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58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live on the Oregon coast(U.S) and it tends to rain 7-8 months a year. I've only ridden in rain twice in the one month I've had my endorsement for. Everyone(non riders) are telling me how bad it is to ride in the rain etc. I've heard a bunch of things.

Are these people uninformed/exaggerating or is it something I should be legitimately concerned with? At the very least I'll just be commuting 10 minutes to and from work.

I know riding in the rain is MORE dangerous than not(obviously). But is there any precautions I should be taking other than less lean on corners and safer driving in general? Replacing tires or anything like that?

9 Posts
I live in Seattle and I got my endorsement and bike last September, just in time for Winter and lot's of rain.
In addition to riding more carefully, visibility is worse in the rain so i also invested in a nice hi-viz jacket.
I've ridden it most every day through the Winter on my stock IRC tires without a problem. That being said, in the Fall I might upgrade to some Michelin Pilot radials that have been mentioned on this site, from what i've read they're better in the rain than stock.
I have about 2800 miles on my IRC's now and with any luck i should have about 5k or more come Fall... and the rain. Lot's of rain.

58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys.

Good to know, Borky. I assume Seattle is fairly similar to weather here. One of my main problems is my gear is all black and white. My friend was driving behind me one time and told me my boots were the most visible spot on me. I guess they have a retro reflective strip on the back.

1,260 Posts
[long response, hints, experienced scroll on bye :)

theres good rain and bad rain..

if its just starting to rain or has been raining lightly
then its bad rain, which will form another coat
on top of road gunk, spilled engine oil etc,
thus making the surface more, slippery..

if on the other hand its been raining cats and dogs
for hours, then thats good rain, which will wash
the road clean of gunk and oil etc, allowing
better, contact between tyres and road..

if it rains strongly, then stops, or eases up,
that is even better.. even if still wet,
it has been washed clean of oil etc..
this applies especially to traffic lights
and other places where cars stop or slow
and much worse where traffic stops
and slows, dripping oil etc..

when its just started raining or has only been
raining moderately, exercise extreme caution
when approaching traffic lights and when
cornering at such intersections..
this means using engine braking/slowing
on your approach, and allowing plenty
of time and distance to make your approach..

this is one example of why novice riding courses
include slow riding, incl in first gear..
slow riding for anyone riding in or near traffic
including traffic lights etc, is a very, helpful
riding skill which allows approaches etc,
without using brakes over slippery surfaces..

todays tyres are well designed to handle water
on roads, to channel it away from the tyre
in rain grooves, allowing for safe riding
in the wet, given rational caution..

altho there are some tyres specifically designed
for the wet, or with that element as part of
their design.. worth considering if you ride
in the wet often..

after heavy rain, including when it has stopped,
and when roads start to dry out, even tho
this is wonderful for us motorcyclists,
there may also be hazards to watch for..
wet leaves,, knocked from trees and washed
down roads can and do often end up on
corners and over-runs, where they lie
retaining moisture and being slimey
and slippery to ride over...

even paper, newspaper, magazines, cigarette packs
and so on, anything, can be washed onto roads
and be a hazard due to slipperiness..
think stepping on a banana skin..

beqare also of metal plates in the road, such as
sewer etc covers, and road paint, such as
line markings, which may be actual paint
or strips of material adhered to the road..
either way best not ride over them
especially center lines on corners..

if you need to ride over anything,
go straight over it, nice and vertical,
without braking on the metal etc..

general riding around corners etc
such as in suburbia, in the wet,
means similar to approaching lights,
ie, give youself plenty of time to slow
without needing to hit the brakes,
then ride around the corner
more vertical than leaning..

this is how you ride at very slow speed
anyway, such as starting off in parking lots etc..
at low speeds its more a combination of
leaning and steering, with steering more
at slower speeds..

think of how you might 'tip-toe about'
so as to not wake a baby or whatever..
its that sort of idea slow riding in the wet,
translated to the motorcycle..

thing slowly, not just in outright speed,
but in how you use your throttle,
and clutch lever.. slowly, smoothly..

downhill intensifies the dynamics of it,
meaning leaving more braking distance
and generally riding more slowly..
theres one downhill i take regularly
which also has water over-runs
leading into a blind small roundabout,
so approaching that i start slowly
changing down gears well before
the roundabout, and before the water
running over the road, so as to not need
to brake,, rather ending up in second
or even first approaching/into the rdbt..

there are no doubt heaps of rider training type
videos on youtube today, worth checking
as you have asked the question..

in very heavy rain there will be some distortion
of potential vision, even just by the volume of
water in the air in front of you..
even with windscreen wipers, many car drivers
have difficulty adapting to heavy rain, and may
suddenly hit the brakes or stop for no apparent
reason.. for us too there is a general vision
reduction, which means extra caution..

if its really, pouring down, and youre not experienced
in heavy rain, best to take your time coming to a stop
somewhere out of the way, preferably with cover,
and waiting for a better opportunity..

this applies in shopping areas or on highways
in very strong downpours or weather events..
when cars slow right down on freeways etc,
its time to be extra cautions of them
and especially those behind you..

stopping imo is not the best option either
due to your poor visibility in the rain
thus cars stopping or wandering away from
their road spaces, which may not see you
stopped, not expect it, and run into you..

when going out in the rain make sure your visor
is completely clean.. light wash with soapy warm
water should get dirt and grease off it..

if you intend riding in rain then one good option
is a full rain suit.. there are various types
but even a cheap one is better than none..
mine is a dririder [australian] which does the job,
with zips and velcro.. worthwhile investment..

ditto for boots and gloves, which today come in
waterproof, semi-waterproof and perforated..
and there are plastic boot covers and mits..

even with rainsuit and helmet your neck
will still be exposed, and also to the cold,
where a good scarf is easy and helps..
[also in the cold, without rain]

there are a few hints from an all weather motorcyclist..
use your common sense tho, and tailor your riding
for your conditions and priorities..

this is as much about attitude as technique..
in a few words, as member derek said;
slow down and take it easy..

Premium Member
5,460 Posts
Shisoshin has pretty much covered it all but I'd just like to add about the difference in grip between cold tires and warm tires. This applies in the dry as well. It takes a good 10 minutes or so of riding before the tires reach their operating temperature and the compound softens and becomes more 'sticky'. Tyre temperature will be relative to the air and road temperature on any given day tho. Have fun out there.
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