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Riding in the wet!

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Kawasakiboy, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Hey guys,

    What is everyone's thoughts about riding in the rain?
    I went out not long ago and it felt really uncomfortable. I felt as though I did not have any where near as much control as I would if it was dry (not that I thought I would but I didn't think it would be that much different).

    I defiantly don't want to limit or reduce my riding abilities to only dry weather riding as this is impracticable considering I live in Melbourne.
    My tyres are still quite new too, that's the other reason I don't really ride in the wet atm.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. Wet riding shouldn't be anything to avoid and stress about. I was always told to ride in all conditions otherwise one day you'll be caught out in the rain in the middle of no where and freak out.

    Just take it a bit easier, nice and smooth through corners reducing lean where you can. Keep a more vigilant eye on the road for debris and spills etc (tram tracks).

    Also, if possible especially the first few times in the rain try and let it rain for a bit before riding.

    A road pavement works literally like a big sponge. So when it rains the sponge fills up, oils come to the top and eventually washes away. So it'll be more slippery just after it starts raining.

    Finally......there are few more soothing sounds then rain on a helmet. Especially if you're dry underneath.
  3. New tyres are scrubbed in after a couple of hundred miles so unless they are newer than that don't worry. If they have less than that on them then you aren't riding enough. But even new tyres are OK in rain if you take things easy.

    On fully scrubbed in tyres, you will still have less traction in the wet than the dry so the bike will only handle to about 80% -90% of its dry weather capability (figures made up for illustrative purposes. actual performance will vary according to road and tyre condition and rider capabilities). Unless you are on a racetrack you should never be riding at more than 90% anyway, so by dialling back a little you are still within capabilities of the bike.

    The main dangers are you asking the tyres to do more than they are capable of by making sudden changes of speed or direction that threaten to break traction, so smooth is the key. If you are feeling out of control, you are probably tensing up which may also make your riding more jerky.

    The big dangers would be things on the road which are likely to break traction - manhole covers, tram tracks and diesel/oil spills. Obviously too if you suddenly needed to perform a hard brake or swerve in an emergency, you could be putting tyres to the test, so leave extra distance. Also rain may reduce vision so you may not see as well and you may be even more invisible to other drivers.

    I live in Melbourne and ride to work each day and despite this (aside from this week) I don't actually need to ride in the rain all that much.

    Bottom line is rain happens so just deal with it. Those who refuse to ride in rain will get caught out one day and will be worse off for their lack of rain practice. If you take it carefully and use a bit of common sense you should be right.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. + 1 for above advice.

    Good gear helps as well, getting cold and wet is miserable.

    Vision can also be screwed up by helmet visit fogging up, and by raindrops on the outside of the visor. You an counteract the former with pinlock insert if your helmet allows for one, or spray with anti fog, and the latter by spraying the outside of the visor with a rain beading spray which basically repels water buildup, or have a glove with a wiper blade in the back to clear the visor regularly.

    Good vision helps!
  5. I made a decision when I started riding ( a whole 4 ish months ago ) that I would ride regardless of weather. I would hate to be out and about and have it start raining and be standing there under a bus shelter or something freaking out. If I am going to get caught in the rain I try and make sure I have the appropriate gear on - ie make sure I have the waterproof linings in the jacket etc.

    I try and go a little easier on the brakes and lean angles, and I try to avoid touching white lines as they tend to be a little more slippery, as well as the things that GreyBM mentioned above. Give a little more room, be a little more alert, be a little more progressive on brakes, steering and throttle.

    That said, I jumped out of bed a little early this morning, noticed that it was about to rain, so headed to work a little earlier than normal to get here ahead of the rain which is now drenching the Goulburn Valley
  6. Depending on the bike, you may want to ride in a gear higher (for the same speed) so the engine is spinning more slowly. This will make it less likely to break traction, or to respond too quickly to throttle inputs or sudden loss of traction. You can usually ride out a small slide but if the loss of traction causes a spike in revs, you can lose control when the tyre grips again (Of course, TC can manage this for you on high end bikes.)
    Grip with the knees, loose arms, soft hands on the controls.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. KawasakiboyKawasakiboy make yourself get out and ride in this sort of weather. I am actually crazy enough to actually enjoy it but yep as the more experienced riders have pointed out there are a few things to be conscious of.

    Hail is a biatch but if you can't pull off safely you are better to just ride until you can find somewhere flat and sit it out as ice balls can be tricky.
    My only real come to jesus moment in the wet was taking off from some lights and the tyres spun like evil knevel on the painted white line (about 30cm wide) now that was exciting (not) and the rear span out on me but we both just pretended it was part of the show...

