nothing while I turned when they couldn't see I was turning, so they can just relax and sit upright on the bike while it (and I) do all the work.

Ed
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 02:02 PM
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My first time with a passenger came last month, with roughly 6000 miles under my belt.

I would just suggest you stick to the cul de sac or parking lots, but there are so many sketchy things that can happen alone and it's best that you learn to deal with them as such. The Versys isn't fast, but it's fast enough to kill ya!

Be safe and good luck!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by AxelF View Post
1. Is it harder to ride with someone if you are a lightweight and the other person is only 40 lbs lighter than you? Vs. if you were 220 and your wife was 110? My guess is yes.
The answer is yes only if you are a "brute force" kind of rider. It's all about technique (riding solo or two-up) so what you need to learn is how to handle the bike, preferably alone first, and only after you master that then start taking passengers. I have ridden tens of thousands of miles two up with my wife and we have an even smaller weight difference than you. Once she is seated on the bike I can't even tell she is there (until she bangs on my helmet for scrapping the pegs too much ).


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2. How long should one roughly practice with another rider before venturing into traffic and hills with stop signs?
Once you are comfortable doing all that when you ride solo, then you can start taking a passenger. Remember, it's all about technique, and that includes knowing how to stop at those uphill stop signs without losing your balance, being smooth in traffic so you don't scare your passenger (or make him/her bang heads with you every up/down shift), etc. If you make a mistake, the extra weight of the passenger (or even just simple luggage) will amplify it. If you tend to lose your balance in U-turns, doing one with a passenger will be more difficult. If you don't make smooth up/down shifts you will have lots of paint from the passenger's helmet on the back of yours... I have given friends who are heavier than me rides on trips and even around the track. The key is for both of you to learn to ride. There is some riding technique involved in being a passenger too. If you master piloting and can show your passenger what to do to help you control the bike, both of you will have a better time.

You will find lots of articles on riding with a passenger in bike magazines, here are a few sources to start:

http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/str...ger/index.html

http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/str...ger/index.html

http://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/Pas..._Tip_Sheet.pdf

Gustavo


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 07:34 PM
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Am i the only one that doesn't notice a difference in the bike when i have my gf on the back? Maybe because she only weighs 100lbs? Or because i workout constantly? Who knows, but i don't notice her back there unless she touches me.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 07:46 PM
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Does your passenger know how to be a passenger on a bike?

My wife is a pretty good passenger so it's not difficult at all for me. She mounts the bike keeping her weight centered. She doesn't move around as I'm riding. She keeps her body still as I'm leaning into curves making sure she looks over my shoulder on the side that the bike is leaning. If she looks the opposite way while I'm turning then I can feel it big time and the bike is much harder to turn. I think that's the most important part. She isn't supposed to lean...just look the way you are turning. The bike will make her lean.

If someone doesn't know how to be a passenger then it will be much more difficult.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 10:01 PM
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Also, I'm only 5'6" and can just tippie toe my versys. I don't have any issues even if it's another guy who is much bigger than me on the back of the bike (although it looks pretty silly).

The only problem I ever had was my wife's 12 year old nephew who is much smaller than me. He is afraid of leaning on the bike and would always counter lean against me. It made turning extremely difficult and took all the joy out of riding. I probably out weighed him by a hundred pounds too.

If you can flat foot your bike than I'd imagine it would be so easy....
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 10:18 PM
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+100 on all the comments and feedback here. I have been riding for quite sometime and have never, never had a passenger with me. Reason: its dangerous riding a bike and I know that and am not in a position to put someone else in that danger.

Unless you are very confident you can handle situations only than will you consider a passenger.

with your passenger.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 10:23 PM
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Brought my wife a bike because she a teribble passenger and I not kidding
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 10:47 PM
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+100 on all the comments and feedback here. I have been riding for quite sometime and have never, never had a passenger with me. Reason: its dangerous riding a bike and I know that and am not in a position to put someone else in that danger.

Unless you are very confident you can handle situations only than will you consider a passenger.

with your passenger.
On previous bikes I had no problem giving people rides. Didn't think anything of it.
Then my good friend was hit by a car with his girlfriend on the back of the bike. She came out of the crash with a bruised tailbone, and a nice cut on her ankle. He came out paralyzed. It could have been the reverse very easily. I am not willing to put another person at that risk right now. I can live with the consequences of my own actions, but dont want to make others suffer.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 11:00 PM
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There was a awful crash here about 3 years ago, a bike riding group was on a charity christmas toy run and a tourist van went on the wrong side of the rode and killed a father and his young teenage daughter who was spending some quality time on back of her Dad's bike and also took out a few more of the group with various injuries. I take both my teenage boys on the back but after that terrible tragedy it makes you think about people on the back and thats why I prefer to go solo.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-26-2010, 01:53 PM
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Funny that this came up today. I've been riding since 2007. I've put almost 6000km's om the Versys since I got it in March. I picked my wife up at work yesterday with the Versys. It was her first time on a bike, and my first time with a passenger. It was only a 5 minute ride. I couldn't believe how much different the bike felt with a passenger. Everything was just a little heavier, and reacted slower than what I was used to. When we got she said she really enjoyed it. She'll have to get used to being a passenger, I'll have to get used to having one. With a few more rides, we'll get the hang of it.

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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Riding with rider (pillion) follow up

I just wanted to thank EVERYONE who chimed in on this. I have felt I'm pretty good at this and the bike is pretty easy. My brother who has a Guzzi and been riding for 15 years on and off, said you look more comfortable on slow turns, etc. than 'I do.' I did take her on a 15 mile ride in light traffic today and had no problems, even when some old guy pulled over a few cars in front of me and people had to slow down quickly. She seems like a good rider, sack of potatoes style, and I occasionally look in my rearview mirror to make sure she didn't fall off. I get the occasional knock on the helmet, but am trying to be extra careful shifting so it's smoothe. Went around a rotary (jughandle for thoese in NJ) at a good clip and felt fine. Turned around in an empty gas station with nearly no room on the other side with a pole, etc. and didn't have a problem.

However, I am definitely the type to think about her safety and don't really like having a passenger (hell, that's what a bike is for, to get out with the guys and feel free, right??) ;-) But I'll take her around on the occasional CAREFUL joy ride with the right gear on. Would kill me if she got hurt, so I have to say, riding with her sucks compared to by myself and it won't happen an awful lot. These guys that ride with the girls in short skirts and heels, AAAA holes.

'Look over the shoulder you're turning into'. Great advice. Hope she gets bored of it soon. ;-)

Thank you,
Axel
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