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i have ridden a dakar F650 for two years and this winter purchased a 2000 K1200LT - when recently returning on a 3 hour trip from new jersey on I-78 i encountered heavy wind and medium rain - i had experienced some nasty wind gusts with the 650, but had not ridden in rain - any advice on how to know how much traction i have turning in the rain (besides the hard way of falling down)? - i probably could have taken the turns a bit quicker, but was scared - as for being even more scared, i was hoping the heavy 1200 would not get blown around like the 650 - although it was better, it was still frightening - any suggestions to speed my comfort with either of these weather conditions?
 

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At the risk of making you cocky, here goes nothing. ;)

Most bikes have WAY more traction in the rain than riders give them credit. The LT is especially amazing because of it's weight. The only time I ride conservatively in the rain is when it first starts raining. Once the roads are good and soaked (about 30 minutes later), I go back to riding at my normal pace.

I have been told that motorcycle tires maintain 80% of their traction in the rain. I buy that. I've ridden my LT, and now my current GT pretty hard in the rain and have yet to feel them slip. My Ninja was a little squirrelly in the rain at times. You do have to watch out for tar-snakes in the road. Those can get VERY slick. The same goes with white lines . . . especially the ones at cross walks. Never stop on them, or stop where you have to try to plant your feet on them. That's a real recipe for disaster. :(

Hope this helps. Oh . . . almost forgot. Whether riding in high winds or rain, the worst thing you can do is tense up or tighten up. Try to stay calm and ride. You'll be amazed at how well the LT handles the wet. :)
 

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Last year I rode from Toronto to the keys over Labor day week end and straight into tropical storm Ernesto. As the cars got off the road I could not see well enough to slow down and get off the road so I kept pace with a truck at about 60, and as the gusts hit leaned into them and followed his tracks to stay out of the deep water. Exciting but not a problem. With good tires I have not been overly concerned in rain.
In PA and on twisties I don't ride as aggressive as on dry but again with good tires I maintain acceptal speeds in the heaviest rains. Don't do any sudden moves and stops and you should be ok.

Ride as if you stole it.
 

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windy LT

vasculardoctor said:
i have ridden a dakar F650 for two years and this winter purchased a 2000 K1200LT - when recently returning on a 3 hour trip from new jersey on I-78 i encountered heavy wind and medium rain - i had experienced some nasty wind gusts with the 650, but had not ridden in rain - any advice on how to know how much traction i have turning in the rain (besides the hard way of falling down)? - i probably could have taken the turns a bit quicker, but was scared - as for being even more scared, i was hoping the heavy 1200 would not get blown around like the 650 - although it was better, it was still frightening - any suggestions to speed my comfort with either of these weather conditions?
scared..scared you say??
Ya that was me the day I bought my LT in March, nasty storms south of Des moines and that is where I was headed. 40+mph gusts along with getting passed by semi's with the dead wind between us really made the ol' bung pucker!!....But like someone posted, the worse thing you can do is get all tenced up.

The wife says any stronger winds than 20mph and shes staying home, but then again shes had a brain tumor and only has right side balance so twistys are really out of the question for me when shes on :mad:.

Like Dr. Max said..take it easy, play it safe & be careful..
 

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Ya gotta "float the boat"... when in the rain.. slowing down is "prudent"... but not so much you get passed by lots of cars... usually a good idea to slow just before a turn a bit more than usual and "set up" for the curve... then roll through.

I concur with Joe.. about 80% is right.. I use the 50/75 rule... I expect 75% on the straights and 50 on the curves... sure, there may be "more", butt.....

As for wind.. it's usually more gusty during rain.. add that to reduced traction and you're going to notice a difference.

Every bike, road, rain, rider will be different. No way to 'quantify' here. Here's a good "Rule of Thumb". Go on "known" remote roads when dry and wet. Compare the bike's "feel". That "difference" will be a 'starting point' for your bike/style. LEARN what the "contact patch" feels like... and pay attention to it... because when we ride, it isn't just the bike we are managing, it is the AVAILABLE TRACTION.

No matter what, remember, the bike GOES where you are LOOKING. The tendency in poor traction/riding conditions is to look closer to the bike.. that's bad. It is even more important at these times to keep your "head" up and out... and FEEL the bike... let it FLOAT like others have mentioned...
 

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Loose arms

One of the best things you can do is get use to riding with your arms relaxed. This will help a lot when it comes to wind. When you leave your arms relaxed it alows your body to move with changes in the wind but reduces the effect of that movement being transfered to the bike through your arms.
 

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Joe... I respect folks who can "ride" like that .. especially in traffic!

