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post #1 of 21 Old Sep 9th, 2010, 5:41 pm Thread Starter
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Riding in the Rain

Hi,
Where does the time go? My last "big" ride was fleeing Katrina in an 18 hr marathon.
Ride to work everyday but if it looks like rain I keep the bike parked. So now I'm looking at a ride and haven't ridden in wet weather in 5 yrs. Any tips , hints, refreshhers? Thanks all.
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post #2 of 21 Old Sep 9th, 2010, 6:49 pm
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Re: Riding in the Rain

They say to avoid the lines and the center of the lane as that's where the oil and trans fluids collect and the wet brings then out of the pavement.
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post #3 of 21 Old Sep 9th, 2010, 10:55 pm
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Re: Riding in the Rain

The adjustable windscreen is the best invention since sliced bread. During heavier rains, I set it so that the screen edge is just level with my eyes.

That way, I just duck behind most of the time and ever so often pup up for a better view above the edge.

Otherwise, no specific suggestions. The LT offers wonderful protection from the elements, but you still need some rain gear.

In terms of riding: the advice mentioned above, regarding oils coming up in the first moments of rain, is very valid.

Beyond that, just give yourself a bit more maneuvering room and breathing space. Your braking distance and traction will suffer - but: you will be surpised how much of it you still retain. It's counter-intuitive, but motorcycle tires displace water very well and you can brake and turn almost as well as in dry (initial moments notwithstanding).

I often find myself riding as fast if not faster than cars in rain.

Bottom line: riding in rain is not much different from riding in dry. Just take it a bit easier. No need for apprehension, in any case.

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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post #4 of 21 Old Sep 10th, 2010, 5:01 am
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Re: Riding in the Rain

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker
The adjustable windscreen is the best invention since sliced bread. During heavier rains, I set it so that the screen edge is just level with my eyes. ...
I wish I could get the screen to just below my eye level! At 6'6" I sit virtually with my whole head in the wind/rain. A tad annoying & noisy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker
... In terms of riding: the advice mentioned above, regarding oils coming up in the first moments of rain, is very valid.

Beyond that, just give yourself a bit more maneuvering room and breathing space. Your braking distance and traction will suffer - but: you will be surpised how much of it you still retain. ...
I certainly agree with the comment about oil on the road, but not about the timing. I am more careful for the first couple of days of rain after a dry spell. After that most of the old crud should have been washed away.

I would say ride more carefully, be aware of other road users, and try to be able stop within the distance you can see ahead. i.e. if you have very low visibility (heavy rain) doing 100 mph (160 kmph) is a good way to commit suicide. All it takes is for an accident ahead and cannot stop in time! Certainly, if you have them take a spare set of gloves - in case the ones get wet.

On Wednesday I had a meeting and had to travel 1 hour (dry time) in torrential rain - it was like trying to ride into a power washer! It took me 5-10 minutes longer than necessary, mainly because of all the bends when you come off the motorway/ motorway junctions. Even though I was on an RT and had a jacket with Gortex - I resembled more a drowned rat than a "suit."

I concur with rdwalker about not needing apprehension and taking it a bit easier.

The cages will still try to kill you if they can (and now they have an excuse!)

Hop it goes smoothly.
Best regards
Sleuth

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post #5 of 21 Old Sep 10th, 2010, 5:32 am
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Re: Riding in the Rain

Watch out for tar snakes. You know where road maintenance crews fill crack in the road with tar.

They do that all the time up here in Michigan and many other parts of the country.

Once a little bit of water gets on them, they get slippery.

Chuck
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post #6 of 21 Old Sep 10th, 2010, 8:37 am
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Re: Riding in the Rain

In addition to the tar snakes and painted lines, metal also has its dangers. Manhole covers and the metal expansion plates on bridges and gaps in the pavement can be real slick when wet. But, if you know where they are, such as coming to a bridge or an elevated off ramp, you can be prepared.

My biggest concern is visibility to other motorists. If they say they can't see you on a clear day, wait until it rains. For some reason they don't realize that some of us actually ride in the rain. I'm still trying to figure out why a lot of rain wear manufacturers still offer riding suits in grey or black. HiViz works!

Finally, watch out for the slipstream behind oncoming vehicles. Even in a light drizzle, the mist and turbulence behind an oncoming 18-wheeler can bring your range of vision down to zero.

Not to hijack the thread, but does anyone have any suggestions on how to reduce the apprehension while riding in the rain? I understand my tires will grip, etc. etc. But there's still a part of me that says, "You're going down." Maybe I should get a feather like Dumbo and believe that I can fly. Or, is there a magic mantra?

Take care,
Chris

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post #7 of 21 Old Sep 10th, 2010, 8:39 am
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Re: Riding in the Rain

Quote:
Originally Posted by gutsandglory
Hi,
Where does the time go? My last "big" ride was fleeing Katrina in an 18 hr marathon.
Ride to work everyday but if it looks like rain I keep the bike parked. So now I'm looking at a ride and haven't ridden in wet weather in 5 yrs. Any tips , hints, refreshhers? Thanks all.
A good place to start is to get a copy of "Proficient Motorcycling" by David L. Hough. There is a section about riding in the rain, with some of the warnings above, including road paint and tar snakes. He also mentions railroad tracks and the slippery wood boards that often surround them.

