rain riding...!

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

  1. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Oct 25, 2004
    India Wharf summers - Boulders winters
    I've ridden track days in the rain on DOT tires. Not a big deal. You just ride a lot slower and are gentle with controls. As others have said, modern high silica tires are remarkable in the wet. I guess that's why they have such a short life.
  2. aeneas

    aeneas Adventurer

    Nov 22, 2012
    Belgium, Europe
    I drive to work every day, also in bad weather.
    When it rains it's usually also colder, so your tires take a lot longer to warm up. That's the most important thing to remember. It's different to start your ride in the rain (cold tires, less grip), than to have been driving for half an hour and then getting some downpour (you'll have much better grip in corners).

    Accelerating in a straight line will feel the same, when braking and cornering you have to do more careful.
    The first miles I drive careful and take corners very slow.

    When your tires are still cold, check if there's a dry line on the road and try to follow it. In heavy rain you're usually better off driving in the line of the wheels of cars, but sometimes it's better in the middle of the road.

    Be careful on painted lines - therefor again take corners slowly so you drive straight over a zebra crossing and only start to turn when you've passed it.

    Keep enough distance from cars before you..
  3. Celtic Curmudgeon

    Celtic Curmudgeon Indiana Jones wanabe

    Feb 6, 2011
    Fort Liquordale FL
    The main thing I dislike about rain riding is the reduced visibility in a hard rain. I still worry about someone not seeing me, or skidding into me. But - this is true even when I'm in my car, I find driving in a hard rain stressful and exhausting, particularly after dark.

    If you live in an area where it rains infrequently, it will be slicker during the first few minutes of a rain, at least until the oil drippings wash away. A lot of "rain wrecks" occur in the first 5-10 minutes of a shower. I found this more an issue in Texas than where I now live, since Florida rains a lot and the streets stay generally cleaner. If a downpour just started, it's not a bad ideal to sit out for 10-15 minutes.

    When I got back into riding a couple years ago, I took the MSF course, and it rained off and on during both range days. This was actually good, since everyone got to see how well you can brake and corner in the rain in a controlled environment. Maybe the MSF should always be conducted on a wet track? :deal
  4. anotherguy

    anotherguy unsympathetic

    Jun 18, 2009
    the hills
    Contrary to the above the most important thing for rain riding is to stay warm and dry. Being comfortable allows your brain to work properly because it has no distractions trying to keep you comfortable. Good gear is step one.

    Ride normally while being aware of reduced braking. Modern tires have more grip than most riders will use in the wet. As the age/wear that diminishes so keep that in mind. Do your best to avoid heavy traffic even if it means a longer ride. Unless absolutely necessary avoid abrupt actions. Concentrate on being as smooth as possible.

    The important part is practice. Yep go ride in the rain and gently seek the limit of maximum braking. Don't do this on a crowded highway. Find an empty parking lot and practice braking harder until either you become very uncomfortable or find the edge,always being ready for that sudden loss of traction. Don't do this in standing water. A sure way to find the value of your gear.

    Once you have the braking down try cornering in the wet. Using the same empty parking lot ride in BIG circles and gently seek the edge. Keep the smooth riding in mind and increase speeds until comfort becomes slim or you find the edge.

    Been riding for 50 years on/off road and still screw around with this. And I love a good mud race off road. If you can buy a dirt bike and ride off road. It's the best way to learn control of a motorcycle in adverse conditions.

    Have fun and approach it without apprehension. Pay attention to what the bike does and what you do to control it when things get dicey. learn to ride well and you'll ride for a long time.
  5. outlaws justice

    outlaws justice On the Fringe

    May 18, 2009
    Warrensburg Missouri
    Reduced Visability makes iding dangerous. Cars cannot see us, This is partially due to the rain itself and compounde by the spray off the rear tire of the bike.

    Several years ago myself and my cousin were riding matching bikes back from Albany in the ouring rain. We were being followed by my wife in the car. She made sure to tell us at the first stop that she could not see my cousin as the spray masked the tail light and made it impossible to see him or his bike. On the other hand she could see me, to be specific my lights. I had removed the rear turn signals, and replaced them with a set of front signals so they acted not only as turn signals but also as marker lights. The marker lights set out to the sides of the bike where the spray was not as think could be seen.

