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Discussion Starter #1
OK I don't own a Harley, but my husband does ;) so I guess I can post here.

We're looking at options to upgrade the passenger seat, make it more secure so our son could ride pillion (hasn't yet--but did order him some gear, FF helmet for his upcoming 9th birthday).

Has anyone put armrests on the Heritage passenger seat? We are already going to put the adjustable floorboards. We may wind up having to put the whole rack, Tour Pak and so on, but if there's a less involved modification we'd love to hear about it!

BTW we are NOT looking at long distance touring with him, this is just short neighborhood jaunts, Sunday morning breakfast ride and such.

At some point my DH would love to upgrade to an Ultraglide for long trips, but that is not feasible financially at the present.

Thanks for any feedback, sorry to ramble on!!:cool:
 

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Please understand this is just me and how I have been riding with my kids and grand kids for a really long time. Kids that ride know how to lean and use their bodies to help the rider when they are pillion. Kids that don't ride make horrible pillions because they don't know what is expected of them now do they really care because it is just a ride and especially those short hops on Saturday or Sunday. First, kids need a butt stop because they are so light they can often just slide off the back if the rider isn't paying attention or the child isn't holding on properly. Second, they don't need armrests or anything that would allow them to loose focus or their ability to learn how to lean with the rider as they too are riding and even at 9 years old (the pillion) the rider of that bike should have clear expectations from that pillion and that pillion should know exactly what is expected of them. I see so many adults fixing bikes so a child can ride but the child really isn't learning to ride. Rather, they are simply learning to sit on a saddle that has them pretty much locked in place never really know anything other than the ride. This is why there is no way I will take someone's child for a short ride because the parent thinks it would be a neat thing. Rather, just put a butt stop on the back of the stock saddle, get that child the appropriate safety gear, make sure they can flat foot the pegs, teach them how to hold on and how to lean and then enjoy the ride as both the rider and that 9 year old child will have experiences that last a life time.
 

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The most economical & handy ways out is by mounting a extra set of pegs under the seat using the factories seat mounting holes. Here are 2 photos of the setup, 1 with the pegs open and 1 with them closed and out of the way. Another added bonus you get by giving the passenger 2 different sets of pegs is they provide the passenger the ability to stay comfortable by adjusting their seating position and are high up enough that anyone old enough to ride on the back will be able to reach them. Hope this helps you.
 

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BTW I do agree with Hogrider as to teaching a child the proper way to ride passenger that is why I suggest this set-up besides the fact its a cheap,effective,clean look that any adult passenger will appreciate. Also keep in mind for this setup a backrest is a requirement as the passenger will be in a leaning back position when using them.
 

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Just a thought on the above set up. While there is no general age restriction in the states I have visited (all but 3) there are restrictions as to the pillion being able to reach the pegs and said pegs are those provided by the manufacturer as opposed to those added on that are not DOT approved for a pillion. Keep in mind, this is not the same thing as simply adding a highway peg for the rider to have an ability to change positions. Seeing this type of set up would indicate one thing and one thing only, a pillion that can not reach the manufacturers pegs and they are therefore in place to bypass the law as it is written. Between 1998 and 2006 I worked as a Ranger for the USFS in an OHV area where from time to time I would see add ons such as this for the quads so 2 people could ride on one machine. While the saddle could handle the pillion in terms relative to length, the machine was designed for one and this in my case was an automatic citation. I know, I'm a jerk right? No, what I am or shall I say was is promoting the safe operation of a vehicle as specified by law. The aftermarket add ons that would promote the unsafe operation of that vehicle for an adult or child is the intent of the measure (citation). There is a reason the pillion must be able to place both feet on the pegs (factory) and this is generally associated with a physical stature (size) that would follow with age although not represented by code. A small child that can place both feet on the altered pegs is no more than a bag of groceries waiting to be put to slaughter simply because it is doubtful they would have (A) the strength or ability to help themselves in the case of an accident and (B) the intellectual capacity to understand the risks associated with what they are doing.

In Kentucky, where I live now the laws were, for dirt and are for street so loose children are killed each year because adults fail to understand the ramifications of their actions with back yard builds so to speak. Case in point, I was riding into Bowling Green about a year ago and saw a rider that had a child on the tank of a fatboy. The child had shorts on with shower shoes and a helmet. The rider had roughly the same gear and no helmet. As it turns out they were going to the same place I was, the downtown Police Headquarters and the actions of this adult were never challenged by 4 officers as they pulled into the parking lot. Either way, the safety of that child I put on my bike goes beyond overkill and if that child can not use the standard equipment that came with the bike, they're not riding.

Just remember, if something goes wrong and that child is adversely effected (injured or killed) it is a mistake that you will take with you to your grave.

OK, Rant Over.....
 

