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15 Tips For Riding A Motorcycle In The Rain

In all the years that I have been riding a motorcycle, I can honestly not remember one biker who loves riding in the rain. I do not think that there’s anyone out there who, when looking out the window and seeing a downpour, will say “ohhh great, it’s raining, let’s go for a bike ride”.

However I do know a lot of bikers who flatly refuse to go out riding when it rains. Personally, I think that is a mistake. Rain is nothing but water, and as long as a) it’s not raining very hard, b) falling horizontally (in other words a strong wind) and c) you wear the proper clothing, then the ride will be fine.

There are a lot of things to take into account when riding a motorcycle in the rain, but one of the most important ones is that you have to dress appropriately. Having your normal jacket and trousers might not be enough. If there’s a light drizzle, it probably will not be a problem, but when there’s consistent rain, water (usually cold) will seep through your clothes onto your body, and that is not fun! Getting wet, or at least humid, when riding is distracting and very uncomfortable. It’s also when you will get a cold, or worse.

So whatever you do, make sure the clothing, jacket, trousers and boot covers) you use during a rain ride is rain proof.

This is the most important tip for riding in the rain, all other tips are more or less common sense. The clothing doesn’t need to be a diver’s suit you use for deep sea diving, but it needs to keep the water away.

  1. Wear proper rain gear, preferably Gore-Tex or equivalent. It needs to be able to breath but still not allow water to creep in. Make sure your helmet covers your face, since rain above 30 mph is going to hurt you.
  2. Make sure your tires are correct for riding in the rain, in other words, do not go out riding in the rain with slick tires.
  3. Watch the road. What used to be kind-of slippery is now very slippery. White lines on the roads will have become ice rinks, metal plates/manholes are super dangerous, avoid them like the plague.
  4. Watch out for puddles. Yes, it can be fun riding through one, but since the water hides the surface you just don’t know what you are riding into. Can the puddle in fact be a 3 feet deep hole? Do you want to find out the hard way?
  5. When riding and you see a colored rainbow on the ground, watch it. It’s got nothing to do with the gay movement, chances are it’s oil.
  6. When rain first starts after many days of dry weather, it’s when it’s the most dangerous since there’s a lot of oil and dirt on the road. Wait an hour or two for the rain to wash away the oil/dirt before riding since the road surfaces are at their slipperiest. If it’s just drizzle, then the road will remain slippery.
  7. Railway crossing are to be taken as straight as possible. Remember the railway tracks are metal, and wet metal is slippery. Straighten your bike.
  8. When you need to brake, apply more rear brake than normal. If your front wheel starts sliding you’re done for, if your rear wheel slides you can easily correct.
  9. Do not brake strongly if possible.Brake gently. If you need to urgently apply your brakes, pump them so that you do not start aquaplaning.
  10. Give yourself more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Braking distances are much longer in the rain.
  11. Relax when riding. Getting all cramped and bunched up is not good. First of all you will get tired real quickly and it is dangerous. Relaxed riding is much better.
  12. Be visible. Rain makes it difficult for cars to see you. If you have high visibility clothing, now it is the time to put them on.
  13. An obvious advice, but here it is anyway: reduce your speed! In many countries legally you need to reduce speed by some 10-20% when it rains, and there are good reasons for it.
  14. Since we don’t have wipers on our helmets (well, maybe some do) you can easily spray something like Rain-X on the visor to help you with your visibility. Rain-X keeps the rain from the visor.
  15. When lightning starts up, stop riding. Head for cover (don’t stop below a tree).
Riding in the rain will at times be necessary, and you should not stop riding just because it is raining. Relax and enjoy the ride. You are after all riding a motorcycle and that is fun. ENJOY IT.​
 

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I actually love riding in the rain, as long as it isn't cold out too. While I wouldn't hurry out in the rain if I wasn't already riding, I don't stop for rain, and I don't own a rainsuit. I love sunshowers or thunderstorms. Doesn't matter. I love the feeling of being in the rain, and the challenge of riding in the heavier downpours.

Great thread! :cheers
 

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I enjoy rain riding, and have gone out into it multiple times for a fun ride when I wasn't planning to be riding.
 

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Count me in as another person who likes riding in the rain. I have yet to go out because I see rain on the radar. I do commute in the rain, and I have no problem riding through a rainstorm during a long weekend ride. I wouldn't want to be caught in a thunderstorm though, more because of the lightning, strong gusts and flying debris, and potential for hail.
 

