Is Riding in the rain Really that dangerous?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by c3eh, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. a57m2000

    a57m2000 Been here awhile

    Mar 18, 2008
    As above. I would add if you experience rain turning into hail pull over!
  2. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Been here awhile

    Dec 30, 2010
    Avondale, AZ
    Good advice so far. I haven't had a problem in the rain, and have ridden through quite a bit of it. If you ride fast, slow down; if you're aggressive in turns, ease up a bit until you know the limits of you, your bike, and your tires (good advice even in dry). Personally I like riding in the rain. I like the dynamic. I do find riding in the rain creates some problems that are more annoying than anything, and I am always looking for solutions to those annoyances. One, with the helmet visor down and locked, it fogs up fast. Cracked slightly open, water eventually gets on the inside that the thumb squeege can't remove, or there is the annoying drip of water from the opening. Anti-fog snake oils usually last one ride or two, and the factory "anti-fog" visors are almost laughable. I have heard great things about the Pin-lock system, and my next helmet will have the pinlock system. Saying that, I just ordered the pinlock for my current helmet, and will see how it works.

    Second, is gloves. After diligent research, I have come to the conclusion that the only real waterproof gloves are the large rubber overgloves. All waterproof gear will eventually leak if you soak it for hours on end. But the only problem I have found in getting wet, is my fingers. That hurts with the wind. Everything else is just an annoyance, unless you are completely soaked.

    Good gear (not always expensive gear) goes a long way.

    Best thing is to just start slow, and go out and try it.
  3. Craneguy

    Craneguy British Hooligan

    Apr 29, 2011
    Cuernavaca, Mx, Gloucester, UK
    Just want to third the toll booth advice, and note that they are treacherous in dry weather too. If you're not careful your right foot will slip out in a second. I try to remember to only put my left down when paying.

    Oh, and the the oil on the road isn't a film or it would always be an issue. It's down in the cracks and comes up to bite when those cracks and crannies fill with water. Eventually it's carried away.
  4. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

    Jan 24, 2006
    Santa Maria, CA
    It isn't that dangerous, it just sucks and I don't do it anymore, I don't have to. I didn't have a car or truck for about 9 or 11 years, I forget exactly, and I had to ride in it.

    That being said, it gets real slippery around here in the rain, trucks dropping oil, illegal aliens pieces of junk cars leaking oil and tranny fluid, diesel fuel, it's all slippery as hell, just watch out. Slow down, be smooth, and depending on what you ride, watch the throttle and brake inputs.
  5. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

    Aug 6, 2009
    Assuming that your tires are in decent shape.

    No the real risk in the rain is getting wet.

    I learned in Hawaii to foot test the surface, the first few minutes its slippery, very slippery, after the oil and shit washes off the road (like 10 minutes in a good rain) you have like 80% of your normal traction, provided you avoid paint stripes and manhole covers and whatnot.

    Motorcycle tires shouldn't hydroplane, particularly if they have any sort of touring bent to them, so just stay smooth and light and its not that terrible.

    I've done trackdays in the rain. Fun, but nerve wracking, you get a LOT better and being a LOT smoother really fast. :lol3
  6. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

    Sep 20, 2008
    backwoods Alabama
    Good point, but "And all the advice above", which covered just-wetted streets.


  7. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Sep 25, 2011
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    are you a total noob or just a newbie to rain?

    big difference ... most replies are from experienced riders. if you are a total noob to riding... do yourself a favor and get used to your bike dry before doing much time in the rain.
  8. c3eh

    c3eh Adventurer

    Apr 14, 2011
    KC, USA
    Nah I have been riding a year give or take just happen to have a car so when it rains I drive.
    Also I don't have all the proper rain gear so another reason I just drive my car. Riding is just so much more fun and as I mentioned in an earlier reply I am trying to plan a cross country trip for summer and rain certainly won't stop it.

    Honestly I am not scared to ride in rain, at this point it is mainly just don't have the gear and do have a car. The question just came to mind today because it was raining and I know there are riders of all types and skill levels on here to offer opinions.
  9. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Sep 25, 2011
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    if you've been riding for a year ... dive in... the water is fine
  10. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Nov 11, 2005
    Gold Coast
    No but ... the learning curve is pretty bad :evil

    That's one of the reasons I usually ride weekends no matter what the weather, and generally pick the nasty winding mountain roads if it's bad weather - with practice it's not really a problem, but the feel for the bike fades fast if you don't keep the skills up with practice.

    Last weekend wasn't one of the good ones, nice pattern of shimmery oil spots all up my favourite ride - now that was a bit nervous. Went past the turnoff to the road where the asswipe with the leaky transmission lived and my speed went up 20kph.

    Personally I'd suggest getting out rainy weekends , pick quiet roads with a few bends and just ride so you can learn without having to deal with traffic as well.

  11. OlivierS

    OlivierS Adventurer

    Feb 9, 2013
    I bought my bike just before winter, have been driving in nothing but rain, heavy winds, last week even a tiny bit of snow.

    I completly lost self esteem (and the trust in my front tire) after I pulled off the highway cause I couldn't even see the lights of the car in front of me, and then, on a roundabout the front tire of my 990 was suddenly gone. I managed to keep it upright though. Was more luck then skill anyway...

