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Wet weather riding- Confidence or a false sense of security?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by JP, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. I went for a ride to the Putty on the weekend. By lunchtime there were some light showers about, so road conditions were a bit damp. I'm usually pretty confident through twisty sections in the dry, but that day I lost alot of confidence in my bikes ability to maintain traction in the wet. I have ridden in the wet before, but not really through complicated sections of road. It felt a bit like I was paralized from making the bike turn over properly (is that an SR popping up?), so I was going quite slow through the corners. Once the road dried up I was back to normal.

    I think that day I decided there could be a fine line between having confidence and a false sense of security. I should note I have pretty average shoes on my bike (Dunlop Arrowmax) and I think that played on my mind also. How do the more experienced riders feel about cornering in the wet and how can I boost my confidence whilst still riding to the conditions?
  2. You already know my thoughts from the weekend, but I'll repeat them here for discussion's sake...

    For me, if the surface is questionable (either wet or dry) then all bets are off and it's time to just take it easy - I know the Tiger's tyres are faultless with a good surface, but there are just too many variables when the road is damp or wet to really push it.

    No shame in backing off and not-crashing.
  3. See Pedrosa crashing at the sachensring this year in the wet. Even Stoner said he was backing off and just let Pedrosa go. Stoner won Pedrosa out for a few weeks with a busted wrist.

    Yeah its not a very good example but even the pro's back off in the wet, and they don't have to deal with the stuff we get on a public road. (e.g. diesel spills, oil coming up as the road is wet)
  4. Too bloody true, the only shame is in not making it back home with bike, rider and pillion (if applicable) safe and well.
  5. From what I hear, Water + Oil from vehicles = Bad at speed...

    I'm yet to take my learners but I too would edge the side of caution over speed...
  6. That's the thing though. I backed off, but I still felt like I was riding this thin line between staying upright and the front end washing out and I'm not sure if it's something real I was picking up on, or all just in my head...does that make sense?
  7. It makes sense, JP.

    I think a lot of it is just the sense of trepidation; You're in twisty country, you're in a group of other riders... Subconsciously there's probably some pressure there that you need to cover the corners as quickly as possible, both because of "why you're there" on that road and because you don't want to disappoint your peers.

    But you also know that somewhere out there lies a reduced traction limit, well within the maximum lean angle of the bike... Lurking and waiting...

    Edit: I'll also add... With the more-slippery road, the bike's steering at slower speeds becomes a lot lighter because it takes less effort to "twist" the tyre's contact patch. Might add to the psychological 'it's slippery!' feeling.

    I know I was tensing up quite a bit myself, just waiting to feel the tiniest slip or skid, and I didn't particularly want to hold the rest of the group up in case I was being too cautious. :oops:
  8. When riding in the wet I find that I normally ride at about 60% of what me and my bike is normally capable of doing. Although the bike could probably do more but I'm just looking at my skill at handling the bike.
  9. Hmm, I hadn't thought of that, but that makes sense. I probably tensed up making this worse aswell. Lets hope for nicer weather next time :grin:
  10. if P is for POWAAHHHH what is J for? :p

    oh back on topic. mmm im on BT45's, good all-round tyre. ive found to begin with i was nervous as hell in the wet, but now im fine. sometims i have hairy moments, but who doesnt. i just ride at a comfortable pace, never as hard as i do in the dry, coz i know its not gonna work. shift your bodyweight/hang off the bike more in corners if you feel the need to, this will keep the bike more upright and give you more traction.

    most important key in the wet is be smooth. relaxed and smooth. no sudden throttle open, no sudden braking, no sudden steering inputs. works good for me. just keep getting out there in the wet, AS MUCH as possible, and build up a confidence and more importantly a skills base, in the wet.

    i love riding. if its raining, i wear my wets, and ride. my friend (who doesnt even own proper boots), SHAT himself when it started to rain once, and crawled home at about 30km/h. he is afraid of the wet.

    i worry when i think of him upgrading, or simply going on a long ride, say 100km from home and it rains...

