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Old 10-03-2012, 12:13 PM   #16
robfilms OP
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Location: riverdale, ny
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thank you each for the thoughtful and obviously experience earned insights.

by the time i could break away from my desk, the rain had stopped.

the road was not really wet, more like damp.

i managed a thoughtful 70min on the kawasaki zee running errands and riding thru a local park.

i noticed no lessening of traction.

i steered clear of all manhole covers, metal construction plates and anything that looked "slippery when wet".

i'm not sure my gear was at all tested.

i imagine i will know what i need when i return with wet undies and puddles in my boots.

and even with all of the above concerns, i got off the bike with a really big grin.


yup yup.

be well.

2009 suzuki dl650 wee-strom Le Grande Orange~
2006 kawasaki z750s black-gone~1974 yamaha rd350 maroon/white racing stripe-gone
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:13 PM   #17
We Ain't Left Yet!!
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Location: O-lando
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Not the best advise... saw the aftermath of two HD riders that got smashed (thnakfully they were ok ish when they were hauled away), parked under an overpass in a downpour. I was told the "driver" didn't see them as she was pulling under the overpass.
I try to avoid this now and just keep on rolling much more aware of my surroundings. In Floriduh it's usually clear in a few miles anyway.

Originally Posted by daveinva View Post
When the rain gets too heavy, don't be an ADV hero.

Even if you're the best rain rider in the world, always remember that you share the road with the lowest common denominator. When the rain gets so heavy that you can't see ten feet beyond your front wheel, accept that no one else can, either. Hit your flashers and pull over under an overpass or stop for some coffee. The road will still be there when it clears up!
Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything.
-- Charles Kuralt

I never plan a ride, just the destination and that's always subject to change.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:25 PM   #18
Joined: Sep 2012
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The first few guys got just about everything I would tell you, and someone touched on this but I'll emphasize two points:

1) Tunnels, under bridges, and toll booths -- places that the rain never washes away the oil. Well, enough water gets in there to make things remarkably slick.

2) Whenever you put your foot down at the light, do not assume that it'll hold. Understand that there is a possibility that your foot will just slide away because you put it in an oil puddle.

But yeah, all the normal stuff about paint, tar repairs, and any metal surface.

Ride slow, be seen, avoid cages. Don't be ashamed to run your hazard lights if you don't think people can see you. Your headlights will get lost in the glare.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:29 PM   #19
What's this Box for?
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Laugh Try to ride in between the drops!

Ride Your Own Ride
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:30 PM   #20
Crisis management
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What the rest have said about the riding but, dress warmly and stay dry, cold is not your freind and put decent quality road tyyres on the bike, not the latest track tyres but good road tyres.

Enjoy yourself and watch out for deep puddles, when you hit them at speed the water jets up under the front and goes straight up into your nose, DAMHIK.
Orange...cause it makes me look like I know what I'm doing!
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:38 PM   #21
Eschew obfuscation
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Originally Posted by Bollocks View Post
What he said and modern tiers are freaking amazing in the rain now a days.
+1 I am in love with the Michelin Anakee II's, they are the most awesome tires for rain I have ever used. I ride all year (no car) in Vancouver, and they handle everything our "wet coast" throws at them.

Get some good tires on, some good gear on, and ride smooth and cautious and you will do fine - have fun even! There have been a few crazy storms I've ridden through laughing like a loon.
"What you damn kids need is a right good war" - my father
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:49 PM   #22
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Smoother is always better. The smoother your are, the more you can get away with, wet or dry.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:10 PM   #23
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Everything has been covered from good modern tires to smoother control technique. I'll emphasis dry and warm clothing and an antifogging helmet system.

I ride in rain a lot, so all my outer gear is high quality gortex and I wear heated glove and jacket liners. Sometimes it rains so hard I simply pull over and let the squall pass. Visibility can get very bad in those things.

If you think it's tough now, wait till the spring with all the sand that collects in the intersections!

BTW, I am a re-entry rider as well, but I never rode the streets much. I found it takes a couple seasons to really get comfortable in traffic, so give it some time to regain your skills.
Straight ahead and faster -Bo Weaver 1970
"There I was..." -Griffin Niner Three Hotel
"One day closer to a parade..." Jonny Gomes, spring training 2013
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:35 PM   #24
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once you're comfortable in the rain, you can move onto riding in the snow.

that's when the real fun starts.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:14 PM   #25
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If you're smooth and have good SIPED tires, just avoid paint and other slick stuff. With a narrow front Shinko 244 and a rear K761 with added grooving, I don't worry about hydroplaning in anything less than a creek. The DR maintaining control/traction is the least of my concerns. I focus more on not getting plowed into or struck by lightning.

Get gear that will keep you dry, so you can stay fully focused on not getting plowed into or struck by lightning.

Wear a full-face helmet, and treat your faceshield...water repellent and anti-fog. Many anti-fogs don't work very well, but cracking your shield open when stopped can keep it from fogging much. If you can see well, you can focus on not getting plowed into or struck by lightning.

MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE. This past weekend, I bombed interstate for HOURS in major rains. I saw several cagers who went off the road simply because they couldn't see, and others who were doing 30MPH in the left lane with their hazards on, while I had no issues with seeing. I focused on staying mobile and gently weaving within my lane while watching my mirrors, to create easily-seen lateral motion. I also don't lollygag around anywhere near trucks, even when it's dry out. For being seen whether moving or stationary, I wear a white helmet and a hi-viz green jacket, with reflective patches on the jacket and my pants. My DR650 has BRIGHT red LEDs all over the back, a brakelight that flashes 3X before going solid, dual-filament front signals that also work as amber marker lights (with bright LED bulbs in them), and amber foglights. My Givi hardcase wears several strips of white and red reflective tape on the sides and back. My sideplastics, handguards, and headlight shroud are also white, which tends to be pretty visible when contrasted against my black/hi-viz green riding gear and Suzuki-blue fenders.

Pull off the road, COMPLETELY, and find lightning-safe shelter if lightning starts hitting within a few miles of you. A bike does NOT create a Faraday cage like a car does. If you pull under an underpass, you can still easily get plowed into and/or struck by lightning. It's harder for this to happen if you're sitting in a gas station, sipping a hot cocoa and/or propositioning the cashier with the big butt.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:35 PM   #26
NooB, my ass
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One other thing, on my Bandit I always ride a gear higher than normal in the rain, this cuts back on the wheelspin a bit, it helps to stay smooth. Smooth is important.
SOTGMOTT Some Of The Gear Most Of The Time
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:50 PM   #27
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When you need to brake, be aware that the brakes may feel in the first fraction of a second like they're not there. It takes a tiny bit of time before they bite, and believe or not, you will notice that fraction of a second. If you're not ready for that, it can take you by surprise. The brakes *will* bite, but by ready for that millisecond of "WTF??!!"
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:52 PM   #28
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Pretty good replies all around.
Get some books like "Proficient Motorcycling" and read up. Read the magazines. Rider Magazine's "Riding Well" had a bad weather column in Sept 2012.
If all one had to do is opperate the bike and be smooth in the rain, it isn't that hard.
Traffic is the enemy of smooth. Too many cagers make too many sudden moves in the rain. Cagers tend to cover their brake in the rain and light up the brake lights which scares the hell out of all the following traffic who then proceed to do more than cover a brake.
I like a minimun of 4secs following distance in the rain and will take 6, 8, and more if I can get it.
If your bike has ABS it is more difficult to fall while just braking. The trick is to always have enough room for an ABS stop. Thus, proper following distance is crucial.
Cagers threatening to turn left are a big guessing game. Some riders will follow a large truck down the street enduring a little spray just to keep the left-turning cagers pinned to their spots.
Traffic awareness and risk management is much more critical in the rain. Riders tend to be real careful which is reflected in the lower fatality numbers in the rain.
In the urban/suburban glut, I find the street just too slicked too often to trust finding good traction in the wet. Coming to a stop at an ordinary traffic light may have as many as 3 places where the lane is more slick that the rest of it. It is amazing how good the traction is on a clean but wet roadway. It is amazing how little carp (anti-freeze, deisel, const mud) is necessary on the wet street to make it slick as snot. And the traffic smears it along the street to where hundreds of yards of street are slimey. Lightly drag a boot toe on the pavement to test 'feel' against what your eyes are telling you.
Rain riding like everything else is an acquired skill.
"beware the grease mud. for therein lies the skid demon."-memory from an old Honda safety pamphlet
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:28 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Mangle View Post
...Don't be ashamed to run your hazard lights if you don't think people can see you.
Hazard lights? What hazard lights? We don't all ride BMWs.
Advanced pancreatic cancer found 04/2010. Have outlived +/- 97% of patients with this diagnosis, but 08/2013 cancer now in liver, vascular system and lungs with 20+ lung tumors. Sick/weak sometimes, not riding much. No more treatments & now under Hospice care.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:41 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by uraberg View Post
Unless you're a very aggressive rider, there is no reason to change anything about how you ride. Stay smooth, and all is well
Yes, to a point. However, there IS a significant difference in the painted lines in my town, and they often paint GIANT arrows right at the point where you'll be tipping the bike in to turn. I'm talking slick to the point that pedestrians crossing over them have slipped and you don't want to put your foot down on them. Also, there will be sections (especially in construction zones) where that red clay is spread all out over the roads. In the dry, it's not so bad but in the wet, that stuff turns slick as snot. This holds true regardless of whatever tire you feel is the best and greatest. I'm a smooth rider regardless of the weather, but I do adjust my riding style a bit to suit the wet...there's no reason not to and it's not some admission of over-aggressiveness if you do.

In my experience, you have a helluva more traction than you think at some points, and a helluva lot less traction than you think at other points. Best to use good with everything we do on a bike.
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