rain riding...!

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by sasha18yug, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. sasha18yug

    sasha18yug Been here awhile

    Aug 18, 2011
    Germany , Berchtesgaden
    So i was thinking to ask a few question and maybe i can get some answers that will help me and other guys that have some issues with rain and riding in the rain...
    How do you guys see the riding conditions in rain...do you slow down allot or keep the same normal pace...its obvious that you`re not going to push the limit of the bike and the tires .... i have this one big problem...no experience in rain this is the first one and then it comes to one experience that always comes back...racing bike 600 cc honda cbr on sport tires and me never riding such a bike ....rain comes over me and everything starts to be so slippery...and then 10 km away from home i lay the bike down at about 30 km per h....:)...sweet...
    So whats the secret of riding in the rain.... how is the grip compared to dry conditions.... how much less grip do you have in rain...maybe there are some things that you can do so that u figure out the grip... i am not an experienced rider and hope i can get some answers from guys that ride allot in bad conditions and so on....:D

    Cheers Sasha
  2. outlaws justice

    outlaws justice On the Fringe

    May 18, 2009
    Warrensburg Missouri
    I always find that many people have a fear of riding in the rain. What would you do if you are caught out in the rain while riding or are forced to ride through rain for any one of many reasons? What can you do?

    You need to practice. I find when teaching that riding in the rain is one of a rider's biggest fears. One of the reasons I don't mind teaching the BRC or ERC in the rain is that it really helps the students out so much more than when learning in sunny weather. They learn right at the start that riding in the rain can be controlled. So find that parking lot, and get to work! (On a rainy day of course!) When you first start to practice in the lot there should be little to no traffic but it will still help you rebuild your confidence. As you get more comfortable, work up to residential areas where you will have some traffic and so on.

    Now you may be saying: "Yeah, sure, but the feeling I have is that wet surfaces don't give any warning. One moment you've got grip, the next it's gone. How then, can you practice ...?" You must realize that cars can hydroplane much more easily than a bike with good tires. The rounded profile and carefully designed tread patterns on modern motorcycle tires really limit hydroplaning- you would be down in a second if they didn't. Car tires with lots of the right kind of tread will resist hydroplaning, but as the tread gets worn, cars can hydroplane pretty easily. Being on the verge of hydroplaning creates the feeling that the vehicle isn't "planted" anymore whether in a car or on your ride. When this phenomenon happens, fear can rear its ugly head.

    You can ask just about anyone that has crashed on a motorcycle about fear. What ever caused them to go down, sharp right hand curve in a downhill, decreasing radius turns etc, fear will cause them to be uneasy for a while when encountering a similar situation again. Just hang in there, practice, and practice and you will be fine.

    First and foremost you have to get past the fear. It takes over your brain and does not allow one to make proper decisions and take corrective actions. I ride in the dirt as well as on the street and it can be firm, loose, slippery etc. You have to ride the bike, look ahead, think of what you want to do and do it all without fear. If you are scared you are not doing the many things that riding the bike requires.

    Typically a bike will hold traction much better than most of us can ride it! Even in the rain!! You need to trust your tires. Try using your rear brake when it's wet to test how much traction you have available. Keep in mind that your mentality can be your worst enemy. You should be relaxed and be as smooth as you can on the throttle and brakes. Trust is a learned behavior so if you acquire some experience with the available traction in the wet then your trust of your tires (and your bike) will improve.

    When riding in the wet, explore available traction with the rear wheel primarily, and only with the bike straight upright. You can test the rear brake to its limit as well as perform acceleration tests to investigate the limits of wet traction you have (in a controlled environment of course). I was impressed one time when I was able to loft the front wheel in the wet, not that I was trying... but it's just a testament to the grip of good tires these days. Of course I have spun up the rear as well when assessing traction in the wet, but this is all part of the learning experience. This is where you will build confidence in how much traction is there. Good tire tread depth is also very important for those of us who ride in the rain!

    Other than working with some trainers and performing some practice there is not much else I can advise you to do. Keep in min though when you are out on the road and it's raining, don't let the drivers behind you "push" you out of a comfortable range of speed. I'd rather be slow and safe than appease the person behind me by speeding up.
    I hope this helps,
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  3. yukonjon

    yukonjon Been here awhile

    Dec 20, 2011
    Pacific Northwet, Tacoma
    Well said! Had the same question when I was new to riding. Practiced with traction in parking lots, empty roads etc, and now I ride everyday in this crappy Seattle rain. Just take your time and don't push your limits. Good luck.
  4. TrashCan

    TrashCan Scary Jerry

    Oct 5, 2005
    Louisville, Tn
    This is what I go by in my rain riding.

    I am not a better rider than the tires.