    I am still not sure what happend, maybe there was a patch of oil, maybe I went in too fast, but like I said it took me weeks before I dared to lean deep into corners again.

    Yesterday however, was the first dry day that I was not working since weeks, felt like months even. And eventhough temperatures were arround freezing I really enjoyed driving on a dry road, helped me to regain self esteem and practice my skills.

    I will get rid of the scorpions though, concidering a conti trailattack tire, hope that will give me some better grip on wet days.
    Tire's make all the difference.
  12. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

    Sep 14, 2009
    All over, usually Wales or England
    I spent yesterday riding in "extreme weather", which had warnings dominating out national news: rain, floods, freezing temps, snow, strong winds, very dense fog. None of it made that much difference other than making me ride a little slower than usual and that was predominantly due to decreased visibility.

    Tip: Riding dirt, thereby getting used to the bike slithering about (and that you don't freak out and crash as a result) is a big help. That way white paint, drain covers, etc. will be far less of a problem for you.
  13. BobPS

    BobPS Been here awhile

    Sep 14, 2012
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Great advice to follow.
    I ride in rain a lot. IMO riding in rain is not any more dangerous than riding in dry condition.

    I always use riding in rain as a chance to practice my skill for riding in wet condition ...or to hone my skill for riding in rain. So if it rains out there, just go out and ride the bike, use it as a chance to learn how to ride your bike in rain. Just remember to stay away during the first 10-15 minutes as other have suggested.
  14. Dcc46

    Dcc46 Been here awhile

    May 3, 2008
    Nokomis ,FL
    Next time it rains, go for a short ride
    and after that go for a longer ride in the rain.
    Keep repeating until your an old salt at rain riding.
    Only way to learn is to get out and do it.
  15. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

    Aug 19, 2008
    New(er) Mexico
    It doesn't rain often in NM but when it does it's usually a torrential downpour that, if you're in a car, the windshield wipers can't go fast enough for you to be able to see, and the roads flood badly near the curb almost immediately.

    It doesn't matter what you are driving, that shit is dangerous to be in. Don't forget about the huge lightening all over the place, and the good chance you'll get hailed on too.

    During the monsoon/rainy season here, I don't commute on the bike too much.
  16. BanjoBoy

    BanjoBoy Been here awhile

    Mar 18, 2009
    Northern CA
    Sure there's less traction, butt yer rotors are wet, so there's less brake'in too. :rofl
    Just be smooth, 'n you'll be fine. (And be thankful yer no0t ride'in and old '70's vintage bike with crappy brakes, suspension, 'n bias ply tires. :thumb
  17. Dismount

    Dismount Boring bastard

    Feb 6, 2007
    Beckley wv
    as long as I don't need a snorkel I don't mind.

    In fact I like the noise of the rain on my helmet.


    Annoying bits:

    visor down = fog. visor up = 3 gallons of water in the back of my sinuses.

    with waterproof gear though it's just another day with a few different inputs.
  18. randyo

    randyo Long timer

    Nov 17, 2007
    Northern NewEngland
    I find that the faster you go the better you can see in the rain and if I can maintain a 35-40 mph pace or faster, I can adjust my windscreen and open my visor partially and all the rain (or sometimes frozen precipitation) gets diverted from my vision
  19. Conedodger

    Conedodger Wanna Ride

    Apr 12, 2011
    Upstate, NY
    My 2 cents?

    Get good rain gear. If you aren't wet, shivering uncontrollably, and generally miserable, you will be more relaxed and better equipped to deal with the conditions. Keep a good coat of non-abrasive wax on the face shield. All I have to do is turn my head to the side and the water blows right off. (Bonus: Makes it easier to remove bugs in dry weather.) If you normally use a tinted shield, keep a clear one, preferably a pin lock, handy for rainy days. I have a reflective vest for night riding that I will wear when it rains. Visibility is low when it rains. Do what you can to make it easier for the cagers to see you.
  20. dddd

    dddd Been here awhile

    Jan 15, 2012
    Montreal, Canada
    TEST IT.

    While upright, and at slow speed at which you know you cant fall or loose control, and on various surface you expect to ride, try to find the rear wheel blocking threshold. (and very carefully the front wheel blocking threshold if you dare or need more feel from the hand). Assuming you know your bike on dry surfaces and you remain objective, you should be able to have a feel of the traction available. backoff a bit from this braking intensity further cause at higher speed, the water doesn't clear as easily.

    Also try to start on painted lines a few times when alone on a stop (upright again of course ), so you can understand how easily it looses traction.

    Also try to compare tire tracks with center of the lane, tire tracks are cleaner, but the dip contains more water.. Center of the lane not as clean, but possibly not as flooded, especially in city streets with lots of big trucks carving the pavement.

    Feeling he force of breaking and starting at threshold is a better way imho than testing the limits in a curve at whichever lean angle...Every ride, rainy or not, there is always 2 seconds here or there to do such test. Build your comparison base.

    PS: the foot test is BS, sorry. you have to be quite experienced, very used to do it, with the same clean sole boots (no mud, no grease, no grass, etc. to feel anythng that you might interpret very approximately anyway. About as good as touching the ground with your gloves....