Pillions - the correlation between cc and ability

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Is bigger displacement the absolute answer to riding with a pillion?

In the past the biggest displacement motorcycle I rode was a 650cc twin. Great for one up riding, and it managed just fine with a pillion too, but I always felt some mechanical sympathy for the bike when having the pillion with me. I could be wrong...

Now I'm looking at getting back into riding and would like the Dog's input on the matter.
I'm guessing that 95% of my riding will be alone, but now and then it would be great to be able to take the wife on a longer trip. 300-700km type trips...being able to stick to the national speed limits, with some gear/baggage...
A 1200cc would obviously be great, but is it really necessary? Physically the 1200's are big and will be a bit more challenging for the 95% I would spend riding it alone, mostly in and around built up areas.
Would a 750/800cc motorcycle be able to cope with this type of infrequent abuse in the long run, carrying the combined weight?

What say ye?

cheers R
 
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Thank you TrailBlazer

Is this riding solo or with a pillion?
 

Dux

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I ride a 650 Transalp. It did very well on a few long (more than 3000km at a time) trips.
The 650 Transalp must be one of the most underrated bikes out there , very capable and very comfortable . 700km a day trips are no problem , even with a pillion , provided you keep speeds below 130kmh .
 

TrailBlazer

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Thank you TrailBlazer

Is this riding solo or with a pillion?
That was with a pillion. Into and out of Die Hel. Through Baviaans. Benoni, West Coast, Cape Town and back to Benoni. Benoni to River Destiny Bash and back to Benoni. All in all a very underrated bike... and ee looked like a travelling circus 😃
 

Oubones

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I have pillioned on a tw200, Dakar, nc750 and ST1300!
I found the ST the eaiest to handle with her on.
My opinion is that how high her seat is and her weight up there in relation to my weight and the weight of the bike determines how comfortable it works.
I ride with her on the back of the Dakar on any road, but stay of the tracks. Distance is determined by how tired and stiff she gets,
650 is enough power for relaxed riding in my opinion.
My 2c
 

El Zeffo

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Tell her to get her own bloody bike and ride the bike you wanna ride. You should not buy a bike for a pillion that will only be there for 5% of the time.
 

Tom van Brits

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I have pillioned my ex wife all over the Cape peninsula on the back of a DR200.
Later from Brits to St Lucia, from there to Margate and back on a 2010 KLR with Aftermarket suspension. She was a lightweight girl, around 70kg if that and no complaints.
Later I got a 1200 Explorer and she absolutely loved that one.
She was a very cool girl to pillion, never complained and loved being on the bike.
Yes she obviously preferred the Explorer but you can do it on a 125 also if she is not a big girl and easy going.
 

Vis Arend

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You will have limitations either way, bottom line.

If 95% of your riding is on your own, stick to the smaller version bikes. 5% with a pillion and mostly tar you should be OK'ish on a 650.
Before I made the upgrade to a 1200 we had a Transalp 700, two up we did thousand of km's on her. It was capable but fully loaded you start lacking power and speed on the long hauls with these smaller cc bikes.

If you however feel you need to upgrade, look at the following:
Suzuki 650 is a very underrated bike, they have loads of power and is a capable pillion friendly 650.
I believe the 890 KTM is also very comfy with a pillion.
Also maybe look at the Africa Twin.
 
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Vilaishima

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If you are not in a hurry a 650cc is more than enough.

Several years ago we did a trip to Katse on my Aprilia Pegaso 650 single. It was a tar trip and we were travelling with a 1200GS and a 1200LT, both also with pillions. The way there was good.

The way back was interesting. Riding through the Freestate we were trying to outrun the rain and had a headwind coming from straight ahead most of the way. I had the throttle wide open most of the way trying to keep up with the larger bikes and only managed 130km/h if I was lucky. Overtaking took very careful planning and was a little intimidating as the roads were very busy. I bought a larger bike a few weeks later and it only saw a singular trip to Harties with a pillion, the rest was solo.

If you will be traveling a lot of highway and plan on doing it OFTEN with a pillion then something bigger is much more enjoyable.
 

