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The Definitive Resource for Dirty 2UP

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by sandiegoland, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    Okay, so the title of this thread is the cart before the horse. I need it, I'm not offering it.

    I’ve logged about 14,000 miles with a pillion, over 1000 miles of that in the dirt with only several hundred of those dirt miles being more severe than the typical forest or ranch road. So you could say I really don’t know squat, but I have taken a “good peak” at what is involved in riding dirty 2UP.
    <!--[endif]--><o:p></o:p>
    I have learned things, I have made some assumptions, I have tried to adapt some related dirt riding skills, I have made stuff up, and I have been downright wrong at times.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--><o:p></o:p>
    What I am going to do is write out some questions that may appear more like statements at times. I&#8217;ll summarize what makes me believe something will work, or why I need it to work. Tell me I am on the right track, I&#8217;m confused, or that you have a better way. If we come to a consensus I&#8217;ll summarize it. If we don&#8217;t we&#8217;ll leave it open.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--><o:p></o:p>
    Please keep the inputs relevant. If you are someone who thinks no one should ever ride a pillion on a bike (it's too risky, or you got the bike for the freedom, what&#8217;s the point of adding a passenger?), then you&#8217;re post will probably not contribute much. But on the other hand if you see a blatant oversight then please do give your opinion (whether you carry a passenger or not).

    ==
    #1
  2. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    Before I get into my questions, if this is a topic that interests you or you have some expertise in, please chime in!


    :gerg

    =======

    [​IMG]

    =======

    Got any pics of you doing the dirty 2UP (riding that is)?
    Post 'em here!! :crash


    #2
  3. jehu

    jehu ∩HƏſ

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    The wife and I had just ridden this stretch of road on our 25th anniversary ride. It runs from Mogollon, NM. past Snow Lake and between the Gila and Aldo Leopold wilderness areas. (See map next post. We are at the junction of the dirt road and hwy 35) One would have to be a fool to take any trailer on this road very far. I'd say the worst thing about riding 2up in the dirt is the inability to stand while riding. I basically end up sitting on my cajones, especially on steep downhills, which doesn't exactly make for enthusiastic bedtime activities. Please no comments about our ages relating to this. We're not on our honeymoon anymore but neither are we dead. Anyway, back on subject. The Cagiva performs admirably in these situations. It has great lugging power and got 43mpg in the dirt.
    #3
  4. jehu

    jehu ∩HƏſ

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    khg
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  5. Gravity

    Gravity Ride the world!

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    Every time I pass a dirt road on my K1200GT I wonder where it goes. I think I need an additiona motorcycle. I am encouraged by you're 2up enthusiasm and I hope to learn from whatever you post in this thread. Thanks for being a contributor to this forum.

    Best to both,

    Gravity
    #5
  6. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    I have a feeling rider position will be the major point of discussion. Like you, I cannot stand. Well I can. I did once, and she said "nope, not going to work". My pillion maintains her balance and holds herself from sliding forward by squeezing her knees against the back of my thighs... in the seated position. When I stand her primary tools are gone.

    I've heard of riders that are able to stand (one in particular on a GS). Maybe there will be some bikes or pillion techniques that will allow for that. Let's see.

    We all know the benefits of standing:
    Decoupling rider mass from bike mass.

    Keeping rider mass over the contact patch.

    Legs to absorb unpredictable bobbles. (instead of amplifying the bobble by launching a seated rider in an unintended direction)

    Rider's weight to peg-steer where handlebar input is less effective or desirable.

    Easier to have an "attack postion" (like "elbows up" for example to have better lever control with less chance of wrist injury)

    So I guess the first question is...

    1. What is your "Attack Position" with a pillion (if you even have one)? Standing as you normally would in the dirt? Seated? Saddle forward? Tank hugging? Elbow or wrist position?

    Me, I really can't say I have one. I am already saddle forward, and though I would like to change my elbow and wrist position, I don't think I have consistantly done so. I find myself compenstating in other ways though:

    Number one obvious - slower speed when the surface allows (no soft sand).

    Picking a good line, more than ever, is imperative.

    Mushing the rear brake before a turn or manuever to weight the front for traction.