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No rant & definitely not a jerk, you bring a valid point to the table and its my fault for being so liberal with my mind & fingers and not taking the time to point out things that I know and just assume that others do also. Here in ME the laws are lax also, no minimum age for passengers, 15 and under are required to wear helmets--thats about it--we have no helmet OR eyeglass law, we have bugs out the wazoo, and I wont even get into the million other good reasons to wear them......and yet no eyeglass law, riding 2 abreast allowed, well you get the picture. The setup I have shown is 100% allowed by ME state DOT laws and the point above I was trying to make with my loose fingers about reaching was not meant to circumvent or put anybody in danger. I DON'T WANT THAT ON MY CONSCIOUS, or wish it on anyone else's. Those who might want to do it as I have should check your state laws use your own judgment as to the passengers abilities to SAFELY use them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks both MaineHD and Hog Riders for some helpful feedback!! No, I wouldn't hold anyone responsible but myself for any problems or accidents, don't worry and I appreciate HogRider pointing out some issues. Believe me I have reservations about it and I am still debating it even though I have the helmet wrapped up for the birthday!

Thanks for posting the pics MaineHDRyder. Looks like a neat set up. In our case, I would feel better with the floorboards simply as more secure for him.. he has a mild disability (which by the way will preclude him ever riding his OWN ride), a form of cerebral palsy. Though he is a big kid, over 75 lbs, and TALL for his age...the right leg hasn't grown like the left and it is a bit shorter and weaker. The adjustable boards would allow us to accommodate his disability.

<EDIT: WE just had him sit on the existing passenger seat. Both legs reach the stock pegs, though the right leg barely reaches. Now I am concerned that the back rest hits him underneath his shoulder blades, I'd prefer a HIGHER back rest.
still want floorboards for more secure ride. :(Hmmm>
Plus his right hand, despite years of therapy, is useless. He can only hold on with the left. Again, a captains chair (Think Goldwing or Electraglide) set up to me would be more secure for him than just a backrest alone, even though he can reach the peg with his left foot. He has developmental disabilities too, but understands and follows directions well. Michael rides a small adult tricycle with one hand and will take corners on two wheels (!) unless I am right behind him fussing at him the whole time. Michael also plays a modified basketball (one handed) and soccer, is very athletic with limitations mentioned on the right side.

It's a tough decision and again this is short FULLY GEARED neighborhood jaunts.

This child, who wasn't even expected to live, and we were advised to call in a priest twice, is motorcycle CRAZY. He was supposedly going to be a vegetable and never walk or talk. So he is a miracle child in many ways. That said, though, he does have serious limitations. Unlike his big brother, he'll never drive his own car, ride a motorcycle, get married and have kids, or even graduate from high school.

This is one thing that would mean the world to him, with all his hospitalizations and surgeries that he's had, I can't explain it really.

OK now I am getting way off track sorry!

Again thanks for any feedback and I appreciate the ideas and concerns. We may wind up just buying a Goldwing or something anyway.
 

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Hey teach, I want you to think about something here. The pillion in this case is a child and you as a parent have the deepest of affections for that child so safety is a fundamental necessity (yeah and beyond). When it comes to sissy bars or the shortest of those, which is known simply as a butt stop the pillions escape from that bike has got to be addressed. It is because of this that I will not run a bar taller than 12" and to be honest, the misses and kids like the shorter 6" butt stop better. The pillion must know how to get off that bike and I am not talking about mounting and dismounting. I am talking about a crash. If they are locked on because of the tall bar the pillion will be the last one off as opposed to having a clear ability to be first by pushing off and over the bar. I have 6 grandkids and 4 are capable of reaching the pegs. The youngest of which is 8. Before we even hit the street we sit on the bike and talk about what if scenarios. Then, we talk about it some more while out as I critique their riding so they can make adjustments. Now, these kids are like feathers and I really have to be careful as they have become so good I really don't know they are there.

What you are doing is in my eyes totally awesome and it brings us together as a family involved in a common venture that we all love as they have their own dirt bikes and we have our own dirt track. One day they too will hit the streets and as god is my witness they will learn to ride and safe too. In the mean time it is my responsibility to make sure the risks associated with them riding with me are kept to a desired minimum.

Kudos for taking the time to research and develop a solid plan for letting that child ride and keeping that child safe, I love it......
 

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For the record, the name is Charlie and I love to ride with my grandkids as well as the misses. Riding 2-up brings a measure of bonding not easily found in other ventures. It's important to kids because they develop a love for their first bike early so the next step in that 2 wheeled evolution is to ride with mom or dad. Done right, the miles gained in terms of affection and the family value in terms of mutual respect are priceless... Love them, teach them, ride with them and above all keep them safe.....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Charlie for all your comments.
BTW How do you explain to your grandkids about exiting the bike in an emergency, if you don't mind giving me some ideas for thought?
 

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Thanks Charlie for all your comments.
BTW How do you explain to your grandkids about exiting the bike in an emergency, if you don't mind giving me some ideas for thought?
Teach, this is something you will have to play with as practice makes perfect. The kids ride on the Roadstar with their parents on some back roads but their riding on that bike is very limited in that it has a large pillion seat but no butt stop. On the Sporty, which has been set up for them as well as the misses they are taught to lift (push up with their feet) and push off. The signal for this is the same as it was when I flew planes in the military, "eject, eject, eject." To practice this the bike sits upright on the jack with the kids on it. When they hear the signal they practice getting off. To be honest, in all respects, they can get off that bike faster than I can because they don't have to lift their leg over the tank. In any event, if you don't have something to hold the bike upright, get your spouse or a friend to help you teach the child. Funny how kids can pick stuff up so easy. Just pick an audible signal the child can learn well and use it. Best of luck....

Charlie
 
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