Pay attention to the tread wear on your tires and proper tire pressure. Modern, well-maintained tires grip well on wet concrete and asphalt.

If you are going to do a lot of riding in the rain, consider getting waterproof riding gear. Many of my long distance riding friends wear Aerostich gear, and most, but not all, swear that it keeps the water out completely. The advantage is that you do not have to stop to put on special rain gear.

If you are concerned about being caught in the rain on rare occasions, then you might consider buying Froggs Toggs - outer jacket and pants in a small stuff bag. I live and ride in Southern California where it doesn't rain too often. Froggs Toggs makes motorcycle-specific versions of their gear - with reflectorized piping and lower pants zippers so they can go on over your boots without taking them off.

My Froggs Toggs have kept me dry many a time on rides all over the country. They fit over my regular gear. Obviously you have to put them on BEFORE the rain starts, and I have been caught once or twice in an unexpected downpour trying to get my rain gear on before everything gets completely soaked.

There are no waterproof gloves, even the ones that have Gore Tex or are specifically labelled "waterproof". They will eventually soak through, and some types of gloves take forever to dry. I have been told that the weird three-finger Aerostich overgloves are about the best you can find.

Some of the textile gloves that I own become impossible to put on once they are soaked through. The liners get clammy and stick to your skin as you try to insert your fingers. No amount of force will overcome the stickiness as you try to put them on. The fix is to have a pair of pure silk glove liners handy. Put them on first, then insert your hand in the wet glove. With the silk liners on, your hand will slide right in. Silk liners are cheap and easy to find. I always keep a pair in the glove box on my K1200GT, where they can add an extra layer of warmth when needed, even when wet. I can't tell you how many times I have loaned them to a friend's pillion when their hands got cold. (Come to think of it, I should buy an extra pair or two to have around.)

When your hands are wet, having heated grips and wind deflectors are a big help. I don't have the wind deflectors, but have ridden in several downpours for long hours in 40 degree weather. Eventually my gloves soaked through, and the heated grips made all the difference.

Maintaining the waterproofness in your gloves (whatever waterproofness you can get from them) and your other gear requires cleaning them regularly. The build up of perspiration, skin oils, lotions/soap, and grime prevent Gore Tex and similar linings from doing their jobs. You will need to buy special cleaners and restorative treatments (such as Nikwax) and use them periodically.

Give your helmet a look too. Check the seal between your faceshield and helmet - major leaks can be distracting. You will also have to deal with fogging. If fogging is a serious issue, consider getting a Pinlock version of your faceshield.

'Hope this helps.
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post #8 of 21 Old Sep 10th, 2010, 9:01 am
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Re: Riding in the Rain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleuth

I wish I could get the screen to just below my eye level! At 6'6" I sit virtually with my whole head in the wind/rain. A tad annoying & noisy!
Hey Sleuth,

By chance do you have the "low windshield"? I'm 6'5" and just rode in light rain Wednesday and with the windshield fully up, I'm looking through plastic.

My windshield measures about 24" in the middle.

I may be "leg-blessed" and you "torso-blessed".

Joe

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post #9 of 21 Old Sep 10th, 2010, 9:10 am
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Re: Riding in the Rain

Gear is the first part of this. If you are dry that takes a big part out of the equation.

Tracus and I have run a BUNCH or rain together and I don't mean a little shower.

All the safety cautions apply. Road surfaces and types, visibility, shorter stopping distance, longer following distance, and I always use less lean angle. .

One thing I have learned is moving the windshield to blow the rain off my visor of my helmet works very well, for 15-30 seconds.

I also have that voice that says I am going down, but just think it is my self preservation whispering in my ear.

If you ride you are gonna find yourself getting wet sometime. Just don't skits out and if you cant handle it get off the road for some time off the bike and wait the storm out. Sometimes however you have no choice and must push on, just relax, slow down, and don't white knuckle the grips.

Lee
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post #10 of 21 Old Sep 10th, 2010, 11:52 am
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Wink Re: Riding in the Rain

Well here is my .02 for rain riding:
1. Keep a rain suit on the bike
2. Keep your riding gear as water proof as possible(Nikwax etc.)
3. After the rain has a chance to clear the oil off the center of the lane(for example 30 minutes), ride there
4. I only ride in the troughs when I can follow a vehicle that is riding there and I can see wet pavement instead of glassed over pavement.
5. Slow down. I will do the 55 in rain instead of 65.
I have about 140,000 BMW miles since 12/03 and this has worked so far.

Benton Blalock
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post #11 of 21 Old Sep 10th, 2010, 3:16 pm
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Re: Riding in the Rain

All good advice above. Chris, on the "apprehension" aspect. leave it be, don't get complacent.
I might add, I love my Avon Storms, they stick good.

