Sharing the scooter riding experience is a lot of fun. In this article we’ll give you a few tips to make the experience enjoyable for both rider and pillion. Once you have completed your Learner (L’s) and Provisional (P’s) you will be fully licensed and allowed to take a pillion rider on the back seat of your scooter. This is a great opportunity to include others in the joys and freedoms of riding a scooter. Who knows, you may even be starting a new riders journey into two wheels.
Firstly, we all need to understand that taking a pillion rider is quite a responsibility. You have another person to care for, so there is no place for late braking, maximum lean angles or any other type of scary moments. It’s all about doing traffic speed and everyone having fun.
Ensure your scooter is up to the task. The scooter needs to be capable of the traffic speed you will be riding in. Generally a 125cc or bigger is appropriate and make sure the pillion footpads can be reached by your pillion passenger. Check the rules in your State about children as pillion passengers.
Before you put on your helmets, give your pillion passenger a guided tour of your scooter and include where they will put their feet, how they can hold your waist or and the pillion grab handle. Explain to them where the exhaust is and that it’s HOT.
Also cover how the helmet buckles, and the visor works. I’d always opt for quality riding gear for rider and pillion. It will make both of you feel better, especially if it’s your first go at pillioning.
Let the pillion know that they have to ask you before hopping on or off so you can control balance. When they get on board you want to have already straddled the scooter, have it off the stand, both feet firmly on the ground and and have a grip on the both handlebars with the brakes on.
When seated, I find it best for pillions to have one hand on the grab rail (excellent when braking) and the other hand around the riders waist ( good when accelerating ).
HOT TIP FOR PILLION PASSENGERS – Reassure them that pillioning is fun. The trick is to relax and simply lean with the scooter as you go around corners. Some pillions try to sit upright at all times making it much harder for the rider to smoothly go around corners. Make sure to point out that it’s best that pillions relax and simply keep their helmet in line with your helmet when cornering in particular. Sure they will be leaning over, but that’s all part of the fun.
Now, as the rider I have a few tips I use when pillioning.
- Let your pillion know when you first accelerate, “Here we go!”
- Ride smoothly – Heavy braking or accelerating usually just means the ride will be unpleasant and you’re going to bump helmets (and look foolish).
- Give yourself some extra space for braking – In city and urban traffic I find that a 3-4 second gap to the vehicle in front is about right. Actually your scooter is more than capable of pulling up within this distance, but we are more used to squeezing the brakes to stop one body rather than two, so that extra distance is a good thing.
- Look up the road – Looking well ahead will give you the heads up that you need to brake or lane change. If there are no surprises your style will remain smooth and the pillion will have a blast.
- When you stop at the traffic lights check in with your pillion passenger – It’s a great idea to check that they are feeling OK, aren’t cold or even that they got their helmet visor pulled down. Remember it’s all about fun.
- Using more rear brake is fine – Since we have more weight over the rear of the scooter, more rear brake can be applied when needed.
Rider and Scooter Accessories to consider
If you are pillioning regularly a bluetooth communications system is a really good thing. It allows you to talk to your pillion at any time by bluetooth (rather than yelling) and also allows you to listen to music and accept phone calls.
Another tip is if your pillioning regularly is to put an extra 4psi in your rear tyre. It helps maintain the correct profile of tyre on the road, given the extra rear load you are carrying.
I would also bump up the pre load on my rear suspension to suit the increase in weight at the rear. Our Scooter Central techs can do this for you, or you can do it yourself in 5-10 minutes using your owners manual.
Another great addition if you regularly pillion is a top box. A top box fitted to the rear of your scooter allows you greater storage, but also gives the pillion a safe place to lean back on under acceleration. At Scooter Central we sell a big range of top boxes and also top box back rests for some added pillion comfort.
If you’d like to pillion regularly, a consideration when you buy a scooter is if the saddle has rider lumbar support. This mid saddle hump prevents the rider sliding rearwards under acceleration, but also often prevents the pillion sliding forwards under brakes. It is not often thought about, but it’s a handy feature. A scooter like the Kymco DTX 360 is a good example.
Well that’s about it. I hope these tips help improve your pillion riding experience. It is great fun riding and exploring on your scooter with friends. Give it a go.