Despite what you may see in the movies, your motorcycle passenger should never hop on with a flowing dress, tuxedo or with their street clothes. Some bikers seem to think that their protective gear somehow will protect their passenger when rubber meets the road. This guide will clear the air and help you determine the most important gear for a motorcycle passenger. From a comfortable and protective motorcycle passenger helmet to stylish and warm clothing, gear up and get ready to ride doubled up.
Safety is Important
The very first rule about how to be a passenger on a motorcycle is to be safe. Yes, you may never see biker on your favorite TV show grab a hi-viz vest or double-check their jacket size, but these are things every biker and passenger should be familiar with.
If you’re the passenger, grab your friend and have them show you the ropes of the best protective gear. If you’re the proud owner of the cruiser that’s going to take you around town or around the country, be sure to let your passenger know where to go for the best deals.
While safety is important, so is getting a great deal. You wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on an occasional hobby. If your passenger isn’t serious about riding every weekend, help them shop for entry-level gear.
To Match or Not to Match
Whether riding with your spouse or simply an acquaintance, one of the most controversial elements of passenger gear is whether or not to match. While we agree that we want our gear to match our ride, some bikers aren’t sure how their feel about matching passengers.
The good news is that this isn’t at all a necessity. While your passengers style doesn’t have to match, their level of protection and warmth should match yours. From a chilly drive in the fall to a humid cross-country trip in the summer, help your passenger keep up with you with warm layers, weather-resistant materials and durable body armor.
Choose the Right Bike
Just like when you’re riding solo, you want to be comfortable when doubling up. Stay comfortable with the best passenger motorcycles. Cruisers in particular typically offer a wide enough seat for two to comfortably fit.
Keep in mind the type of ride you’re planning. Choose a bike that not only fits two people, but also all your gear. If you’re the off-roading type, consider a more rugged chassis and suspension that’s designed for potholes, mud pits and deep ruts.
Make sure your suspension is tuned up to accommodate the additional weight. If you’re planning on a long road trip, consider adjusting the suspension. Your bike’s suspension is fine-tuned to your particular weight, so adding another rider, no matter their weight, will have an effect on its performance.
The Proper Attire, the Proper Size
As you probably already know, there’s nothing worse than hopping on a bike without the right clothing. Many riders seem to think that their passenger will be somehow protected from the wind, rain and dust.
Choose quality motorcycle passenger clothing that’s designed to handle the temperatures and weather you’re expected to face. Quality bike clothing should be the perfect balance of these traits:
Baggy clothes are bad news. Passenger clothes are no different. Grab a jacket and pants, and don’t forget to have your passenger try them on, whether you’re driving a few miles or a few weeks.
Use Your Head
It should go without saying that your passenger needs a helmet. Unfortunately, too many riders just hop on and don’t think about this essential piece of gear. If you convince your passenger to by nothing else, convince them to at least put on a helmet.
The best motorcycle passenger helmets, just like your favorite helmet, offer breathability, certified safety, a wide field of view and ergonomic fit. You may want to shop for a more budget-friendly model if your rider isn’t going to be hopping on every time you take your bike for a spin.
Stay Visible, Stay Protected
There’s a reason they keep making motorcycle passenger protective gear. While wearing nothing but black leather may look cool, it’s not going to offer much protection when a truck comes barrelling around a corner at night and can’t see you. Your passenger is blocking view to your protective gear from the back, so even they should splurge on some practical options. A great option is a high-visibility vest. It’s breathable enough in summer and can easily be slipped over your jacket in winter.
If your passenger is planning on sticking around for awhile and riding more than once or twice, you may get the urge to hit the trails. When you’re off-roading with a passenger, it’s especially important to make sure they’re protected. When things go south and you both take a spill, you’ll both be glad you had chest protectors, elbow guards and other protective gear.
Don’t Forget Your Fingers and Toes
Finally, a comfortable addition to any passenger kit is a pair of gloves and boots. Gloves keep their hands warm in the winter and protected from scuffs and scrapes year round. Boots are essential for keeping their feet protected. Whether you take a tumble or not, a bike is no place for sneakers, dress shoes or fashion footwear.
Get Ready to Ride
It’s never too late to suit up right. Whether your passenger is just hopping on for the first time or has been your partner-in-crime for years, it’s time to think about the right passenger gear. Motorcycle passenger safety is just as critical as driver safety. When you offer someone a ride, they’re putting their life in your hands. With a few pieces of passenger safety gear you’ll both feel safe and secure and be able to focus on the thrills of the ride. Check out the latest safety gear, biker apparel and helmets for passengers at BikeBandit.com and teach your passenger how to suit up in style.