    Since this we have converted the rear lights on all the bike we ride to aid in being seen in adverse conditions.
  6. BanjoBoy

    BanjoBoy I like pussy

    Mar 18, 2009
    Northern CA
    Bolded fer importance; the street is not the track! Grip can vary a lot on the street.
    Last weekend I dun rode my favorite twisties after sum serious rain storms. The clean wet parts had excellent grip, butt there wuz also corners where mud, rocks, tree branches and other debris were in the road. (Much less grip on muddy roads w/ leaves 'n shit)
    A pinlock on mah SHOEI RF1100 works great. The SHOEI face shield seals well, 'n the pinlock keeps the fog at bay so'z I can see wut I'm run'in into. :loco

    I also "soften up" mah suspension; turn out preload compression & rebound damping ta lower mah pig, 'n make her more compliant. :thumb

    As mentioned above, be smooth! Unless yer do'in the hooligan thang? :freaky
    Cum'in from dirt bikes, we alwayz looked forward ta the rainy season, 'n slip slid'in 'round. Now I just take that same pleasure to the streets. :rilla
  7. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Mar 18, 2007
    Begin Op Zoom
    Tires have been mentioned (I run Michelin Pilot II here on the Wet-side of Oregon) as has the slow and smooth...

    Ride to the road conditions. First rain for a while? Slick as a fuel spill! Let some of the oils and other contaminates get washed off the road for a while and you should be back up to around 80% traction.

    Leave more space. It will take a proficient rider 60' to 120' longer to stop a bike on wet raods than dry roads. (perhaps even longer depending on bike and conditions) This is where ABS brakes really show their value. :deal
  8. 1greenmachine

    1greenmachine Long timer

    Aug 28, 2010
    green bay, wi
    I had a few times were i had to ride thru nasty downpours to get home and honestly once you relaxed it wasn't that bad.
    You do need to be more carefull with leaning, brakeing and such but if you use your head you'll be fine, i was surprised at how well my visor stayed clean, hell my gear was spotless after those rides.
  9. txwanderer

    txwanderer Been here awhile

    Sep 1, 2010
    Almost East Texas
    The "600 cc Sport bike" and "New rider" really stick out. Nothing you can do about being new except practice. All 600cc bikes are not created equally either, so some of this is best guess for you.

    Slow down for the road conditions. There are new things to watch for in the wet. Center of the lane has been talked about and despite some beliefs around here is a poor choice on dry conditions as well. Watch for "rainbow" effects. That is oil, fuel or something equally as slick. Watch out for the beginning of a rain event too, it will float all the oils and junk off the road. Asphalt age can make a lot of difference, and concrete, brick(stay off this if possible), gravel and everything else have different traction qualities. IMHO concret is best, but YMMV.

    Speed is relative, I have put thousands of miles on the highway at full speed limits, but they were wide open with limited traffic. The main thing is DO NOT do anything fast. Take offs, braking, maneuvering. Plan farther ahead than normal and keep your game on high alert. This is one of the worst time in your life to get laxed.

    Maintain your ride. Good rubber is a must on 2 wheels. All tires aren't created equal either, so do your homework when you buy. Knowing your brakes and how they react is a must. Well,,,,,,,, just take care of your ride no matter what.

    Do you have ABS? I don't want to start the whole pro/con thing, and I am not much of a fan. Not because they aren't a good thing, but too many people think practice isn't needed to stay alive. ABS aren't made to stop you "faster" although they will in some conditions, they are made to keep you in control. SO, that said, practice hard braking wet and dry.

    Gear. You gotta be comfortable and warm. Wet will chill you to a dangerous level in a hurry on a motorcycle. I ride a tour bike and usually have no problems and really don't get that wet, but I also have good rain gear with me 365 days a year. Your choice and you have to decide what works for you.

    Good luck, Don't fear the rain. Stay off the throttle hard. Stay off the brakes hard. BTW, no finger pointing, but,just because you don't think it is too agressive doesn't mean it isn't. Food for thought.

    Smooth, alert and well maintained will get you far in your motorcycle life.