    Along the vein of picking a good line, I look for "the street" in the dirt to initiate my turns. Because I can't weight the pegs like I could solo, I am always looking for a spot of good traction where I can intiate a little counter-steer to get the lean I need. It seems once you have even the slightest lean, you can manage it. But trying to establish a turn without a counter-steer can be difficult while seated with a loaded bike.
    #6
  7. Hootowl

    Hootowl Long timer

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    What is your "Attack Position" with a pillion (if you even have one)? Standing as you normally would in the dirt? Seated? Saddle forward? Tank hugging? Elbow or wrist position?
    [/QUOTE]

    My GF and I have done a few hundred miles on dirt roads including Copper Canyon and other dirt roads in Mexico.
    I stand whenever I see the need to and she's fine back there "by herself".

    When I need to do a "U" turn (pavement or dirt) and she sees my butt cheek slide to the outside she knows to do the same. When I look over my shoulder in the direction I need to go, I can hardly see her. That's how far she has moved to the outside of the turn.

    Of course, it took us some time in the saddle together and several near drops to get to where we are.

    When I hear of couples standing together or both putting their legs out in a turn I know her and I still have room to grow.

    Richard
    #7
  8. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    I see from your pics and profile you're on an R1100GS. I take it she has some good hand-holds back there when you add the extra seat? The configuration of the saddle, passenger pegs and hand-holds (bike specific) might have something to do with how well a pillion can do on their own. From what I've heard so far, the GS seems to accomodate pillion independence pretty well!

    Your comments about U-turns gets me to my next question...

    2. Does your pillion actively mimic your positioning, or ride like a sack of potatoes?

    You answered already what I suspect a lot of couples will. Active pillion.

    I have also found that Slow turn vs. Fast turn techniques need to be understood well if the pillion is to be active. I can do the MSF tight figure-eight exercises with pillion and luggage about the same as I can solo (I am surprised how often I see even solo riders unable to negotiate a U-Turn on a typical two lane highway). It does need to be practiced!

    I find that at a slow to moderate pace (which a lot of our technical dirt is), slow speed maneuvering skills practiced in a parking lot have been just as handy as have straight dirt skills.

    I'd like to hear from some folks like that too... though I'm not sure we'd ever be up to that level!
    #8
  9. SinFrenas

    SinFrenas banal leakage

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    just last week kitten and i found ourselves running out of daylight on the 60 mi. dirt road from basaseachi to san juanito, copper canyon area, so we had to learn how to ride dirty real quick...she's real good at moving around to suit the conditions, but i couldn't stand as much as i'd have liked to because i wasn't secure in my ability to re-seat precisely...what i'd do in the turns was hit the rear brake to slow before the turn, then when entering it i'd lean forward over the bars while sliding my ass to the outside. meanwhile, i found that if i took just a bit of weight off the pegs, more weight would go to the forks, making it easier to slide the rear out a bit to throttle steer.
    for the straight-line parts, i think we may have been at an advantage, with her back there along with a boatload of gear...the front cruised thru loose stuff and over bumps and ruts with aplomb, as long as i kept the throttle on as i shoulda.
    maybe it would have been more fun solo with no gear, but when we stopped we were both grinning like idiots, and i really can't imagine having more fun.
    #9
    MannyUrrego likes this.
  10. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    Interesting. On your KLR? Getting weight over the front for a potentially loose turn is always a concern for me. I forgot to mention that I have thrown a leg forward on occasion, though I am not sure how much weight that shifted.

    :D:D
    #10
  11. SinFrenas

    SinFrenas banal leakage

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    yeah, it felt a lot better & more planted with me over the bars. a couple of times, in normal position, i felt the front start to wash a bit.

    of course, we probably had close to 90 lbs. in the bags and on my enormous homemade rear rack, so the front was always close to washing, even standing still.:norton

    #5 preload is my friend!

    also, it helps if your pillion is cooler than hell. we're bouncing around, skipping over ruts and embedded boulders, skidding around corners just a few feet from 70 ft. dropoffs, and she's back there snapping pictures and happily singing away into her helmet. awesome.
    #11
  12. GSWayne

    GSWayne Old Guy nOOb Supporter

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  13. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    Us too. Sounds perfect, but that has been "coming soon" for over a year now...
    #13
  14. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    I hear ya. I decided long ago she gets more credit than I... :norton
    #14
  15. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    ...and when you're on a dirt road and pass a trail, you'll wonder where that goes.

