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First time two-up milestone, observations


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(I almost put this in Ride Tales, but I think it fits better in the technique forum...)


Three years ago when I started riding, my wife was dismayed about the whole idea. To her credit, she supported my desires, but she made it clear that she wouldn't be caught dead riding the thing with me.


Since then, here and there, I have quietly described many of the sensations of riding to her, the way smells hit me in a breath and are immediately gone, the small birds that sometimes pace me, twenty feet from my side flying alongside a field. The feeling that approximates flying myself, disconnected from the binding earth as I carve through a series of nice coastal turns.


So when I was researching a new bike, I asked her one evening if I should be shopping for something that can hold a passenger comfortably. It took her a moment, but she said yes.


Fastforward: It's been a couple of months since I brought the RS home, and I've put about 2000 miles on it. I'm beginning to know the bike pretty well. I mentioned I was ready to try a ride with her (I had not ridden two-up before either), and we began shopping for some gear for her. Helmet, gloves, check. She has OK boots, and a decent jacket is proving very hard to find, but she has a passable thick leather jacket to get her by. Pants, well, we're putting that off until she's sure she's committed, because as nice as it is, they won't do her butt any favors. smile.gif


So yesterday we drove separately to a deserted office complex. She donned her gear and I turned up the rear preload. We left the panniers on. First we practiced mounts and dismounts. Based on feedback I've seen here and elsewhere, we decided on a couple of rules: Always make eye contact before getting on, always mount from the left side. I showed her the grab bar, how to hold my waist, etc. We figured out how our feet interact, and I showed her where her feet were in relation to moving or hot parts, so she was comfortable.


I started off with slow starts and stops, almost MSF BRC-style. It quickly became apparent that my impression of what it would be like with a pillion was totally inaccurate. It was much easier, and the bike just took to it without any real changes other than a feeling of increased overall mass. We were quickly riding around the complex, up to second gear, leaning around corners and shifting up and down. I made an effort to ride as smoothly as I could. The bike continued to surprise me with how natural it felt. Dana took to it nicely, leaning with me naturally, no head bumping or harsh movements. She found a comfortable position looking over my right shoulder.


We moved on to excercises like harder acceleration and hard braking. In both cases the bike was great, still having ample power for a spirited takeoff. I do have to give the bike more revs at the start than I would solo, the engine wants to lug a bit sooner.


The braking tests were satisfying. The bike just stopped, and hard, when I asked it to. We did get the rear ABS to kick in, and it was an entirely unexciting experience. smile.gif The weight transfer wasn't bad. Neither of us is petite, but even when she was wasn't holding on to anything the forward transfer was quite manageable. I'm very glad we practiced this though, and I will continue to periodically, because it's a very different experience compared to solo braking.


We finally hit the road, and had a short 40 minute loop out through some twisty country roads. It was beautiful. She commented on all the smells in the air. I patted her knee more than once, it was good to be together.


I was feeling a little too much forward bias in the curves, and stopped and backed off the preload a click at one point. It helped a lot. I'm still figuring out this adjustable suspension stuff.


By the time we got back, her butt was hurting and it was apparent that her helmet was a little too snug. Both are things we can address. She had a great time otherwise, and even with a little mildly-spirited riding she was comfortable. This bodes well!


I'm looking forward to many more miles with this superb bike, and with my wonderful wife now along for the ride. I'm a lucky guy!


Thanks to the other bikers out there for the tips I've learned and the resulting confidence I've gained to make it possible.



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Had my maiden voyage with my lady this past week through upstate NY. I agree with your comments on how well the RT handles acceleration and braking. I did notice that any lack of smoothness that I can usually get away with was magnified by having a passenger. I found that I really need to get on the throttle a bit more in the turns to keep the suspension stabilized. Riding 2 up was actually good practice for being smoother solo.

Here's to many happy 2 up miles.


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Congratulations to you both. Two-up is special. I don't do it often having no SO other than my sock monkey. My two favorite passengers are a friends 16 year old daughter, a gymnast who is utterly relaxed on a motorcycle, and a friend of mine who, as a former 125 GP racer, even at 180 lbs, is all but not there when we ride. The kid is utterly trusting and so used to being twisted all around in the air that I don't think she has a lean angle limit. The trust was built on similar stuff to your initial experiences. First ride was in a mall parking lot with lots of gentle riding and drills where she learned to look over my inside shoulder in turns and even to post a bit on the pegs. My buddy just sits there and makes himself invisible. We don't ride two-up very often, just kinda back and forth between his house and mine. We have been handle bar to handle bar through a lot of curves together though and a mutual trust in riding ability transfers nicely into the two-up situation.


I have had novice passengers on my bike a few times and you are right, being smooth and sensitive to your pillion's fears, along with some education before hand is the absolute key.

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I have had novice passengers on my bike a few times .....




