Top Bikes for Carrying a Pillion

May 21st, 2015 | In: Pillion, Top 10

One of the best things about motorcycling is that it can be an incredibly social pursuit. Riding weekends, charity fundraisers, meet ups and races are just some of the ways you get to “hang out” with others in the motorcycling community.

As your social calendar gets busier and more filled up, it is safe to say that you will at some point want to carry a passenger on your bike too.

Although most bikes have a pillion seat, some bikes will provide a much more comfortable experience for both the passenger and the rider.

Here is a selection of the best bikes for carrying a backseat passenger.


1. Honda Goldwing

They say a passenger can fall asleep on the Honda Goldwing.  This obviously isn’t what you want when you take someone out for a ride, but it gives you an idea of how good this machine is as a passenger bike.

The Honda Goldwing was designed for two, and the friend on your pillion gets to sit with refinement in an armchair.  Other luxuries for two include stereo, heated seats, GPS, ABS, airbags and large luggage capacity.

If you want someone to join you while you are doing some long distance touring, then this is the best option.

Below is a video review of the Honda Goldwing, showing the many useful features of this luxury-tourer along with its great handling and comfort… Honda Goldwing review


2. BMW R1200 GS

An adventure bike with 1170cc engine, this model is one of BMW’s best sellers. It features telelever front suspension which keeps the ride nice and smooth for pillion passengers.

This bike doesn’t come cheap, but it’s a worthwhile investment if you plan to take regular journeys with your best pal.

In the clip below is a review from Auto Trader for the BMW R1200 GS. Here we can see how this adventure bike not only delivers in performance and efficiency but it also makes for a great passenger bike.

Auto Trader BMW R1200 GS review


3. Ural Patrol T

Another way to take a friend around is of course via a sidecar.  For this, you can rely on the Ural Patrol T, which is an affordable option due to its one-wheel drive configuration.

While it will definitely turn heads and provide a fantastic experience for both the rider and the passenger, you must make sure you get some advice on how to ride with a sidecar before making the investment.  Also, allow extra travel time as this won’t be the quickest way to get from A to B.


4. Suzuki V-Strom 650

The Suzuki V-strom 650 has a lot going for it.  Its style is sporty, it presents great value for money, and it will also give your passenger a relaxed ride.  Great rider control, smooth performance and top ABS brakes are all part of this versatile package.


5. Triumph Tiger 800 XC

A British classic, the Triumph Tiger 800 XC is extremely spacious and provides pillions with flat seats as well as good size grab handles.  Its smooth performance and superb handling adds further comfort to the ride.  For the rider, the taller seat enables fabulous views all around.

In the video review below we can see the Triumph Tiger 800 XC is a great bike for touring and riding across many different types of terrain, so if you and your riding buddy are the cross country type then this is a great bike for you…

MotoGeo Triumph Tiger 800 Review


6. Honda NC700X

A popular bike with less experienced riders, this two-wheeler looks great, doesn’t cost a fortune and offers excellent performance.  It’s reliable as a commuter bike and often touted as the easiest motorbike to ride.  The Honda NC700X is all about simplicity, comfort, stability and versatility – features that are beneficial for both rider and passenger.


7. Moto Guzzi Norge

A bike with classic motorcycle character, improved suspension and intuitive handling, the Moto Guzzi Norge provides a great experience for any rider.  It has comfy seats and huge stock panniers too, meaning you can always take a friend to share your riding experience.

In this video from Moto Guzzi we can see how spacious and comfortable this particular bike is for both pillion and rider. The fantastic handling of this motorcycle makes for a smooth ride, something that is paramount when choosing your ideal pillion bike.

Moto Guzzi Norge 1200 GT 8V - official video


8. Honda CBR250R

Another great bike for a beginner motorcyclist, this model is often recommended for those who want to start taking a backseat passenger right from the beginning of their riding career.  The CBR250 won’t lose a single MPH from its top speed even with a passenger on board, and it features cosy seats for both rider and passenger.


9. Harley Road King Classic

Not only is this bike super cool, it is also fantastic for taking your best mate with you on your next adventure.  It travels off-road easily, has good luggage space and allows the rider to alter the suspension settings from the handle bars to cater for the weight of the pillion.


10. Ducati 1198

Taking someone out on this machine isn’t about giving them comfort, as it isn’t the most comfortable bike around by any stretch.  But being on a Ducati 1198 is like being on a Ferrari, so you will be giving your friend a lot of bragging rights.


Tips for riding with a passenger

Taking someone for a ride is undoubtedly fun, but for those who are less experienced in riding with a pillion passenger, here are a few things you should bear in mind:

  • The motorbike must feature suitable supports or rests for the feet of the pillion passenger;
  • Although there is no minimum legal age for a person to ride pillion, the passenger should be tall enough to reach the footrests of the bike to ensure their safety.
  • The rider should have a full licence for the class of motorbike they are riding.
  • The pillion passenger should wear a suitable safety helmet and protective gear.
  • You should avoid extreme speeds and dramatic lean angles.
  • Check your motorcycle’s suspension and tire pressure as they may need adjustment.
  • Give your passenger a bit of time to adjust to the sense of speed and the sensation of leaning. This is particularly important if they have never been on a motorbike before.  You should travel at conservative speeds and keep it reasonable until your passenger adapts to the proper riding techniques.
  • Make sure you are adequately insured. If riding with a passenger is new to you, then it definitely pays to play it safe since you never know when an accident might occur.  Take a look at Devitt Insurance for your motorbike cover if you are in doubt as to whether your current cover offers you all that you need.

Sharing the joys of motorcycling with someone is incredibly rewarding.  But make sure you get the right bike and practice safe riding techniques if you want your passengers to come back for more!

Do you regularly ride with a pillion on your motorbike? What would you say is the ideal bike for a pillion passenger?