    Curiousity. :thumb
    #15
  16. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    [​IMG]


    3. Safety gear or devices specific to having a pillion?

    I don't know if it was entirely because of dirt, but we did upgrade Lisa's footgear to a light youth MX boot (Thor Evolutions) after I started wearing heavier boots myself. The thought I guess is that she needs similar protection against landing on rocks and such, or catching on vegitation or debris.

    I also consider that even though you are traveling with two people, you have only one vehicle. If there is a breakdown and you are not in a group with a spare seat, you may need to leave someone for more than a few hours. Besides water and snacks, I've added a sleeping bag to our gear when we tour. If someone has to stay with the bike they can stay warm with the bag and use a cheap vinyl bike cover for shelter if needed.

    Half a roll of TP, a spare LED flashlight are good. A pair of FRS radios are handy too if you need to coordinate anything from a short distance (scouting ahead by foot for example). Hey, communication is 2nd only to trust in a good relationship! :freaky
    #16
  17. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    4. Luggage and loading considerations? Hard or Soft? Saddlebags: Do they protect the pillions feet/legs or create a hazard?


    I selected softbags early on for price and weight and flexability, but have stuck with them for weight. My saddlebags are 35 lbs loaded, where some hardbags and racks are that much or more when empty. Soft luggage has obvious disadvantages... but arguments of power aside, I have my concerns about overloading the the frame, suspension, and tires and rims on any bike.

    I'm of the opinion that the softbags will keep the bike off my pillions leg if I tip over gently, but really am not up for thoroughly testing all the possible combinations.

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Flyingavanti

    Flyingavanti With the Redhead on Back!

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    The best advice I can give, is practice, practice, practice!

    I am not a spring chicken anymore, but one of the best feelings I get is riding 2 up with guys that have problems riding single..... and the OLD coulpe rides it 2 up!

    :clap
    #18
  19. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    You two have set the Gold Standard for 2UP ride reports - World Class!!
    South American Adventure - 2 up on a R100GS

    I'm glad to hear there is no end to the practice because I think I need a lifetimes worth.


    Lisa doesn't stand exactly, but does shift her weight to the pegs. She refers to this as "posting" - a horse riding term if I am not mistaken. I've just got to figure out how I can stand without disrupting her. I thought before perhaps might be easier on some bikes than others, but now I want to revisit standing and see if I can work something out.


    Haven't done anything too steep, but we should find a spot to practice that. I wonder how far she can lean without banging helmets too much.


    A lot of my caution on speed probably comes from the lack of clearance on the DL650. I've had to take erosion features a lot slower to keep from bottoming out. In the few cases where it looks like I might have trouble holding a line - that's when I've had her dismount. Maybe something I would worry less on a bike with more travel.

    [​IMG]
    An example of the kind of erosion you could blip through at speed, but a lot of washes you're not sure until you're almost on top of them -- so I usually slow down if I can and do a roll through.


    I've banked off a few berms on my DRZ, but most of dirt roads we've done 2UP seem to either be crowned or edgeless :eek1... It's tempting on a left turn to get on the wrong side of the road and use the crown as a bank, but often blind turns discourage that. I'll have to keep my eye out for those berms to try your technique (and make sure the road is not edged by a ditch).
    #19
  20. sandiegoland

    sandiegoland Adventure Boy®

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    The next question I am certain will vary from rider to rider, and how isolated you find yourself:

    5. When does the situation advise to dismount the pillion?

    With me it has been to error on the side of caution. When you're 2UP it's not just about risk, it's about consequence. Can I deal with the consequence of an unnecessary mishap in the middle of nowhere? Is it going to spoil that much fun to just get through the obstacle solo?


    [​IMG]
    When we did an isolated stretch of dirt road in Nevada I had Lisa dismount and walk about 4 or 5 times. In all she hiked maybe 100 yards over the course of nearly 50 miles.


    #20