Tips for Riding a Motorcycle in the Rain

riding a motorcycle in rain

You can't let the rain keep you from riding your favorite bike. 

 

Everything starts with rubber.

 

Tires are an accessory that are considered by many bike owners to just be rotating pieces of rubber. But in fact, they are more important for riding in different weather conditions. It is a combination of various chemical components with a specific tire pattern design, created by a manufacturer for certain operating conditions and tech specifications of bikes.

 

If there are no specific tire requirements, e.g. high cross-country ability or grip, experts recommend buying rubber that provides control and stability on wet roads. Michelin Road series is a good example, though Pirelli, Bridgestone, Metzeler, and Avon also have good tire models.

 

According to this website, riding style and motorcycle class affect the type of tires, as well as their technical and operational requirements. For example, cruising, heavy tourist models are not "pretentious" to tire models. These are often not very good examples. They are chosen by bikers who prefer to travel in sunny weather, paying more attention to the technical condition of the bike rather than a style of riding. This trend is strong in the U.S., although in recent years, the flagship cruising class motorcycles, Harley and Indian, have switched to the European market.

 

No matter what type of bike is chosen, the empirical rule of a professional is to choose the best tires for wet weather which he can afford. This rule is worth adhering to, even if you have to sacrifice wear resistance or practicality while riding on dry asphalt.

Proper Equipment

 

Once the tire issue is resolved, a suitable model is selected for "the water," you should get your body ready for a ride, i.e. buy decent equipment for the rain. To get wet on a motorcycle means to freeze fast and put your health in danger. When people are cold, their physical and mental abilities decrease.

 

There are 2 types of equipment for rain: what a biker wears when he thinks it can rain, and what really saves him from the rain. Waterproof textiles and leather - what to choose? Experience has shown that the first material does not save from moisture.

 

Oxford Montreal 3.0 jacket and Montreal 2.0 trousers are rain resistant. They are comfortable and suitable for everyday use and can be relied upon. They will not really let the water flow through the entire journey. In fact, a high-quality kit such as the Aerostich Roadcrafter R-3 can withstand the rain for quite some time, but will eventually get wet too if you travel in the rain all day.

 

For bad weather conditions Old Certain School Rain Definite equipment is the best. This is an ugly, flexible substance that is superimposed on ordinary equipment and is waterproof. It does not provide natural ventilation, does not look cool, but effectively protects against moisture. Then there are Dens-Dust and D-Custa jackets which may be the perfect equipment you need to be well prepared for any weather conditions.

Coffee and Cupcakes are Your Friends

 

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Weather should not be regarded as an obstacle that you have to overcome at all costs. Competing with the weather is not always a good idea. In some cases, the best solution is to stop.

 

If your trip is not through some wilderness, it is best to stop by the nearest coffee shop as soon as the rain begins. This is due to the fact that the remains of oil products and mud when wet and mixed on the road surface will turn it into a skating rink. In this case, it is better to have a cup (or two) of coffee, something else and give the rain 30 minutes or so to wash away all the dangerous things from the road. But short-term rain won't be able to cause a threat, so it's worth navigating by weather conditions.

 

The need to seek shelter is particularly relevant if a long trip is planned. Not even the best outfit gives a 100% guarantee of rain protection. Here, the most appropriate solution is to stop for heating, drying, and rest - both physical and moral.

Avoid Rainbow Puddles

 

Rain does not wash off all oil and dirt from the asphalt, so you need to be careful on the road. A biker should do everything possible to avoid bright rainbow puddles that appear at roundabouts. But do not lean abruptly and randomly to bypass them. If the "oil patch" is not noticed at a sufficient distance, you don't have to panic and brake to make a controlled maneuver. The right solution is to drive through such a puddle, maintaining control and balance.

 

Professionals often ride through rainbow road parts at high speed, creating a lot of splashes, but it is not always safe. The best way out is to pass such "oil" spots at cruising speed with full control over the situation. The same applies to hatches, bridge compensators, railroad tracks, road markings, pedestrian crossings, and other dangerous places that become slippery when wet. They should be avoided when it rains and can be safely crossed in dry weather.

 

Physical Skills

 

Experts recommend attending off-road motorcycle management training even if a biker prefers to ride on smooth asphalt. This will help to become more confident and stay calm in various road situations.

 

One of the main points of such training courses is to study the correct movement of the body, shifting the center of gravity. Most often, the "right place" is closer to the ground. This can be as easy as moving the body closer to the tank or moving the weight to the footpegs. However, you should not change your style drastically, so that it does not negatively affect the comfort of your ride.

 

In general, a downpour is not the best situation to try something new on the move. You just need to remember how and where to position the body - it will help in maneuvering. The most important thing is not to be too stressed or relaxed. Nerves can make you tense, but you can't let them dominate.

Attention, Vigilance, Caution

 

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Every effort should be made to avoid unstable movements and sudden stops. The key to achieving this is to focus on the road. It is important to make every effort to foresee various challenges and think of ways to deal with them. In other words, bikers should ride.

 

Poor visibility that is typical of driving in the rain makes it difficult to scan the road, so you need to slow down. You should not ride faster than you can react. The advice has a dual benefit of increasing chances to see an obstacle and avoid being blinded by the water from the wheels of cars ahead.

Dry Road Sections

 

Motorcycles "feel" more confident on dry asphalt, so you should aim to ride on it. When it stops raining, heavy traffic creates dry zones in the area where tires come into contact with the road or in the middle of the driveway. The last option is the result of air movement by trucks.

 

However, it should be noted that trailer trucks and long vehicles produce a lot of water dust, so you should not drive too close to them. Be especially careful when passing a large truck - spraying from giant wheels blinds.

 

Staying Calm

 

One of the biggest problems that bikers face is the presence of other drivers that often become less observant and more unpredictable when driving in the rain. In Southern California, rain is a real disaster, forcing people to drive as if they were trapped in a car swarming with hornets and vipers. These can also be bugs, moose, deers, frogs, various small animals crossing the road and, of course, bugs.

 

You should not pay attention to people, their mistakes, try to talk to them about it. The result is a waste of time and mental energy which will have a negative impact on concentration during further movement.

 

The reason people behave like this on the road when it rains is that the driver’s gaze shifts to the control panel. A driver focuses on finding the wiper switch, trying to find out why something isn't working, searching for a lighter or a radio station to check the weather forecast or being distracted by fatigue, shoulder girdle tension, etc. When a driver focuses on other people's mistakes, he starts to make them too. The solution is to focus on the road.

 

There's a point in watching other road users, not getting angry about their mistakes, but reacting to them in time. This is a guarantee of a safe and comfortable bike ride on wet asphalt.