Riding Pillion? Here’s What You Need to Know


Riding pillion isn’t as easy as it looks: trusting your pilot, keeping the balance, and helping to navigate are just a few things motorcycle passengers have to consider.

Don’t want or can’t to ride your own motorcycle, but want to experience the freedom and the thrill that riding a bike can bring? If you have a pilot you can trust, being a pillion rider might be for you. But here’s what you need to know:

Letting Go

Being a pillion means you have no control over the motorcycle, and for some people, that’s hard to adjust to. As a passenger, you need to make sure you move with the motorcycle and your pilot to help keep the balance. If you prefer to be in control, this might be difficult at first!

Top tip: at least for the first few rides, hug your pilot: feeling how their body moves makes it easier for you to follow suit. Once you’ve figured the leaning in an out of corners out and mastered the acceleration, braking, and stopping, you can let go and lounge back!

riding pillion

Getting cold

Pillion passengers, especially females, get cold before their pilots do – it’s  fact. This is because your pilot is protected by the windshield, while you are being blasted with cold air. It’s also because your pilot has to work harder to control the bike while you can relax on the back seat; finally, if you happen to be female, women just have lower body temperature as a rule.

Top tip: get a heated jacket and gloves! Heated jackets are widely available and cost from $150, but they can make a massive difference if you’re constantly freezing on the back of the bike.


Trusting your pilot is key, but it’s also extremely important to communicate. Are you hungry, but your pilot wants to keep going? Find a compromise, or buy some snacks you can enjoy while riding. Your pilot is struggling with a particularly tricky stretch of the road? Get off and walk for a little while to give him or her a break. Whatever your or your pilot’s needs, communicate!

Top tip: if you don’t like helmet intercom or can’t afford one, develop a sign system: one tap on the shoulder – slow down, two taps – stop, and so on. That way, you can “talk” even if you’re tackling a highway!

Riding Pillion? Here's What You Need to Know

Keeping Busy

Let’s face it: being a pillion passenger can sometimes be boring, especially when riding a long, straight, flat road. A lot of pillion riders even fall asleep, which can be dangerous.

Top tip: to avoid dozing off, stash a small Kindle in the back pocket of your pilot’s jacket so you can read while riding, or listen to music.

Riding Pillion? Here's What You Need to Know

Did we miss any tips? Let us know in the comments below!



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