Bill
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post #12 of 21 Old Sep 10th, 2010, 5:48 pm
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Re: Riding in the Rain

I agree with most of the things already mentioned (wet road hazards, increased following distances, dry gear, etc.) but my two major emphasis items are: lack of visibility and being smooth.

The rain and spray not only limit your visibility but also make you harder to see. I'm not an overly cautious rider, but I get a lot more conservative in the rain.

As an ex road racer, I used to dread the rain, but I learned that if you worked on staying really smooth with shifts, braking, and throttle control, you can still go pretty fast in the rain. You just can't do things abruptly or be heavy handed in your approach to things.
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post #13 of 21 Old Sep 15th, 2010, 9:58 pm
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Re: Riding in the Rain

There is another thread about staying dry, so I won't repeat what I said except for looking through the windshield.

I don't.

I ride with a full face helmet and find that the rain just disappears on the faceplate and I can see much better with the windshield almost all the way down. I don't put anything on it and just keep it clean.

Did a ride last Saturday for about 7 hours in the rain and stayed dry except for my hands.

Dano
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post #14 of 21 Old Sep 15th, 2010, 10:10 pm
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Re: Riding in the Rain

I would add a specific caution regarding "stop bars". Some places paint them; more and more frequently they are a relatively thick "pad" - maybe 1/8" thick or more - that road crews place over fresh asphalt. They last much longer than paint, and IMO they are THE slipperiest thing I've experienced in the rain. Stop well before the stop bar, putting your feet on asphalt, not the white line.

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post #15 of 21 Old Sep 17th, 2010, 4:41 am
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Re: Riding in the Rain

Quote:
Originally Posted by joegottberg
Hey Sleuth,

By chance do you have the "low windshield"? I'm 6'5" and just rode in light rain Wednesday and with the windshield fully up, I'm looking through plastic.

My windshield measures about 24" in the middle.

I may be "leg-blessed" and you "torso-blessed".

Joe

I think I am proportionate in size, unfortunately the 2010 model RT which I have does not have the option of a high screen. I have an inside leg of 36" which makes it rather hard to find clothing.

Sorry for the delay in responding.

Best regards
Sleuth

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post #16 of 21 Old Sep 22nd, 2010, 2:39 pm
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Re: Riding in the Rain

Quote:
Originally Posted by XMagnaRider
... Some of the textile gloves that I own become impossible to put on once they are soaked through. The liners get clammy and stick to your skin as you try to insert your fingers. No amount of force will overcome the stickiness as you try to put them on. The fix is to have a pair of pure silk glove liners handy. Put them on first, then insert your hand in the wet glove. ..
Hey, xmagnaRider, your's is a suggestion of the century!

I have been using silk liners as long as I care to remember, but always to guard against cold. It never dawned on me to use them in the wet.

I just did a long distance ride in the rain (up James Bay Road) and, after reading your post, had two sets of liners with me. These worked great! I did not have to struggle with soggy gloves any more!

Importantly, since taking the gloves off was not a big deal now, I did not hesitate to stop and take a lot of pictures during the trip. Before, I just dreaded having to fight my gloves each time I used the camera.

Thanks!

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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Last edited by rdwalker; Sep 22nd, 2010 at 2:50 pm.
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post #17 of 21 Old Sep 22nd, 2010, 11:04 pm
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Re: Riding in the Rain

Where can you get the silk liners?

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post #18 of 21 Old Sep 23rd, 2010, 6:02 am
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Re: Riding in the Rain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razmataz
Where can you get the silk liners?
I have seen them in many motorcycle shops. Any source will do. Make sure they are 100% silk. I bought mine at Chaparral Motorsports, but only because I live close to their retail store. http://www.chaparral-racing.com/Prod.../03-83330.aspx

(Off topic: If you come to Southern California and want to see a motorcycle accessories store that dwarfs a large Walmart, plan a visit to Chaparral.)
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post #19 of 21 Old Sep 23rd, 2010, 2:12 pm
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Re: Riding in the Rain

This is where I got mine. I also use their balaclava.

http://www.wintersilks.com/viewprodu...k+glove+liners

Terry
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post #20 of 21 Old Sep 23rd, 2010, 9:27 pm
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Re: Riding in the Rain

+1 on Wintersilks.

Also, try a better ski store or a better outdoor store like Campmor.

I have a set from Wintersilks (in picture below) and one from BMW (bought in dealership).


Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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Last edited by rdwalker; Sep 23rd, 2010 at 9:34 pm.
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post #21 of 21 Old Sep 23rd, 2010, 10:53 pm
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Re: Riding in the Rain

Quote:
Originally Posted by XMagnaRider
(Off topic: If you come to Southern California and want to see a motorcycle accessories store that dwarfs a large Walmart, plan a visit to Chaparral.)
Thanks for the info, and I'll put Chaparral on my bucket list

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