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Do you guys notice that you're comfortable going a lot faster on the bike than in the car when it's really raining? It's something about the aerodynamics of the helmet / faceshield that whisks water away better than a car windshield. Several times in heavy downpours I have seen cars slowng down, putting on their flashers, etc., while I cruise by at 80 mph without a care in the world.
 

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[*]Since we don’t have wipers on our helmets (well, maybe some do) you can easily spray something like Rain-X on the visor to help you with your visibility. Rain-X keeps the rain from the visor.



This is not a good choice. Rain-X is for glass, not polycarbonate, and it will degrade the strength of your windshields and visors.




Raincoat Water Repellent - webBikeWorld


I tested some shields (pellet gun) that had Rain-X and one that didn't. Note they are a different brand, Shoei vs HJC

Shoei, no Rain-X, = dents, no penetration



HJC, Rain-X = shattered shield

 

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Love riding in the rain. have been known to purposefully go out, pick the big black clouds, and ride toward em this season.
 

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I think every biker should at least ride in the rain at least a couple of times to at least lto get a feel of how to manuever just in case getting caught in the rain during a ride. I have a neighbor who won't ride even if there's the slightest chance of rain. Bummer to see him miss out on so many good rides where most of the time there may be a light sprinkle for a few minutes and the sun comes back out for the rest of the day. A wasted day.
 

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I've never stayed inside because of the rain, but I didn't use to love riding in it... I just tolerated it. However, now that I have good quality Goretex gear from head to toe, I love riding in the rain, depending upon where I'm riding. If I'm on the highway or in town, I don't like riding in the rain, because I hate dealing with the spray from other cars. However, on a country two lane road, I love riding in the rain. It's so peaceful to have rain pouring down while I'm nice and dry and bundled up.
 

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I don't mind getting caught in the rain, happened 3 times this year (so far). I will say that 80* beats the hell out of 60* though.

The looks you get from people (especially those you pass) can be priceless!
 

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I'll second the "comfortable going faster" phenomena.

I have no trouble doing 80mph down hwy 11 to Saskatoon in a freakin downpour, and the people around me are crawling along. could be the fact that bikes seem more difficult to hydroplane with than your average all season tired cage.

I dunno.
 

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Just remember not to out ride your brakes...

This is true, but I have to say this is a b***** issue for me in DE and PA than in FL. I admit I don't enjoy rain riding as much up here, in part because it doesn't get hot enough (or hasn't for me anyway) to make me wish for rain, but mostly because the roads are incredibly slippery even when dry. Add a little rain and they are like slip n slides. I assume because of the crap they slather all over the roads in winter, and maybe because you don't get regular torrential downpours to really clean them off. FL roads are much cleaner and have more traction.
 

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Overall good advice, but #8 is misleading. There's no reason to change the balance of braking forces front and rear since both tires have lost the same percentage of grip due to the rain.

Not to mention that, while a rear wheel slide is easier to recover from, it's also far more likely to high side you than a front wheel slide should you fail to recover.
 

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This is not a good choice. Rain-X is for glass, not polycarbonate, and it will degrade the strength of your windshields and visors.




Raincoat Water Repellent - webBikeWorld


I tested some shields (pellet gun) that had Rain-X and one that didn't. Note they are a different brand, Shoei vs HJC

Shoei, no Rain-X, = dents, no penetration
The problem with Rain-X is the acetone. There are some plastics/acrylics which are not affected by it. The ethanol and isopropyl alcohol are likely completely safe.

What helps Rain-X shed the rain (besides fully cleaning the surface) is the addition of silicone.

Rumors of embrittlement appear to be primarily that: rumors. No actual proof that it was the Rain-X which caused it. UV, for example, is known to cause plastics to become brittle. Well guess what the sun is blasting right at your visor as you ride around all day?

Some manufacturers (such as HJC) have even come out and stated that their visors are compatible.

If one is still worried, there are other products that do the same job without the acetone, though are harder to apply, such as 210 Plastic Scratch Remover, LP Acrylic Polish and Sealant, and even Lemon Pledge (seemingly preferred by every helicopter pilot I've discussed this with).
 

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the pledge rumour was also referred to me by a Pilot. he uses it on his windshield and body panels as well. He claims the bugs come off easier with it.

I never really believed it, but hell, I might try it.
 

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I don't mind riding in the rain if I get caught in it however I don't go out if there's a serious chance of rain. Its not that I'm afraid of riding in the rain, I'm afraid of everyone around me. Drivers in my area just can't handle the rain. I guess the rain not only washes away dirt and oil from the road but it also washes away people's ability to drive :lol
 
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