Can I Have A Passenger On My Cafe Race Motorcycle?

It’s an iconic movie scene: the main character flies down the road on their motorbike while someone else – the love interest, usually – holds onto them, giddy with glee. And the truth is, taking a passenger for a spin on your motorcycle is a thrilling experience for both of you. But sadly, real life is more complex than the pictures. There are rules for everything, including how you carry passengers on your motorcycle and whether or not you can do it in the first place. If you’re a fresh young rider still getting the hang of the road, you might wonder, “Can I even have a passenger on my motorcycle?”

It’s a fair enough question. After all, the feel of a café racer motorcycle – its power, manoeuvrability and the sense of freedom it provides – is almost too good to keep to yourself. The lean, mean café racer motorcycle style that stood for rebellion in 1960s Britain is well and truly alive today. Mutt Motorcycles is helping to keep classic custom styles like café racers accessible to new generations of bike enthusiasts.

The passenger on your bike is called a pillion passenger, named after the special seat behind you where they sit. When two people share the same motorbike, it’s called two-up riding.

Can you have a passenger on your motorcycle? That depends on a number of things. While café racers were traditionally built for one, they can accommodate two – as long as you make some changes, like replacing the seat-cowl combo with a flat seat and adding passenger footpegs.

Mutt Motorcycle is here to give you the skinny on factors like age limits for the passengers on your motorcycle and whether you need to adjust your motorcycle suspension for your passenger. If you stick to the road rules, it won’t be long until you and your passenger enjoy the freedom the open road brings.   

Restrictions and Requirements of Carrying Passengers

Let’s start with the basics. Your motorcycle needs to be registered. You must be a licensed rider, and your bike must be built or modified to accommodate two people before you can have a passenger on your motorcycle.

Each Australian state or territory is responsible for its own road rules, and while you’ll find a lot of consistency, there are some key differences here and there. When in doubt, steer on the safe side and check with the transport authority in your state.  

There are three main things to consider: your own experience, your passenger and the conditions of the road. When you carry a pillion passenger, you accept the responsibility for their safety and your own.

Rider’s experience

In Queensland, you can only carry a pillion passenger if you hold an R provisional or open licence or an RE provisional or open licence you’ve held for at least a year (and you’re riding an RE motorcycle). You can’t carry a passenger if you hold an RE learner licence or you hold an RE provisional or open licence, but you’re learning to ride a class R motorcycle.

If you’re learning to ride, your supervisor must be in a sidecar, on another motorcycle or car, rather than on the seat behind you.

Likewise, motorcycle riders in Victoria can’t carry passengers on their bikes when they’re learners or during their first year as probationary licence holders. Again, it’s best to check the legal requirements for the state you’re planning to ride in.

Passenger Restrictions

Returning to Queensland for a moment, some motorcycle road rules apply specifically to pillion passengers. From age limits for passengers on motorcycles to where and how they can sit, there’s a fair bit for you both to remember.

  • Your passenger must wear a securely fastened, approved motorcycle helmet.
  • There’s an age limit that applies to passengers on motorcycles. They have to be at least eight years old, and their feet must reach the passenger footrests. If your café racer doesn’t have an appropriate pillion seat and passenger footrests, forget it.
  • You can’t carry more passengers on your bike or sidecar than it was designed to carry.
  • Your passenger must sit forward with one leg on either side of their seat.
  • Your passenger must not try to take control of the motorcycle at any time.

Road Conditions

Australia is where the weather conditions and the riding terrain can be extreme. Can you have a passenger on your motorcycle while riding in the outback, in a heavy storm, or on an off-road track?

When riding is more dangerous than usual, carrying passengers may not be prohibited, but it can definitely be strongly discouraged. If you have any doubts, check with your relevant transport department.

Tips for Carrying Passengers on Mutts

In spite of all the warnings and legal requirements, carrying a passenger on your motorbike is a lot of fun. You just have to do it the right way to avoid any mishaps. If you’re wondering ‘how can I have a passenger on my motorcycle and make sure the experience is safe and comfortable for both of us?’, here are some Mutt Motorcycles tips:

Make sure your motorbike is safe to ride

This one goes without saying, really. If your bike wouldn’t pass a roadworthy, you’ve got no business taking anyone else for a spin on it. Check that everything from the brakes to the lights are working and that your tyres are properly inflated so you can have a passenger on your motorcycle without turning it into a risky business. In fact, you may want to inflate your tyres a little more than usual – check if your manual has a recommended PSI for riding with a passenger.

Follow the letter of the law

Observe all the legal requirements in your state or territory, like the age limit for passengers on motorcycles and stick to them.

Adjust the motorcycle’s suspension for your passenger

Carrying a passenger on your motorbike changes its balance and weight distribution, affecting how it handles. While there’s no legal requirement in Australia to adjust a motorcycle’s suspension for a passenger, it can help to guarantee a stable ride. If you don’t know how to adjust your suspension settings, your motorcycle’s manual or local mechanic will have the answers.

Make sure your passenger wears proper motorcycle gear

You’re a seasoned rider, of course. Your passenger, on the other hand, probably isn’t. It’s up to you to ensure they’re decked out in all the right riding gear: a helmet and jacket, the right sort of gloves and shoes. You want to make sure your passenger is safe and comfortable – you don’t always know what the weather will bring.

Teach your passenger how to go through the motions

Show them how to get up on the bike, what to hold onto while they’re up there and all the things that are second nature to you by now. Spend a little time on instructions, and you can have a passenger who’s relaxed and at ease on your motorcycle.

Show your passenger how to communicate with you

You won’t hear each other over the engine's bark, so plan another means of communication. Whether hand signals or Bluetooth communication, ensure they know what it is.

Ride carefully

Being lax or devil-may-care with the throttle or the shifting will result in your butting heads (quite literally) with your very uncomfortable passenger. It’s best to ride slower than usual, especially if it’s their first time and they’re a bit jumpy.

Buy Cafe Racers at Mutt Motorcycles

Can I have a passenger on my motorcycle? Yes, but it’s important to be savvy about it.

Mutt Motorsports can help you with adjusting your motorcycle’s suspension for your passenger and other helpful measures. With our timelessly stylish 250cc bike collection, we have mean machines like the Mutt Mastiff, giving new riders style and grunt.

Get in touch with Mutt for more details!
101 Guide: All You Need To Know About Motorcycle Engine Oil Tips For Riding Your Cafe Racer Motorcycle in the Rain

Add to garage

Log in to your account to add to your garage

Create an account

Add to favourites

Log in to your account to add to your favourites

Create an account

Item Added

View Cart Proceed to Checkout

Share Bike

Share this item using your prefered social media platform

Share Product

Share this item using your prefered social media platform

Site by Shopify Plus Agency - Digital Cake