Ignorant 2-Up Riding Questions! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Ignorant 2-Up Riding Questions!

Hey everyone-

When I used to ride years ago, I mostly did it solo except for the rare brief ride with a girl on the back. I was a lonely youth.....don't ask......

Anyway, now that I'm back into riding, my girlfriend understandably want to ride with me. And I want her to go. I'm finding, though, that there are a few issues that I need help on when it comes to riding with a passenger....things I never had to deal with before. Please don't laugh...these are ignorant questions!

1) Where should her head be when I'm riding? Loaded question, I know. Really, I don't know what the deal is, but if her helmet clinks against mine one more time when I shift gears or slow down, I'm going to go insane. I obviously can't see how she's sitting, so I don't know what to tell her. Please tell me this isn't an inherent problem with riding 2-up. She knows it's starting to bother me. Years ago I actually rode a Goldwing, so when I did have a passenger, they were reclined in the backseat and I just don't remember helmets clashing being a problem.

2) Are there any "universal" or easily understood hand signals/pats, etc. that can relay messages to the driver? Or is it just made up as you go along? For example, her wanting to indicate that she wants to "stop here", "pull over", "I need to go to the bathroom", etc. I really don't want to get an intercom...I'm enjoying the quiet time if you know what I'm saying.

3) Anything else? Any 2-Up riding tips from those of you that have done this a while? We've already gone over the weight-shifting/leaning and she's doing pretty well with that. All help is appreciated!!!

Tim
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 06:29 PM
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You're either going to have to shift and brake smoother or get a top case or a Corbin seat with a removable backrest. The gals relax more if there's something behind them.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 06:46 PM
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How is she holding on to you when you ride? Sounds like she is sitting right on top of you. My wife and I used to hit helmets allot until I asked her to move back a little and hang on to my sides. (near my jacket pockets) The lack of any backrest or sissy bar on my V made her nervous. So she was death gripping me around my rib cage. This was especially true when she had her first ride on the V. I also became more 2-up conscious on how I was starting and stopping. Smother starts and stops and so forth.

When I got my Givi V35 luggage, she started hanging on to that- we almost never hit helmets now. I did purchase a Corbin seat in order to be able to install a backrest. Have not installed the seat yet, but my wife already likes the idea.

Can't help you on the hand signals. We mostly don't get out of town so it does not get that loud. Riding on the highway still freaks her out.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ttpete View Post
You're either going to have to shift and brake smoother or get a top case or a Corbin seat with a removable backrest. The gals relax more if there's something behind them.
Amen brother!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 07:03 PM
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I ride in the back every now and then...

-Make your own signals - talk them over, agree on them, implement them.

-I hold on with my legs on m'boy's thighs and my hands on the grab rails. This lets me keep myself in position and not bang heads. It helps if she pays attention to what's going on - when you're entering a freeway, she should prepare for some acceleration, when you're coming to a stoplight, she should brace herself for braking, etc. That position also helps one to see, as you're not right up against the rider's back.

-Have her take the MSF course. A passenger who knows how to ride is an easier passenger to carry.

-Once you do that, have her get her own bike, and then you won't have to worry about carrying her pillion.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 07:06 PM
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Google "how to ride a motorcyle two up", and "riding two up".
Lots of good info, articles, commentary, experience.

Here's one of the first ones to come up, have read it before, it's pretty good:
http://www.her-motorcycle.com/Riding-2-up.html

One of those buddy-belt things with the handles would probably help the sitting too close issue.

There is no standard communication code, most people work out something between themselves for stopping, potty-break, etc. In your search you may come across something someone else has worked out that you like, can build on from there.

If you tell your passenger to look over the shoulder in the direction of your turns they'll weight properly and you won't be banging helmets.

Getting them to relax takes some time. Remember how tense you were the first time you rode on the street? Familiarity begets relaxing and more comfort.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadstergal View Post
-Have her take the MSF course. A passenger who knows how to ride is an easier passenger to carry.
This is true. My wife does not like to ride her own bike, but as a result of having done the MSF and a Lee Parks clinic, she's a superb passenger. Made more so by the presence of a top box complemented by her use of the hand rails.

As previously noted, you are a significant part of the equation. Shifting smoothly is key.

Back to Lee Parks, his book Total Control has a very useful chapter on riding two up, and it is one of my favorite motorcycle instruction books.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks!

Yeah, I think a lot of it does have to do with the fact that this is the first time she's ever even ridden on a motorcycle. I guess I make assumptions that when we're coming up to a red light, prepare for slowing down, when we're trying to merge, prepare for acceleration, etc. But she's not thinking like a rider...she's thinking like a passenger.

Actually, right now she's thinking like a car passenger since that's the closest thing she can relate to. One key difference I'm realizing is that being a car passenger is a passive process, whereas being a (good) motorcycle passenger is an active process. An MSF course would be good for her, no doubt, but I don't want to throw too much at her at once.

So far as holding on, yes, she's arms wrapped around me. I hate to tell her to back-off too much,especially since she's probably nervous. I think I'll have to give in and be ultra-smooth with the shifting and braking in the meantime.

Thanks for the input...

Tim
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 10:52 PM
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My wife and I used to bang helmets a lot when I first got the bike. She is much better now but occasionally they slap, when she isn't paying attention.

I would say that she will get better after she starts to relax. Holding on with knees and hands is a good suggestion.

With more practice, you'll not only get smoother, but she will also be able to anticipate any jerky movements in the bike much better.

Also, try not to let it bother you. Just think of it as a kiss to the back of your head. Sometimes I would smack her back...although I've lost some paint on my helmet from that. But it's only paint....no big deal.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 10:53 PM
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Not sure if you had a top box or not but a once had to take my wife on a long trip as pillion to pick up her new bike and she is a awful pillion as the girl wants to ride but she said that the top box behind her on the that small pillion seat gives you great support and you feel safer and relax more and I also prefer a pillion to use the side grab handles so my ribs don't bruise.

If you are going to fast and feel laser beams through the back of the helmet that's your girl giving you the 'look' this is the international signal to say buddy your in trouble.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 12:25 AM
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If you are going to fast and feel laser beams through the back of the helmet that's your girl giving you the 'look' this is the international signal to say buddy your in trouble.
I was wondering what that feeling was Kiwi 41...
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 03:01 AM
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Like everyone said on here, have her relax more, get any type of backrest, and be smooth in your driving. Honestly, after the few couple of times bopping helmets you might realize that it is all up to you. You have to be ultra smooth with the starting, shifting, and braking. Kinda like driving Ms. Daisy. You want to have your skills so refined that the passenger shouldn't notice when you are shifing, braking, etc. Now that takes quite a bit of practice! Best to take it real slow on country roads around 15-40 MPH for a while. After that, your gal should really start to relax. You will actually be able to tell that she is relaxing because it will seem like she has fallen off the bike and the handling has gotten better.

Worst/Best case scenario: You fix the problem with a quick twist of the throttle. J/K

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadstergal View Post
-Make your own signals - talk them over, agree on them, implement them.
Keep it simple

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadstergal View Post

-Have her take the MSF course. A passenger who knows how to ride is an easier passenger to carry.
+1

I don't know about MSF (probably very much alike), but some similar course here in canada have a specific course for two up riding and the passenger is tough the "how and when and why" and finishs that day way better inform AND more secure about riding (same goes for the driver)
There is also a part about communication between driver and passenger

My 2 cent

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