I mean, if that guy goes down, with all the protection and no other traffic in the opposite direction..and course safety gear like hay bales, onsite EMS... and I must mention unlimited manufacturer funding, replacement motorcycles, etc... he'll probably be back in the race in a couple of hours.

For me, that's hanging it out just a weee bit too much... Y'all go ahead tho... I'll bring along the GPS, Cell phone, camera and "prayer rug".. =P

Of course you KNOW I'm jealous.... I'll go to Reconciliation for that today.

messenger13 said:
If a picture speaks a thousand words . . . well . . . here ya go!
 

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cfell said:
Joe... I respect folks who can "ride" like that .. especially in traffic!
I'm not recommending that any of us ride like that in the rain. But I do believe that the pic shows just what a bike is capable of in the pouring rain. A heck of a lot more than one would think! And it's that confidence that helps us just relax, and trust in those tires to get us where we want to go. Wet, or dry. :)

And quit acting so innocent!!! I rode with you in the rain. You're a madman, just like I am!!! :D So there! :p The cat's OUT!!!
 

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messenger13 said:
I'm not recommending that any of us ride like that in the rain. But I do believe that the pic shows just what a bike is capable of in the pouring rain. A heck of a lot more than one would think! And it's that confidence that helps us just relax, and trust in those tires to get us where we want to go. Wet, or dry. :)

And quit acting so innocent!!! I rode with you in the rain. You're a madman, just like I am!!! :D So there! :p The cat's OUT!!!
Here kitty, kitty.... hehehe... yeah, and I think we found that, at least my LT had it's limitations...
 

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rain soaked roads

With all of these answers I pretty much concur. The only exception is, having to panic stop in the rain.

Most modern bikes have such great and strong brakes and are lovely on dry pavement. However, wet asphalt is another story.

Of course the ABS helps, but if conditions are right, you may not be able to panic stop on a wet road.

If it's wet...slow down. :D
 

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I've been riding for 35 years and have only ridden in the rain 3x - that's 3x too much - and I live in the Pacific Northwet... and average 10K/yr on the bike. It's not the bike or traction, it's that I'm not a duck, and prefer to stay dry...

That said, I've never ridden, nor have an interest in riding east of the Rockies... you folks have really crummy weather over there... fully justifies riding in a cage...
 

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messenger13 said:
If a picture speaks a thousand words . . . well . . . here ya go!




Joe, the front tire is not even touching the ground :eek: We are talking no traction, scary!!!! I have to go and change :histerica
 

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Just got back from a trip into Utah and had wind and rain. No problem. Rain is a pain becasue of visibility/traffic more than traction. You still have people talking on the cells and now they can't see out the mirrows and side windows so you have to be more alert and deal with it. I also found that guys like me with short arms will tend to lock your arms without knowing it and then when a gust hits your shoulder it is transmitted right to the bar. When I keep my arms bent and loose the bike is so much easier in the wind. I also find that if I use my winglets under the mirrows it helps like an airplane with lift. I put out the wing at a 90 degree angle to the bike on the windward side and the other is flush to the bike, this really helped keep the bike on track in a constant sidewind (had lots of time to experiment with this on this last trip).
 

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All good suggestions.
Remember lighten up on your arms and hands and tighten up with your knees. Things will go smoother.
 

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Seems to work

dmatson said:
I also found that guys like me with short arms will tend to lock your arms without knowing it and then when a gust hits your shoulder it is transmitted right to the bar. When I keep my arms bent and loose the bike is so much easier in the wind. I also find that if I use my winglets under the mirrows it helps like an airplane with lift. I put out the wing at a 90 degree angle to the bike on the windward side and the other is flush to the bike, this really helped keep the bike on track in a constant sidewind (had lots of time to experiment with this on this last trip).
OK, yesterday the windy city (Chicago) had constant 25-35 mph winds with gusts to 50 mph. After reading the above wisdom I rode home from work with the windward side wing at a 90 degree angle and really focused on relaxing my arms/hands. What a smooth ride. I felt the wind rock "Oh, Kay" more at the stop lights then I did at 70 mph on the slab.
Thanks for the tip. I'm a less apprehensive rider having experienced the relaxed advantage.
Jer
 

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Don't forget hydroplain

All the comments are on the spot. I get the privilege of riding in the rain a lot down here on the Gulf Coast. One thing to add is look out for hydroplaining. Stay relaxed through standing water puddles on the highway at speed and stay off the brakes if at all possible when crossing them. Even good tires with a lot of groove are going to skim along the surface and loose contact with the pavement. I also will not use cruise control in the rain for the same reason.
 
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