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ShiftHer

Advice and tips for carrying a passenger for the first time

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ShiftHer
I've been riding for 3 years, so I'm not technically a "new" rider. However, I will be carrying a passenger for the first time this weekend, so I feel that I'm a new rider in that sense. 
 
For reference, I'm 5'7 and my passenger is 5'11. Combined, we'll be just a touch over the maximum load rating with all our gear on. Prior to heading out, I'll get a feel for acceleration, braking, and turning in a parking lot. We'll just be doing a short ride, 15-30 minutes, in a low traffic area with good pavement and a few stoplights/signs and turns. The speed limit is between 30 and 45 mph in that area, so won't be going faster than that. 
 
I want to make this as positive an experience as possible for her (and me!). So, I wanted to ask if anyone has any advice, tips, must do's, or don't do's about riding 2 up? Anything specific to FZ-07 would be welcome (preload setting, tire pressure, etc.), as well. 
 

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stefano225
Here is a video I found that might help
regarding preload and tire pressure just go by the manual.I rarely take a passenger so I am sure others will chime in.
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Beemer
Off the top of my head the major things are the faster you're going the easier it is to manage their weight so be extra careful at slower speeds. Some people will fidget and move around/lean left and right when you're going straight, which can affect you, especially if they're taller than you so ask them not to move around a lot. Ask them to lean with you in turns and not the other way that they may instinctively want to do to remain upright. Some are a little scared to lean. Ask them to keep their head to one side of yours so they don't constantly bump your helmet and distract you when you're going through the gears or slowing down.  When you take off from a stand still try to keep your tire as straight as possible. If you turn your handlebars at low speed with a person on the back they tend to keep going to one side and you can't manage as fast with extra weight so don't take off too slow and keep the bars straight or you may take off all wobbly and maybe go in a direction you didn't plan on going. Be ready to throw a foot down to stop yourself from falling over. Ask them not to puke on your neck if they feel sick (# 1). You'll be ok, just be confident and smart.
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pineappleunderthesea
The video makes a good point on "smoothness".  With the harsh engine braking on this bike, don't be surprised if your passenger bumps your head with their helmet!
 
I took out my son for the first time (he's eleven, and I made sure he was well protected--while it's easy to find helmets and gloves for that age, there's next to nothing for armored jackets here in the US, but I least I did find something), and I told him to lean the way I lean.  I buddy of mine had his girlfriend on his cruiser, and during turns it felt "wrong":  ends up she was leaning the opposite way when he was turning (so if he turned left, she'd lean to the right).
 
My biggest worry was acceleration and if he's slide back a little too far.  It wasn't an issue though, he never felt he would fall off the bike.  I kept it under 50 mph for that first ride, with only one or two semi-fast accelerations from second or third gear.  I was semi-smooth on the acceleration, but I could still feel him shifting slightly each time--guess I can work on that.  As I pointed out, I wasn't smooth on downshifting either, and also when releasing the throttle:  that engine breaking made him slide into me a few times (maybe that flash from 2wheeldynoworks would help!)
 
He loved it, and wants to go again. 

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Beemer
stefano225
 
The video was fine until when skipping around at the end I saw the Douche-namic Duo on the Kawasaki Ninja. No worries, really, she had her kevlar riding panties on.

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stefano225
stefano225 
The video was fine until when skipping around at the end I saw the Douche-namic Duo on the Kawasaki Ninja. No worries, really, she had her kevlar riding panties on.
Lol,I just realized after watching the video till the very end.There was another video when I did the search showing two girls in shorts and  skirt  explaining two up riding here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsqZN1Y_xyg.  :D.

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yamahaha
A short ride at lower speeds will be fine. This isn't the bike for two up at maximum load+.
 
Heavier than thou passenger is not a nice scenario on any bike.
 
 
 
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tanner68
I have carried a passenger on my FZ07 a few times. The back brake becomes a lot more useful. It is great if the passenger can brace with a hand against the tank during braking, and is comfortable doing it. Concentrate on being really smooth with the throttle and the brake and you both will have a much better ride.

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SkH
My wife got on pillion 500 miles into me owning the FZ07 as my very first bike with apprx 2 months of riding experience.   Second time I took her around in city traffic.  In other words it isn't too hard. Just know slow speed maneuvers will become a huge bitch. She was probably slightly more scared than I was.
 
At speed, it seems mostly normal. Also stopping going down a hill is also hard. But anyway the biggest issue you will face is just slow speed maneuvers.
 
Since then, I've take her pillion maybe a good 200 miles total, but then we bought her an R3 so its been awhile. But she commented after she bought the R3 when she rode pillion again afterwards that she now enjoys riding pillion much more compared to before over riding her own R3 haha. But its been 6 months since she made that statement. Oh and not like this is useful info but taking on pillion on the R3 is worse. WORSE. WOOOOOOORRSSSEEE.
 
