Ride Solo or with Pillion in an Adventure Motorcycle

In the adventure motorcycling community there’s a lot of agree & disagree when it comes to someone riding with a pillion passenger in an adventure motorcycle.

Most would say it’s best to ride solo, as riding solo means just “You & Your Motorcycle”, this means more fun and more freedom, however this generally doesn’t mean riding with a pillion is not fun and has less freedom.

A lot of us would like to have company whenever going for a ride, maybe as a companion to talk to during those boring long stretches’ or just to share the memories. But then you look at other riders experiences and the question arises, should i go solo or go with a pillion?

Does your Pillion Passenger have their own Motorcycle?

If your pillion passenger have his / her own motorcycle then it’s better that both of you take your own motorcycles and go solo.

This is because that would be the most straightforward solution, you both can go solo with own motorcycles and will enjoy your own time while having another company with you. This also provides you a safer journey, kind of like a backup in case something goes wrong.

Using Bluetooth Intercom, you can keep the communication with each other as to not get bored and overall have a safer and fun ride.

Solo Riding Adventure Motorcycle

If you choose to ride solo, then you will enjoy most of your time during the ride on your bike, you will have a lot of flexibility on what to do and when without thinking about any consequences, compared to riding with a pillion passenger when you will have to make multiple decisions.

Like myself for example, i love riding my motorcycle standing up in offroads and on roads too, it gives me so much fun, i just love it.

It feels good, you can go faster on broken stretches of roads and offroads smoothly and this also helps you stretch your legs and back when they start to hurt due to prolong sitting.

Now this is something that is not possible to do while riding with a passenger, you will have to warn your passenger to hold on to the motorcycle or you to avoid falling down when you stand for a few split seconds. It’s uncomfortable, dangerous and awkward at the same time for both you and your passenger.

This is why i have a small rule in place, if the ride is more than 200 miles then try your best to go solo as much as you can. For small rides below 200 miles there should not be any problem going with a pillion passenger.

Other than that riding solo is much more safer, as you are in complete control over the motorcycle and can control it without any extra force, as with an pillion passenger you will have to manage the extra weight and have to have a passenger that understands what to do in which situations.

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Overall, the perks of riding solo are that you have more flexibility to ride wherever you want, stop whenever you want, you wont have to constantly remind the pillion when you are about to make any move, you can take steep turn without having to worry about someone flying over your head, you can easily do off-roading, and go at any speed you want.

Riding Adventure Motorcycle with an Pillion Passenger

Compared to riding solo, riding with an pillion passenger in an adventure motorcycle is kind of limited. You have to sacrifice a few things that are the key to riding adventure motorcycles.

Things like off-roading and riding standing up. In off-road riding, particularly with adventure motorcycles, riders often stand on the footpegs to improve control, balance, and maneuverability over rough terrain. This standing position allows riders to better absorb bumps and obstacles and provides greater visibility, control over the bike, helps stretch legs and back and is a lot of fun too.

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With a passenger you are also limited to the speed you can go, the turns you can take and the over all controlling of the motorcycle.

Biggest downside of riding with a pillion is breaks, doesn’t matter how good breaks you have, what technology, with a pillion passenger added the breaks will be much less effective, this means you and your pillion passenger will have to ride slower and be more cautions every single moment of the journey.

Sudden breaks can result in your passenger being lifted from the seat and thrown off the bike resulting in an accident.

For shorter rides riding with a pillion is definitely fun, you can chat, have fun. However for long rides it’s best to do solo.

But if you don’t have any other options, if your pillion passenger doesn’t have his / her own motorcycle then make sure both of you do some training on slow speeds on how to ride, what to do when, setup some strict rules in place, before heading out on a ride with a pillion.

For long rides riding with a pillion can be helpful, you can always switch seats if you are tired or having any issues and want someone else to drive the next couple miles, you will also have a companion to chat with and will also have the freedom to enjoy the scenery of places you are riding at.

Preparing your Adventure Motorcycle for a Pillion Rider

Before heading out to your next ride with a pillion make sure to first setup the pillion seat correctly for maximum comfort of the passenger, because believe me, riding as a pillion for long isn’t that fun if you have a hard seat.

Get a softer seat that will be comfortable for long rides, it’s recommended to do this for both rider and the pillion seat for maximum comfort for both.

Some other thing to ensure for a safe and comfortable ride. Firstly, adjusting the suspension settings to handle the additional weight. This involves adjusting the suspension to provide better stability and control, considering the passenger’s weight and riding preferences.

Adjusting the chain tension of your adventure motorcycle so it’s neither too tight nor too loose with the additional weight. And checking the breaking before hand to avoid any sort of break failure.

Also proper tire pressure and inspecting the tires for wear and tear becomes very important with the added extra weight. A good tire pressure helps maintain traction and stability, during cornering and braking which in turn results in a smoother and safer ride for both rider and pillion passenger.

Pros & Cons of Riding Solo vs Riding with a Pillion Passenger

Here are a couple of pros and cons about riding solo and with pillion passenger in an adventure motorcycle.

Riding Solo Riding with a Pillion
Complete control over the motorcycle and the route. Shared experience with a companion, creating amazing memories.
Easier maneuverability, especially in rough terrain. The extra weight can aid stability in certain situations, mostly in highways.
Solo decision-making on route and pace of the ride. Shared decision-making can enhance trip planning and enjoyment.
Greater focus on personal riding technique and the road ahead. Helps you not fall asleep due to prolong riding.
Can pack lighter and more efficiently, thus a lighter motorcycle.
Limited to no conversation and social interaction during ride. Discomfort for passenger on long rides due to prolonged sitting.
Sole responsibility for navigation and personal safety. More responsibility for both you and your passenger’s safety and comfort.
Easier to manage the motorcycle on off roads. Very hard to manage offroad due to extra weight and comfortability.
Solitary experience, which may be preferred by some riders. Shared experience, which may enhance enjoyment for both rider and passenger.


Overall i would say if you want to enjoy the ride better completely then go solo, if you would like to share the ride with someone else and make memories and have fun during the ride then go with a pillion passenger.

Both ways have their own advantages and disadvantages and its upto you to decide which one suits you and your adventure motorcycle best, take a short ride of 100 miles with a passenger on a patchy road and you’ll know what you can expect further.

Just make sure to not do any extreme rough roads, you will regret that with a broken suspension in your hand ( #experienced ).

Amitabh Borah

Amitabh Borah is the founder of OffRoadPioneers.com, sharing his passion for adventure on two wheels.

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