    Sportbikes: Pilot Power Michelin Motorcycle Tire
    You don't have to be world champion to get your hands on Michelin<sup>®</sup> MotoGP tire technology. Pilot<sup>®</sup> Power tires use a rubber mix that was originally developed for MotoGP racing, and a tread pattern that covers less than 12% of the tire’s surface. The result is a maximum lean angle of 50.6 degrees on dry pavement and 41.9 degrees in the wet, achieved with a stock sportbike. How did we do it? When your test riders are winning on 230-horsepower MotoGP bikes, you learn a few things about performance.
    Milosh likes this.
  5. Patch

    Patch Long timer

    May 4, 2011
    Southwestern New England
    so... good tires and a protractor should do it
    Milosh likes this.
  6. Truckin_Thumper

    Truckin_Thumper low profile

    Jun 28, 2007
    Kinda like load pipes save lives....:rofl

    Best thing you can do, is ride at your own comfort level. No amount of hardware will make you a better rider until the time comes to "up it a notch".

  7. Wraith Rider

    Wraith Rider Banned

    Feb 11, 2012
    Very good tips. Testing the traction level with the rear brake is the best you can do. Of course, modern touring tires like the Pilot Road 3 or the new Z8 M/O do help a lot. Most important is to be smooth, whatever you do, do it smooth. Smooth throttle, smooth brakes, smooth turn in and you can do a lot in the rain.

    In general I do slow down a bit in the rain and am less agressive on the throttle (I have ABS, so braking isn't an issue) so I end up vaguely at the posted speed limit. Through the courners I do add a little bit extra cautiousness.

    If you stay relaxed and don't push it, there's no problem with riding in the rain, take a look:
    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/wQx0IXgPeh0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>
  8. MADurstewitz

    MADurstewitz MADMark

    Jan 15, 2009
    Joisey, not far from NYC
    Find an empty field of wet grass. Learn what it feels like to lose traction and play with it. Learn how to slide on soft ground and low speeds where the consequences are limited.
  9. Mgbgt89

    Mgbgt89 Long timer

    Oct 19, 2010
    Maryville, TN
    One of the main things to keep in mind when riding in the rain is the center of the lane, especially at intersections will be really slick. The traction is in the wheel tracks of the cars.

    Also watch for places where they smeared tar all over the road, there is zero traction there. On a certain downhill offramp with a stop at the bottom here in akron, the entire road is just one big sheet of tar. The first time I came down that off ramp in the rain i was in for a real shock. It would have been nice to have ABS at that moment, I was intermittently locking the front and rear. No traffic so i rolled through the stop sign due to the truck barreling down from behind, I sure wasn't trusting his ability to stop.

    I actually enjoy riding in the rain quite a bit, especially when i have the road to myself. Powerslides, rolling burnouts, etc... It brings out the hooligan in me.

    Probably the biggest danger of rain riding is the other cars, they can't see shit when its sunny and clear, its even worse when visibility is limited.
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  10. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

    Dec 31, 2008
    Wellington,New Zealand
    there really isnt that much difference in grip levels However this assumes the surface is clean.And i am talking about the actual asphalt or concrete or whatever.As long as you have good tyres which are at a good temperature you still have lots of grip,......
    However.There are lots of things in the road which ARE slippery when wet.ie metal manhole covers,expansion strips,painted road markings.You must avoid these or plan to go over them as upright as possible with little or no turning braking or accelleration inputs.
    And when it rains after a long dry spell the road WILL be very slippery with a build up of oils and rubber and dirt.You can feel this.The bike FEELS unstable,the surface FEELS slippery.
    And lastly there is aquaplaning.I honestly beleive motorcycles aqua plane LESS than cars,or tyre shapes i think actually cut through standing water,up to a point.
    I beleive that most of us would not outride the grip of good tyres on a race track in the wet.We would may have to modulate braking or throttle inputs but actual cornering grip Ii think would astound you.
    It rains year round in NZ .My riding style doesnt really change but i am a "low input" rider anyway.I dont brake hard i dont use the throttle hard and i dont really slow down much for corners wet or dry
    I didnt talk about the other effects of riding in the rain.You may find your visor fogs up,you can get light spray build up on your visor,and visibility can be drastically reduced by the spray from(especially truck) tyres
  11. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Oct 25, 2004
    India Wharf summers - Boulders winters
    If you travel long distances on a motorcycle, you will have lots of wild weather. I ride in the rain a little more cautiously, looking for surface hazards and carrying too much speed on the side of the tire. Not much beyond that. If the temps are below 40, I am careful riding over lane paint too. It can cause a little slip here and there, but nothing dramatic. Modern tires are very grippy in the wet. Even DOT knobbies.

    For me the big thing is comfort and good visibility. Dry and warm rain gear and a helmet that allows me to deal with the fog. If the rain is hard enough to hurt visibility, I pull over for a half hour or so. The squall passes and all is well again.

    With the right gear I can ride rain for days on end and enjoy it the same way as if it was dry.
  12. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

    Aug 18, 2009
    Vienna, Austria

    +1 on everything he said. Relax, ride your own ride. When the rain hits I slow down a lot and increase speed as I feel comfortable. Sometimes I just stop and have a coffee :)
  13. tech4

    tech4 Adventurer

    Jan 17, 2010
    +1. If its pouring rain then ride few car lengths behind a car so that car tire breaks the water puddle for you.