ClimbingTurtle

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Also depends on where you want to ride? Loads of off-road, farm roads, then a 650 would be ideal - all tar, then a 120 would be ideal - remember its also about the physical space you have on a bike too, as to how comfortable you and the missus will be - a TW200 is always going to be uncomfortable farther than Woolies, but a GT1600 is going to be a pain on anything more tricky than Namibia's dirt highways....
I did loads of 2-up riding on my R1200GSA with the wife pillion, including standing (she stands too) on technical single-track, and thick sand - but I am now too old to want to pick that monster up when it goes pear-shaped....
A F800/850GS would be a reasonable option I reckon, providing the pillion doesnt want to stand - the older ones the shape of the fuel tank made an additional joint above the ankle a requirement....
 

Humpty Dumpty

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The bigger the cc the bigger the fuel bill. That said, depends completely on your throttle twist.
However, we have an F800GS (Mini Moo) and have done comfortable rides around the peninsular as well as weekends away and a +/- 2000km trip into Southern Nam, mainly on tar but some dirt and sand. Take it easy and all will be well.
The 800 kept a steady 140kmh between Keimoes and Vanrhynsdorp into a strong 1/4 on headwind. Only thing was consumption went from 20km/L to 14km/L. We weigh in or close to 100kg each + camping equipment.
We have set 6000km camping a trip on Mini Moo through Nam, Caprivi and Bots in August. Didn't hesitate about the bikes ability.
 

madmax

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no one here has mentioned weight ..if you skinny and vrou has whensday legs (whens day gonna break off) and you leave kitchen sink at home and 120 is fadt enough then a 650 or 800 prob good for you..if you look like you ate your twin and or people continually ask vrou when baby due and you pack the kitchen sink well then is a 1200 big enough...just saying
 

Dux

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I am a fat bugger and 650 works perfectly for me .
 
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no one here has mentioned weight ..if you skinny and vrou has whensday legs (whens day gonna break off) and you leave kitchen sink at home and 120 is fadt enough then a 650 or 800 prob good for you..if you look like you ate your twin and or people continually ask vrou when baby due and you pack the kitchen sink well then is a 1200 big enough...just saying

Valid point
I hang around 100kg, and the boss is probably around 60ish (I dare not ask)
 

EtienneBnk

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My two cents after 9 days and 2950 km in the company of two other people: My 2012 Triple Black with 84 kW courtesy of Akropovic exhaust, was never a match for my friend and his wife on their 1250 Adventure (101 kW standard). I never struggled to keep up, that I did with relative ease, but for sheer grunt with bikes virtually loaded to the limit, the 1250 is a champ. Completely. It has the oomph to overtake with ridiculous ease from 140 upwards, as did mine, but you can just see the gap increasing very swiftly.
Go as big as you can. You will always have something spare up your sleeve, which you don't with less displacement.
 

madmax

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Valid point
I hang around 100kg, and the boss is probably around 60ish (I dare not ask)
if u dont pack the whole house a 650 or 800 will be perfect..650 for 120ish 800 for 140ish speeds i guess
 

Jacobsroodt

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I pillioned a lot on a F800GS. Worked fine on and offroad, the shape of the rear fuel tank made pillion standing a bit more difficult as it widens where the calves are when standing.
A pillion does sap power. On my CRF300L with pillion top speed is 100-110km/h. The KTM 1090 pillions well, but it is not as nippy with pillion (kla ek met witbrood onder die arm?). A pillion makes the 1090 R rock solid at speed - no front end wobble - excellent for top speed runs.
We are a tall family, so space is the ultimate frontier. Pillioning on small bikes are for short distances only. On the big bikes I move the topbox (a must for pillion comfort) as far back as I can for more pillion space.
 

Gerard

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This has been my conundrum in all our biking years. I love 650 singles, but not ideal for pillion and touring two up. Wify wants to pillion and refuses to learn to ride. Africa Twin, 1200 ADV, 1150 ADV, 1200 RT etc. For two years we had a 660 Tenere and toured with it. Not ideal. Small space and it gets cramped on the open road.

Now we have a Moto Guzzi V85TT. Best bike I've ever had. Handles two up, loaded, on long road and gravel, with ease. Even the bad stuff. Commutes lioke a charm. It is not a heavy bike.

800cc or thereabout is fine.
 

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