  10. sasha18yug

    sasha18yug Been here awhile

    Aug 18, 2011
    Germany , Berchtesgaden
    Well i read this post and i am happy that i am a member of this board ... nice people and allot of useful information... i started this thread in the hope that i can get some advice and i am going to follow the advice you guys gave me...
    There are some things that may be better where i live cause in Germany road conditions are very good ... in comparison to canada where i lived for 1 year there is no comparison.... i live in a mountain area in germany not far away from the greatest mountain passes in Europe ( i learned that from ride reports from this site...thanks...)...:D
    Until now i was only riding the bike on sunny days and never in rain because i got that fear...and also because of poor gear... now i plan to get a bike in spring ...with ABS...and i am already looking to buy gear this winter before i purchase the bike so i can be fully equipped...
    I have also changed my views about riding a bike ... i want to ride 8 months a year if i can and take some nice trips 1000 km ore more in this new season... also until now i was always riding the 600 cc bike like i stole it...i got over that and now i am trying to get a bike that has a more comfortable position and more torque 1200 cc ( to be exact stelvio 1200 my dream...)...

    Thanks allot for the awesome advice ....

  11. Yakima

    Yakima NC 700

    Mar 28, 2010
    Central Washington State
    Here in Washington State cities seem to like using "rubberized" arrow and lines at intersections. They're thick and slick.
    Very slick.
    Slick in tires AND the soles of your boots. Pay attention to what's underfoot when you're stopping.
  12. MADurstewitz

    MADurstewitz MADMark

    Jan 15, 2009
    Joisey, not far from NYC
    Many times. Wet grass gives you a great sense of when your wheels start to give. Very analogous to that freshly rained-on oil slick at many intersections. Or, "white-lining" getting onto the highway.

    I've ridden across a few frozen lakes as well.
  13. apollomission19

    apollomission19 Adventurer

    Nov 17, 2012
    Took my bike license 6 months ago and got a 650 Transalp and been driving in then, in rain or sun. Done quite a few offroad on wet and mud and just love it.
    It is not the same to ride in wet or dry weather, but you really learn how to drive when it is wet. You need extra attention to listen to the bike whispering it's limits.
    The danger is on those white road marks and metal surfaces, cause they are very very slippery. So, in the rain, I just take my time and learn to enjoy even more the ride.
    Keep it safe.
  14. randyo

    randyo Long timer

    Nov 17, 2007
    Northern NewEngland
    this is the BEST advice I've seen in this thread

    hypothermia is dangerous, worse than drunk driving, your stupid and don't know it cause there is no euphoria, if your shivering, your hypothermic, stop, get off the bike and warm up.

    I don't ride any different in rain than I do in dry, but thats cause I don't go crazy when it dries, the street is not a racetrack, you can ride at legal speeds + with no special consideration assuming you got acceptable tread depth and your bike is in good repair
  15. doxiedog

    doxiedog Been here awhile

    Feb 12, 2007
    Even in a parking lot,at a crawl,watch where put your feet down.
    Rain is the equilizer of pot holes!,
    1/8" deep,or 8'' deep,you won't know.
  16. Aussijussi

    Aussijussi Long timer

    Oct 29, 2009
    Staying dry and therefore warm, as it was mentioned before, has the benfit of keeping you sharp and in focus, so you can fully concentrate on riding, instead of on, how wet and cold you are. The biggest factor in wet conditions is the grip or the lack of.
    I join the posters that claimed the grip being nearly the same as in dry conditions, except on occasions like, oil in the intersections, painted white lines, muddy run off on country roads. Once you find out that the bike won't slide as soon as you lean it, you can relax your death grip on the controls, being really tense, makes riding a deadly affair. The only thing shitting me about riding in the rain is the visibility, i wear glasses and if they don't fog up, the bloody visor will!
  17. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Nov 11, 2005
    Gold Coast
    As far as rain riding goes, the best advice I can give is ride in the rain when you aren't forced to.

    Do the "weekend loop" even if it is raining, sure, slow down, be more careful, but ride. Experience is everything, and riding when there aren't other pressure (like heavy commute traffic) makes it a lot easier to cope with.

    I enjoy it, around here there's much less traffic and far fewer cops when it's raining.

    It is easier if it's a dirt bike or dual sport bike, slides are easier to recover, but it's not life threatening on sports bike, you just have to be smooth.

  18. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

    Aug 18, 2009
    Vienna, Austria
    +1 on that. Love the way the old ticker races when you put your foot down at traffic lights and it just keeps going :p
  19. Forde

    Forde Been here awhile

    Jun 24, 2011
    Northern Ireland
    when its raining

    ride like its not, but remember that it is
  20. TrashCan

    TrashCan Scary Jerry

    Oct 5, 2005
    Louisville, Tn
    After riding in rain and fog...I"ll take the rain.
    BRP, about 400 miles of the round trip was rain, fog or both.

    Enjoyed every minute.