Carrying passengers and cargo

Carrying passengers and cargo


Carrying a passenger can effect the way a motorcycle handles. The weight makes starting out more difficult and reduces acceleration capability. More time and space will be required for passing. It may also increase stopping distance and stability may be affected in turns and curves.

Following are some constructive tips for both the rider and the passenger as well as carrying cargo.

Some Tips for carrying a passenger

  • Adjust the suspension and tyre pressures as per your owner’s manual.
  • Make sure the passenger has the appropriate clothing.
  • Keep both feet on the ground and the brake applied while the passenger gets on.
  • Avoid abrupt acceleration and deceleration, and go easy on lean angles when cornering, especially with inexperienced passengers.

Passenger Tips

The passenger should follow these rules:

  • Hold on to the rider’s waist, hips or grab rail.
  • Keep feet on the passenger footpegs at all times including stop points.
  • Look over the riders shoulder in the direction of turns and curves.
  • Avoid leaning or turning around; make no sudden moves that might affect stability.
  • When crossing an obstacle, stand up (abrupt acceleration should be avoided).


There are three points to consider when carrying loads:

  • Weight
  • Location
  • Security

Every motorcycle has a maximum load specified by its manufacturer. It is the difference between empty weight and the maximum allowable weight of the motorcycle and its load, including the operator and passenger. Other things add weight too, such as saddlebags, tank bags, luggage racks, etc.; don’t overload these either. Check the owner’s manual for weight limitations and recommendations for tyre pressure and suspension settings.

Due to the weight and size of a motorcycle, and given it only has two wheels, the position of a load being carried is important. Keep the weight low and as close to the centre of the motorcycle as possible and keep it evenly distributed side to side. Place heavier items in the “load triangle”, the space formed within the top of your head and the two axles. If using a tank bag, make sure it doesn’t interfere with your comfort or ability to steer. Although luggage racks appear to be ideal places to pack things, carrying weight high and to the rear of the motorcycle will lighten the front wheel and may cause a degree of handling instability. Never strap items to the handlebar, front forks, or front guard. Even if the handlebars and suspension travel are unaffected, the extra weight can cause steering instability.

Finally, make sure your cargo is secure, cannot move and nothing can get caught in any moving parts.