What does it feel like on a motorcycle?

John Milbank, BikeSocial Consumer Editor
By John Milbank
BikingMilbank BikeSocial Consumer Editor, John owns a BMW S1000XR and Honda Grom. He's as happy tinkering in the workshop as he is on twisty backroads, and loves every bike ever built (except one). He's bought three CBR600s, a KTM 1050 Adventure, Yamaha MT-10, two Ducati Monsters, several winter hacks, three off-roaders, a supermoto pit bike, a Honda Vision 50 and built his own custom XSR700. 


If just 10% of drivers switched to motorcycles, congestion would reduce by a massive 40%. It would also make our roads a far safer place to be – the more bikes out there, the more aware car drivers will be. These aren’t wild guesses – they’re proven facts from studies across Europe.

Unfortunately, too many people still consider motorcycling to be a dangerous, expensive hobby. But that’s to ignore the queue-busting, almost guaranteed arrival time on a motorcycle, the free parking, the community spirit, and of course the huge amount of pleasure it can bring. Not to mention the extensive training programmes now available, like the brilliant value BikeSafe.

If you ride, why not take one of your car-trapped friends or colleagues out to experience the excitement of biking? We did, and every one of the six pillions thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Top tips for a great first pillion ride:

  • Try to lend your pillion the most comfortable gear you can. A good-fitting helmet is of course a must, and while we’d always recommend full protective kit, a minimum of sturdy jeans, tough boots and gloves, along with a jacket should be worn. Please… no flip-flops!
  • If your bike has a top-box, use it – it inspires confidence for the pillion to have something to lean against.
  • Explain to them that they’re best sitting neutrally on the back – like a sack of spuds. If they throw themselves into corners, or lean away from them, it makes your life harder.
  • Make sure they understand that you need to be ready before they climb on or off the bike.
  • Show them how to hold on – whether it’s to you or to the bike. If you regularly take a pillion, and your bike doesn’t have good grab handles, consider a pillion belt, like Oxford’s Grab Handles or Bike It’s Pillion Grippers.
  • Don’t show off. You’re used to how fast a motorcycle can go, but accelerate gently, and don’t brake too hard, especially at first. If you scare your pillion, it’ll put them off for life, and they’ll be yet another doom-monger for biking. Let’s create more motorcycling evangelists…

What does it feel like on a motorcycle

BikeSocial takes six pillions out for their first experience of biking.

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