Oh yeah, I just thought of a tip from my wife.  She found it more comfortable to place her hands on the tank and only held onto me when I accelerated from a stop or was going too fast for her liking.  So mention to your partner that she can reach over and place her hands on the tank sides and see if that is comfortable for her.

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pattonme
My pre-ride briefing - seriously, do it.
 
0. practice proper mount/dismount a couple times.
 
1. no bear hugs - hold the hips/waist of the driver. Assure them you will not fall off the back. Use your stomach muscles to control your body, not grabbing the driver. Drivers, you have to do your part!
 
2. sit upright or with slight forward lean
 
3. look over riders's shoulder in direction of turn - I've found that passengers don't "get" lean and telling them to look is simpler and has the desired effect
 
4. don't squirm - do not sight-see and turn around in your seat or try to do your head checks for you. Or pound on your shoulder or otherwise gesticulate to look at this or that. I tell them "you are a sack of groceries, just sit still and only move your head to look around. If you need to adjust, do it when we're stopped."
 
5. have a signal for 'I need you to pull over'. Shouting doesn't work.
 
6. Full safety gear (including footwear) beyond the confines of a parking lot or cul-de-sac. If the driver needs to go naked (not recommended), so be it.
 
7. Adjust rear shock to basically zero out the passenger's weight. Extra PSI in the rear is likely a good idea. Don't need to go to 41PSI/MAX necessarily but 36-38 (depending on total) is probably a good number.
 
Once you are both comfortable and practiced, then some of above can be relaxed.

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wickedtwister
I took a passenger on mine for about 15 miles at interstate speeds it wasnt too bad but she rides her own bike (I was taking her to pick it up from shop) you will want to adjust your rear shock pre load (its in the manual) and tire pressure. Other than that be smooth on throttle as harsh acceleration/deceleration can scare someone who has never been on a bike. be careful at slow speeds as the bike reacts very differently with a passenger. Basically im echoing everything pattonme and others have said.

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ShiftHer
Thanks for all the tips, everyone! Great points, and I will be sure to go over these things with my passenger before we even go near the bike. I did get a set of intercoms, so we can talk during. My biggest concern is how she will react to bike leaning around a curve or turn. Look over the shoulder thing seems like a really good way to have her think about it.
 
I will bump up PSI in the rear a bit, and bust out the manual and that weird little wrench tonight so I can figure out how to do adjust the shock. ^_^
 
She just confirmed for Saturday, so that will be the big day! She said she's nervous, but excited. I don't feel nervous myself so much, more just concerned about creating a good experience for her. Along with having fun though, I'm looking forward to learning this new dimension of riding!
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pattonme
When stopping emphasize again the use of core muscles to control the torso and specifically, clamping the thighs together. (keep it PG guys...) Explain that the driver uses his legs likewise to stay connected to the bike, and for a passenger the driver is their point of contact. If the deceleration rate is higher than she likes (no grab rails to help on the FZ), review and PRACTICE switching to bracing arms against the tank.

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duenan
Yeah, depending on total weight, and your leg strength, stopping was my biggest beef. You got to use those leg muscles to hold up the bike for sure. Might be a bit harder for me since I can't flat foot it. Well, maybe I can with pillion, but its been awhile, don't remember.
 
Also it would be good if you do a slow practice go around your neighborhood before heading out into the streets.

Engaging with people that have personality disorders on a message board is like arguing with a rock.

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stefano225
Thanks for all the tips, everyone! Great points, and I will be sure to go over these things with my passenger before we even go near the bike. I did get a set of intercoms, so we can talk during. My biggest concern is how she will react to bike leaning around a curve or turn. Look over the shoulder thing seems like a really good way to have her think about it.  
I will bump up PSI in the rear a bit, and bust out the manual and that weird little wrench tonight so I can figure out how to do adjust the shock. ^_^
 
She just confirmed for Saturday, so that will be the big day! She said she's nervous, but excited. I don't feel nervous myself so much, more just concerned about creating a good experience for her. Along with having fun though, I'm looking forward to learning this new dimension of riding!
Not sure if you adjusted the preload before,but if you haven't you want to go from the right side of the bike and make sure that the cheap tool engages before starting to push down or you will strip it real easy trust me I know for fact.