I'll bet you have! thumbsup.gif



Seriously, Barb and I totally enjoy our riding together, and it seems lately that is prolly 60% of my riding. I am very comfortable with her back there, as she seldom makes the wrong move. It must be all our years riding together.


BTW, the pat on the knee stuff is a great way of re-assuring your passenger how glad you are that she is there to enjoy the ride w/ you.


When you go all the way with an intercom...you can TELL her! thumbsup.gif

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Middle aged men don't get to pat 16 year old girls on the knee. eek.gifbncry.gif


Her mother trusts me implicitly with her and I am very careful to be correct around her. Poor kid was sexually abused by a family friend when she was 13 and it is a delicate situation. Her aunts, when they ride with me, get all the knee pats. grin.gif

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You have made a significant financial decision. Two up riding with SO, priceless. For everything else there's MasterCard. grin.gif Have fun!

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Congratulations to the both of you.


After many years of riding solo, and loving it, I have found that there is a very special feeling when I have my wife with me.


My wife was also tentative as her background with motorcycles was one that we have all heard many times. Bikers are thugs, you are going to die, organ donor, blah, blah, blah!


It is amazing how these stereotypes are perpetuated. Even more so when there is no personal experience. I digress.


Now, my wife goes into depresison if the ST comes out and she is not on it.


The best part! This last weekend, we did about 200 miles of some agressive corner straightening with our BMW club. After we got back my wife and I were talking about the experience, the ride, etc. Something we always do as we are committed to learning something from each other on every ride. Well, we were talking about how the bike was handling, etc. and she comes back with this analysis of how the suspension felt a little overwhelmed here, and pogoed a little there, etc. WOW! And right then and there, she give the green light to go get the new Wilbers for the front and rear. Ordered them yesterday!!!!


Oh, and did I tell you, I love my wife and she loves me!


Enjoy your pillion rides. They are now comprising some of my best rides ever! thumbsup.gif

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Let me make one suggestion. Get a topbox with a backrest or some other sort of backrest. She will be MUCH more comfortable and you wont have to worry about losing her in the event of sudden acceleration.


Yankee Dog

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To her credit, she supported my desires, but she made it clear that she wouldn't be caught dead riding the thing with me.


This sounds a lot like my attitude when Russell first started riding, and now I have two bikes of my own, regularly do track days, and ride all over the country! grin.gif


I do sometimes miss two up rides...for instance, in those long, flat, straight boring stretches of road on your way to somewhere cool, it was nice to take a nap on the back of the bike. And we get a LOT less pictures on trips now that I'm not back there to snap them! wink.gif


You and your pillion have fun! If she thinks she likes the riding gig, get her some good gear; goes a long way toward her comfort on the bike (in addition to safety).

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Have a Givi with the backrest and she loves it. The good news is that she likes the "squigley" roads better than the straight ones and the bad news is that I'm not sure when I get to ride solo. All in all, a very good thing and the pat on the knee was her favorite moment. Could not keep her on the Triumph and don't think I can keep her off the RT.


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I’m glad that your first time out was a success. My wife and I enjoy two up riding immensely. Sure, riding solo and throwing the bike into the hard twisties is a great pleasure, but the closeness that a couple shares while riding two up is special in it’s self. We have explored the Alps, the Blue Ridge, the Natchez, and are headed to the Rockies this summer, all riding two up. I hope that you enjoy your two up experiences as much as we do. Your awareness of your partners needs is the key to a great experience. Riding is more than the ride it’s self. It’s the whole experience for the miles logged to the places that you stop to rest your weary butts. Notice the smile inside the helmet.


Ride on you two,




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Congrats on the first time experience. I finally added the Autocomm unit this year and my wife actually asks to go riding now. She feels so much more involved if we can discuss things as we go without having to yell back and forth.

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Once they get to like it, they can't get enough. blush.gifblush.gif


I agree about the top box and you'll have to get an intercom.

We are both heading down through France & Spain early July for a couple of weeks and will have a great time as usual. Every other year I go on my own. Sometimes I need to do my own thing and I wouldn't like to throw the bike around too much when she's with me

Have fun,


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All your thoughtful steps toward two up riding have laid a strong foundation. Good job! We did much the same thing, especially the eye contact/verbal contact and hand position when the passenger is mounting and dismounting.

One of your next chapters may read something like....."Gee, I can do this" or "I sure am tired of looking at the back of his helmet" or you find her reading the MOA Owners News and other mags.

Even if she just remains a happy passenger, it's a great thing to share the motorcycling experience with your SO.

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Good for you... both ! thumbsup.gif


Although my Nina had never ridden a bike, SHE was the one pushing me to go for the Beamer.... and when we were at the dealer to take delivery, we decided to get her a BMW 'suit' and helmet too.....


My third ride on the bike was with Nina as a passenger, and we've done many rides together since. Alone is but alone..... wink.gifdopeslap.gif

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