Small bike goes two-up
YAMAHA MT-03 £4499 FUEL 14 litres @ 68mpg = 209 miles WEIGHT 168kg SEAT 780mm POWER 41.4bhp TORQUE 21.8ftlb
Strictly speaking any bike fitted with a pillion seat and associated footpegs ought to be just fine two-up. But there’s a big difference between ‘just fine’ and enjoyable, and sometimes taking a pillion on a machine with budget suspension can be downright grim.
So it was with some trepidation that I called up my biking mate (also called Simon) and asked if he fancied a go on the back of the MT. Simon’s biking history includes a Suzuki SV650S and a Triumph Daytona 650 but he’s currently restricted to four wheels with spare cash swallowed up by a couple of house moves.
The MT’S shock is adjustable for preload but I left it standard because it’s a faff reaching for a C-spanner every time you want to take a passenger. So, with the pillion footpegs deployed, it was time for the other Simon to climb aboard on the back.
Things felt slightly top-heavy before we got underway, but not too bad and the Yamaha’s low seat means I can have both feet planted when Simon gets safely on and off.
Heading out, with a bit of clutch
slip to facilitate a smooth getaway, the MT seems slower than usual but not dramatically so. It probably helps that Simon is a compact 5ft 6in and nine stone.
Out of the village and onto the dual carriageway there’s no problem getting up to an indicated 70mph and a bit more. It takes longer than when riding solo, but it’s acceptable and the soft-but-smooth acceleration makes for a relaxed passenger.
Braking isn’t quite as happy. The MT’S stopping distances definitely feel longer and I’m more-than-ever on the alert for any hazards that might necessitate a rapid stop.
And the pillion view? Simon said that comfort was fine for the duration of our short rideout and the grabrails are generous but slightly on the flimsy side.
It wasn’t the most dynamic experience for either of us, but it was better than fine and we’ll probably repeat the exercise on a sunny weekend (until I can convince Si to buy himself another bike, that is).
Pint of orange, glass of coke and a bottle of semi-synth, please