    Also never ride in the middle of a lane in the wet if you can avoid it. This is where all the oil and other shit from cars and trucks etc likes to sit and you can unexpectedly end up on your arse if you grab some of that esp in roundabouts.

    That said I really don't mind summer downpours and rode to and from work in the pissing rain everyday on Zeddee a few weeks back. I wanted to get to know what he and I would do together in the wet and it was all good. I felt like a kid playing in puddles again.
    Only crook thing that happened, was a foot slipped off my peg in the wet when I took off at an intersection and that gave me a moment of tachycardia and gravy bum :woot:

    Relax, breathe, do your chicken flaps to relax your shoulders and give it a burl. It could be fun.
  8. And close the vents in your helmet.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  9. The biggest challenge I've found about the rain is overcoming that mental voice that says it wont be ok. The techniques mentioned by others are easy. Also focus on general technical proficiency which will also help with the mental games.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Just take roundabouts slow when it is wet, those things are slippery as f*#%., A lesson I learnt in my car and have never forgotten.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Yep, got caught on this once. "Why's my head we..... oh."

    I ride rain, hail or shine. Slowing down, reducing lean angle and staying off the white lines is key. Leaving stacks of room is also best too in case you need to pull up quickly. Riding in the rain is pretty fun when you relax and listen to the rain on your noggin.

    The other thing.... no one tells you how much the water can pool near your crotch if it's a very heavy downpour. Make sure you have decent gear if you have it for those wet weather rides, I don't and it definitely sucks.
  12. Though the first signs of water seeping through is certainly a little exciting and farkin cold!!!
  13. I actually don't mind riding in the rain - as long is it's actually raining and not just that annoying mist stuff. Hail is a pain (pun intended) to ride in and strong wind shits me to tears.

    As to advice - what the others have said. I will just add that like everything to do with riding motorcycles the key is practice, practice and more practice. That means in the beginning of your riding career you should deliberately go riding when it's wet, every time. I've been riding 20 odd years and I will still deliberately go for a ride in the rain.

    As to closing the vents on your helmet - meh - never been a problem for me - in fact closing the vents just means my glasses fog up quicker......
  14. I ride rain, hail or shine, every day to work.

    I tend to check the BOM site before i leave for work and decide if its leather or textile jacket time.
    I find the rain to be quite pleasant to ride in on the freeway, unless its coming in sideways and blowing a gale.

    I have noticed is that as soon as it rains cagers tend to lose their minds and take risks (failing to indicate) and it seems their patience levels drop quite harshly.
    Give yourself room, be attentive to everything around you, and you'll find that the rain is nothing to be worried about.

    The other day i didn't have my wets and it poured , i was soaked to the core (jocks n socks), but once you are soaked you just get over it and ride home..

    Coming into the colder months you may want to look at a waterproof set up just for convenience sake.

    • Like Like x 1
  15. I always carry a set of wet weather pants/jacket in my rack bag. I rarely, if ever, ride anywhere without the rack bag. I've been caught out too many times.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. I have a set that normally sits in my tail bag, this was just one of those freaky days people like to tag with names like "stormageddon" etc ..

    The textile jacket is awesome , never have an issue with it. Looking at getting some textile pants for this year. Oh and heated grips!
  17. Ride like you would in the dry. Just break earlier and reduce lean angle in corners. You will be fine. Tyres these days are pretty good unless yours are slicks or nearly worn. I like rain riding and have gone out to my favourite twisties when it was wet just for practice.
  18. I ride everyday too.
    As a learner I used to make myself ride in the rain.(even at times I still have to remind myself to relax, as high alert is activated at times) I also prefer it to be raining than just wet, but having faith in ones tyres is important.
    I think the only issue I've ever had slipping was wet tram tracks (bye bye first bike) and those pesky metal sections on the freeways.
    I'm def slower in the wet stuff and extra cautious after heavy rains as it tends to move dirt around and onto roads where you'd not normally expect it.
    I guess the only other thing is positioning in the wet. Everyone's visibility is reduced, so I am extra careful when filtering/splitting etc as there is only one thing worse than a driver in normal conditions, and that's a driver in raining/wet conditions!
  19. Read all the advice here. It's good.

    And don't worry about your newish tyres in the rain. It's only leaving the dealerships driveway that people seem to get caught out. Once the spare parts department can't see you anymore, their "make tyre slip now!" button stops working ;)
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  20. I like riding in rain if it is not TOO hard and doesn't have ice in it.

    What I don't like is when it hasn't rained in a long time and my tyres are getting a little square and/or it only rains just enough to form a slippery goo on the road surface, but not enough to wash it off. Foam can be a bit of a visual sign.