Most riders enjoy the individual benefits of motorcycling. From the freedom of the open road to improving mental and emotional well-being, motorcycles can add a new level of enrichment to our lives. Sometimes, that enrichment is best experienced with others, and two-up riding is a perfect way to share your love of the road with a loved one.
While motorcyclists get excited by horsepower figures, chassis construction, and zero to sixty times, passengers are much more concerned with comfort and safety. Now, we should note that any bike equipped with a passenger seat and pegs is suitable for two-up riding. However, a select few prioritize passenger enjoyment, and we’ve compiled the top ten passenger-appropriate models that stand above the rest.
Honda Gold Wing
For decades, Honda’s Gold Wing has set the benchmark for passenger accommodations. The buttery smooth six-cylinder engine, ample carrying capacity, and ergonomics have always been a welcoming package for pilots and passengers. When Team Red updated the flagship tourer in 2018, a new double-wishbone suspension, improved aerodynamics, and Apple CarPlay and Android integration made the Gold Wing even more attractive. Yes, Honda’s rolling fortress is a safe pick for our list, but only because it continues to set the benchmark.
Kawasaki Concours 14
The Kawasaki Concours 14 may be a little long in the tooth, but that doesn’t make it any less capable. A 1,352cc inline-four provides more than enough punch for the open road while the linked braking system safely slows the sport-tourer. A rigid monocoque frame helps the Concours handle the winding backroads and an electronically adjustable windscreen keeps the cockpit comfortable. With saddlebags offered as standard, passengers can easily stow away belongings for a day trip or cross-country journey.
BMW R 1250 GS
For those that prefer the unbeaten path, BMW’s R 1250 GS ticks all the adventure riding boxes. Luckily, one of those boxes passenger accommodations, and the flagship GS doesn’t disappoint. Featuring telelever front suspension, paralever rear suspension, and hill start control, the 1250 GS is more able than ever. With available upgrades including electronically adjustable suspension and seat heating for riders and passengers, adventure riders can turn the trailblazing Beemer into the lap of luxury.
Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited
If you need an American V-twin between your knees, look no further than Harley-Davidson's Ultra Limited. Donning the MoCo’s iconic batwing fairing, the Ultra pairs classic styling with modern conveniences and amenities. The tall windshield and lower leg fairings provide a comfortable cocoon for the rider and passenger while the Boom! Infotainment system keeps the party rolling. Of course, a touring top case, pillion/backrest combo caters to passengers while the 6-gallon gas tank keeps the land yacht sailing smoothly.
Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro
When Triumph launched the new Tiger 900 platform, it divided the range according to on-road/off-road capabilities. The 900 GT variants prioritized the Tiger’s touring tendencies and the Pro trim takes those traits to the next level. Premium upgrades such as an electronically adjustable rear shock, heated rider and pillion seats, and a tire pressure monitoring system specifically suit two-up riding. Triumph’s mid-size adventure range may be divided by on-road/off-road duties, but that dichotomy allows the Tiger 900 GT Pro to better serve passengers.
Ural Gear Up
Whether you dig cruisers or sportbikes, most motorcyclists will admit that sidecars rule. Ural’s Gear Up proves as much with a spacious sidecar and old-school style to boot. The model doesn’t just look good, though, its two-wheel drive mechanism helps the modern classic overcome off-road obstacles and the spare tire adds a touch of pragmatism. After all, the last thing you want a passenger to experience on a motorcycle is being stranded in the woods.
Yamaha Tracer 700 GT
Pumping out 72 horsepower and 49 lb-ft of torque, the standard Tracer 700 is already a touring-worthy model. The GT variants, however, add a few key elements that make it perfect for two-up duties. Highlighted by two 20-liter panniers, a taller and wider windscreen, and a comfort seat, the new 700 GT isn’t just touring-ready, but passenger-friendly. Of course, Yamaha’s renowned CP2 parallel-twin makes the Tracer equally approachable and fun. Two qualities you want most motorcycles to impress upon passengers/aspiring motorcyclists.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
If classic design is more of your thing, Royal Enfield’s Interceptor 650 has you (and your passenger) covered. Outfitted with a long bench seat, rear fender loop, and low-mounted passenger pegs, the 650 Twin is the optimal option for stylish duos. The air/oil-cooled, 648cc parallel-twin musters 47 horsepower and 38.6 lb-ft of torque; enough grin-inducing power without scaring away first-time passengers.
Suzuki Burgman 650
Suzuki seemingly developed the Burgman 650 maxi-scooter for two-up riding. The generously padded seat is adjustable by 50mm (fore and aft) and features heating zones for both riders and passengers. The 50-liter under-seat compartment can hold two full-face helmets and an electronically adjustable windscreen maximizes cockpit comfort. With 56 horsepower and 45 lb-ft of torque, the Burgman 650 has more than enough pep to carry passengers. For riders restricted to urban environs, Suzuki’s maxi-scooter may be the perfect companion for carrying a companion.
Many motorcyclists see Honda’s NC750X as an all-arounder. A sport-touring stance paired with an adventure bike silhouette and ergonomics makes the bike a suitable commuter, weekend explorer, and two-up option. The 31.6 seat height, contoured seat, and updated bodywork deliver a rider and passenger-friendly package. Throttle-by-wire, traction control, a slipper clutch, and combined ABS brakes keep the ride smooth during two-up jaunts. Yes, the NC750X is Honda’s jack of all trades, but that’s what also makes it such a good candidate for carrying passengers.