so who rides in the rain on pavement & what can you teach me?

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

  1. Mollygrubber

    Mollygrubber Eschew obfuscation

    Feb 2, 2010
    Vancouver, BC
    +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.
  2. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

    Dec 1, 2005
    Pacific NorthWet, Napa Valley North
    Smoother is always better. The smoother your are, the more you can get away with, wet or dry.
  3. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Oct 25, 2004
    India Wharf summers - Boulders winters
    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.
  4. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

    Apr 1, 2011
    once you're comfortable in the rain, you can move onto riding in the snow.

    that's when the real fun starts. :evil :ricky
  5. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

    Nov 28, 2006
    By the Great Lakes
    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.:freaky
  6. KX50002

    KX50002 NooB, my ass

    Mar 18, 2012
    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.
  7. genespleen

    genespleen Been here awhile

    Feb 5, 2010
    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??!!"
  8. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

    Apr 16, 2007
    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.
  9. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

    Jan 26, 2004
    Western Mass
    Hazard lights? What hazard lights? We don't all ride BMWs.
  10. opmike

    opmike Choosing to be here.

    Sep 11, 2011
    Southeast, US
    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.
  11. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Brownie

    Oct 27, 2006
    Anchorage, Alaska
    + million on staying off shiny things, specially the traffic paint. DO NOT stop on the those big painted arrows on the road.
  12. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

    Sep 26, 2007
    Annapolis Maryland

    I agree with that riding in the rain 90% of the time you've got more traction than you think you should, but sometimes you've got allot less than you did 5 feet ago and if it's just started raining pay lots of care approaching stop lights and intersections until it's had time to wash some some of the oil away.
  13. KX50002

    KX50002 NooB, my ass

    Mar 18, 2012
  14. Contevita

    Contevita Cigar Adventurer

    Oct 25, 2011
    Gulfport, MS, USA
    All good advice noted above.

    Don't forget tires, good tires make a huge difference too.
  15. PhilB

    PhilB Long timer

    Sep 8, 2012
    New Hampshire
    Lots of good advice here. In addition, though, I'd like to say that it helps to relax and not get too uptight about it all. Riding in the rain takes a little practice and technique adjustment (much like carrying a passenger does), but it's not ridiculously dangerous.

  16. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Nov 11, 2005
    Gold Coast
    I ride pretty much every day, rain or not.

    With modern tires traction is pretty good generally, yes I slow down, yes I'm gentle on the throttle and brakes, but even slick spots aren't an automatic crash, just stay balanced and don't let the bike lie down.

    Metal is deadly. Painted lines, meh, NOTHING on a wet man-hole cover or railway lines.

    The bike probably stops pretty good, the vehicle behind you , probably not so good. Leave more space - being hit from behind probably hurts less than being squished between two cars and secondly if you hear the dreaded "screech" from behind it'll give you more room to do a high speed lane split.

  17. BanjoBoy

    BanjoBoy I like pussy

    Mar 18, 2009
    Northern CA
    I like to "soften" up my suspension. I'll take sum pre-load, compression, 'n rebound out to lower the bike, and make it more forgiving.
    Make sure you have sum tread on yer Tyres.
    Also RELAX! It can be hard when you're wet & cold, 'n yer tires are slip'in, but you gotta relax and let the bike do it's thang.
  18. STUFF2C

    STUFF2C We Ain't Left Yet!!

    Aug 12, 2004
    Has anyone ever hydroplaned on a MC? :eek1

    I've ridden awful fast in A LOT of "REAL" heavy rain (referred to as Toad Stranglers here in Floriduh) and I don't think I have ever felt that happen.
  19. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

    Aug 22, 2012
    Orlando Fl

    I live by that.. and do it almost daily!
  20. DR Donk

    DR Donk Been here awhile

    Jul 30, 2009
    Western Michigan
    Watch out for wet leaves, especially when cornering but even when braking in a straight line.............I kinda forgot about that last night. :shog