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ShiftHer
Thanks for all the tips, everyone! Great points, and I will be sure to go over these things with my passenger before we even go near the bike. I did get a set of intercoms, so we can talk during. My biggest concern is how she will react to bike leaning around a curve or turn. Look over the shoulder thing seems like a really good way to have her think about it.  
I will bump up PSI in the rear a bit, and bust out the manual and that weird little wrench tonight so I can figure out how to do adjust the shock. ^_^
 
She just confirmed for Saturday, so that will be the big day! She said she's nervous, but excited. I don't feel nervous myself so much, more just concerned about creating a good experience for her. Along with having fun though, I'm looking forward to learning this new dimension of riding!
Not sure if you adjusted the preload before,but if you haven't you want to go from the right side of the bike and make sure that the cheap tool engages before starting to push down or you will strip it real easy trust me I know for fact.
I have never messed with pre-load before, so thanks for the tips!

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duenan
Just know with the preload adjust, you do not need to hit the next setting in one turn. You can move it a little, it will stay in that place, remove the tool to 'reset' the position on the teeth and continue on and repeat until you hit the setting.

Engaging with people that have personality disorders on a message board is like arguing with a rock.

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hippiebikerchick
She just confirmed for Saturday, so that will be the big day! She said she's nervous, but excited. I don't feel nervous myself so much, more just concerned about creating a good experience for her. Along with having fun though, I'm looking forward to learning this new dimension of riding!
And hopefully a new motorcycle enthusiast will be born!

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cassecou
When I take my daughter on a trip, I usually adjust the preload from my 2 to 9, our butts weight around 300lb. I generally don't adjust tire pressure. Once on the bike she grabs the Yamaha rear rack for security.
I also have the Shad case, and on the highway, she loves laying against it.

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crazycracka501
Don't forget to explain to your passenger to wait until both of your feet are firmly planted at a complete stop with the bike fully upright BEFORE attempting to mount or dismount the bike....my wife is fairly experienced at riding passenger and sometimes forgets this key requirement. It will make you drop the bike if you're not ready for the passenger to jump on or off of the bike.

Make it stop!....Now make it go faster!

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ShiftHer
So how did it go @shifther? Did you tame the amazon goddess?
We didn't crash! Hooray! 
I adjusted suspension pre-load to 9. (Side note: That is not an easy adjustment to make! The spanner wrench kept slipping and some of the metal rubbed off of the notched adjuster ring. ;-| ) I went with normal PSI of 33 front / 36 rear.
 
Traction felt pretty good in the rear. Less so in the front. I was not prepared for how wobbly starts and stops would be! Keeping the front wheel as straight as possible on a take off helped reduce the shimmy a bit in the front starting out. I think it may also have been helpful for me to loosen up my grip on the bars. Instinctively, I want to hold on tighter when things are wobbly, but I know I should do the opposite to let the front wheel sort itself out. I knew I was gripping too hard when I felt my hands start aching about 20 minutes into the ride.
 
The bike felt so tippy when not moving. I didn't feel comfortable stopping with just one foot down, so it was always two feet down at stops. I also kept forgetting that I could use more back brake! When I did remember, I noticed that using the back brake longer as we were coming to a stop (right up until we stop rolling) seemed to mitigate some of the wobbliness.
 
As soon as we got up to about 25 mph, everything felt good. I tried to shift as smoothly as possible, but it was still a little jerky. Probably because I was trying so hard to be smooth. Ha. Thankfully, she's tall enough that her helmet clears mine, so no clanking. From a dead stop, I felt I had to take turns a bit wider than normal. For curves at speed, everything felt good. She just instinctively leaned the correct way and we felt very balanced.
 
Total ride time was about 35 minutes. Normally, I'm out for 3-4 hours or more, but I was ready to go home. I enjoyed the experience and I had a great time, but fun was dampened a bit by my being so preoccupied with all the technical aspects of the ride. I was pretty drained, mentally and physically, by the time we got home. Similar to how I felt when first learning to ride solo!
 
Passenger opinion: She said it felt a little scary at first, but after a few minutes she was able to relax and then had fun.
:D 
 
The most surprising thing for me was how the bike felt after she got off. I just pulled the bike a few feet into the garage, but it felt sooo weird. Like the back end was just floating all over the place. Does it normally feel that way just because of the sudden change in not having a passenger? Or was that just because I had pre-loaded suspension?
 
Speaking of suspension, I decided to try setting [HASH]2 for just myself (previously was on the factory default of 3). I feel like the bumps are a little smoother on 2, but it could also just be my imagination since going from 3 to 2 doesn't seem like a huge adjustment.
 
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roadrunner
Yesterday I rode about 20 miles on the street with a friend on the back. She's not really heavy, I'm guessing combing we were probably like 300 lbs or less. I didn't adjust anything, it was kinda of a last minute thing.
 
I had little problem handling the bike. But my concern is can there be any harm done from not adjusting the preload? Or that done simply to make it easier to control the bike?

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