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What is your approach to riding in the wet?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Ouicava, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. How do you approach it?

    Apart from riding slower in general and increasing distance between you and others, it would be interesting to hear how you break down an approach to the wet.

    What do you change with cornering approaches?

    How much grip do tires actually have in the wet compared to a dry road?

    At times the centre of the road looks dryer than the wheel wells but is there a lot of oil and exhaust buildup here and therefore not a good option?

    Can a reduction in braking force (applied by you) and speed be stated generally in a percentage between wet and dry? i.e. what speed you could generally go through corner x, a safe figure would be to approach the same corner at 60% of the speed in the wet; when you expect to be braking moderately hard, if possible apply 20% less force to lower the chances of aquaplaning and allow yourself 40% more length to do this safely in the wet; etc....

    And so on.

    Thanks for any tips you can pass on. I'm sure this has been done before so apologies, but it's always good to go back over them from time to time.
  2. Smooth is the main thing, don't just slow your speed down but slow your actions down, ie take longer to twist the throttle, apply the brakes etc.

    Depends on your tyres and their condition and whether the road is just wet or if their oil, diesel etc mixed in their as well. Good tyres in good condition on a wet road still have a reasonable amount of grip.

    This can be an issue, and tends to be at it's worst on roundabouts and a traffic lights. At lights can catch you unaware when putting your foot down when you stop. Your tyres will be gripping fine but then when your boot touches the ground it feels like ice, take extra care there cause it's something easy to overlook.
  3. Just slow everything down. Keep it smooth. No harsh braking, no aggressive counter-steering, no harsh acceleration. Other than that, ride as normal.

    Modern tyres, especially modern super-sport tyres, have fantastic levels of grip in the wet, to the point that you really don't need to worry about them sticking if you think you're going into a corner too quickly. Just lean the bike over and you'll be okay.

    What you do need to worry about though is oil/diesel on the road, as well as bark and/or sand washout. Also be very wary of glossy bitumen, being the sort that the aggregate has been pushed below the tar such that the road looks like glass. In that instance it does stick about as well as wet glass too. That's the stuff that'll get you in trouble.

    As for how much traction there is available. With the Pirelli Diablo Rosso's when the tyres have warmed up and assuming the road doesn't have any of the aforementioned slippery crap on it, you can pull stoppies on wet roads, pop wheelies, and drag the knee. You can do all those things, provided you're not sudden about it. Gradually increase your braking pressure. Gradually increase your throttle. Gradually lean the bike over. Give the tyres more time to react than you normally would and they will typically offer outstanding grip levels. Just try to avoid braking while turning at the same time.

    Smooth is the key. Smooth is safe. Smooth is fast. Smooth is safe.
  4. +1 FLUX
    Cannot emphasise enough the importance of SMOOTHNESS.
    Nothing to add there at all. Except that after a while, riding in wet conditions can actually become fun.
    I sometimes sing under my helmet to keep me even more relaxed.
    ... I know I can't sing for shit, but its something about that song "singing in the rain", that calms me.

  5. The best part about riding in the wet is all your gear gets a clean :LOL:
  6. Be mindful of painted road markings - often very slippery after the abrasive grip coating's worn off.

    Be mindful of anything made of metal - expansion joints, manhole covers, road plates, tram tracks, rail crossings - extremely slippery when wet.

    Need to avoid doing anything which requires large amount of grip on things which offer very little grip. :)

    As the others have mentioned, oil and diesel are big risks in the wet, particularly in and around intersections, especially inbetween the wheeltracks.
  7. Good thread and replies.

    Like to throw in another Q for U

    How do you go with your visor and the rain on it?
    Do any of you use the Rain X stuff and does it make a difference?

    Cheers J
  8. I just use VuPlex on my visor daily. When it rains, just turn your head to the side and watch the droplets blow away.
  9. Wet weather is why god invented cars and dirt bikes!
  10. Thanks for your post [FLUX] I must admit I have been over cautious in the wet as I have never had experience on wets roads with my bike much before and have never been certain just how much the tyres will hold. I have always turned slowly and very upright. Will take it a little more naturally now.... provided the road looks decent enough
  11. Slow and cautious. Allow a bigger buffer between the car in front to allow for longer stopping distance.

    I often counter balance my turns in the wet to keep the bike more upright. That is I put my body weight on the side of the bike opposite to the direction of the turn.

    Visibility is something to think about. I keep meaning to pick up a high vis vest for night and wet weather riding. I recently had to get back onto the freeway from the breakdown lane at night and in reasonably heavy traffic and felt very awkward about it - would have been much safer if I had been glowing fluro yellow at the time.
  12. Avoid riding in the middle of lanes at all costs.
    Avoid anything shiny or loose surfaces
    Gentle acceleration or braking...
    Obviously give more distance to other vehicles.

    Apart from that I ride as if I would in the dry.
  13. Do what I did on the last Port Campbell ride................

    Ride with completely worn Dunlop 209GP tyres - ride fast - slide alot - and pray.... :LOL: :LOL:

    On a serious note:
    All the information provided has been excellent - well done lads. :)

    Although, I would still be rather cautious in relation to the grippiness of new road tyres. Yes, they are grippy in the wet - on an ideal road surface like a race-track. But, on normal roads.... :eek: :eek: :LOL:
  14. Thanks for the replies, there's some great stuff to add to the noggin.

    I'll add a couple things.

    One is that I noticed today on a ride (in the wet) is with the 'wetter' wheel well roads. These are caused by roads normally with a high volume of heavy vehicle traffic over time on a road not properly designed for it. The heavy vehicles cause depressed wheel wells and therefore collect more water. This I noticed today (it's an obvious observation, but I had never paid any attention previously) that the centre of the road is curved slightly as a result. An accumulation of buildups on this section then would have to be slightly more dangerous than a flatter road - especially when there are curves in the road.

    The other is with the visibility gear JJ mentioned above. I have a couple of reflective straps that I bought from a bicycle section of a sports store overseas earlier this year. The straps are semi-rigid and are designed to be wrapped around poles or legs to increase visibility. I wrap these around the rear indicator stalks. They are a little out of place for those serious about how cool they want to look, but are only a small item and as they bracket the rear light and license plate, they creat a larger surface area of reflective material at the back, making it hopefully a lot more noticable in general.
  15. Don't steer while braking. I've done this in a car and ended up sliding all over the place. :roll:

    I generally find that in the rain, I like to lean less and I take a much longer line when turning.
  16. Something else did come to mind - always look for the darker lines on the road - this indicates less water build up and also indicates a more abrasive road surface.

    The shiny road surface means it is a much smoother surface and thus indicates it being less abrasive and thus less grip.
  17. also just remember if your rear does let go, keep watching where you wanna go, don't shut the throttle off immediately, maintain steedy throttle or slowly close it and ride through it
  18. Umm.. counter balance means more lean, useful for tight stuff going slow, eg U-turn. To have the bike lean less you need your weight on the inside of the bike.
  19. I don't recommend fanning the clutch in second and doing 100 meter long burnouts from every second set of traffic lights. :twisted: Completely irrisponsible and a menace to the community.

    Rode home in the rain on the new toy tonight, bloody great fun.

    But seriously the old addage of "Relax" seems to work for me in the rain. If I think about it nothing feels right, but if I just go with the flow I really enjoy riding in the rain.