    just get out there, take it easy, get more kilometres under your belt, and enjoy it :)
  11. jsut remembered you're on the VTR250 like me.
    cant reccomend the Bridgestone BattleAxe BT45's enough.
    get about 12,000km+ out of them and i was still going before i wrote my last VTR250 off.
    great allrounder for wet, dry, any condition.
    im getting some of the GPR70's i think they are, next.
    sticky tyre, should allow for some more fun and pushing it in the dry, but i'll have to take it easy in the wet. dont think they'll last anywhere near as long either.

    nice bike :p
  12. Wet roads are more slipperly than dry roads and won't allow the same corner speeds. In adition, wet roads have less predictable traction. A small depression on a dry road surface can be an unexpected puddle on a wet road and you have the issue of oil and diesel seeping out on the road. Given that, it makes sense to slow down n the wet.

    Also, Arrowmax are shitful tyres in the wet so it makes more sense to slow down with them fitted to the bike.

    In any situation, if you feel you need to ride slower to stay safe then that's reason enough to do it. In time your confidence and skill will improve in the wet and you'll increase the speed a bit as a result. Eveyone slows down a bit in the wet, it's not a problem it's just smart. :)
  13. Makes a lot of sense. I remember one of the first times i was ridding in the wet and i was on a straight piece of road that i ride on all the time. I could feel the bike moving around all over the place and I'm thinking this feels so dodgy. Road there again the next day when it was all nice and dry and realised the bike was moving around in the dry too. It was just the irregular road surface causing some tramlining which never phased me in the dry before but I guess because my mind was in a more alert state looking for signs of losing traction in the wet that I started noticing things that where just normal. Having memories of coming off my pushy in the wet and dislocating my shoulder only a few months earlier probably helped exagerate things in my head too.

    Now, with more experience in the wet, I'm much more comfortable and relaxed which helps get rid of that thin line feeling you're talking about. Experience really is the only way to learn so get out there in the wet whenever you can. One thing my experience has taught me that's worth passing on is be aware that your boot probably has a lot less grip than your tyre, add to that the fact that when you're stopping at a set of lights there's a decent chance of putting your foot down where a car or truck has been sitting at the lights leaking oil, and you'll see that it's a lot easier to loose footing in the wet when you stop so don't forget to take extra care.
  14. top point here. many a time i have almost slipped over in the shit @ the lights. also, the residue it leaves on my boots gives me slippery feet on the pegs, so once i take off, i scrape my soles on the ground a bit to scuff off the shit it left behind, works a treat.
  15. wet roads separate the men from the boys :LOL: :p

    seriously if you don't have good tyres it's a real gamble, but like everyone above has said EVERYONE slows down on wet roads but the more you practice riding in said conditions the better you will get at it too, there are some blokes i swear seem just as quick in the wet as they do in the dry :shock:

    It's been suggested to me, to do a trackday in the rain as it will really show you just how much grip tyres do offer up in the wet :)
  16. It depends on the degree of wetness... The sort of light drizzle we seem to have had recently is very slippery because it brings out the oil and rubber but doesn't wash it away.

    I find I'm a lot more confident with really heavy rain because, paradoxically, you have more grip. The tyres act as they should and squeeze the water out and allow the rubber to actually make contact. With the light rain the layer of slippery crap is still there.
  17. I can see one issue with that plan Stewy. Tracks (At least PI) have a surface with a texture much like a cheese greater, also you don’t have oil and diesel to deal with. So a wet track day could give you more confidence in your tires than is warranted in the wet on public roads where conditions are so much more variable.
  18. agree it's not the same but it will help a rider understand how much grip they do have in a perfect environment, and then it's a matter of reading the roads and playing the balance game just like you do in the dry :wink:
  19. I like to steer more with body weight rather than countersteer in the wet. This gives the advantage of keeping a larger contact patch on the road. Being smooth in the corner is important, try not to adjust your line too much or you might twist off your contact patch as previously mentioned, but most importantly, ride within your capability at a speed that suits you.

    Im with TonyE, I would much rather ride in pouring rain than light drizzle as it means the rain has washed the dust, oil etc off the road, this means more grip.

    Also be extra careful at roundabouts in the wet cause 'shit happens' at roundabouts all too frequently :)

    stay safe

  20. Body weight doesn’t turn you.
    Counterstearing does.
    But yes you should prop your weight out further to make sure you can keep the bike more upright