    First rain in days makes road very slippery for first hour.

    I enjoy riding in rain as long as its not too cold.
  14. Robert^

    Robert^ Adventurer

    May 12, 2008
    Portland OR
    I ride in rain daily for much of the year in Portland. I am a big fan of tires that work well in the wet and for me these have been several sets of Avon Gripsters. I understand Avon tends to be generous with silica in their recipes and silica is good for durable wet / cold traction.

    Regarding exploring available traction, it is very handy to have a good feel for what is available. My bike is a big single so it can strobe the rear tire out pretty easily on wet city corners. This slip - stick behaviour is very informative.

    Watch out for wet front-wheel braking / slowing / turning across wet tracks, leaves, grates,... If you give the front wheel very little to do besides keep rolling when you cross these at shallow angles then it will usually work fine. Don't do anything on wet bridge grates and stay far enough behind whatever idiot is in front of you.

    *Watch out for parking garages where the surfaces get wet but not clean. *Watch out for random auto oil drip weirdness. Some turns and streets seem to be atypically slick and you may get to know where these are so you can adjust. Paint stripes, painted bike boxes, and adhered striping can be very slick or it can be fine.

    I too have unitentionally lifted the wheel in a downpour and it is not uncommon for the rear wheel to spin up a bit. I don't see alot of value to riding on wet grass with street tires.

  15. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

    Nov 28, 2006
    By the Great Lakes
    Grip in rain can be fine. It can also disappear in a split second. I don't worry about traction much on the slab. My bike's not as likely to hydroplane as a cage and the turns are rarely very sharp at the speed limit. My main concerns are lightning, visibility (seeing and being seen), paint, metal, contaminants, and cagers being stupid. Rule of thumb for traction is to ride like you're driving on snow...all inputs being smooth, give yourself plenty of room for avoidance, and slow down for turns in case traction isn't as good as you thought it was. Paint, metal, or contaminants can be SLICK when wet.

    As for being seen, I wear hi-viz/reflective, my bike is lit up on all sides, and I keep a slow weave in my lane going to create lateral motion.

    Stay aware, using your peripheral vision and mirrors. Use a pinlock or some other anti-fog solution that works for you.
  16. DSM8

    DSM8 Where fun goes to die....

    Aug 1, 2005
    Escondido, Ca
    There are few things to note here (in addition to what was already said):

    • Tires with a higher silica content are just sticker in the rain
      • I have found Tourances to be very good in the wet
    • Be SMOOTH imagine like you are riding on ice
      • smooth is fast and smooth is safe
      • Gentle on the front brake, little more of the rear. Always use both.
    • Get good rain gear
      • a comfortable rider is a safe one, you wont be cold or distracted
      • Waterproof gloves, cold hands are the worse when wet
    • Good helmet and visor - something that breathes well and doesn't fog up easily.
    Basically you just have to adjust your speed to the conditions. A bike is less likely to hydroplane than a car for one major reason. PSI - there is more pressure on the contact patch of a bike than there is on a car. This has also been addressed by other posts above.

    What to avoid:

    Painted anything - lines, arrows, strips
    Tar Stripes
    Manhole covers
    If it looks shiny assume it is slippery

    I ride year round and really enjoy riding in the rain. Once you learn to trust the bike and know what to expect it just becomes second nature.

    Now lets talk about riding on ice....


    Done that too but it is a completely different ball game. :lol3
  17. ThirdBestFriend

    ThirdBestFriend Explorer

    Dec 12, 2010
    SF Bay Area
    I avoid riding in the rain whenever possible. My tires are great, my skills OK, my gear water-proof.

    But like so much on the moto, it's not me. It's the other guy. And I simply cannot trust Bay Area drivers when the weather is bad. Seriously, they are worse than Florida in the rain.

    Off road is another story, of course—that shit is F-U-N.
  18. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

    Sep 26, 2007
    Annapolis Maryland
    Your control inputs need to be more smooth. You can't transfer the weight around as quickly. So take more time getting on the throttle, getting on the brakes and getting to your lean angle.
  19. outlaws justice

    outlaws justice On the Fringe

    May 18, 2009
    Warrensburg Missouri
    Well having ridden the track in the rain, when you push too hard you can and will override your tires. Mind you I Was not riding with "Rain" tires as I was just there on a street bike having some fun. I thought I had dialed it back a notch or two but once you are out on the track you just keep pushing a little more, and a little more. I did not crash but when that bike starts to slide out you know you have reached the traction limits.
  20. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Oct 25, 2004
    India Wharf summers - Boulders winters
    I wouldn't suggest using this technique aboard a 500lb street bike. You'll just drop it, break a few parts and need help picking it up. Plus nothing really translates to riding on tar. This fellow has apparently never ridden a street bike in the grass...maybe a mini cycle. :lol3